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Canucks living in interesting times

Like a lot of NHL clubs, this off-season is going to be especially interesting for the Canucks.

According to Capgeek.com, the Canucks have 17 players signed to NHL contracts that total just north of $55 million. Assuming the team opens the season with the roster maximum of 23 players, that gives them about $9.2 million in cap room to sign those six players, based on the past season’s numbers.

But those numbers will change because the cap ceiling – released in late June — is expected to go up for next season, from $64.3 million to somewhere in the $69 to $70 million range and then, when the NHLPA invokes as expected its escalator clause, it could end up north of $72 million.

Capitals’ offseason uncertainty begins with Dale Hunter, Alexander Semin

Hunter did not publicly criticize Ovechkin’s freelancing on the defensive side of the puck. And Ovechkin did not protest too loudly about his dip in ice time. But the question remains: Can the two coexist? Or better yet, does Hunter have any interest in coexisting? Hunter, of course, can resume coaching and operating the lucrative and successful London Knights junior hockey team if he so chooses. Last week, the Knights claimed the Ontario Hockey League championship.

Among the other items on General Manager George McPhee’s lengthy to-do list

Ducks hope to hear decision from Schultz

Who would have ever thought that college star Justin Schultz might be one of the prizes when NHL free agency opens on July 1?

It is what happens when there’s the converging of a bonafide top-four defenseman who’s coming up on four years without signing with the club that drafted him, has the potential option of making a deal with any other team and a free agent crop that’s pretty thin after Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Bouwmeester and Miikka Kiprusoff may be available

Finally, in a radio interview this past week Feaster suggested trades are in the offing. This time, Jarome Iginla’s name is not among them. However, in spite of his no trade clause Defenceman Jay Bouwmeester may be in play. In fact, a member of the Flames organization suggests that is exactly the case. As well standout Miikka Kiprusoff may be available in a goaltending market that has grown this offseason. If that’s a fact the Flames deck could be shuffled greatly.

More teams jump into the Nash sweepstakes.

Should the New York Rangers be eliminated from the playoffs, expect them, along with the San Jose Sharks, the Boston Bruins and the Leafs to be among the leaders in the Rick Nash chase next month. The more teams which fail to meet expectations, the more suitors there will be for the occasionally explosive Nash … If I’m defenceman Ryan Suter, I don’t re-sign with the Nashville Predators. I test free agency on July 1. The reason: The Predators don’t have the kind of forwards you can win a championship with.

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/05/12/simmons-torts-retorts-have-killed-his-olympic-hopes

Staal sweepstakes could heat up

Here are the most logical trade partners for the Penguins:

1. Carolina Hurricanes

Staal’s brother, Eric, plays in Raleigh. Also, consider the following: The Hurricanes could use a dominant No. 2 center, they’re $20 million under the salary cap for next season and have plenty to offer the Penguins.

End of the line for Semin Capitals set to part ways with skilled sniper

There is no way of knowing what’s inside Alex Semin as this monumental night of his professional career approaches.

But in many ways, this is an historic confrontation for the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers and a probable farewell for one of hockey’s most confusing and confounding players.

The Capitals were built around a supposed fabulous four, Alexander Ovechkin, Semin, Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom, and this will season will end the run of that group, no matter what happens Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Game 7 may be an entrance on to a new stage or the last game Semin plays for the Caps.

Maybe the last game he plays in the NHL.

Ryan Suter's exit would shake Nashville Predators lineup

Almost a week after the Phoenix Coyotes howled in their locker room as the Predators trudged through the hallway of Jobing.com Arena, it’s still hard to believe the season is over.

The Predators seemed to have all the ingredients to make a deep Stanley Cup run. They had a top defenseman (Shea Weber), a trade-deadline acquisition with a Stanley Cup ring (Hal Gill), an elite goaltender (Pekka Rinne) and a talented scoring winger (Alexander Radulov).

Nash would have made huge difference to Rangers

As Glen Sather slowly made his way down the hallway towards the New York Rangers dressing room, with his head down, as the only one in the building wearing a trench coat, you wonder if he’s thinking: Would any of this be different with Rick Nash?

Would Sather’s mistake-filled tenure of running the Rangers have been corrected in this strange playoff spring by completing the deal he worked so hard on and couldn’t find a way to make happen?

Karlsson talks will take time

The Senators could be in for a long, hot summer trying to sign defenceman Erik Karlsson.

Craig Oster, Karlsson’s agent, confirmed by e-mail late Monday there haven’t been any formal talks between the two sides and none are planned at this juncture.

No, this shouldn’t come as any surprise as the season ended less than two weeks ago. The club’s scouting staff is focused on the coming weekend when the group gathers in Ottawa to rate players for next month’s NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh.


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