Â• Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom was the first big post-Cup signing Thursday, making the end of Manny Fernandez's stint as the Wild's No. 1 goalie all but official.
So, which teams are likely to inquire about Fernandez? Florida, Phoenix and Los Angeles have been mentioned often, but one player agent believes the Maple Leafs are interested in the Toronto native. And that makes sense, as incumbent Andrew Raycroft clearly needs to be challenged for the starter's job Â– and their two salaries (in terms of cap hit) combined would come in at $6.33 million next season.
That's basically an elite-level netminder's salary these days. And that platoon combination probably is the best-case scenario for a Toronto team that seems to be throwing out lucrative contracts at a pre-lockout pace.
Fernandez for Pavel Kubina, anyone?
Â• One more thought on the New York Islanders' buyout of Alexei Yashin: Charles Wang's costly cashiering of his former captain has to put pressure on other teams burdened by cumbersome deals to pay off and get rid of their busts.
Yes, I'm looking squarely at you, Kings GM Dean Lombardi. And yes, you should be looking squarely at goalie Dan Cloutier Â– though not much longer than it takes to hand over that buyout check.
Â• Now that we're officially into the off-season, the daily blog will turn into a less-than-daily blog. I'll update it as major news breaks, or at least a couple times per week. My other features on the site (Screen Shots, Ask Adam) will take brief hiatuses (hiati?), as well, especially when I'm traveling all over the world Â– OK, the province Â– on vacation.
That said, be sure to check back regularly for special web-only features, such as detailed team-by-team analyses and exclusive NHL draft coverage from Columbus.
Have a safe and happy summer, people.
This is a sad day for me. Summer is a beautiful season, but I will certainly miss your blog and all your other columns. Have a good summer!
agree with you 110% on Kings buying out Cloutier! Have been saying this since he put on a kings uni, and even before that when Dean L gives this guy and "extention" even before he played one game for us??!!! Say what you will about former GM Dave Taylor he would never would give that kind of contract to a goalie that lets beach ballls in from center ice during the playoffs(ie...cough...cough...red wings..cough) And I would also thank Dave Taylor for drafting the only bright spot on an otherwise rotten kings season, Anze Kopitar!