The anticipated availability of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, combined with speculation the Bruins might shop Tim Thomas, prompted Tampa Bay hockey reporters to examine the possibility of either goalie joining the Lightning.
Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times and Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune agree the Lightning must find a long-term solution between the pipes and considered the pros and cons of Luongo or Thomas coming to Tampa Bay.
Both agree Lightning GM Steve Yzerman’s preferred target is Luongo’s backup, Cory Schneider, but it’s not clear if he’s the one who’s available.
Considering the limited options available to Yzerman, Luongo and Thomas are attractive possibilities, though neither is a perfect fit.
In Luongo’s case, the remaining 10 years on his deal at a cap hit of $5.33 million means the Bolts might have to shed a high-salaried player to add him.
Thomas only has one year left on his contract at a cap hit of $5 million (his actual salary is $3 million), but he’s also 38 and doesn’t have many productive seasons left, so he’s not the long-term solution the team seeks.
Of the pair, Luongo is the most likely to be moved this summer and, despite his salary, he will be linked to the Lightning in the coming weeks, especially if he includes Tampa Bay on any list of preferred destinations.
CAROLINA LOOKS TO UP THE ANTE
The Hurricanes continue to be mentioned as a suitor for Devils left winger – and pending UFA – Zach Parise.
Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News and Observer reports the Hurricanes are willing to spend towards landing a first line winger for Eric Staal’s line and claimed there’s a “none-too-subtle whispering campaign” that Parise is their top target.
DeCock acknowledges, however, that just because the Hurricanes are willing to spend doesn’t mean they’ll win a bidding war for Parise’s services.
If they lose out on the Parise sweepstakes, DeCock suggests they’d wait a year and pursue Penguins center Jordan Staal, Eric’s brother, if he becomes a UFA next July.
DeCock also listed trade options, among which were Flames right winger Jarome Iginla, Blue Jackets right winger Rick Nash and Sharks left winger Patrick Marleau, though all of them have no-movement clauses and may not want to come to Carolina.
JACKETS NEED A GOALIE, SAN JOSE DOESN’T HAVE ONE TO GIVE
Speaking of Nash and the Blue Jackets, Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com noted Columbus has a need for a starting goalie and wonders if they’d be interested in San Jose’s Antti Niemi as part of a return for Nash.
Though Kurz admits it’s merely speculation on his part and not based on anything he’s heard from either club or around the league, it is an intriguing suggestion considering Sharks GM Doug Wilson made enquiries into Nash’s availability prior to the February trade deadline. In the wake of the Sharks’ early exit from this year’s playoffs, some pundits wondered if Wilson would revisit that interest.
However, it’s unlikely Wilson would part with Niemi, especially since there will be a lack of quality netminders available via free agency and the Sharks don’t have anyone in their system ready to take over.
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 and Kukla’s Korner.