Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Their top three defensemen are locked up for at least two more seasons, 10 regulars up front are all signed, and starting goaltender Chris Osgood has been secured for another three years. In all, the Wings have 16 players signed for roughly $41 million, leaving them significantly below the $56.7-million salary cap for the next season.
“The cap is designed to spread the players around,” general manager Ken Holland said last week. “We won the Cup and for the most part, we’ll be able to keep our team together, which is pretty hard to do.”
from Wayne Fish at phillyBurbs,
He insists there are ways to be creative. But that’s basically GM-speak for possible salary dumps — either the trade of another veteran or getting another older player such as Derian Hatcher to join Sami Kapanen in retirement.
Even though Holmgren has added four defensemen in the past week (including Tuesday’s deal for Janne Niskala of Nashville), only one of those (Steve Eminger) has NHL experience.
So it’s pretty safe to guess that the Flyers would like to add another mobile defenseman with NHL time before the dust settles. For that to happen, Holmgren is going to have to be “very creative.”
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,
Darcy Tucker, a Calgary Flame.
Love it or hate it, it might just be a perfect fit.
No, it hasn’t happened yet and, no, we’re not suggesting it absolutely will.
But you can bet it’s a possibility—an intriguing one—GM Darryl Sutter is looking into as he prepares for the start of the free agent freeze Tuesday.
After all, Sutter tried to trade for Tucker just a few years back.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
A viewer’s guide to a few of the key free agents, factors at play, and some things we might see, or expect to see, when the bidding begins:
What’s up with Hossa? - At this point, it looks as if Slovakian right wing Marian Hossa will sleepwalk into offers of $8 million a year or more, and according to a variety of sources, he is leaning toward signing with a club that can be considered both a short- and long-term contender. In other words, welcome to Detroit. But don’t discount the Rangers or Canadiens trying to convince him they’re in the Cup hunt for keeps, too. Boston’s chances: slimmer than the teenage Gretzky.
from John Glennon of the Tennessean,
So if the Predators do choose to wade into free agency, it will probably be on a lesser scale. Nashville may go after a tough-guy style player to replace the departed Darcy Hordichuk, and may seek out a veteran third goalie who likely would spend most of his season in Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.
The Predators are more likely to execute a trade or two — because of the gluts they have at both the defense and forward positions — than they are to make waves with big signings.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
If the cap increases approximately 7 to 10 percent annually, it will hit nearly $74M in 2011-12, which will be the final year of the CBA once the PA exercises its option to extend through that season.
In other words, no need to worry about signing players to long-term deals when there’s going to be a lockout and amnesty buyout period after four more seasons, anyway.
read on plus some UFA talk…
from Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch,
They’re willing to spend $12 million to $15 million on the following pursuits: at least two defensemen and one, maybe two, forwards.
“I would expect us to have four or five serious conversations shortly after noon,” general manager Scott Howson said. “I know in my mind what we’re doing. We have a plan we’re ready to execute.”
Howson’s biggest pursuit will be defensemen, an area of weakness for the Blue Jackets since day one.
“There’s going to be significant money spent on the blue line,” Howson said. “That’s our biggest issue right now.”
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
League sources told Sun Media yesterday that they’ve “never seen it so quiet” before the NHL free-agency period begins because teams are worried they’ll be charged with tampering if they engage in anything that can be construed as contract discussions before Tuesday at noon.
While agents have always tried to get a handle on the unrestricted market before July 1, sources say Bettman told the GMs during a meeting at the Stanley Cup final in Detroit that if he caught somebody tampering, the team involved “would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
also from Garrioch,
Some executives aren’t happy. Sources say during a meeting last month at the Stanley Cup final in Detroit, NHL GMs unloaded on commissioner Gary Bettman because the cap has forced some of them to spend to the floor, irritating their stingy owners.
“We’re going to spend like crazy because we have to do that to compete,” said a league executive. “We’re still going to have empty seats and we’re going to have to battle to make the playoffs. (Bettman) sits there and everything rolls off him. He’s got Teflon skin, this guy.”
more on the UFA period…
from Drew Remenda at the Seagate Broadcaster Blog,
I think Todd Bertuzzi would look great in Teal. The Sharks need a guy who will stand in front of the net on the powerplay. Yes Ryan Clowe can do it. But the Redwings have Holmstrom and Franzen there’s no reason the Sharks couldn’t use another big man with great hands.
If I was Todd McLellan I’d be on the phone with Joe Thornton everyday-I’d even pay him a personal visit and bring along Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Potenza. I’d make it my mission to turn Joe into the leagues best Power Forward.
more from Drew including some CBA talk…
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Slap Shots has learned that Sather late last week granted permission to Avery’s agent, Pat Morris, to negotiate with any interested NHL team in advance of Tuesday’s official opening of the free-agent market.
Sources confirm that not only is that process under way, but that four or five teams have indicated their interest in signing Avery to a contract well in excess of the last deal proffered by Sather to No. 16. It’s believed the Rangers have come in at approximately $1M a year less than the four-year, $16M deal Avery is seeking and will be able to get.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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