*League officials are highly optimistic based on early projections and season ticket renewals that the salary cap will remain in the $56.8 million range or even increase for the 2010-2011 season. There doesn‘t appear to be any concern about the cap decreasing $6-$7 million which was once feared.
As we mentioned on October 1st, contact talks with J.P. Barry the agent for Sergei Gonchar have been put on hold until mid-season as both sides will wait to see where the salary cap will be. This is good news for the Penguins and other teams around the league.
Biron on the Blackhawks radar?
*The issue in Chicago is that they have no one to push goaltender Cristobal Huet who has struggled mightily. Huet has a nightmare contract for an unproven #1 goaltender to begin with but the threat of Antti Niemi playing does nothing.
*With Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro close to returning, the Islanders are actively shopping veteran netminder Martin Biron.
The Islanders and Blackhawks have held preliminary discussions and Biron makes a lot of sense in Chicago. He has a manageable salary and will push Huet for playing time. In fact, Biron is a better option and more proven.
*The Washington Capitals jumped out of the gates flying but their inability to keep the puck out of the net continues to haunt them. Before the trade deadline, the Capitals are going to have to make adding a #1 defenseman a top priority.
*The New Jersey Devils expect Patrick Elias to return to the lineup by the weekend. Elias has been recovering from arthroscopic groin surgery Sept. 15.
*The Colorado Avalanche are getting great goaltending from Craig Anderson and have been an early surprise thus far.
*The New York Rangers are averaging 4 goals per game and have opened the season 5-1.
*Look for the Tomas Kaberle rumors to heat up very soon. Montreal, Minnesota, Washington and New Jersey have early interest
Pittsburgh has been approached by the agent for
Matt Cooke regarding a contract extension. Cooke is entering the final year of his contract and is highly interested in staying in Pittsburgh past this year.
I’m told Shero will talk with Cooke’s camp in January before the All-Star break like he does with a number of his impending free agents to see where things are for both sides.
Pittsburgh is open to an extension but not this soon in the season. Pittsburgh has to get the Gonchar and Letang situations resolved before moving on other targets like Cooke.