Teams with salary cap issues could buy out two players this week.That gave teams a chance to clean up their books -- and it gave teams shopping for free agent help more options come July 5.
The Philadelphia Flyers wasted no time dumping forward Daniel Briere and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Briere is just a supplemental scorer at this stage of his career, but his phone is ringing off the hook.
Some experts see Bryzgalov heading back to Russia to play in the KHL, but don’t rule out the Edmonton Oilers. That team is way overdue to make a run in the Western Conference and it might be willing to gamble on the flighty ex-Flyer.
Vincent Lecavalier got his compliance buyout from the Tampa Bay Lightning and immediately mentioned Detroit and Montreal as places he would like to play. The big fella either lost a step or some drive the past few seasons in Tampa, so it will be interesting to see how high teams go on him. The Red Wings could let free agent forward Valtteri Filppula walk and add another proven weapon to their arsenal.
Lecavalier spices up a free agent pool of centers previously headlined by Derek Roy, Mike Ribeiro and Stephen Weiss.
The Calgary Flames seem willing to give Mike Cammalleri to any team willing to take on his salary – a cool $7 million for next season. Once upon a time Cammalleri was one of the league’s true finishers. Now he looks more like a 20- or 25-goal scorer instead of a 40-goal guy.
The Kris Letang contract negotiations are generating much interest around the league. His salary could help further define the market for defensemen like Alex Pietrangelo, who figures to sign a record Blues contract this summer. Right now it seems Letang wants $7.5 million per year from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy running the Colorado Avalanche, that team bears watching. They already brought back old friend Alex Tanguay, who had some good years in Colorado before getting old and losing interest in the sport. Paul Stastny is a player who no longer fits there.
The New York Islanders may be hunting for a goaltender after reaching a contract stalemate with Evgeni Nabokov. That team could be one possible destination for Jaroslav Halak should St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong elect to stick with his Brian Elliott/Jake Allen tandem. The Islanders have built up a nice supply of skilled forwards, so perhaps a trade fit could emerge.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to lock in goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, a restricted free agent could draw a ridiculous contract offer ($10 million per season!) from the KHL. Should Bobrovsky take the money and run, teams with a goaltending surplus (like the Blues) would gain some leverage.
The Buffalo Sabres seem likely to move netminder Ryan Miller, a workhorse that could interest teams (Flyers, Blues, etc.) with a recent history of goaltender shuffling.
The Vancouver Canucks would rather trade goaltender Roberto Luongo than buy him out, but is there really another team willing to take on that contract? Luongo is a compliance penalty waiting to happen under this current deal.