Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adrain Dater of All Things Avs,
I have to agree with Giguere when he said he thinks his defense stacks up with the top 5 teams in the league. Clark, Hannan, Foote, Salei, Liles and Leopold is a pretty nice sixpack of D. It’s got two tough, nasty types (Foote, Salei), two reasonably strong, position types (Hannan and Leopold) and two offensive puck-movers (Clark and Liles).
Now, about the goaltending: I’m worried. Sorry, I’m just not a huge Budaj guy. He’s a nice kid who has done some good things. But he’s just got a lot more proving to do to me.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The biggest player available on the market is Hossa, who wants to sign with a Cup contender. Part of his future could be tied to Leafs centre Mats Sundin, who has yet to reveal his plans for next season.
The Canadiens, Red Wings, Rangers, Canucks, Blackhawks and Blue Jackets are all going to make a pitch for Hossa….
A big issue this year is with the salary cap floor moving to $40.6 million (the max is $56.7 million) teams like the Kings, Coyotes, Blackhawks and Islanders might be forced to be active….
The Jackets will make a pitch for Redden. GM Scott Howson and coach Ken Hitchcock will try to convince Redden that Columbus is a team on the rise. The Blackhawks and Sharks are also going to pursue Redden
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
It is believed that Sundin will ultimately choose between the Red Wings and Rangers, though he is not expected to make a commitment today….
Would Jagr be more amenable to returning on a one-year contract if Sundin stands to be his pivot? Would the Rangers be a more desirable destination for Sundin if he knows he will play with No. 68? Are they interlocking parts? If so, can Sather pull it off?
Sean Avery, given permission to speak with other teams late last week, is believed to have offers in his asking-price neighborhood of four years, $16M from at least the Maple Leafs, Blackhawks and Canucks, with other suitors expected to emerge.
also from Brooks regarding Brendan Shanahan,
The Post has been told to expect the 39-year-old winger to go home again - home to New Jersey to complete the circle of his first-ballot worthy Hall of Fame career that commenced with the Devils New Jersey Devils in 1987-88.
more at the NY Post…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The only way Montreal is not a player for Sundin’s rights, whenever he is ready to start contract negotiations, is if they win, against long odds, the Marian Hossa sweepstakes. Hossa is the top forward up for grabs tomorrow; Brian Campbell the premier defenceman; and Hossa’s long-time of suitors will include two-thirds of the Original Six teams in the NHL (Montreal, Boston, New York, Detroit), plus Pittsburgh, where he finished last season. Even Edmonton and San Jose will make overtures.
Campbell will get offers from half-a-dozen teams, beginning with the Sharks, but also including Chicago, Ottawa and Atlanta. What’ll be really interesting is what happens when Campbell makes his choice, at which point the runners-up that need a boost on the blue line will either turn to Wade Redden as a free-agent possibility, or one of a trio of defencemen that’ll be dangled as trade bait: Mathieu Schenider in Anaheim, Joni Pitkanen in Edmonton and Dan Boyle in Tampa, who starts a six-year, $40 million contract extension signed back in February with the team next season, which will include a no-trade clause (usually they kick in on July 1).
Vancouver GM Mike Gillis used to be Pavol Demitra’s agent, but that doesn’t mean the free-agent forward is automatically headed to the Canucks. His current agent, Keator, said it’s far from a done deal. “If Pavol Demitra was going to Vancouver, then why did he hire me?” asked Keator. “It’s ridiculous.” That said, Vancouver would be a nice fit for the 33-year-old right winger.
via Craig Custance of the Sporting News...
from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said tonight that decisions on Sergei Brylin, Jay Pandolfo and Bryce Salvador will have to “wait until tomorrow.”...
Sosa said Salvador is prepared to start fielding offers from other teams if he isn’t signed before noon. I’d imagine Pandolfo is ready to do the same. If he or his agent had returned any of the many messages I’ve left for them in the last week, I’d let you know what he’s thinking.
I have heard that Scott Gomez and Chris Drury (Pandolfo’s former Boston University teammate) have given glowing recommendations to Rangers’ management about Pandolfo.
a little more...
from Russo’s Rants,
As of now, Brian Rolston has not signed in Tampa Bay despite the Lightning offering him a Brink’s truck, I am told. I am also being told it’s looking more and more doubtful Rolston signs, although that could change. Brian Lawton and Len Barrie are using every ounce of persuasion they have. I haven’t heard back from Rolston this afternoon, but this is further proof he wants to go to free agency. In other words, if Tampa can’t get it done, the Wild wasn’t going to get it done.
Deep down, I really think he’s praying the Red Wings come calling. That would be a dream come true for the Michigan native and childhood Wings fan. Two other big options? I think Pittsburgh and the Rangers.
more on the Wild…
Update 10:56pm ET: From Damian Cristodero at Lightning Strikes,
Lightning owner Oren Koules said he has had one conversation with Brian Rolston about money. Koules said Rolston, whom the Lightning are trying to sign by midnight before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, is more concerned about quality of life issues.
“He’s excited about it,” Koules said Rolston’s opportunity to play with Tampa Bay. “It’s lifestyle things. He’s 35, he knows this might be his last contract. He wants to figure out where he wants his family to lives. You know what? I don’t blame him.”
Update 11:44pm ET: TSN says Rolston needs to sleep on it tonight:
Tampa Bay Lightning fans should wait before they purchase their Brian Rolston sweaters as the soon-to-be free-agent has indicated to the Lightning that he will decide Tuesday morning if he will accept the team’s offer or enter the open market.
from Mike Knobler of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
His first priority? A veteran defenseman. The Thrashers ranked worst in the league last season in shots allowed and tied for worst in goals allowed. But the team won’t necessarily go after a stay-at-home defenseman.
“You can argue both sides of that,” Waddell said, adding that an offensive defenseman can help prevent shots by helping keep the puck in the other team’s zone.
The Ottawa Sun reported the Thrashers want former San Jose Sharks player Brian Campbell and could offer the 29-year-old offensive defenseman more than $7 million.
Waddell laughed when asked about that, saying he couldn’t discuss individual players and “I haven’t told anybody what we’re going to spend.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Why do you get the feeling, when watching the Tampa Bay Lightning operate these days, that it’s like seeing two kids running wild and free in a candy store?
Moreover, why do you also get the impression that those two kids, named Oren Koules and Len Barrie, aren’t doing a half-bad job, stockpiling players and generally creating a buzz for the team that they now own officially as of Monday, along with six other investors?
In case you missed it earlier today, Alanah had a similar look at the Tampa ownership group too…
from Rick Sadowski of the Rocky Mountain News,
Giguere expects at least two of the Avalanche’s free agents, forward Andrew Brunette and defenseman Kurt Sauer, to sign with other teams. He hasn’t been able re-sign goalie Jose Theodore and defenseman Jeff Finger, and they’ll also become unrestricted free agents.
“One of the luxuries that we have, I think in Peter Budaj we have a very capable goaltender,” Giguere said. “We know that we have an insurance policy that we felt pretty comfortable about. We’re not going to overpay, in our mind, to (re-sign Theodore).
“We would like to get another goaltender of quality to come in. I imagine the scenario would be that Peter and another guy would come in, but I would think Peter would be the guy kind of with the reins. But we wouldn’t mind if there’s a challenge there.”
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