While the free agent market is escalating fast as the window opens tomorrow, the bidding war that surrounds unrestricted free agent center James van Riemsdyk has increased in the last few hours. The Toronto Maple Leafs winger, who tallied a career-high 36 goals last year, is being heavily courted by several teams. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports (Tweet link) that nothing is close yet and the free agent is still deliberating and hasn’t narrowed down his list beyond a handful of teams.
Regardless, optimism is abound as Arizona Sports 98.7 Sports host John Gambadoro (Tweet link) writes that the Arizona Coyotes are aggressively in the mix for van Riemsdyk and could get an answer as soon as tonight as to where the free agent will sign. AZ Sports Craig Morgan (Tweet link) adds that there is optimism that the Coyotes are a serious contender. The Athletic’s James Mirtle writes (Tweet link) that the Buffalo Sabres are also pushing hard for van Riemsdyk and it looks like the veteran sniper could break the bank with his deal.
- The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline (Tweet link) writes the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New York Rangers are both interested in unrestricted free agent Leo Komarov. The former Toronto Maple Leafs’ center had a down year as the 31-year-old scored just seven goals and 19 points in 74 games. The veteran instigator is coming off a four-year, $11.8MM deal that he signed back in 2014.
- With the goaltending market already spinning at high speeds, the Carolina Hurricanes must sort out their goaltending situation quickly, according to Chip Alexander of the News & Observer. With backup Cam Ward expected to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks and the struggles that surrounded starter Scott Darling last year, the team must find someone who can share duties with Darling, especially if he struggles for a second-straight year. Alexander writes the team has shown interest in former starters Robin Lehner and Petr Mrazek, both goalies who were not given qualifying offers earlier this week.
- Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that while there are reports that Blues’ unrestricted free agent Kyle Brodziak is close to signing a deal with the Edmonton Oilers, the Blues are still in the mix to re-sign their veteran center. The 34-year-old center played three years in St. Louis and posted his best numbers yet, tallying 10 goals and 33 points.