Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Salary cap or no salary cap, the hottest candidates usually go first — and this year, Brière, Chris Drury, Ryan Smyth and Scott Gomez should all be gobbled up within the first 48 hours of what some call the NHL’s silly season for prices that could reach $8-million (U.S.) or more a season.
Brisson likens the anticipated bidding war to “a game of musical chairs” and says that, nowadays, an agent needs to be aware of how many seats there are for a player of a certain type. For example, if eight teams have a need for a No. 1 player and there are only three on the market, the action on them figures to be fast and furious.
There seems to be some “drama” coming from the announcement of the cap ceiling announced today. By now you know the cap is set at $50.3M.
Last week at the NHL Draft I talked with numerous GMs and team officials and they all told me the cap would be very close to $50.5M, which I reported.
Now all of the sudden, “drama” is unfolding, teams are in a panic because they thought the cap would be set at $52M.
Don’t believe it, just more garbage to collect website hits.
Howard Berger was just on Fan590 radio in Toronto and mentioned an extension is in place for Leafs goaltender Vesa Toskala.
The extension cannot be announced until July 1st.
I missed the terms, if anyone gets them, feel free to post…
added 5:22pm, 3 year deal with an option year per Fan590, no $$$ given…
from On Frozen Pond,
I hear Martin Gelinas is close to agreeing to a deal with the Panthers, following in the steps of Jozef Stumpel. Both are getting two-year deals, so it appears JM likes his team so much he’s tying everyone up for at least a couple years.
more on the Panthers…
added 7:44pm, from the Palm Beach Post,
Gelinas apparently will not be among that group. He moved his family back to Calgary over the summer and expressed doubts that he would return this year, preferring instead to sign with either Calgary or another Western Conference club.
“I haven’t heard from him, (so) I expect at this point he will pursue free agency,” Martin said. “All along, he indicated that’s the direction he may want to go. But I’m still optimistic, so we’ll see.”
Well, maybe not…
from Pierre Lebrun of the CP via the Globe and Mail,
“I’m physically and mentally as healthy as I’ve been in five years,” Allison told The Canadian Press in an interview on Friday. “I’m excited and ready to go.”
The 32-year-old free-agent centre disappeared into the NHL wilderness last year, taking a season off while ironing out issues in his private life.
“I had a lot of personal stuff to deal with last year — just getting my life re-organized and dealing with family issues,” said Allison, who went through a divorce. “It’s been a good year for me, even though I didn’t play hockey and people were wondering where I was or what I was doing ...
“It was important for me to just get feeling good about life.”
Briere’s agent, Pat Brisson has informed Sabres management his client intends on investigating his options in unrestricted free agency.
“We’ve made a decision to go to July 1st,” Brisson told TSN.ca. “We haven’t closed the door on the idea of returning to Buffalo entirely, however out of respect to Darcy Regier and the organization we felt it was important to make our intentions clear.”
added 5:13pm, the CP, via TSN, has a story regarding most of the top UFAs….
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Once it became apparent that Balsillie’s hugely inflated purchase price (one that apparently included sending some $18 million that could reasonably be assumed to be Leipold’s cut of an upcoming expansion pie, wasn’t going to be enough to convince Bettman to roll over and allow Balsillie to put the team where he wanted, who is ultimately responsible for the decisions that may well have gutted the franchise?
Add to that, what does it mean for the future sale of the team?
It is fair to say that an NHL team without Forsberg, Kariya, Timonen, Hartnell and Vokoun simply is not as desirable a property as a team with them, but does that hold true if you’re eventually looking to keep fans in Nashville from buying in excess of 14,000 season tickets next season? Clearly if you want out of Nashville, you don’t want the fans to embrace your team.
Don Meehan, agent for Ryan Symth was just on Leafs Lunch. A once in a lifetime opportunity for Smyth to see what his value is. The Islanders have made an offer, but Smyth wants to see what he is worth on the open market.
Also, cap numbers have been set, Ceiling is $50.3M and floor is $34M and maybe some change.
added 12:57pm, via TSN,
Sources tell TSN that for the 2007-08 season, the salary cap will rise to a maximum of $50.3-million. That is a $6-million increase from this past season when the cap was set at $44-million.
Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, teams must spend at least $34.3-million on salaries next season.
added 1:37pm, Darren Dreger just on Leafs Lunch and said the same thing, Smyth will test the market. Dreger has heard the Islanders have offered Smyth $6.5M per year and that figure may scare some teams off. But Smyth also wants to win and he may question if the Islanders have that ability in the near future.
from the Daily Press,
Sullivan racked up 22 goals and 38 assists in just 57 games this past season. He will have to wait until next season to hit the ice again.
In order to get there, however, he will need to strengthen his back. The Timmins native is undergoing rehab with a back specialist in Vancouver. Each session includes 45 minutes to an hour of manipulating back muscles, followed by an hour to an hour and a half of strengthening them in the gym, Sullivan said.
“It’s a process that I need to go through to heal,” he said. “Last year was last year. There’s a lot of time from then until the middle of September when camp starts, so we’re not too worried about that.” The injury, nor the topic of the possible sale of the Predators, has swayed Sullivan much about his vision of returning to form next season.
from the Chicago Daily Herald,
The Hawks have a hole at first-line center with Michal Handzus likely to sign elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent. Handzus is looking for a four-year contract in the neighborhood of $16 million.
Tallon has said he won’t pay that much for Handzus, which would appear to be good business. Handzus is coming off major knee surgery and isn’t considered a premier offensive player.
“I’ve tried to get it done, but we have a Plan B,” Tallon said.
Several free-agent centers who could be of interest to the Hawks are Michael Nylander, Jason Blake, Robert Lang and Mike Comrie.
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