Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 07/01/13 at 02:31 AM ET
It wouldn't be nice to say, "I told you so," so let's go with, "I'm used to it." After watching or following the draft in some form other than reading the newspaper for over a decade, I've become accustomed to witnessing a couple of shocking trades (Schneider to New Jersey, Bolland to Toronto, Clutterbuck for Niederreiter), some more pedestrian swaps (Frolik to Winnipeg, Falk to the Rangers, Kennedy to San Jose, Sekera for McBain) and some re-signings or near-re-signings (Bobrovsky, it turns out, will remain with Columbus, Mike Smith will stay with Phoenix, Bryan Bickell's staying in Chicago, and, by hook or crook or more trade rumors from Pittsburgh, it sounds like Kris Letang will land a windfall while remaining with the Penguins)...
Leaving the Tyler Seguins, Braydon Coburns, Alex Edlers, Ryan Millers, Bobby Ryans, and soon-to-be-free-agents like Valtteri Filppula at least dealing with their current rights-holders for the present moment, if not finding themselves either not traded at all or having been thrown into the rumor mill as a swift kick in the pants (hello, Tyler), and those in the know are left telling us that the "prices" weren't right...
And instead of admitting that, when 30 teams' management groups and the vast majority of agents spend three or four days in the same town, tires are kicked, publicly and privately, and often through the media, we're told that people like Vincent Lecavalier are gumming up the works, when instead, the truth his that this level of chatter is going on more often than not--trust me, hang around in a rink with executives who are constantly on the phone or receiving text messages, and you're stunned by the amount of work that goes into making one move out of a hundred or more possible ones--and that, with less than a week remaining until teams can grapple for players who cost only the price of their contracts in compensation, cold feet reign supreme on draft day.
In that vein, Sunday's TSN's Insider Trading segment included Darren Dreger, Bob McKenzie and Pierre LeBrun sharing tidbits with James Duthie and you and me. Among their news items of note:
- Dreger says that Panthers GM Dale Tallon tried very hard to get the 1st and 2nd overall picks, but the Avs didn't feel like surrendering the 1st pick, and Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy asked for two top prospects;
- Dreger and Ryan Rishaug still believe that it is possible that Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn may end up in Edmonton, but Flyers GM Paul Holmgren and Oilers GM Craig MacTavish met at least 12 times to speak about a Philly-Edmonton shop, and neither side was comfortable enough to make a deal;
- Regarding Sergei Bobrovsky, LeBrun says that the Blue Jackets inquired about Ryan Miller, Corey Schneider and Mike Smith before nearly agreeing to terms with Bobrovsky, who they entertained trade inquiries about before getting everything but the i's dotted and t's crossed;
- LeBrun also says that Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler, whose no-trade clause kicked in at 12 AM, received inquiries from Detroit (which made an offer), Anaheim and Montreal. LeBrun says that the asking price is high and that the Canucks are listening, not shopping, and the Wings and Canadiens may "circle back";
- McKenzie says that the Buffalo Sabres did get inquiries about Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek, but the Sabres do not feel any sense of urgency to move said players, and they may very well hang on to both players until next year's trade deadline to maximize their value, though it's a "volatile market";
- Regaring Lecavalier, LeBrun says that his price and term are getting higher/longer (the LeBrun and Dreger-cited rumor is $5 million a season for 5 years) as three more teams called Lecavalier after he'd met with 9 over the weekend (Detroit and Calgary were Sunday's suitors), and now Lecavalier will attempt to pare down the now-12-team-list over the next couple of days (and, if we are to believe LeBrun and Dreger, possibly visit some of the cities on his short list).
LeBrun also filed a "rumblings" column whose thrust is the Schneider trade, but also includes the following:
• Another player who didn’t move was Tyler Seguin, who was put on the trade market this weekend by the Boston Bruins. The decision by Nathan Horton to leave the Bruins and head to free agency certainly is part of the reason Seguin wasn't moved, but truth be told, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli still kept listening on Seguin even after he found out about Horton. And while it’s most likely Chiarelli won’t move Seguin now, I wouldn’t close the door on it. The Bruins are disappointed with Seguin in his lack of maturity and focus. If Seguin is still a Bruin come September, there will be an onus on him to become a better pro.
• The New York Rangers were shopping the rights to pending UFA winger Ryane Clowe on Sunday. The Rangers actually really like the player but the decision to not buy out Brad Richards has left them with next to no cap room and certainly not enough to re-sign Clowe, who is headed to the open market.
• The Kris Letang extension was still not completed as Sunday came and went. The sides are close on an eight-year, $58 million deal, but there remain a few snags to iron out. “We’re still working on it,” Pens GM Ray Shero said.
• The Vincent Lecavalier courtship continued Sunday with the UFA center meeting with Detroit and Calgary, a day after meeting with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia, Montreal, Toronto, Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues and Boston. Three other clubs called after the fact Sunday to express their interest, putting the list at a dozen teams. This was not the original plan. The Lecavalier camp, led by agent Kent Hughes, had hoped to dwindle the list down by Sunday afternoon. That’s still going to happen, but over the next few days instead. The asking price continues to evolve. It’s going to take $4-5 million a season and 4-6 years to get Lecavalier to sign with you. The longtime Tampa Bay Lightning star went back home Sunday and digested all the information he took in, hoping to start making decisions on which teams are front-runners. The Habs, by the way, had owner Geoff Molson, GM Marc Bergevin and coach Michel Therrien in their meeting with the hometown boy.
• The Los Angeles Kings made some progress with pending UFA blue-liner Rob Scuderi over the weekend, although there’s still no deal. Speaking of the Kings, kudos to GM Dean Lombardi for sending his seventh-round pick to mentor Lou Lamoriello so he could draft Martin Brodeur’s son, Anthony, also a goalie. Touching moment as Marty himself announced the deal.
• UFA forward Danny Briere has drawn interest from 15 teams and the expectation is that his camp, led by Pat Brisson, will shorten that list with Briere to 4-5 teams by Tuesday. If you look at Briere’s playoff production, there should indeed be a lot of interest. This guy is clutch performer with a huge heart.
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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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