Friedman 30 Thoughts roundup …
- Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet: Russian Nikita Zaitsev has told NHL teams that he plans on signing with the Maple Leafs.The Maple Leafs may have made Artem Panarin a contract offer last December while he was under contract in the KHL according to reports, VP of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation Roman Rotenberg:
“That is not very nice, we are supposed to respect each other’s contracts.” Will he make any kind of complaint? “No. It is over now, he is playing in Chicago…that was a long time ago. There is no point.”
The Lightning’s $8.5 million per season offer to Steven Stamkos was a starting point. They seem to be willing to go over $9 million, but want to avoid going $10 million or more. The Kings had wanted to avoid $10 million Anze Kopitar as well. It’s possible the Lightning could offer Stamkos less than eight-years, allowing Stamkos the opportunity to cash in on another big deal while still in his prime.
Though agent Allan Walsh is taking a lot of heat for it, there is no doubt that this is Jonathan Drouin’s wish. It is thought that Drouin wanted this at the end of last season, but was convinced to hang in there.
Though the St. Louis Blues remain interested in Drouin, don’t expect Robby Fabbri to be heading the other way. The Red Wings have snooped around on Drouin, but it’s hard to see a fit.
Teams have called the Canadiens about Alex Galchenyuk, but have been told he’s not available. If his inconsistent play continues, there could come a time when GM Marc Bergevin listens to offers. Could happen as soon as the draft in June.
The Jets are expected to take a serious run at re-signing Dustin Byfuglin. There are reports that contract talks with Andrew Ladd have broken off. Remember though that things can always change. As of yesterday morning, feeling is that there is a better chance that Ladd gets traded over Byfuglien. Are the Jets willing to go five or six years with Byfuglien? Guessing that $6 million is number the Jets didn’t want to go above with Ladd.
One GM noted that if the Hurricanes let Eric Staal and Cam Ward walk at the end of the season, how will they reach the salary floor? They are about $11 million above the floor with $25-$30 million coming off the books at the end of the year and no one from their young core needing extensions. Could help some teams out by taking on salary.