Latest NHL Buzz
The goaltending market is playing out as expected.
Scott Darling ending up in Carolina and nabbing a four year contract and after Darling’s rights were traded, it was a near lock Ben Bishop’s rights would be traded to Dallas or Calgary.
Dallas won out yesterday in landing Bishop for a 4th round pick. The Flames were also in the mix.
Bishop wanted to sign with Dallas on July 1, so it’s expected to be smooth sailing on the two sides reaching an extension.
A lot of goaltenders available this summer, few teams looking for big ticket starters.
If the Penguins season ends tonight, they might be smart to get a jump on things with Marc Andre Fleury. Despite Fleury’s sometimes spectacular play in the playoffs, his market hasn’t changed.
Entering game 7 tonight with a .910 save percentage in Round 2, clubs believe Fleury needs a great defense around to be worth the price of a cap hit near $6 million for the next two seasons.
Some scouts indicate the perfect fit for Fleury would have been Dallas under Ken Hithchock but that’s obviously not going to happen now.
Winnipeg plans to look at the veteran goaltending market but has their sights on cheaper options like a Steve Mason.
If the Capitals oust the Penguins, we’ll see if Calgary, a team that’s been on the fence about Fleury, look to make a quick move on him.
The one wildcard for Fleury could be the Buffalo Sabres.
If Jason Botterill actually gets the job and over the weekend there was said to have been a bit of a snag, he could look to bring Fleury on board.
“They [ownership] want to change that room,” an NHL source said of the Sabres potentially moving on from starter Robin Lehner.“
Kovalchuk eyeing three year deal?
Talk among NHL executives is Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman has his sights set on landing Kovalchuk a 3 year deal in the $18-$20 million range as the Devils and Kovalchuk’s camp look to work out a sign and trade. He might get some two year offers in that $6 million a year range but some doubts a team Kovalchuk would be willing to sign with will go three at that ticket.
The goal here in returning to the NHL is landing a multi-year deal. If he can’t, then no guarantee Kovalchuk comes back and he’ll wait till next year when he’d be officially a free agent.
Some won’t be surprised if the Florida Panthers moved on from Jaromir Jagr and in turn sign Kovalchuk.
What next for the Rangers?
The Ottawa Senators punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals in ousting the New York Rangers in six games.
Things broke the Rangers way in getting into the right bracket but they couldn’t take advantage in blowing two leads in Games 2 and 5 in the waning moments of regulation where this should have been a five game series in the Rangers favor.
The Rangers led for 179 minutes through the first five games.
For the Rangers, it will be an interesting off-season.
New York’s best Cup window was from the 2011-2012 season through 2014-2015 and now they’re at that stage where Henrik Lundqvist is 35 years old and somewhat of an up and down goaltender.
The Rangers are stuck in that good/competitive team stage but not a Cup contender.
The Rangers have to do something with one of Marc Staal and Dan Girardi.
Staal, 30, has four more years with a $5.70 million cap hit and the evolving speed game in the NHL doesn’t bode well for him moving forward. Girardi, 33, is signed for three more seasons with a $5.50 million cap hit.
Just brutal contracts for a team that has their sights on trying to move one of them and opening up room for Kevin Shattenkirk, a top free agent target who wants to play in New York.
Then there’s the Derek Stepan contract.
Just 26 years old, but has such a big ticket with a $6.50 million cap hit through the 2020-2021 season. The Rangers still have that hole of lacking a No. 1 centerman but have almost $7 million a season tied up into Stepan.
He’s a name we’ll be hearing this off-season.
It’s likely the Rangers look to part ways with Rick Nash who carries a $7.8 million cap hit and with just one year left of his contract, there will be lots of interest from contenders if they can make the money work.
Nash has a full no trade clause and would get to dictate things like he did in 2012.