Posted: Friday April 20, 2007 11:07AM; Updated: Friday April 20, 2007 11:24AM
Penguins general manager Fred Shero's shopping list for this summer figures to include a goal-scoring winger or two and at least one veteran, reliable defenseman. While the Penguins have plenty of salary-cap space at the moment -- more than enough to handle whatever contract Ryan Smyth ends up with -- Shero has to be planning for a year or two down the road even as he tries to upgrade his roster this summer.
The angry reaction from Islanders general manager Garth Snow and coach Ted Nolan over the tying goal by Brendan Witt that was ruled no-goal in their Game 4 loss to Buffalo Wednesday came as no surprise to NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell. Coming on the heels of a no-goal call that was overturned in the Sabres' favor in Game 3, Campbell figured tempers might be running hot in the Islanders' front office, where it's an article of faith that NHL headquarters is anti-Islanders.
It was exit day at the Thrashers practice complex, and Keith Tkachuk was quite possibly performing his final duties as a member of the Thrashers. The team's list of unrestricted free agents includes Tkachuk, Eric Belanger, Slava Kozlov, Andy Sutton, Pascal Dupuis, Jon Sim, Shane Hnidy, J.P. Vigier, Eric Boulton and Brad Larsen.
Thrashers GM Don Waddell said that the roster will have a decidedly younger look next season. He mentioned players like Bryan Little, Brett Sterling and Colin Stewart as forwards he thinks might get a chance. If the team goes young on the blue line, it'll be with players like Mark Popovic, Nathan Oystrick and Boris Valabik.
Blackhawks goaltender Patrick Lalime considered going on the free-agent market in hopes of landing a multiyear contract. In the end, a significant raise from the Hawks trumped the unknown. Lalime would have preferred a multiyear contract, especially at 32. The Hawks have two years left on the contract of starter Nikolai Khabibulin. They also expect goalie of the future Corey Crawford to be in Chicago by 2008-09, if not sooner.
Missing the playoffs didn't hurt the Hurricanes only in terms of pride. It hit them in the pocketbook as well. After turning a $10 million profit last season while winning the Stanley Cup, the Hurricanes expect to lose about $4 million this season.
The ouster of Blue Jackets president and general manager Doug MacLean offers a two-pronged opportunity because, in all likelihood, the two titles will be separated. Michael A. Priest is in line to be president of the Blue Jackets.
Gary Roberts was Ottawa's primary target as the NHL trade deadline approached, but the Senators lost out when Florida ended up dealing him to the Penguins. Roberts turned up in the Senators' sights again after Game 4 against the Penguins, this time when Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said the officials were allowing Roberts to get away with some illegal hits, like checking players when they did not have the puck and had not touched it.
Although the Penguins seemed a bit more subdued than usual on the ice during their game-day skate, players and staff members believed the team's mood was upbeat.