The latest from the Edmonton Journal, USA Today and the Toronto Sun.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports one trade possibility for Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray might be the San Jose Sharks should Rob Blake retire this summer, suggesting the Sharks would probably offer up Kent Huskins and forward Torrie Mitchell. Matheson also suggests New Jersey as another possibility...He wonders if the Oilers would be willing to part with the first pick in Round Two this year for Chicago's winger Kris Versteeg...Matheson believes the Leafs have a tough chore convincing teams to take defenseman Tomas Kaberle unless they're willing to re-sign him to a three or four year extension for "Sergei Gonchar-type money ($5 million a year)". He believes Leafs fans are dreaming if they think Kaberle will land Bobby Ryan from Anaheim. Matheson instead offers up alternatives like Jason Pominville from Buffalo, Devin Setoguchi from San Jose, Jake Voracek from Columbus, Loui Eriksson or Jamie Benn from Dallas or David Krejci from Boston...He suggests the Washington Capitals would like to sign Anton Volchenkov but can't afford his $5 million salary and suggests the Senators will likely trade his rights prior to July 1st...

SPECTOR'S NOTE: It remains to be seen if the Sharks or Devils would be interested in Souray, whose cap hit would be expensive. That won't however stop the Oilers from trying to move him...If the Oilers had a chance at Versteeg they might pursue it but of course there might be better options available come the draft weekend...I agree with Matheson that the Ducks won't part with Ryan for Kaberle. As for the others, anything's possible...Reports out of Washington last week claim the Caps aren't interested in Volchenkov.

USATODAY.COM: Kevin Allen recently played "either-or" regarding several NHL storylines. He said if he were the Oilers GM he's take Taylor Hall with the first overall pick over Tyler Seguin, retain Jaroslav Halak and trade Carey Price (depending on Halak's salary demands from the Habs), listen to Evgeni Nabokov's asking price but would lean toward letting him walk, guesses Teemu Selanne returns with the Ducks but Scott Niedermayer retires, and suggests the LA Kings might pursue Patrick Marleau over Ilya Kovalchuk if both hit the UFA market on July 1st.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: It remains to be seen what the Oilers might do but I wouldn't be surprised if they retained the first overall pick and selected Hall, as that would be the safe choice...The Habs could indeed retain Halak and move Price, and I think the Sharks will let Nabokov walk this summer...It's anyone's guess what Selanne and Niedermayer do but we should know for certain by the draft weekend...I too think if Marleau becomes available the Kings will try to land him.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons wonders if Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michael Leighton might still be out of a job with the club despite his post-season performance, suggesting management could let him go if they feel he's a "one-trick pony". They've yet to say what their intentions will be but Simmons notes they could have some options this summer (Chris Mason, Carey Price, Evgeni Nabokov, Marty Turco).

SPECTOR'S NOTE: It's also important however to remember Leighton played well for the Flyers during the regular season until sidelined by an ankle injury in March. If the Flyers win the Cup it might be worthwhile to at least re-sign Leighton on a one-year deal (he'd be more affordable than those noted by Simmons) and give him an opportunity for another season as their starter.
Should the Avs pursue Kovalchuk? Could the Bruins trade Bergeron? What moves might be in store for the Rangers? Will the Hurricanes try to move up in the draft? Read on for the latest.


DENVER POST: Adrian Dater wonders if Colorado Avalanche GM Greg Sherman was bluffing recently when he said he wouldn't pursue expensive talent in this summer's UFA market. With $25 million in available cap space and only a few players left to re-sign Dater makes the case for the Avs to pursue superstar winger Ilya Kovalchuk, suggesting he'd be a good building block who would also build more season ticket buzz. While Dater understands the Avs "build from within" plan he feels it would be a mistake if they don't pursue Kovalchuk.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: True, the Avs have lots of cap space but if ownership isn't keen to spend up to the cap ceiling in the coming years it wouldn't be a good idea to tie up too much money in an expensive free agent. I do agree with Dater that Kovalchuk would be a terrific addition but if the money's not there then management is better off sticking with their rebuilding plan.

BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports the Bruins have lots of depth at center but are lacking quality scoring wingers. Shinzawa cites an Eastern Conference "front office man" suggesting a trade of Patrice Bergeron, whose trade value is very high right now, would be a "wild card option" to land a scoring winger. Bergeron will become a UFA next summer and his "no-trade" clause kicks in on July 1st of this year. Shinzawa claims the feeling around the Bruins organization is that while they'd be wary of giving Bergeron a big raise they'd prefer to extend him rather than trade or letting him walk next summer...Shinzawa also suggests it would be a bad idea for the Bruins to buy out the final season of Michael Ryder's contract as the dead cap space could affect their roster, citing the NY Islanders' buyout of Alexei Yashin as an example.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: It certainly would be a "wild card" option to move Bergeron but while all options should be considered for a Bruins team seeking to bolster their depth on the wings with limited cap space I doubt they'll go to the extreme of trading him...Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli will have to free up some cap space so buying out Ryder has to be an option, although I daresay he'll look at trying to move him first.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers GM Glen Sather spoke about his roster plans for the summer, saying the plan is to keep their own players and won't overpay for free agents. Sather won't bring back Donald Brashear and will try to trade him. Sather would like to re-sign enforcer Jody Shelley, who wants to stay and whose agent suggests his client isn't about to price himself out of the Rangers market. Brooks also suggests the Rangers could free up $6.5 million by demoting Wade Redden before the roster cap is recalibrated at the end of training camp.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: It doesn't sound as though Sather will make a big splash this summer as he did when he landed Marian Gaborik. Still, one shouldn't rule out the possibility he manages to swing another salary-dumping trade prior to July 1st.

RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke Decock wonders if the Hurricanes might be interested in moving up in this year's entry draft, perhaps to land one of the top two draft picks. Given the Boston Bruins salary cap issues Decock suggests perhaps they might be willing to move down in the draft for a player who isn't immediately ready to play in the NHL, perhaps by offering up a second round pick and a player like Chad LaRose with a reasonable salary, then perhaps by offering to swap picks with the Edmonton Oilers. Team owner Peter Karmonos however earlier this week scoffed at the notion but Decock suggests the opportunity is there if management wants to pursue it.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: The news earlier last week of the Bruins talking with the Oilers about a possible "flip" of picks has apparently increased the number of teams calling the Bruins about that pick. It remains to be seen however if the Bruins do move the pick.

The Red Wings turn their focus on re-signing Todd Bertuzzi, speculation over which Blackhawks could be dealt this summer, and the latest on Brian Pothier and Alexander Svitov.


MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports re-signing forward Todd Bertuzzi is next on Red Wings GM Ken Holland's "to do" list, but he has limited cap space and Bertuzzi could have to decide if he'll return for possibly the same salary as last season ($1.5 million) or test the market in search of a better offer elsewhere. Holland also hasn't decided yet if he'll offer new contracts to Andreas Lilja and Kirk Maltby.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: Bertuzzi enjoyed his time with the Red Wings and I doubt he'll find a better offer elsewhere.

CHICAGO DAILY HERALD: Barry Rozner recently reported "the vultures are circling" over which players the Blackhawks might be forced due to salary cap constraints to move this summer, like Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp. Rozner doubted Dave Bolland's going anywhere but raised questions about the status of Dustin Byfuglien. Rozner also got the sense speaking with several general managers during their recent meeting in Philadelphia no other NHL team will take expensive players like Cristobal Huet or Brian Campbell off the Blackhawks hands. The 'Hawks also have to protect their restricted free agents like Antti Niemi and Niklas Hjalmarsson, who could be candidates for offer sheets.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: Rozner hypothetically wondered how Niemi would look playing for Detroit, but the Wings have cap issues of their own and certainly won't be making any offer sheets. Other teams might however - like (as Rozner noted) former 'Hawks and current Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon - and that could be a real problem for the 'Hawks as they try to get under the cap for next season.

RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports pending UFA defenseman Brian Pothier might not fit into the Hurricanes blueline plans for next season.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: The Hurricanes intend to get younger and more affordable players in their roster for next season which could make Pothier the odd man out.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline reports forward Alexander Svitov, who surprised the Jackets two years ago by bolting for the KHL, intends to return to the NHL but it won't be with the Jackets. Svitov will be an unrestricted free agent this summer but the Jackets have no intention of bidding for him.

Trade speculation continues to swirl about Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza. Read on for the latest.


OTTAWA SUN: Dave Fuller reports Senators center Jason Spezza wasn't happy with Senators GM Bryan Murray revealing his unhappiness of being made the scapegoat by Ottawa fans for the club's early post-season exit during his player-exit interview with Murray back in April. Spezza admitted having a conversation with Murray adding he wanted to keep it between himself and the GM. Spezza said he was happy to return with the Sens but Fuller observed he wasn't smiling when he said it.

Chris Stevenson reports Murray hopes to talk with Spezza prior to July 1st but not about trading him, wishing instead to make Spezza more a part of the club's future by discussing what the team should do for next season. Murray said he considers Spezza part of the team leadership and wants his input on where the team is going.

CANWEST NEWS SERVICE: Wayne Scanlan suggests whether Spezza asked to be dealt or not there appears to be "trouble in paradise", suggesting the center might not feel part of the team's leadership. Scanlan also suggests Spezza's big contract (five year remaining at over $7 million per) would make moving him very difficult, even more so after July 1st when his "no-trade" clause kicks in.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wonders if Spezza might be a good fit with the Oilers, suggesting perhaps the same offer made for Dany Heatley last summer - Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid - might be good enough to land Spezza.

TSN.CA: Bob McKenzie reports the Senators, in a perfect world and for the right price, wouldn't mind moving Spezza (although his contract would be a tough sell) while the center, all things being equal, wouldn't mind a fresh start elsewhere. McKenzie claims Spezza hasn't made any trade requests, only voiced his frustration at being the whipping boy for disgruntled Senators fans. He suggests an amicable divorce might work for both sides but they also understand there's a real possibility he cannot be traded and would return to the Senators next season.

SPECTOR'S NOTE: So, depending on what you read, Spezza is willing to return but isn't happy about management talking about his player-exit interview, while Murray doesn't intend to trade him but could consider the option. If there's any certainty about this, Spezza's name is likely to remain in the thick of the trade rumors between now and July 1st. As I've said before, if Spezza is unhappy and wants out the Senators should explore their options but I think it would be a big mistake to move him as they wouldn't be able to adequately replace him. There's an old saying Senators fans should remember: "You don't know what you've got until it's gone", and those who are braying for Spezza to be traded could end up regretting such a deal.