Kukla's Korner Hockey
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
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.
from the Pioneer Press,
The Minnesota Wild traded longtime goaltender Manny Fernandez to the Boston Bruins today.
The Wild, who wanted to unload Fernandez’s $4.33 million salary after signing goalie Niklas Backstrom to a two-year deal this spring, are expected to receive 6-foot-1, 192-pound forward Petr Kalus plus a future fourth-round pick in the NHL draft.
added 8:17pm, via Russo’s Rants,
Official word from the Wild is that no trade has been made, but the NHL source says the trade will become official tomorrow. More to come.
added 10:01pm, A little more from Russo’s Rants,
The trade can’t be announced before midnight because the Bruins’ cap number is at $41 million. Manny’s cap number is $4.33 million. That would push the Bruins over the $44 million cap. Remember, the cap doesn’t increase to $50.3 million until after midnight.
So as long as nothing falls through, this is just a technicality.
via the St. Louis Blues,
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today the team has signed center Keith Tkachuk.
“We are excited to be able to bring a player of Keith’s caliber back to the St. Louis Blues,” said Davidson. “Keith played great hockey under Head Coach Andy Murray last season and we are thrilled to have him wearing the Bluenote again.”
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 the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Instead, look for the Thrashers to focus on second-tier centers, including Detroit’s Robert Lang, Minnesota’s Todd White or Alexei Yashin, whose contract was bought out by the Islanders. If Kozlov doesn’t sign, Atlanta could be in the market for a higher-priced center like New York’s Michael Nylander.
Right now, the Thrashers have 12 players under contract for more than $31 million. They have extended offers to restricted free agents Garnet Exelby, Jim Slater and newly acquired forward Chris Thorburn. The three likely will be on the opening night roster.
That doesn’t leave a lot of spending money for free agency if the Thrashers stick to a budget similar to last season’s – around $40 million.
read on... and the Thrashers are hoping Kozlov will be back…
from On the Islanders Beat at Newsday,
Losing Smyth obviously would be a major blow to the efforts of general manager Garth Snow and coach Ted Nolan to restore the credibility of the Isles as a franchise that is serious about winning. But even if they convince Smyth to stay, they have a lot of other big holes to fill on a roster that is likely to bear little resemblance to last season’s eighth-place finisher in the Eastern Conference.
Having bought out top center Alexei Yashin and virtually kissed top scorer Jason Blake goodbye, there’s also a strong possibility they will part ways with top-scoring defenseman Tom Poti, resurgent forward Viktor Kozlov and fourth-line enforcer Arron Asham. They previously severed ties with forwards Richard Zednik and Randy Robitaille, defenseman Sean Hill and goaltender Mike Dunham, and they failed to make a qualifying offer to restricted free agent forward Andy Hilbert…
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