As the New York Rangers head into the off-season, it seems doubtful right winger Martin St-Louis will return with the club. St-Louis, who turns 40 on June 18, is an unrestricted agent in July. It was obvious throughout this season that his skills are declining. His 52 points were lower than the 2012-13 lockout season, the lowest in an injury-free NHL season since 2000-01.
With more than $59.5 million invested in their 2015-16 payroll and key free agents like Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin to re-sign, the Rangers probably can't afford to keep St-Louis. Facing an uncertain future, the veteran intends to take some time in the coming weeks to consider his options.
Should St-Louis decide to continue his playing career, his NHL options could be limited. Among the reasons behind his trade last season from Tampa Bay to New York was to be close to his family. Should that remain a priority, he'll only have a handful of teams to choose from and they might not require his services.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman wonders if the New Jersey Devils might take a run at St-Louis. He cites their proximity to Manhattan and need for short-term veteran depth to bridge the cap with their young talent.
In recent years, the Devils signed several veterans to bolster their lineup but none could improve their woeful offense or return the club to playoff contention. If new GM Ray Shero seeks a veteran or two this summer, he could seek younger options than St-Louis.
RIBEIRO WANTS MULTI-YEAR DEAL IN NASHVILLE
Mike Ribeiro is set to become an UFA on July 1, but it appears the Nashville Predators and Ribeiro’s agent Don Meehan are attempting to work out a deal. According to The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan, Ribeiro wants to stay in Nashville, but Meehan said his client, “would want something longer than one year.”
Ribeiro had a remarkable bounce-back season in 2014-15 after being bought out by the Arizona Coyotes last summer. He joined Nashville on a one-year, $1.05 million deal and proceeded to lead the Predators in assists with 47 and finish second in points with 62, just one behind rookie Filip Forsberg. Because of the buyout, Ribeiro is still bringing in roughly $2 million per season from the Coyotes for the next six years, which could make it easier for Nashville to negotiate a longer term in exchange for a lesser salary.
KINGS TO SAY GOODBYE TO WILLIAMS, STOLL?
The Los Angeles Kings face significant roster decisions this summer. With nearly $60 million invested in their 2015-16 cap payroll, they have limited room to re-sign free agents Justin Williams, Andrej Sekera, Jarret Stoll, Tyler Toffoli and Martin Jones.
John Hoven of the well-connected Kings' blog Mayor's Manor recently spoke with “multiple sources” inside the club's management regarding their options this summer. He claims Williams and Stoll aren't expected back while Toffoli is likely to get a short-term bridge deal. Jones, 25, hopes to become a starter but won't get that opportunity with the Kings. He isn't expected to be traded but could be moved next summer.
Outside of Toffoli, Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson, Hoven claims “just about every other contract” is being examined. That includes captain Dustin Brown, whose limited no-trade clause kicks in July 1. While they're not shopping the 30-year-old right winger, Hoven speculates the right offer could generate discussions.
Regardless of Brown's NTC, his $5.9-million annual cap hit through 2021-22 and declining production make him difficult to move. The Kings must pick up part of his salary or take back a toxic deal to move him.
The same goes for center Mike Richards, who the Kings tried unsuccessfully to trade earlier this season. Failing that, he could receive a contract buyout.
MANY MOVES IN STORE FOR THE SENATORS
How the Ottawa Senators will address their logjam in goal remains a hot topic in the rumor mill. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch once again wonders if Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner could be dealt, listing the Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks as likely destinations. He also tosses the Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs into the mix as “maybe, maybe not” candidates.
Sorting out the crowded crease isn't the only item on management's summer “to-do” list. Garrioch lists Alex Chiasson, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad and Jean-Gabriel Pageau among their free agents to re-sign. He claims they haven't reached a decision yet on pending UFA forward Erik Condra, but he's unlikely to return.
Trade candidates could include left winger Colin Greening and center David Legwand. The Sens spent months this season attempting to move the 29-year-old Greening. Garrioch speculates they might have to pick up part of his $2.7-million annual salary to move him this summer. Garrioch also believes the 34-year-old Legwand's $3-million salary could interest clubs in need of reaching the cap floor.
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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