John Tavares (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Today's Rumor Roundup has news from the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets. Read the latest news swirling around the NHL courtesy of Lyle Richardson.
New York Islanders superstar John Tavares recently denied rumors he's unhappy with the club's direction and wants out. Tavares told Newsday's Arthur Staple he remains committed to improving the Islanders, adding there's no part of him that wants to leave.
Tavares, 23, just completed the second season of his six-year, $33-million contract. It's far too early to begin speculating over his future with the Islanders, but it will begin in earnest if they haven't significantly improved by the final season of Tavares' contract (2017-18).
If the Islanders make a trade this summer it could involve their first round pick (fifth overall) in this year's NHL Draft. Staple reports Isles GM Garth Snow has until June 1 to notify the league if he intends to retain the pick or send it to the Buffalo Sabres to complete the Thomas Vanek trade made last fall.
Staple claims there's indications Snow could keep that pick to either select a top prospect or trade it to another club for a veteran player.
Senators to Trade Anderson?
Most of the recent Ottawa Senators rumors focus on forwards Jason Spezza, Ales Hemsky and Milan Michalek. The Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan shifted his focus to goaltender Craig Anderson, making the case for trading the 33-year-old this summer.
Brennan acknowledged there will be a short list of teams seeking a starting goalie this summer, but feels the Senators should explore the possibility. Anderson has one season remaining on his contract. If they re-sign him to a three-or four-year deal, Brennan feels it could frustrate 22-year-old backup Robin Lehner, hindering his development into a full-time starter.
The Senators could wait and see how next season unfolds with their current tandem before making a final decision on Anderson's future. It would also allow more time for better trade options. On the other hand, it could be easier to move Anderson this summer, when teams will have more cap space and willingness to spend. Another option could be re-signing Anderson to a long-term extension this summer and shopping Lehner.
If the Senators trade either goalie they'll need a capable backup. Brennan suggests targeting Dallas' Tim Thomas or Toronto's James Reimer. Thomas is eligible for UFA status in July, but could prefer signing with an American club. Reimer is a restricted free agent this summer, but don't expect the Leafs to ship him to their provincial rival.
How long do the Jets wait on Pavelec?
Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff put to rest speculation over goalie Ondrej Pavelec's future during his season-ending press conference. Cheveldayoff confirmed Pavelec would return as the Jets' starter for 2014-15.
The Winnipeg Sun's Paul Friesen notes Pavelec ranked 21st this season among NHL starters in wins, 25th in goals-against average (3.01) and 26th in save percentage (.901). The 26-year-old's inconsistency prompted calls from Winnipeg fans and pundits for an upgrade between the pipes. Cheveldayoff still believes Pavelec will get better. Recently re-signed coach Paul Maurice concurs, feeling the Jets' defensive game needs improvement.
Pavelec's poor stats and expensive contract ($3.9 million per season through 2016-17) makes him difficult to trade. The Jets could use one of their two compliance buyouts to shed his contract without incurring a cap hit, but Cheveldayoff's comments indicates his budget-minded club prefers not to go that route.
Cheveldayoff may be keeping Pavelec, but he still has a goaltending decision to make. Backup Al Montoya is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July, and must be be re-signed or replaced.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly 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 and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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