Penguins to target Hemsky?
The Tampa Bay Lightning have begun the evaluation process of hiring a new general manager and Doug Risebrough has emerged as the front runner for the job.
Plenty of personnel decisions loom including what to do with forwards Marty St. Louis and Ryan Malone.
St. Louis, 34, had a phenomenal season in 2009-2010 (29-65-94 pts) playing alongside emerging star Steven Stamkos but has expressed frustration and is expected to seek a trade this summer.
With one year left on his contract that will pay him $4 million per season, St. Louis will be highly coveted around the league.
It’s believed St. Louis has a strong interest in joining the New York Rangers, where he would be reunited with former head coach John Tortorella and his wife is from the area.
St. Louis told Tampa Bay reporters that he wants to play for a contender.
He declined a potential trade to Pittsburgh in February 2009.
Meanwhile, a source close to Ryan Malone tells me that the 30 year winger will also consider requesting a trade out of Tampa Bay this off-season. Malone is currently evaluating his options and won’t make any rush decisions until a new front office staff is hired and he see’s which direction the Lightning are likely to go.
He has no interest in a rebuilding plan, the source indicates.
Malone has been frustrated in Tampa Bay, and the firing of GM Brian Lawton who was Malone’s former agent and close friend has Malone expected to explore options out of Tampa Bay.
Malone’s father, Greg Malone who was the organizations head scout was also let go by the Lightning.
Malone has 5 years left on his contract with a cap hit of $4.5 million.
GM’s around the league are very high on Malone who had 21 goals in 69 games last season but his contract will limit his suitors. A knee injury at the end of this season could also be alarming for potential suitors.
Word around the league is that Toronto, Columbus and Minnesota are three teams that will target Malone, if he requests a trade out of Tampa Bay.
Pittsburgh made a play for Malone in March 2009.
-*Another name to keep an eye in the coming months will be Edmonton Oilers right winger Ales Hemsky. The Oilers have made it known that Hemsky will be available leading up to the draft.
The under-achieving 26 year old appeared in just 22 games due to a torn ACL.
He has two years left on his contract with a cap hit of $4 million.
Hemsky’s one of those young players that some NHL executives believe that Pittsburgh could make a surprise run at.
Pittsburgh has $45 million commited to 15 players. An opportunity to make a play for Hemsky will only be realistic if Sergei Gonchar is not brought back.
Pittsburgh is expected to offer Gonchar a 2-3 year contract in the $3.5 – $4 million range, once talks begin after the playoffs.
The Salary Cap for 2010-2011 is expected to be $58 million.