The agent for former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin raised eyebrows last week by claiming six teams were interested in his client.
J.P. Barry confirmed the Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens are still willing to sign Sundin and while he wouldn’t name the other clubs (but admitted the Detroit Red Wings aren’t interested) it’s believed the Rangers were among them.
A significant problem for the Rangers, however, is they’re presently bumping up against the $56.7 million cap ceiling. With the price tag for Sundin believed to be at least $7 million for this season GM Glen Sather would have to dump considerable salary to free up the necessary cap space to absorb that contract.
The two Rangers with the biggest contracts are Chris Drury ($7.050 million per season) and Scott Gomez ($7.357 million per season), which are expensive, but could be of interest to the clubs that lose out in the Sundin sweepstakes should he sign with the Blueshirts.
Drury, however, has a “no-movement” clause that he probably won’t waive. According to NHLscap.com, Gomez has a limited “no-trade” clause whereby at the end of each season he presents the Rangers with a list of three teams he will not accept a trade to.
Sather however would probably prefer to retain Drury and Gomez, which would mean shipping out other players carrying big salaries (Wade Redden or Michael Rozsival, anyone?) or more than two players with less expensive contracts.
Concern over what Canucks GM Mike Gillis will do should he lose out on the Sundin sweepstakes has been a topic of interest in recent weeks in the Vancouver media.
One suggested option was Washington Capitals center Michael Nylander, as he might be bumped off the Caps’ first line by rising young center Nicklas Backstrom.
Nylander’s $4.875 million per season salary is considerably more affordable than the $10 million per season Gillis has on the table for Sundin, but Nylander also has a “no-movement” clause and probably isn’t keen to leave Washington.
Veteran wingers Glen Murray and Mark Parrish may have been bought out of their contracts, but they might not be unemployed for long.
The Tennessean reported last week Nashville Predators GM David Poile confirmed contacting the agents for Parrish and Murray, as well as those of former Preds winger Jan Hlavac and Martin Gelinas.
Offensive depth was an issue for the Predators heading into the off-season and with promising young winger Alexander Radulov bolting for Russia it’s become even more pressing.
The Predators might not be the only clubs interested in Murray and Parrish. The Canucks, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers might also bid for them.
Trades might also be an option for Poile to bolster his offensive depth. John Glennon of The Tennesseean suggests the Tampa Bay Lightning might be a good trade partner as the Bolts are top-heavy in forwards and lack blueline depth.
Wingers Jussi Jokinen and Michel Ouellet were oft-mentioned in the Tampa media last month as potential trade bait. The only experienced defenseman Poile might part with is Greg de Vries as he certainly won’t trade Ryan Suter, Shea Weber and Dan Hamhuis, while Kevin Klein and Ville Koistinen lack the experience sorely needed on the Lightning’s defense corp.
Poile might only be willing to part with defensive prospects or draft picks, but those might not be of interest to the Bolts.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays 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.