Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
All the gushing about Ryan Smyth or Paul Kariya possibly choosing Toronto as their new nest when bids open at noon today must be factored against whether such players base their decision on Toronto being a viable Stanley Cup contender this season.
Two years out of the playoffs, uncertainty of the general manager’s future and a questionable supporting cast don’t weigh in the Leafs’ favour.
Yet, there is some allure about the Leafs—some might call it a fatal attraction—that is bound to put Toronto in the thick of the pit as the clock ticks towards noon.
from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
Under the terms of the CBA, no individual player can make more than 20% of his team’s cap, so that means the potential top salary for a player for the upcoming season is $10.06 million.
Wasn’t that what the top players were making before the lockout, leading the game’s leaders to cry the business of the NHL was “broken?”
Makes you wonder why there was a lockout, huh?
Despite the acres of open seats in rinks in America and the lack of an American TV audience, the game appears to be financially healthier than ever. There are two or three factors for that, near as I can see, and they’re all thanks to Canada and its fans.
from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press,
If given the chance, Sergei Fedorov should tell Wings fans to “Shove it!”
There’s discussion that Columbus might buy out the remainder of Fedorov’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. The Wings could be interested: They could get him reasonably cheap and he remains one of the NHL’s best two-way players.
continued... Geez Drew, one of the best two-way players?
from the Detroit Free Press,
“We want Dom in our net. That’s our priority in goal. If it doesn’t happen, we have to look at options, but I am cautiously optimistic we’re going to get him signed.”
As for Schneider: “He is going to hit the market,” Holland said.
Bertuzzi is headed in the same direction. Holland has spoken numerous times with Bertuzzi’s agent, but “we’re not any closer today than five days ago,” Holland said.
The Wings will have to get more aggressive if they lose both Bertuzzi (who may be eyeing a return to Vancouver considering the Canucks need scoring) and Schneider (who could end up in Anaheim if Scott Niedermayer retires).
more on the Wings options…
from All Things Avs at the Denver Post,
I would outbid everybody out there to get Drury back, if I’m Giguere. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand more times, the guy is a stud, he’s a winner, he’s a guy you go into any big playoff series already one goal up on the others guys, because you just know he’s going to pot that huge game-winner in OT or late in the third.
A couple of things could very well keep Drury from coming back to this Dusty Old Cowtown. The first is something we’ve talked about before. Let’s call it the Jilted Lover factor. Drury was dumped to Siberia, sorry, Calgary, a few years ago, and might not want to take his ex back in their time of need.
more on the choices the Avs could make…
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 Greg Logan at Newsday,
“I talked to Ryan,” Nolan said Saturday. “I know he loved it here. He liked playing for us, but business is business. I just let him know what we could do on the ice with him. I didn’t really get into the ‘come, come, come’ type of thing. I just told him how much we would love for him to be here. He’s a winner.”
Although Smyth turned down the chance to sign with the Islanders before the market opened, Nolan is confident the Islanders’ offer will keep them in the ballgame.
“I’m more than positive it was a great offer,” Nolan said. “But it’s the first time in his career he’s been a free agent. He’s worked extremely hard and paid his dues. So am I surprised? No.”
from Red Wings Corner,
Ken Holland hasn’t heard from Dominik Hasek lately and that should make Red Wings fans anxious. It’s a possibility that the two sides aren’t as close as has been reported in the downtown papers. Hasek might be looking for more money than is on the table.
more on the Wings…
Kenny should head to the Big Apple, he may find Dom there.
Update 8:32pm EDT
From the CP via TSN,
“I don’t think there’s a significant divide, but there’s no deal so we continue to go back and forth,” Holland said Saturday night. “We’ve had a lot of conversations over the last few days and hopefully we’ll talk again tonight or in the morning before free agency begins at noon.”
Hasek informed the Red Wings a couple of weeks ago that he wanted to play for Detroit again.
more… *plus info on Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi
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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