The Calgary Sun recently reported that Corey Crawford’s agent, Gilles Lupien, spoke with Chicago Blackhawks management about three weeks ago regarding a new contract for his client.
The two sides reportedly agreed to hammer out a new deal face-to-face at the June draft, where Lupien is expected to present three potential deals from two to four years in length.
No word on what salary Lupien will seek for his client, but Crawford’s performance this season means he’ll receive a significant raise over the $800,000 cap hit he earned on his expiring contract.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal suggested the contract extension of Detroit’s Jimmy Howard (two years, $2.25 million per season) provides a good template.
Matheson noted both are around the same age and spent roughly the same amount of time in the minors, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Crawford ends up with a similar deal.
WILL UMBERGER STAY WITH BLUE JACKETS?
Columbus Blue Jackets left winger R.J. Umberger will face a significant decision about his future this summer.
The Columbus Dispatch reported there’s an expectation management will attempt to re-sign Umberger, who will be entering the final season of his four-year, $15 million contract, to an extension after July 1, but he intends to meet with his agent in the coming weeks to “reflect on the last couple of years, talk about upcoming years and see what’s possible.”
Umberger, 29, will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2012 and his physical style and offensive skills (two straight 55-plus point seasons) would make him highly prized among teams seeking a physical scoring winger.
The Blue Jackets have struggled over the past two years to follow up on their 2008-09 season, when they made the playoffs for the first, and only, time in franchise history.
Management is expected to overhaul the roster this summer and bolster its depth at center and on defense. Umberger would be wise to see what kind of changes are coming and how they impact the club’s performance next season before committing to a long-term extension.
If the Blue Jackets once again flounder out of playoff contention by next season’s trade deadline, expect considerable interest in Umberger from post-season contenders.
POOR TIMING FOR KABERLE?
Criticism over the performance of Boston Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle since his acquisition from Toronto in mid-February continues to grow, increasing speculation the Bruins will let him walk in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli must be relieved he came to a mutual decision with the defenseman’s agent several weeks ago to postpone contract extension talks until after the playoffs.
Given Kaberle’s poor performance thus far, Chiarelli’s critics would’ve roasted him mercilessly had he committed to a long-term deal prior to the post-season.
Kaberle’s people, meanwhile, must be kicking themselves for not getting something done for their client before the playoffs. If the Bruins do let Kaberle walk he might find it difficult to land a lucrative and lengthy new contract this summer.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 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.