Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,
It’s no secret the Capitals are looking to add two defensemen to their blue line and landing Niskanen and Orpik would be a grand slam for general manager Brian MacLellan. The Caps might also have interest in 32-year-old defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who was bought out by the Buffalo Sabres over the weekend.
“I think the first phase of making our team better is getting a staff in place right before the draft,” Trotz said. “Now, when you talk to a free agent he knows what the staff is. I think that’s really important.
“We’ve got the staff, we’ve got the facilities, we’ve got a lot of good pieces on our hockey team, so we have a lot of good selling points.”
Tomorrow kicks off the free agency period but Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is wasting no time between the Draft and the Open UFA market to start setting up for things to come.
Last night the Lightning was wheeling and dealing to free up cap space and managed to snag another pick in the 2015 draft which is to be stronger than the one we just watched in Philadelphia.
After the Tampa Bay Lightning sent Teddy Purcell to the Edmonton Oilers for Sam Gagner they flipped Gagner out to the Arizona Coyotes along with B.J. Crombeen for a 6th round pick in the 2015 draft. Gagner’s night was summed up beautifully by Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo on Twitter.
⛄️ -> �� -> �� @89SGagner— Strombone (@strombone1) June 30, 2014
Tampa was just getting started. Around midnight the Lightning would acquire both a fourth and a seventh round pick for the 2015 draft from the Anaheim Ducks while the Ducks would receive forward Nate Thompson in the deal. Yzerman collected an additional three picks for the Lightning in the next draft and off loaded cap space.
With the 3 trades tonight, TB saved $5,583,333 in cash and $5,650,000 in cap space; plus added a 4th, a 6th and a 7th round pick.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 30, 2014
Tomorrow the Free Agent Frenzy starts and Tampa looks to have a plan.
The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch must have gotten a rare day off prior to the day-before-teams-make-decisions-they'll-inevitably-buy-out, a.k.a. the start of unrestricted free agency, so the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby filled in the Sun newspaper chain's rumor-based-column category for Sunday evening, and he posited the following regarding salary cap-compliance buy-outs addind Christian Ehrhoff to the mix of unrestricted free agents...
“It adds players that you hope your team can get at a better price,” said one NHL exec on Sunday evening. “You know these guys aren’t going to sign for what they had before. You are going to get more players coming into the picture. You hear management guys say it all the time: “I love this player or that player at $3 million, but I hate him at $5 million’.”
And he offered this surprisingly honest take from a league exec regarding Jason Spezza's ability to continue to have Nashville on his no-trade list, which David Poile and Bryan Murray seemed to suggest was the most selfish act in the history of hockey:
“It complicates your life, no question,” an NHL team exec said of players’ having no-go lists. “It’s just another restriction we have to put up with in a cap system — and more players are getting full no-movement clauses in their contracts. Some teams benefit from that at times, like when an agent calls up and says: ‘We want to come to your team’ and you weren’t really aware of it. But it can be a double-edged sword if they just want to come (for a sunset season or strictly personal satisfaction). So you have to be careful.”
Hornby continues with free agent speculation...
The theory was that very few free agent players were actually going to meet with teams' coaches or general managers during the "wining and dining period"--which ends today--because the draft's location in Philadelphia would yield too much of a hubbub (see: players being chased down by the media as they go from hotel to hotel and meeting room to meeting room)...
But the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that the seemingly inevitable marriage between Thomas Vanek and the Minnesota Wild will get a meet-and-greet kick in the pants on Monday:
With the free-agent market set to open Tuesday at 11 a.m. [Central Daylight Time], pending free agent Thomas Vanek was scheduled to sit down with Wild coach Mike Yeo late Sunday. General Manager Chuck Fletcher was not expected to be at the meeting.
For more than a year, Vanek has seemed destined to sign with the Wild. The 30-year-old former Gophers star turned down lucrative long-term contracts last season with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders in order to become a free agent.
However, the Wild appears set to offer Vanek only a short-term contract, so he likely will have a tough decision to make Tuesday because it’s expected that he’ll have the chance to sign longer-term deals for more money with other teams.
But wait, there's more, especially in the, "WILD WILL SIGN EVERYBODEYZ" category:
As Paul noted, the Tampa Bay Lightning went and snagged Sam Gagner from the Edmonton Oilers for Teddy Purcell, sending Purcell's $4.5 million cap hit to Edmonton for Gagner's $4.8 million deal (all figures from Capgeek). Then the Bolts flipped Gagner to the Arizona Coyotes (who were likely looking to replace the behaviorally-challenged Mike Ribeiro), and shuffled B.J. Corombeen's $1.15 million salary off to Arizona as well, receiving all of a sixth-round draft pick in return.
The team did bring in Jason Garrison's $4.6 million cap hit during the first day of the draft, but it looks like the Lightning are trying to do something big, but ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reports that there be cap weirdness afoot:
This stuff happened so quickly that even Capgeek hasn't had a chance to catch up, but the Bolts have a little short of $9 million in cap space now. Who are they going after? Sportsnet's Chris Johnston believes it might be a familiar name...
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Tags: anton+stralman, b.j.+crombeen, christian+ehrhoff, dan+boyle, dominic+moore, edmonton+oilers, jason+garrison, martin+brodeur, matt+niskanen, mattias+ohlund, phoenix+coyotes, sam+gagner, teddy+purcell, tim+thomas, tomas+vokoun
from Josh Cooper of the Tennessean,
The Predators and Michael Del Zotto appear to be done with each other.
Calling the 24-year-old defenseman “not a fit” for Nashville, Predators general manager David Poile said he had not yet given the restricted free agent a qualifying offer, which is due by 4 p.m. Monday.
That leaves three options for Del Zotto: He either will be traded, signed to an extension or left without a qualifying offer, thus making him an unrestricted free agent.
The last option seems the likeliest possibility. Last week, Del Zotto’s agent, Mark Guy, said he and the Predators had no discussions on an extension, and nothing appeared to have changed as of Sunday.
“Del Zotto is a good player. He’s a good offensive player. He couldn’t get ahead of (Roman) Josi, (Shea) Weber, (Seth) Jones and (Ryan) Ellis in the offensive situations,” Poile said Sunday. “We have all these balls in the air. We’ll see what happens.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The truth is, while MacTavish has likely reached out to about a half-dozen agents in the sell-us-on-your-team window from June 25-30, the Oilers may want to go after somebody like Buffalo Sabres defenceman Christian Ehrhoff, but everybody’s eyes lit up when the Sabres on Sunday bought out the last seven years of his contract.
Quite possibly 10 teams might be in the hunt for the German-born defender; the Oilers can sell him on playing with his countryman Draisaitl, among other things, but you can bet the Detroit Red Wings will make a huge push for him.
Ditto for the Colorado Avalanche, who are also in the Niskanen pursuit, the Washington Capitals, the Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Islanders and the Minnesota Wild.
Ehrhoff has been paid $22 million of the $40 million he signed for and will get another $12 mil in the buyout, so he’s made out like a bandit. Now, the teams are lining up for the 32-year-old, who can easily log 20 minutes a game, but teams may be trying to give him dollars but not term at his age — like, say, four years at $5.5-million a season.
MacTavish knows players pick landing spots in free-agency for 1) money, 2) a shot at winning a Stanley Cup, 3) location and how cold it is in the winter, and 4) where your wife wants to live.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded forward Teddy Purcell to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward Sam Gagne, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced tonight.
Gagner, 5-foot-11, 202 pounds, has played in 481 career games with Edmonton, recording 101 goals and 295 points. He was drafted first overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Purcell, 6-foot-3, 203 pounds, has played in 310 games with the Lightning since being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on March 3, 2010. During his career in Tampa Bay he accumulated 67 goals and 203 points. Purcell also played in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Bolts, recording seven goals and 18 points.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin hasn’t had time to catch his breath.
Last week, Bergevin combined preparations for the National Hockey League draft with a series of continuing negotiations and there’s more discussion on the agenda heading into the opening of the free-agent market at noon Tuesday.
Bergevin has had conversations with the agents for a number of unrestricted free agents, but his immediate concern is the team’s own UFAs. Captain Brian Gionta and defencemen Francis Bouillon and Mike Weaver are in a position to test the free-agent market, and while Bergevin said he hasn’t closed the door on any member of the trio it doesn’t appear any of them will sign before the deadline.
Weaver’s agent has already said he will pursue other avenues after a lukewarm response from the Canadiens.
Gionta wants to stay in Montreal, but he could probably get more money and a longer term elsewhere. Bergevin still has to sign restricted free agent Lars Eller, but the GM has 11 forwards under contract and the list of candidates to join Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk on the No. 2 line include the Rene Bourque we saw in the playoffs, Daniel Brière, Dale Weise and Michael Bournival.
There are continuing talks with agent Don Meehan over a new deal for defenceman P.K. Subban.
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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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