- Chris Johnston of Sportsnet: Coyotes Antoine Vermette will be a UFA at the end of the season, and due to the teams ownership situation (which is getting closer to being resolved), they haven’t really been able to open up real negotiations. He is trying not to focus on it.
“One thing I told myself during the season is I’ll focus on the game and that’s it,” Vermette said this week. “That’s what I’ll try to do.”
Vermette would prefer not to deal with the situation, and the same could be said GM Don Maloney. Maloney said he held some preliminary talks with agent Allen Walsh before the season, but hasn’t been in a position to continue them. If a deal isn’t reached, Vermette would become a top target at the trade deadline and on July 1st.
“I don’t anticipate a real dramatic change in direction here, but it does impact how we move going forward,” said Maloney. “Whether we have more (money) available for the hockey team, or less available, or what is our (budget)? It’s not only this year, but the next three to five years, what is our projection?”
If they are going to trade him, there will be plenty of teams interested due to faceoff abilities, defensive side and managable $3.75 million cap hit.
- Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: With the Senators keeping Curtis Lazar with the big club, they now have 14 forwards and will have to decide what to do with the little used Erik Condra and Colin Greening. Condra will be a UFA at the end of the year and carries a $1.2 million cap hit. He’s a good PKer and shouldn’t be too difficult to move. Greening is in the first year of three-year, $7.95 million deal ($2.65 million) and may be a little more difficult to move. The Senators don’t want to pay him that if he’s not really playing. The Senators are still interested in Sabres Chris Stewart. The Sabres have lowered their asking Price for Stewart since last year, but would still cost a prospect like Mark Stone. Sabres GM Tim Murray was recently in Ottawa, and Sabres scout Rob Murphy (lives in Ottawa) was at Tuesday’s game.
- The Fourth Period: It is thought that the Canadiens have been dangling Lars Eller in their quest to find a long-term scoring solution. Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu could also be a trade target. The Canadiens have had interest in Evander Kane for a couple seasons. It’s not known who they are targeting at this moment.
- Renaud Lavoie: Canadiens Jiri Sekac has a clause in his contract that if he’s sent to the AHL, he has the option to head back to Europe if he wants.