Jimmy Howard (Mike Stobe/National Hockey League)
The Red Wings have competition in the crease, but could that lead to Jimmy Howard getting dealt by Detroit? There have been rumors circling that the club could consider it. Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators are searching for a top-six winger to fill out their lineup.
The Detroit Red Wings made a couple of recent notable additions via free agency, signing defenseman Mike Green and center Brad Richards. Still, one Detroit sports talk show host believes there's more to be done.
Writing for the Detroit Free Press, Jamie Samuelsen suggests Wings management try to find a taker for goaltender Jimmy Howard. Samuelsen notes Petr Mrazek proved himself as a starter during Detroit's first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In his estimation, that makes Howard (earning $5.5 million in actual salary for 2015-16) an expensive backup.
Howard, 31, might attract some interest around the league. The Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks currently lack experienced starting goaltenders. Back in April, however, Wings GM Ken Holland said his preference was to have Howard and Mrazek battle for the starter's job in training camp.
Samuelsen also thinks Holland should consider drawing upon the Wings' depth in young forwards to bring in another defenseman or a big forward. He would be fine with either Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar dealt for a return that provides immediate dividends.
Nyquist, 25, is coming off consecutive seasons of 27 or more goals, while the 24-year-old Tatar tallied a career-best 29 goals and 56 points last season. They would attract interest in the NHL trade market, but Holland is likely to maintain a wait and see approach with both players.
Don't expect to see Howard, Nyquist or Tatar hit the trade block this summer. Of the three Samuelsen suggests as trade candidates, Howard seems the most likely to go, but his salary and no-trade clause could make him difficult to move. Much will depend upon his performance in 2015-16.
SENATORS SEEKING TOP-SIX WINGER
For some time, Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray has sought a top-six winger. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reports Murray has yet to address that need this summer via trades or free agency and he speculates the Sens GM could revisit the issue during training camp.
Murray still has some options available via free agency. He was linked to right winger Chris Stewart for most of last season. Wingers Alexander Semin, Curtis Glencross and Brad Boyes are still on the market.
The problem, however, is cap space. While the Senators currently have over $60.3 million invested in their 2015-16 payroll, they're not expected to spend toward the $71.4-million ceiling. Murray must also re-sign wingers Mike Hoffman and Alex Chiasson, who both filed for salary arbitration earlier this week.
Murray's been trying to move little-used winger Colin Greening and his $2.65-million annual cap hit for some time. Shedding Greening's contract could provide the Senators with the wiggle room needed to add that elusive top-six winger.