Following the recent completion of the NHL’s 2015 salary-arbitration period, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston observed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild had a second buyout window open for a 48-hour period commencing on Aug. 5. None of the clubs, however, used the opportunity to shed a contract.
The Senators spent months last season trying to find a trade partner for winger Colin Greening, prompting some speculation the 29-year-old winger might receive a buyout. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports Senators assistant GM Pierre Dorion explained that wasn’t possible, as Greening’s $2.65-million annual cap hit was about $10K short of the minimum allowable to be bought out.
Greening’s future with the Senators remains uncertain. Garrioch believes Murray will keep trying to peddle the winger, who was a frequent healthy scratch last season. Perhaps Murray will have better luck next month, as rival GMs evaluate their roster needs during training camp and preseason play.
As for the rebuilding Leafs, they already have defenseman Tim Gleason’s buyout on their books (at over $1.833 million) through 2017-18. If there’s a further need to dump salary, they’ll likely go the trade route.
The Wild only have $1.9 million in cap space, but could get some cap relief if needed should oft-injured goaltender Niklas Backstrom end up on long-term injury reserve. Earlier this summer, they bought out veteran winger Matt Cooke, but appear reluctant to go that route with another player.
CAPS, SHARKS HAVE HOLES TO FILL
The Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks could have some roster concerns to address when NHL training camps open in September.
CSNWashington.com’s J.J. Regan reports the departure of Eric Fehr via free agency left a big hole at center on the Capitals third line that could prove difficult to fill. With less than $470K in cap space and few decent options via free agency, GM Brian MacLellan has little choice but to look to within to address that issue.
Responding to a reader’s question about the Sharks blueline, CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz believes they still need another veteran defenseman. However, he doubts that’s going to happen before training camp. With the top-five defense spots filled, Kurz speculates Mirco Mueller, Matt Tennyson and Dylan DeMelo could jockey for the final spot.
Should both clubs fail to suitably address their needs internally, they could free up some cap space to dip into free agency for a short-term fix. The Capitals could demote a lower-salaried forward like Zach Sill or Michael Latta, or a blueliner like Nate Schmidt or Taylor Chorney, to make room for an affordable depth center. Stephen Weiss, Mike Santorelli or Derek Roy could be among their options.
If Mueller or Tennyson fail to make the cut, the Sharks could send them to the minors to clear space for a short-term addition through free agency. Marek Zidlicky, Andrej Meszaros, David Schlemko, Anton Volchenkov and former Shark Christian Ehrhoff remain available.
Demoting those players, however, means placing them on waivers, where they could become tempting targets for rival clubs. Depending upon their needs, the respective managements of the Capitals and Sharks must decide if it’s worth the risk.
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.).
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