UPDATE - The LA Kings have eliminated another of next summer's potential unrestricted free agent targets, locking up defenseman Alec Martinez for six years, $24 Million($4 Million AAV).
This signing comes on the heels of the Minnesota Wild locking up blueliner Marco Scandella on the weekend for the same $4 Million annual salary.
The Kings will have four defenseman making over $4 Million next season (Drew Doughty, the suspended Slava Voynov, Jake Muzzin and Martinez) and have limited cap room to re-sign a number of restricted and unrestricted free agents(including young forwards Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli), which will fuel speculation that LA will be actively trying to move a high salaried player like Mike Richards before the trade deadline or in the offseason.
In other news, Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo has been suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety for two games for his late hit on New Jersey's Jaromir Jagr.
According to my sources, this past summer Lecavalier turned down a possible trade to a Canadian team in the east, and the Flyers and Predators were closing in on deal when the Preds opted for Jokinen instead.
All this was based off a season last year that saw Vinny's numbers drop, but still saw him score over 20 goals in less than 70 games. Not awesome, but a twenty goal scoring center still has value in the NHL.
Vinny has made it widely known he came to Philly because he was sold on his role with the team by Holmgren and Laviolette. Peter was gone quickly, but now is coaching the Predators and remains a huge fan of all that Lecavalier brings to a team on the ice and in the room.
The bigger issue is the fact that several Flyers players are currently moving backwards in their development under Berube. Players who progressed last year have hit walls and even regressed. The standard the team generally holds it's players to has decreased. Lecavalier isn't what he once was, but brings way more to the table than several players who Berube continues to put his faith in.
*Umberger hasn't scored a point in 16 games.
*Coburn is trying to do too much and playing way outside his comfort zone. (Two huge mistakes last night on the same play cost the team a point in San Jose.)
*Simmonds has lost his drive to the net.
* McDonald, who played himself into an extension last year by moving the puck with confidence and blocking shots, has lost his confidence and looked even shakier after being a healthy scratch.
*Last year Steve Mason played through his slumps, while this year he has often been replaced by Ray Emery after a loss...even a loss that wasn't his fault. When Mason has played well the team has struggled to produce for him.
A source has informed me the Flyers and Oilers continue to talk, but as of last week the Flyers were not interested in a Nail Yakupov trade offer that was presented to them...that could change however...
We will discuss this and more on today's webcast at 1:30
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