Tomas Vokoun was dealt to Pittsburgh Monday and subsequently signed a two-year deal with a cap hit of $2 million. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ acquisition of goaltender Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals Monday significantly reduced the depth of available goaltending talent.
It was rumored the Toronto Maple Leafs had interest in Vokoun as a short-term fix for their goalie woes. With him out of the equation, rumors linking the Leafs to Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo are sure to increase.
TSN’s Darren Dreger last week reported Canucks GM Mike Gillis had received interest in Luongo from other teams, but suggested there was “an equally strong chance” Gillis does nothing and Luongo returns with the Canucks next season.
Dreger’s colleague Pierre LeBrun believes the Leafs will “sneak in there if there’s a rebate sale on Luongo.”
A web-based rumor last week claimed a trade sending Luongo to Toronto was “90 percent done.”
It remains to be seen if Leafs GM Brian Burke swallows his pride and takes on Luongo’s big contract or seeks a more affordable, short-term option to allow James Reimer more time to develop.
Trade options include unproven backups such as Jonathan Bernier of the Los Angeles Kings and Anders Lindback of the Nashville Predators.
Notable free agent goalies include Minnesota’s Josh Harding, Winnipeg’s Chris Mason, Florida’s Scott Clemmensen and San Jose’s Antero Niittymaki.
Don’t be surprised if someone tries to link the Leafs with Bruins goalie Tim Thomas despite his stated intent to take next season off.
Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement last week stoked speculation the Detroit Red Wings will pursue Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter if he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Recent news out of Nashville, however, suggests Suter is leaning toward remaining a Predator.
The Tennessean’s Josh Cooper reported Friday Predators GM David Poile met with Suter at the defenseman’s off-season home in Wisconsin to discuss the team’s on- and off-ice plans. While there was no agreement on a new contract, the two sides did agree to continue talks this week.
Poile and Suter’s agent Neil Sheehy admitted discussions had gone well thus far, leaving the Predators GM optimistic about getting the 27-year-old blueliner re-signed before July 1.
If Suter does become available, the Wings would have competition for his services, as Cooper suggested the Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota Wild would also get into the bidding.
One Predator who will generate interest in the trade market is right winger Alexander Radulov.
The New York Post reported Sunday sources claimed Rangers GM Glen Sather had made enquiries about Radulov, whose brief return to Nashville this season was marred by a team suspension for breaking curfew during their playoff series against Phoenix.
That incident, combined with Radulov’s declining performance as the playoffs went on, led to widespread assumption he’d return to Russia’s Kontinental League.
Radulov, a restricted free agent, reportedly has a lucrative contract offer from CSKA Moscow on the table, but the Post cited a “well-placed source” who claimed he wants to remain in the NHL.
Sather is apparently interested in using Radulov as a short-term replacement for sniper Marian Gaborik, who could be sidelined until mid-December recovering from shoulder surgery.
Radulov could also provide them with additional scoring depth once Gaborik returns to action.
It has yet to be determined, however, if the Predators are willing to part with Radulov and little is known about their asking price or Radulov’s salary demands.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News, Kukla's Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.