Kukla's Korner Hockey
from On the Islanders Beat at Newsday,
Losing Smyth obviously would be a major blow to the efforts of general manager Garth Snow and coach Ted Nolan to restore the credibility of the Isles as a franchise that is serious about winning. But even if they convince Smyth to stay, they have a lot of other big holes to fill on a roster that is likely to bear little resemblance to last season’s eighth-place finisher in the Eastern Conference.
Having bought out top center Alexei Yashin and virtually kissed top scorer Jason Blake goodbye, there’s also a strong possibility they will part ways with top-scoring defenseman Tom Poti, resurgent forward Viktor Kozlov and fourth-line enforcer Arron Asham. They previously severed ties with forwards Richard Zednik and Randy Robitaille, defenseman Sean Hill and goaltender Mike Dunham, and they failed to make a qualifying offer to restricted free agent forward Andy Hilbert…
from Darren Dreger at TSN,
For teams near desperation for a top six forward, is it wise to isolate one player, make a hard offer and await his decision?
Or is the strategy of pressuring the player to make his decision quickly more appropriate in light of the fact this year’s group of free agents drops off after the top four or five guys?
It’s a tough call.
from the AP via the Globe and Mail,
Sabres executive Larry Quinn had one last piece of advice to offer as the team’s co-captains, Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, gathered in Los Angeles to prepare for the start of NHL free agency.
Landing the most lucrative contract does not necessarily guarantee anyone playing for a winner, the Sabres managing partner said Saturday.
“I think you have to ask yourself, ‘Do you want to win?’ Free agents who went for all the money last year didn’t win, with one exception, Scott Niedermayer,” Quinn said, referring to the Ducks captain who won a Stanley Cup in his first season with Anaheim. “There’s a lot of situations where it didn’t help the player in a competitive situation, because it affects the team’s ability to have players around him.”
continued... some late UFA talk with a Sabres slant…
On this Saturday before UFA Day, what are you hearing?
As you know, KK is not the rumor type site, but today and tomorrow are special days so lets hear what you have to say.
Minnesota Wild President and General Manager Doug Risebrough today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has re-signed center Mikko Koivu to a multi-year contract.
“Mikko came to the NHL at a mature age and in just two NHL seasons has displayed the attributes we value in our young players: a reliable and visible work ethic, a commitment to getting better and the ability to take on more responsibility on the ice,” said Risebrough.
Minnesota Wild President and General Manager Doug Risebrough today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has re-signed defenseman Martin Skoula to a multi-year contract.
“Marty was an important part of our Jennings-winning defense last season,” said Risebrough. “We wanted him back so we can compete for it again and try to build off that success as a team.”
added 3:49pm, via Russo’s Rants,
The Wild re-signed Mikko Koivu to a four-year, $13 million deal with a $3.25 million annual cap hit.
Martin Skoula signed a two-year deal worth $3.6 million.
The Nashville Predators announced Saturday that the club has agreed to terms with centre Scott Nichol on a two-year contract and with defenceman Alex Henry on a one-year contract.
Nichol, 32, appeared in 59 games with Nashville this past season, notching 13 points, 79 penalty minutes and a +7 rating.
from Allan Muir at Sports Illustrated,
Who will be active? The Kings have more money than anyone, and desperately need to make some kind of splash to avoid irrelevancy in a market now dominated by the Cup champion Anaheim Ducks. The Flyers have both cap space and motivation—they were humiliated by last season’s performance and already have made several moves indicating a desire to return to prominence this season. The Maple Leafs need support for Mats Sundin, and clearly signaled their philosophy with the Vesa Toskala deal on draft day.
more UFA talk…
from the Bolts Report,
Free agency kicks off around the NHL on Sunday and while the Lightning are not expected to be a major player, they could go fishing into the free agent pool in search of a forward and/or defenseman.
read on... Tampa plans to reach around $44M in salaries and they have $38M on the books now…
from the East Valley Tribune,
“Everything we do now is thinking long term,” general manager Don Maloney said Friday. “It’s just good for us. ... It’s going to help us get better in September and December and February rather than just patch and fill and maybe look a little bit better on paper in July.”
So when the free-agency bidding begins Sunday, Phoenix won’t be raising its hand, attempting a big splash by signing the likes of Daniel Briere, Chris Drury or Scott Gomez, players expected to receive in the neighborhood of $7 million a season.
“It doesn’t make sense to add one high-priced centerman or defenseman,” coach and managing partner Wayne Gretzky said.
“We are entering free agency looking for value,” Maloney added.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
“What this does is not only escalate what the top players in the game will make, but brings up the bottom end, too,” an NHL general manager said. “Under the old [collective agreement], the minimum salary was around $175,000. But how many players made that much? None.
“At the other end, now a player can make as much as $10.06-million under the cap [it was $8.8-million in 2006-07].
“I’m not sure any of the unrestricted free agents this summer are worth that. But it gives room for teams to inflate the market.”
That’s why a talented player such as Brière this week spurned a five-season, $25-million offer from the Buffalo Sabres to test the market. The same is the case for Sabres co-captain Drury, Detroit Red Wings defenceman Mathieu Schneider and Smyth.
much more on player movement plus the Wings may be hosting the outdoor game…
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org