Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 06/30/14 at 06:19 PM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
By introducing a negotiating window into the free-agent process, there could be a flurry of signings as soon the market opens at 12 p.m. eastern on Tuesday, instead of the twiddling of thumbs fans saw on those TV panels in years past. It also means that some of the most prominent free agents – such as Stastny, the Canadiens’ Thomas Vanek and the St. Louis Blues’ Ryan Miller – may not have to linger on the market for days or even weeks at a time the way they once did, weighing offers and trying to coax teams into bidding wars.
Two summers ago, it took until the fourth day of free agency before the Minnesota Wild signed defenceman Ryan Suter and forward Zach Parise to identical 13-year, $98-million contracts. Their additions were transformative to a team that is now suddenly one of the more attractive destinations for free agents, after making the playoffs in each of the past two years and getting to the second round this past spring.
The Wild will be worth monitoring again, if only because general manager Chuck Fletcher has an extra $7-million to spend, thanks to Dany Heatley’s expiring contract. Vanek, a former University of Minnesota star whose wife is from the area, has long been linked to the Wild as a possible fit, although his stock sank following a disappointing playoffs with the Canadiens. And Minnesota is unlikely to offer the sort of long-term deal Vanek can likely get elsewhere.
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