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There’s change coming to the Washington Capitals this summer and it’s not just their head coach. Barring a complete change of heart, forward Alexander Semin won’t be back in Washington next season. According to Semin’s agent Mark Gandler, the skilled forward has no intentions of signing a contract extension with the Capitals and plans on becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
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.
Toronto has to top the early line as betting favourite to trade for Roberto Luongo. They have both need and assets. It’s also a place Luongo is willing to go.
But you can’t be sure how much Luongo’s official list really matters anyway. It’s hard to believe there are many situations less inviting than the one in Vancouver, where, if he were to come back, his playing time may be reduced to something like 30-35 games behind Cory Schneider. Don’t be surprised if Luongo’s real list is a lot longer than five teams.
If you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, you’re delighted that the Phoenix Coyotes eliminated the Nashville Predators in the second round of the playoffs on Monday.
And not just because you’re upset that the Predators ousted Detroit in the first round – although that probably has something to do with it.
Instead, you’re happy because you believe the early exit for a Nashville team that was all in this year to win the Stanley Cup will enhance the Red Wings’ chances to land impending unrestricted free-agent defenseman Ryan Suter.