Having dealt away Ilya Bryzgalov’s negotiating rights last week to the Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney recently provided some insight to the Arizona Republic about his options for replacing his former starting goaltender.
One would be to trade for a top young goalie, as Maloney suggested there were “three or four organizations” he’s interested in dealing with.
He may also consider adding a veteran netminder via trade and said he’d spoken with several teams that, because of salary cap issues, have to consider dealing one of their goalies.
Another option is the upcoming free agent market where Maloney indicated there were “two or three” goalies he could target.
Although Maloney wouldn’t name the goalies he’ll pursue we can certainly take an educated guess.
If he goes after a top young goaltender, Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Washington’s Semyon Varlamov or Michal Neuvirth are possibilities. Vancouver’s Cory Schneider and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Bernier have been touted as future star goaltenders, but they’ve yet to establish themselves. Nevertheless, they’ve been frequent fixtures in this season’s rumor mill.
If, as expected, Bryzgalov signs with the Flyers, Florida’s Tomas Vokoun would be the best available goalie in the UFA market, but would likely be too expensive for the cost-conscious Coyotes.
More affordable options include Tampa Bay’s Dwayne Roloson or Mike Smith, Minnesota’s Jose Theodore, Chicago’s Marty Turco and Toronto’s J-S Giguere.
Given the continuing uncertainty over the Coyotes’ ownership and future in Arizona, however, Maloney will find it difficult to attract free agent stars.
As for teams that may shed a goalie in a cost-cutting deal, Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom has been mentioned as a trade candidate, though it’s hard to imagine the Wild would part with him despite his $6 million salary.
The Anaheim Ducks could make Dan Ellis available ($1.5 million) if they decide to re-sign Ray Emery to back up Jonas Hiller next season, while the San Jose Sharks could opt to shop Antero Niittymaki ($2 million) now that Antti Niemi has established himself as their starter.
Emery, however, may yet become the best free agent option for Maloney, as the Orange County Register reported last week Ducks GM Bob Murray has not opened contract talks with Emery’s agent and may not make much of an effort to do so.
WILL ZACH PARISE STAY WITH THE DEVILS?
New Jersey Devils restricted free agent left winger Zach Parise still hasn’t heard a word from Devils management regarding a new contract, which lead Tom Gulitti of NorthJersey.com to speculate on the inevitability of GM Lou Lamoriello taking Parise to arbitration.
The deadline to do so is Wednesday, June 15 at 5 p.m. ET, or if the Stanley Cup final goes to Game 7, June 17.
If Lamoriello does elect to take Parise to arbitration, it doesn’t mean the talented winger has played his final game with the Devils, or even that his case will go before an arbiter. Gulitti pointed out the two sides can continue negotiating up to the date of the arbitration hearing.
Given the Devils’ limited available cap space for next season it seems to make sense the team would take Parise to arbitration and make him ineligible to receive an offer sheet.
WILL THE OILERS BUY OUT SHELDON SOURAY?
In the wake of last week’s confirmation the New York Rangers intend to buy out the final season of veteran center Chris Drury’s contract, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal speculated the Oilers may do the same with defenseman Sheldon Souray.
GM Steve Tambellini declined to comment on the possibility and Souray’s agent said he hasn’t heard from the club about a possible buyout, but Matheson believes it could happen.
Last season, the Oilers tried in vain to trade Souray and even placed him on waivers and re-entry waivers in hopes of attracting interest from rival teams. They eventually buried him in the American League to clear his salary from their cap this season.
Tambellini may try to move Souray again, or find another AHL team to take him next season, but the GM would spare himself the unnecessary hassle by simply buying out Souray.
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 News.