Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Here’s 15 to look at, how much they could get and where they could go.
1. Centre Daniel Briere, 28, Buffalo Sabres
Hard to believe Phoenix once traded this kid to Buffalo for Chris Gratton because they wanted to get bigger. He’s the flashiest of all of the free agents, capable of 50 goals and 100 points. The Flyers will make the strongest pitch for him because Don Luce, the former Sabres’ scouting guru, now works for Philadelphia, and Briere’s good friend, Martin Biron, is the Flyers goalie. How much will it cost? Eight million dollars.
read on for the other 14…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Salary cap or no salary cap, the hottest candidates usually go first — and this year, Brière, Chris Drury, Ryan Smyth and Scott Gomez should all be gobbled up within the first 48 hours of what some call the NHL’s silly season for prices that could reach $8-million (U.S.) or more a season.
Brisson likens the anticipated bidding war to “a game of musical chairs” and says that, nowadays, an agent needs to be aware of how many seats there are for a player of a certain type. For example, if eight teams have a need for a No. 1 player and there are only three on the market, the action on them figures to be fast and furious.
There seems to be some “drama” coming from the announcement of the cap ceiling announced today. By now you know the cap is set at $50.3M.
Last week at the NHL Draft I talked with numerous GMs and team officials and they all told me the cap would be very close to $50.5M, which I reported.
Now all of the sudden, “drama” is unfolding, teams are in a panic because they thought the cap would be set at $52M.
Don’t believe it, just more garbage to collect website hits.
from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via the Globe and Mail,
“I’m physically and mentally as healthy as I’ve been in five years,” Allison told The Canadian Press in an interview on Friday. “I’m excited and ready to go.”
The 32-year-old free-agent centre disappeared into the NHL wilderness last year, taking a season off while ironing out issues in his private life.
“I had a lot of personal stuff to deal with last year — just getting my life re-organized and dealing with family issues,” said Allison, who went through a divorce. “It’s been a good year for me, even though I didn’t play hockey and people were wondering where I was or what I was doing ...
“It was important for me to just get feeling good about life.”
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 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 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.
The Star-Telegram did a Q & A with Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks…
Anaheim GM Brian Burke recently said he’s still positive about the NHL’s future. Do you agree?
Given the cards we were dealt, we’re playing the hand well. We can improve, and I think we will. I think our broadcast partners will continue to do a better job, and in the long term we have to be in a position of total coverage in HD (high definition) to get the viewing of hockey to be at the level fans want to see on television. That’s the direction the world is headed. The cap right now is acting as a magnet rather than what it was intended to do. There are teams spending to it that shouldn’t be. Fewer [teams] will do it this year than last because those who did lost money. The whole idea was for it to be a midpoint, to keep a competitive balance at a high level.
from Mike Zeisberger at the Toronto Sun,
Come on. Kansas City?
When will commissioner Gary Bettman and his colleagues finally stop this pipe dream of shoehorning the NHL into each nook and cranny of the U.S.?
Hockey is a niche sport in many pockets south of the border. Many Americans just don’t care about it.
Phoenix. Florida. Nashville ... the list goes on concerning struggling, non-traditional hockey markets there.
Perhaps this is all about the all-mighty dollar and the NHL’s tangled web of bureaucracy but Mr. Bettman should remember one thing.
More than 14,000 season tickets were sold in Hamilton in two days.
If you read Spector today, you know he received a heads-up on Peter Forsberg undergoing surgery. Here is a bit more from the Denver Post…
Peter Forsberg’s hockey future once again is under a cloud of uncertainty as the former Avalanche star is scheduled to undergo surgery today on his troublesome right ankle, two sources close to the player confirmed.
Forsberg was scheduled to have his right ankle operated on at a hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, near his hometown of Ornskoldsvik.
Forsberg, 33, must be inactive after the surgery for several weeks, casting doubt on whether he’ll be ready to play at the start of the coming NHL season.
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.
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