Cory Schneider

Will this be the summer of RFA goalies getting offer sheets?

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Over at the Globe and Mail, James Mirtle has an intriguing take on what July 1 might hold for a stellar crop of RFA goalies:

There’s Carey Price, Tuukka Rask, Ondrej Pavelec, Cory Schneider, Anders Lindback and Devan Dubnyk all in need of contracts, with two or three of those names potential targets for offer sheets when free agency opens this summer.

The Canadiens can avoid that situation with Price by electing for arbitration before July 1, but that isn’t an option until after July 1 with Rask and Schneider given their low salaries.

Both Boston and Vancouver are relatively tight against the cap as well, with big salaries dedicated to Thomas (even if he doesn’t play) and Luongo making their goaltending situations precarious.

Some in the hockey world I’ve spoken with think this is being contemplated and that one reason GMs Steve Yzerman and Brian Burke have been so quiet on the goaltending front is that they plan on making a bold play on July 1.

Some notes:

— Under the current CBA, RFA compensation works like this:

$1,034,249 annual cap hit or less: No compensation
$1,034,249 — $1,567,043: Third-round pick
$1,567,043 — $3,134,088: Second-round pick
$3,134,088 — $4,701,131: First and third-round pick
$4,701,131 — $6,268,175: First, second and third-round pick
$6,268,175 — $7,835,219: Two first-round picks, a second and third
$7,835,219 and higher: Four first-round picks

— Teams need to have their original draft picks for compensation. They can’t use picks acquired via trade.

— The Lightning have five picks in the top 50 at the 2012 draft: No. 10, No. 19 (from Detroit in the Kyle Quincey trade), No. 37 (from San Jose in the Dominic Moore trade), No. 40 and No. 50 (from Philly in the Pavel Kubina trade). They also have a third round pick at No. 71.

— As for compensatory picks, Tampa also has all its picks in 2013 and an extra second rounder (again, from the Kubina deal).

— As such, Yzerman’s in an amazing position to throw out an offer sheet and still obtain young talent. For example, he could sign any of the above RFA goalies to a deal that pays, say, $6 million annually and lose his first- second- and third-round picks in 2013. The loss of those picks would be mitigated by his slew of young draftees from 2012.

— That said, some consider offer sheeting RFAs dirty pool. Plenty of GMs don’t like it and only six have been signed since the lockout — Ryan Kesler (Philadelphia), Thomas Vanek (Edmonton), Dustin Penner (Edmonton), David Backes (Vancouver), Steve Bernier (St. Louis) and Niklas Hjalmarsson (San Jose) with only Penner actually moving teams — a move that caused great acrimony between then-Anaheim GM Brian Burke and Edmonton GM Kevin Lowe.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.