If the Flames look to free agency this summer for goaltending help, Sharks backup James Reimer could be the man to take over the crease.
When this season finally draws to a close, the Calgary Flames will likely be in the market for goaltending depth. Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo are both eligible for UFA status this summer and aren’t expected to be re-signed.
Promising Joni Ortio will get a shot at forming part of the Flames tandem next season, but they’ll still need an experienced NHL starter. Options via the trade market could include Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings and Ondrej Pavelec of the Winnipeg Jets.
If the Flames look toward free agency, the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis believes San Jose Sharks backup James Reimer could be a good fit. Francis cites the 27-year-old Reimer’s experience as a starting goalie with the Toronto Maple Leafs as reason for the Flames to consider him.
After Reimer was dealt to the Sharks, reports emerged out of Toronto claiming he sought over $6 million per season. However, he tells Francis there’s no truth to those stories.
The Flames have over $48 million invested in their salary-cap payroll for 2016-17. However, new contracts for budding superstar forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan could push that total up to over $65 million.
If Reimer seeks a reasonable deal, the Flames could be interested. However, they won’t be the only club seeking help between the pipes. The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa suggests Reimer could be targeted by the Carolina Hurricanes.
WILD COULD FACE SUMMER ROSTER SHAKEUP
Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher usually swings significant deals near the NHL trade deadline. This year, however, he made a marginal move by shipping little-used goalie Niklas Backstrom to the Flames for fading winger David Jones.
Michael Russo of StarTribune.com reports Fletcher was seeking “hockey trades” near the deadline to help his club. He also believes the Wild GM laid the groundwork for such deals in the off-season.
Fletcher was in trade talks involving defenseman Jonas Brodin before the deadline. He could revisit those discussions this summer. Russo suggests other moves could include restricted free agents like winger Jason Zucker or goaltender Darcy Kuemper, as well as players with a year left on their contracts, like forwards Mikael Granlund or Nino Niederreiter.
The Wild show little sign of becoming Stanley Cup contenders in the very tough Central Division. A summer roster shakeup could be in order.
JACKETS WILL LOOK TO MOVE HARTNELL, TYUTIN IN OFFSEASON
Leading up to this year’s trade deadline, Columbus Blue Jackets left winger Scott Hartnell and defenseman Fedor Tyutin frequently surfaced in reports as possible trade candidates. While both remain with the Jackets after the deadline, they still face uncertain futures in Columbus.
Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch believes their respective contracts proved difficult to move at the deadline. Hartnell, 33, has three years remaining on his deal at an annual cap hit of $4.75 million. He also carries a full no-movement clause. The 32-year-old Tyutin has two years left on his contract worth $4.5-million annually, also with a no-movement clause.
Porzline thinks they could be moved this summer, but given the terms of their contracts, that’s no certainty. Of the two, Hartnell has the most trade value. Finding a destination to his liking could be a challenge, especially if the Jackets aren’t willing to take back a contract in return.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly 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 The Guardian (P.E.I.).
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.