Carey Price becomes a restricted free agent at the end of the season. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
It’s widely believed the Philadelphia Flyers will make a move this summer either via trade or free agency to address their woeful goaltending situation.
Recent reports suggest the Flyers could target Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who appears to have lost the starter’s job to Jaroslav Halak. Both are restricted free agents this summer, but there’s talk Price might be available.
The Delaware County Times believes the Canadiens might accept one of the Flyers’ expensive forwards or a young, affordable talent like Claude Giroux or James van Riemsdyk.
With the Canadiens pressed for cap space next season (just like the Flyers) and key players still to re-sign, they would probably prefer Giroux or van Riemsdyk over, say, Simon Gagne or Daniel Briere, provided either veteran would even be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to Montreal.
However, for now it’s uncertain what the Canadiens will do with their two young goalies, or for that matter, if the Flyers will go the trade route to bolster their depth between the pipes.
• The New York Post says Ilya Kovalchuk has brought considerable buzz to the New Jersey Devils since they acquired him from Atlanta, suggesting the Devils should try to re-sign the talented sniper rather than let him walk via this summer’s UFA market.
Kovalchuk has certainly appeared more comfortable with his new team since the Olympic break and might be willing to consider remaining a Devil, but it won’t be an easy proposition.
The Post noted Kovalchuk spurned a multi-year deal worth more than $10 million per season from the Thrashers, but suggested it might’ve been his way of telling that franchise he had no intention of staying with them.
Even if Kovalchuk was willing to accept less than $10 million to stay in New Jersey, it won’t be easy for Devils GM Lou Lamoriello to re-sign him. Lamoriello currently has a little more than $41 million committed to 15 players next season and needs to either re-up or replace Paul Martin, Rob Niedermayer and David Clarkson this summer.
Retaining Kovalchuk could prove costly to the Devils’ overall depth.
• Speaking of Martin, Post columnist Mark Everson reported the Devils have done nothing thus far to discourage the blueliner from kicking the UFA market’s tires.
Everson notes there’s still enough time for Lamoriello to try to re-sign Martin and Kovalchuk, but historically most of the Devils’ pending UFAs tend to depart via free agency if they haven’t been re-signed by January.
This suggests Martin is most likely a goner, as his value to the team diminished when he was sidelined by a broken arm for most of the season and the club still performed well in his absence.
If Lamoriello does re-sign Kovalchuk, that would guarantee Martin becoming an unrestricted free agent.
• Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero insisted his recent inking of defenseman Kris Letang to a long-term contract extension had no bearing on his efforts to retain pending UFA blueliner Sergei Gonchar.
The Penguins’ limited cap space and need to retain or replace other key free agents suggests otherwise.
With Letang’s new contract, the Penguins now have, according to capgeek.com, $44.5 million committed to 14 players next season and in addition to Gonchar must re-sign or replace Bill Guerin, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Ruslan Fedotenko, Jordan Leopold, Mark Eaton and Brent Johnson.
Unless next season’s salary cap significantly increases and/or the Penguins shed some salary, they won’t be able to keep Gonchar and still have enough to re-sign most of those other players.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey Magazine.