The Philadelphia Flyers’ failed attempt to sign Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber has some observers pondering GM Paul Holmgren’s next move.
After news broke the Predators had matched the offer sheet, Holmgren expressed confidence in his blueline, but his attempts to woo Weber and former Predators blueliner Ryan Suter suggest he’ll continue shopping around for a top-pairing defenseman.
None of the defensemen remaining in the UFA market comes even close to the caliber of Weber or Suter.
It’s been suggested Holmgren will go the offer sheet route again by targeting blueliners such as Montreal’s P.K. Subban, Washington’s John Carlson, or Michael Del Zotto of the Rangers.
Those three are promising, but aren’t in Weber’s class and Holmgren certainly won’t send them a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet. Anything he sent them would be easily matched.
A trade is the likely option.
Phoenix’s Keith Yandle or Vancouver’s Alexander Edler have been mentioned as possible trade targets, but neither club seems willing to part with them.
If they were, the asking price would likely be a promising young center such as Sean Couturier or Brayden Schenn, to start.
Another option could be Calgary’s Jay Bouwmeester. Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun believes Bouwmeester’s stock is on the rise with the Flyers – as well as the Predators, Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues, who are also looking for blueline help.
Granted, Bouwmeester doesn’t play the same physical style as Weber or Chris Pronger (whose career-threatening concussion injury is why Holmgren pursued Weber in the first place) and the Flames defender also carries a no-movement clause in a contract that pays him $6.68 million per season for the next two years.
The Flames would likely want a promising young forward in return, but if they sought Couturier or Schenn Holmgren would likely reject it as he has all previous enquiries from other clubs.
Still, if the Flyers GM was willing to pay what would’ve been an average annual cap hit of $7.8 million for Weber, he could easily absorb Bouwmeester’s salary.
Holmgren may also set his focus on adding more firepower to the offense.
He’s already met with UFA right winger Shane Doan, plus the Flyers have been linked to Anaheim Ducks right winger Bobby Ryan for nearly a month.
Holmgren declined to comment on Ryan, which is understandable, as he doesn’t want to violate the league’s tampering rules.
DOAN MEETS WITH POTENTIAL SUITORS
The Rick Nash trade watch is finally over, but the Doan free agent watch drags on.
Doan, whose first choice is to re-sign with the Phoenix Coyotes, has been waiting several weeks for word from an ownership group headed by former San Jose Sharks executive Greg Jamison regarding their attempted purchase of the Coyotes.
His camp had set two prior deadlines with the Jamison group seeking clarification on this issue and reportedly hoped to hear from Jamison by July 27.
If Doan doesn’t get assurances from Jamison over the sale of the Coyotes, he will narrow down the large number of teams (reportedly 16) interested in his services and meet with those who remain.
Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis recently admitted to The Globe & Mail he is interested in Doan’s services.
Gillis usually avoids multi-year deals for over-35 players, but hinted he’d be willing to make an exception for Doan, who’ll turn 36 in October.
“There are specific situations that cause you, not to reconsider the guidelines, but present a different set of facts, a different set of circumstances, that take you outside of those guidelines,” Gillis said.
In other words, there’s an exception to every rule, and Gillis would make one for Doan.
Gillis also had nothing new to report on the trade status of goaltender Robert Luongo, hoping the trade market will improve around mid-August. He claimed he’s received “solid offers” for Luongo, but nothing he’d currently act on.
TVA Sports’ Louis-Andre Lariviere, meanwhile, cited a source claiming Doan would travel to Montreal next week to meet with Canadiens management.
That’s promising news for Habs fans who’ve heard rumors the Canadiens are interested in the long-time Coyotes captain. Doan met with Rangers management last week while he was in New York on CBA business, then travelled to Philadelphia to meet with Flyers management.
While the Canadiens will be hard-pressed to outbid Cup contenders such as the Rangers and Flyers, they do have a family connection with Doan, as he and Habs goalie Carey Price are cousins.
Lariviere also reported the Doan camp contacted the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames to inform them he’s uninterested in playing in Alberta.
The Predators have also expressed interest in pursuing Doan, though it’s unknown if they’re among the teams he’s willing to meet with in the coming days.
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, Kukla’s Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.