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Where will Savard and Stempniak start 2010-11?

Lyle Richardson
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Marc Savard has a cap hit of slightly more than $4 million per season through 2016-17. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Where will Savard and Stempniak start 2010-11?

Lyle Richardson
By:

The Philadelphia Flyers need to get under the salary cap and their efforts to move winger Simon Gagne captured considerable attention in recent days.

But they’re not the only club facing that dilemma, as the Boston Bruins have slightly more than $500,000 in cap space remaining to re-sign winger Blake Wheeler and ink promising youngster Tyler Seguin.

Reports out of Boston late last week noted Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli lamented the trade market appeared to have dried up.

Part of the reason for this could be because teams are waiting to see what happens with top free agent winger Ilya Kovalchuk, but more likely because of the lack of teams with available cap space and/or the willingness to spend.

It’s believed Chiarelli was shopping center Marc Savard and goalie Tim Thomas and it’s also been suggested the Bruins GM might try to peddle winger Michael Ryder.

However, given their salaries it’s difficult to make the dollars fit, as rival teams would most likely want Chiarelli to take back salary in return, something he doesn’t want to do because he needs the cap space for Wheeler and Seguin. 

THN columnist Rory Boylen doesn’t believe moving Savard is a good idea, given his offensive value and the club’s “win-now” mindset heading into next season.

If a trade isn’t a possibility, though, Chiarelli has other salary-clearing options.

On Sunday, The Boston Globe noted the Bruins could start the season with injured forward Marco Sturm on long-term injury status, which would allow the team to spend over the cap by the equivalent of Sturm’s salary until he’s ready to return.

He could also place Ryder on waivers and ship him to the minors if he clears, which would free up $4 million in cap space, a move advocated by Boylen.

LEE STEMPNIAK STILL A FREE AGENT

Amongst the players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market is winger Lee Stempniak, whose 28 goals last season made him the second-highest goal-scorer only to Ilya Kovalchuk amongst the UFAs not signed before the July 1 frenzy opened.

Stempniak told ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun he’s puzzled as to why he is still unsigned more than two weeks into the free agent market. He also admitted he remains in touch with his former club, the Phoenix Coyotes, for whom he scored half of those 28 goals during the final 18 games of the season following his trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Stempniak recently told The Buffalo News he’d certainly be interested in joining the Sabres if they were interested. A native of West Seneca, N.Y., Stempniak grew up cheering for the Sabres and the paper suggested the team could use him as they lack scoring depth on right wing.

The reason Stempniak’s still unsigned is his offensive inconsistency. He’s reached the 20 -goal mark twice in his five NHL seasons and prior to being dealt to the Coyotes he managed only 14 goals in 62 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Stempniak’s offensive production also dried up in the 2010 playoffs, when he failed to score in the Coyotes’ opening round, seven-game defeat at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings.

 

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.

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Where will Savard and Stempniak start 2010-11?