- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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Perhaps the biggest name left on the trade market is Jay Bouwmeester.
That’s if he is indeed dealt.
The Calgary Flames don’t have to necessarily move him -- he’s got one more year left on his deal (at $6.6 million), so he’s not a pending unrestricted free agent forcing the NHL club to seek immediate asset return.
But since the face of the franchise, Jarome Iginla, has been dealt, anything is possible now in Calgary.
"I think they move Bouwmeester," one NHL team executive told ESPN.com Friday. "But they want a lot for him."
As they should, frankly. He’s not a rental player and, at 29, he’s in the prime of his career. He’s a top pairing blueliner and those don’t come around easily in this league.
Central Division rivals Detroit and St. Louis are teams that have interest in Bouwmeester, no question. The Blues crave a top-4, left-handed blueliner who can play alongside either right-handed stud Alex Pietrangelo or Kevin Shattenkirk.
But Bouwmeester’s salary could be an issue for a Blues team which has a number of core players to re-sign this summer: RFAs such as Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, Patrik Berglund and Chris Stewart, not to mention UFA Andy McDonald.
Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk alone are due for healthy raises.
The new CBA, however, provides for teams to "retain salary in trades." If the Blues could get the Flames to eat some of that Bouwmeester salary in return for paying the asset price that Calgary wants, well, I guess that’s a possibility.
The Red Wings don’t need anyone to pay anyone’s salary -- that’s not an issue. It’s all about the asking price from the Flames and whether Detroit could live with giving up that kind of asset package -- whatever it might be.
The Los Angeles Kings are another possibility, and they are definitely on the lookout for help on defense. There was hope recently that top-four blueliner Willie Mitchell (knee) could play this season, but a source told ESPN.com Thursday that the Kings aren’t as hopeful now. Either way, the Kings were supposed to know more next week on Mitchell.
And really, regardless of his status, the Kings want to add on the blue line.
Not to mention the fact that the salary cap is going down from $70.2 million to $64.3 million.
So for the Kings to be a player on Bouwmeester, they’re going to have to shift a few things around this summer to absorb his $6.6 million salary.
The Philadelphia Flyers are also believed to have some interest in Bouwmeester, and they certainly should. They need a premium puck-moving blueliner, there’s no question.
Thing is, Bouwmeester has a no-trade clause and controls his fate. For a guy that’s never played a playoff game in his career, would he really waive his NTC to go to what appears to be a non-playoff team this season?
In the end, I’ve only mentioned a few teams, but there’s no shortage of interest on a player like Bouwmeester.
Which is why the Flames can also wait until the offseason if they want.
Visnovsky talks progress
Talks have since progressed and a source told ESPN.com Friday that things looked positive on a possible extension. Islanders beat writer Arthur Staple went even further in a Friday afternoon tweet saying a deal could be "done soon."
Visnovsky, 36, is slated for UFA status this summer with his five-year, $28 million deal expiring ($5.6 million cap hit).
If he indeed signs, that’s certainly an indication the Islanders are focused on making the playoffs and nothing else.
7dScott Burnside and Craig Custance