Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the New York Post,
The Most Loyal Devil may leave New Jersey today, low-balled by Lou Lamoriello when any decent raise would have brought Brian Rafalski to Newark.
“It appears I’ll be reaching free agency,” Rafalski told The Post yesterday. “I’m interested at this point to see what happens and how much interest there is out there.”...
“Detroit’s my hometown, and the Midwest is the area I grew up in, so I’m very comfortable there as far as lifestyle goes,” Rafalski said. “At the same time, I have friends and family in many places.”
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Thomas Golisano spent approximately $93 million of his own money in three separate failed attempts at becoming governor of New York, but he’s unwilling to make a representative offer to retain either Chris Drury or Daniel Briere, co-captains of the NHL’s Presidents’ Trophy winners.
So how much longer, exactly, will it be before the small-market owners blame the $50.3 million salary cap for their woes?
With that out of the way, Larry tells us…
GM Garth Snow is expected to put in a call to Aaron Miller, the capable veteran defenseman who won’t be returning to LA, but who could be a nice, price-appropriate fit for a contender.
The Penguins have prioritized signing Hannan, but if his number hits $6 million, it could get dicey. In that case, the Kings, Stuart’s long-expected destination, could get involved with Hannan. The Canucks might have interest in Kariya, but only short-term and at a discount.
more possiblle UFA destinations…
From Bruce Garrioch at Sun Media,
RYAN SMYTH: As many as 10 teams—including Dallas, Detroit, Anaheim, San Jose, the New York Rangers, Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto—are expected to make a pitch for Smyth, who has turned down a four-year, $25-million offer to re-sign with the Islanders. The belief is Smyth wouldn’t mind playing in Toronto, giving the Leafs a good shot at him for possibly $5.5 million per season. [...]
SCOTT GOMEZ: The Rangers are going to go hard after the former member of the archrival Devils…
more… *including rumors about Chris Drury and Daniel Briere.
(note: interesting how players are always supposed to be considering playing for less money if they can go to the Leafs…)
More on the NY Rangers interest in Gomez & Drury, plus Nylander negotiations, from The Journal News,
With the start of free agency at noon, the Rangers are intent on adding the pieces that can propel them toward a serious Cup run next spring. Foremost on that list is ensuring greater depth at center, with the team believed to be targeting Buffalo’s Chris Drury or the Devils’ Scott Gomez.
According to one report, a possibility also exists that the team will target both free-agent centers if its efforts to re-sign their own top-line center, Michael Nylander, fail.
from Al Strachan at Fox Sports,
Realistically, not all clubs are going to hit the cap. Still, all it would take is an average of $45 million, a figure certainly not out of the realm of possibility, and even before the dust from the lockout has settled the whole exercise is shown to be a travesty.
To those of you who sense some sort of déjà vu in that $45-million number, perhaps it’s because that’s the figure Bettman turned down when he shut down the game.
However, all that is irrelevant now and the free agents are happy for it. So are the big-money teams.
They can get back to doing the kind of spending they were doing before the lockout.
As for Sheldon Souray - the biggest fish in the free agent pool among defensemen this summer – his Canadiens’ dressing room stall remains intact, and Habs fans hope it stays that way.
With Gainey and the Canadiens holding exclusive negotiations rights with Souray until noon on July 1, NHL teams licking their chops waiting to speak to the All-Star defenseman may want to hold off a little while longer before stitching Sheldon’s name to their jersey.
read on about other UFA dmen…
Kukla’s Korner will, of course, be updating all free agent news as it breaks after the deadline tomorrow. However, there are a variety of other ways you can keep on top of things.
Here are six good sources of UFA news for your viewing, listening and online entertainment for July 1st
#1. TSN / TSN Broadband / NHL Network - Free Agent Frenzy Show
Airing Sunday July 1, from 11am to 2pm ET and 6pm to 7pm ET.
The program is being produced partly as a celebration of Canada Day, NHL style. Only available in Canada that we know of right now. (more here)
Update:NHL.com will be streaming the feed from the NHL Network online. Excellent news for U.S. fans!
#2 Spector’s Trade Rumors
Can’t ever forget Spector. Watch for breaking news and analysis all day long.
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.
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…
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