Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 10/29/13 at 11:37 PM ET
After hearing about little other than the Buffalo Sabres' former co-captain and his former goaltender over the past week, it was refreshing to hear TSN's "Insider Trading" panel, a.k.a. Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun (who touched upon several of the below-mentioned topics in his "Rumblings") and Darren Dreger discuss non-Sabres topics--after touching upon the obvious Vanek and Miller angles.
[A]nother goalie is trying to get back to the NHL. Rick DiPietro got the second largest buyout in NHL history, $24 million. He'll never see that kind of money again, but will he get another shot in the NHL?
Bob McKenzie: It's a possibility. The Carolina Hurricanes are having problems in net. Obviously, Cam Ward is out for the next few weeks with an injury and Anton Khudobin is out for at least another week. So, they signed DiPietro to an AHL tryout contract on the weekend and what's going to happen now is that they want to see him in action. On Wednesday and Thursday night, DiPietro is scheduled to play for the Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey league, on the road in Grand Rapids and Rockford. How he performs in those games, coupled with how Justin Peters plays for the Hurricanes in their next game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night will determine how quickly or if Rick DiPietro can get back up.
If he has two games where he's really good in the American Hockey League and Peters stumbles at all, then the Hurricanes would look at putting DiPietro on an NHL contract. They're doing the same thing with Manny Malhotra, but they would probably need an injury before they could open up a roster spot for him.
Five of the Montreal Canadiens' six top defencemen will be without a contract at the end of this season. So, what is Marc Bergevin's game plan?
McKenzie: The high profile guys are obviously P.K. Subban, the one restricted free agent and then you've got Andrei Markov, Raphael Diaz, Francis Bouillon and Alexei Emelin. It might surprise some people that Emelin of that group - who's not even in the line-up, he's out with an ACL injury and probably won't be back until Christmas or later – is the guy that's probably first up and most likely to get a deal done in the next little while. Nothing's done to this point, but the conversations are headed in that direction and it could get done fairly soon.
Everybody's talking about Dion Phaneuf in Toronto. What are we looking at, in terms of size of that contract and length?
LeBrun: First of all, no numbers have been exchanged between the two sides. They had a brief meeting last week, just to sort of set up the timetable over the next month. I don't think the Leafs are comfortable going north of $7 million, he's making $6.5 million this year, but the term will be interesting. I would suspect that Newport Sports Management would start at eight years and that the Leafs would be more comfortable at six and at some point you've got to find the middle.
The gents concluded with a little Canadian World Junior Championship talk....
Update: Oh, hi, TSN, we're Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos, John Shannon and Scott Morrison, a.k.a. "HockeyCentral," and we're going to talk about Phaneuf, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the Vanek deal, John Scott meeting the NHL and his suspension's possible arbitration, the Flames' status as non-sellers, Rick Nash's concussion and James Neal's strained oblique muscle. We allow our videos to be embedded, too:
Update #2: The Toronto Sun's Mike Zeisberger weighed in on the Phaneuf issue:
While the two sides have “kicked tires,” according to a source familiar with the process — in other words, agreed to talk down the road — no formal discussions have taken place as of yet.
“Don’t read too much into it ... yet,” the source said.
Phaneuf, 29, has a cap hit of $6.5 million this season. According to Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos, he reported hearing the bar has been set at seven years for a total of $50 million.
Asked about negotiations, Phaneuf remained elusive — just like he usually is on the topic.
“I’m leaving that to my representatives at Newport Sports,” Phaneuf said on Tuesday. “That’s just the business part of the sport. I’m just concerned about what happens on the ice and helping this team be successful.”
If the Maple Leafs were to pay out that kind of money, they would have two players gobbling up about $15 million of cap space next season - Phaneuf at $7 million and Phil Kessel at $8 million.
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