Kukla's Korner Hockey
Briere’s agent, Pat Brisson has informed Sabres management his client intends on investigating his options in unrestricted free agency.
“We’ve made a decision to go to July 1st,” Brisson told TSN.ca. “We haven’t closed the door on the idea of returning to Buffalo entirely, however out of respect to Darcy Regier and the organization we felt it was important to make our intentions clear.”
added 5:13pm, the CP, via TSN, has a story regarding most of the top UFAs….
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Once it became apparent that Balsillie’s hugely inflated purchase price (one that apparently included sending some $18 million that could reasonably be assumed to be Leipold’s cut of an upcoming expansion pie, wasn’t going to be enough to convince Bettman to roll over and allow Balsillie to put the team where he wanted, who is ultimately responsible for the decisions that may well have gutted the franchise?
Add to that, what does it mean for the future sale of the team?
It is fair to say that an NHL team without Forsberg, Kariya, Timonen, Hartnell and Vokoun simply is not as desirable a property as a team with them, but does that hold true if you’re eventually looking to keep fans in Nashville from buying in excess of 14,000 season tickets next season? Clearly if you want out of Nashville, you don’t want the fans to embrace your team.
Don Meehan, agent for Ryan Symth was just on Leafs Lunch. A once in a lifetime opportunity for Smyth to see what his value is. The Islanders have made an offer, but Smyth wants to see what he is worth on the open market.
Also, cap numbers have been set, Ceiling is $50.3M and floor is $34M and maybe some change.
added 12:57pm, via TSN,
Sources tell TSN that for the 2007-08 season, the salary cap will rise to a maximum of $50.3-million. That is a $6-million increase from this past season when the cap was set at $44-million.
Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, teams must spend at least $34.3-million on salaries next season.
added 1:37pm, Darren Dreger just on Leafs Lunch and said the same thing, Smyth will test the market. Dreger has heard the Islanders have offered Smyth $6.5M per year and that figure may scare some teams off. But Smyth also wants to win and he may question if the Islanders have that ability in the near future.
from the Daily Press,
Sullivan racked up 22 goals and 38 assists in just 57 games this past season. He will have to wait until next season to hit the ice again.
In order to get there, however, he will need to strengthen his back. The Timmins native is undergoing rehab with a back specialist in Vancouver. Each session includes 45 minutes to an hour of manipulating back muscles, followed by an hour to an hour and a half of strengthening them in the gym, Sullivan said.
“It’s a process that I need to go through to heal,” he said. “Last year was last year. There’s a lot of time from then until the middle of September when camp starts, so we’re not too worried about that.” The injury, nor the topic of the possible sale of the Predators, has swayed Sullivan much about his vision of returning to form next season.
from the Chicago Daily Herald,
The Hawks have a hole at first-line center with Michal Handzus likely to sign elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent. Handzus is looking for a four-year contract in the neighborhood of $16 million.
Tallon has said he won’t pay that much for Handzus, which would appear to be good business. Handzus is coming off major knee surgery and isn’t considered a premier offensive player.
“I’ve tried to get it done, but we have a Plan B,” Tallon said.
Several free-agent centers who could be of interest to the Hawks are Michael Nylander, Jason Blake, Robert Lang and Mike Comrie.
from the Philly News,
“Oh my God, the pressure, the pressure,” Holmgren said, keeping the subject of what the Flyers will do this weekend as light as possible. It’s only the linchpin to the upcoming season, after all.
“We’re going to be aggressive,” he said. “We’ll be on the phone.”...
Another player whose future is uncertain is defenseman Joni Pitkanen. The Flyers have opted to take him to arbitration, but are quietly making him available in a trade.
Holmgren said there haven’t been offers and added that rumors of a deal among Edmonton, Carolina and the Flyers are not accurate.
“I really don’t know where that is coming from,” he said. “There is absolutely nothing to that one.”
from the National Post,
Gary Bettman, for all our jeers, is no fool. We all loathe him for giving up on Winnipeg and Quebec City, but he fought like a mother bear to protect the six remaining Canadian franchises, bending league rules to permit Edmonton and Calgary to adopt distributed-ownership structures….
In expecting him to give up on the growth of the game in the U.S. and start repatriating NHL franchises to Canada willy-nilly, we’re asking him to abandon a plan that has worked out just fine by the only measure that matters to him—the owners’ bottom line. Even after deliberately turning down the high bid for his asset, Leipold is likely to end up earning about 9% per year in nominal dollars on his original US$80-million investment in the Predators. That’s what we call a satisfied customer.
added 8:45am, from the National Post,
The National Hockey League was prepared to deliver a team to William (Boots) Del Biaggio and Kansas City’s Sprint Center as part of a plan to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh, sources told the National Post yesterday.
Sources said the league, which didn’t want to lose a value market in Pittsburgh, asked the Kansas City investors to back off their chase of the Penguins while indicating to the group it would be next in line for an NHL franchise.
from the Denver Post,
The last big unrestricted free-agent signings by the Avs came in 2003, when they signed Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne. Kariya and Selanne, as of Thursday, were prospective free agents again, but the Avs aren’t expected to make a bid.
More likely to interest Giguere are other top-line forwards - including Drury, Forsberg, Daniel Briere and Ryan Smyth. Forsberg underwent surgery on his troublesome right ankle in Sweden on Thursday, but his agent, Don Baizley, characterized the surgery as minor.
Giguere is likely to be high on Drury and Smyth, but will face stiff competition. A free-agent defenseman also is likely to interest the second-year Avs general manager. Giguere has spoken frequently about his belief in a strong defense, and the team already has said it will not offer a contract to its free-agent defenseman, Patrice Brisebois.
from the Edmonton Sun,
Former Oilers defenceman Dick Tarnstrom might become current Oilers defenceman Dick Tarnstrom on July 1.
The 32-year-old blueliner, who spent last season in Europe, is coming back to the NHL.
He has apparently narrowed his list of potential employers to Edmonton and another club and will be making a decision shortly after the start of the free agent frenzy Sunday afternoon.
from the Calgary Sun,
The Flames still have a handful of pending UFAs, notably defencemen Brad Stuart and Roman Hamrlik, as well as forwards Tony Amonte, Jeff Friesen, Darren McCarty, Byron Ritchie and goaltender Jamie McLennan.
It’s unlikely any of them will sign by Sunday’s deadline.
Sutter wouldn’t discuss negotiations with any of his players but did intimate the acquisition of defenceman Adrian Aucoin is about as big a splash as he’ll make.
“We don’t have to make major changes,” he said of the upcoming UFA frenzy. “We have a very good hockey club.
“The Aucoin trade makes it that way for us.”
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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.
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