Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
The thought of pulling on a Senators jersey again is exciting to Patrick Lalime.
“I would love to go back, for sure,” he said yesterday. “It’s a very nice place to play, they always have a very good team.
“I had a great time there and I would love to go back.”
The thought of signing the top goalie in franchise history is enticing to Senators GM Bryan Murray, who needs an affordable backup plan and is currently in the process of redecorating the dressing room with character individuals.
from Tim Wharnsby of the Globe and Mail,
“This is such an important part of the year because, really, your team is built now, between June 15 and July 15, maybe to Aug. 1,” Detroit Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said.
“A big part is building your team through the draft and then adding the necessary pieces on July 1 through free agency. Once you leave Aug. 1, other than a few guys you might sign closer to training camp, your team is pretty well built and ready to go.”
That one player signed in early July can often put a team in the rarefied air of Stanley Cup contender. Just consider the past two Stanley Cup championship teams.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Sather has repeatedly said that he wants to re-sign the captain. He told The Post on Thursday that remains his position. Still, it is believed the Rangers are unwilling to offer Jagr, who will turn 37 in February, anything other than a one-year deal that would allow them to include bonuses that could be deferred to 2009-10.
“I don’t want to negotiate in the papers or speak for Jaromir, but I don’t think that’s something that would interest him at this point,” Brisson said.
“I think there will be a number of NHL teams that would be willing to give him a multi-year deal - he was the best player in the league in the first two rounds of the playoffs - but if he doesn’t get a contract that he likes, he would probably focus on the offer he has to play in Russia and finish his career in Europe.”
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
By plumping his roster with internal commodities—signings of centres Daymond Langkow and Craig Conroy, left-winger Eric Nystrom and netminder Curtis McElhinney were announced Friday—the Flames general manager is suddenly close to a finished product.
All of which adds up to . . . a quiet month?
“I wouldn’t expect anything big from our team in the first week of July in terms of outside (signings),” said Sutter. “I’m very comfortable in saying—Eric ties into that, Curtis ties into that—that some of the kids we had here, who didn’t play much, are going to play.
“And there’s one or two guys from the farm team and from the system that are going to play on our team next year.”
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
Last summer, 89 unrestricted free agents were signed to new contracts. And 24 of those deals were done in the opening 24 hours.
This year, the crop is not as deep. Aside from winger Marian Hossa and defenceman Brian Campbell, there are few marquee names available. But that does not mean the feeding will be any less frenzied.
Here are half a dozen questions that could be answered by the end of the first day:...
Who will be overpaid?
With few marquee unrestricted free agents available this summer, mid-range players such as Pittsburgh’s Ryan Malone and New York’s Sean Avery could become hot commodities.
Defenseman Duvie Westcott is on waivers, The Dispatch has learned. Once he clears waivers, the Blue Jackets will buy out the remainer of his contract.
Westcott has two years remaining on a contract that was to pay him $1.85 million per season. The Blue Jackets will be responsible for two thirds of the money owed, but they can spread it over the next four seasons at about $600,000 per.
via Small Balls, a blog at Macleans,
Who’s got tickets? To Todd Bertuzzi’s wake. The Anaheim Ducks have placed the glorified thug on unconditional waivers after only one season in sunny California (14 goals, 26 assists in 68 games). Oh, how the mighty duck has fallen. There was a time, not long ago, when every NHL team daydreamed about having big bad Bert in its line-up. Not anymore. Somewhere, Steve Moore is smiling.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
They say patience is a virtue and nowhere is that more evident than in the upcoming NHL free-agent season, where the handful of players that will get to July 1 without signing new contracts, stand to make small fortunes, on the grounds of limited supply and overwhelming demand.
The salary cap bump — to $56.7 million — and the pressure on half-a-dozen NHL teams to make the playoffs next season without fail, means they are open for business and will do whatever they can to land the Marian Hossas and Brian Campbells, who are out there, ready to listen to offers….
Even knowing the history of free agency — more bust than boom - is not going to dissuade some teams from opening their wallets on Tuesday, however. After all, there is one single truth that applies to NHL teams, pre and post-lockout, as expressed by that old philosopher/left winger, George Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
from Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic,
Left wing Mathias Tjarnqvist, an unrestricted free agent who was one of the Coyotes’ top penalty killers a year ago, became a victim of the numbers game on a young team, and it appears doubtful that he will be returning.
The NHL free agency period begins Tuesday, and Tjarnqvist, along with the team’s other UFAs, forward Radim Vrbata and Craig Weller, will be testing the open market.
General Manager Don Maloney continues his talks with Vrbata’s agent, Rich Evans.
from David Pollak of Working the Corners,
I talked with Larry Kelly a few minutes ago. While he would not get into specifics, he did acknowledge that Campbell is being tugged in two directions as the July 1 opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent nears. And that family matters are indeed a factor.
“He loved his teammates and he really enjoyed the city,” Kelly said of Campbell’s time with the Sharks. “The biggest issue for him is to balance his own preference with something that may dictate that he be closer to home. That’s still evolving as we speak.
“We continue to talk to Doug” Wilson, Kelly added, “and we continue to talk seriously about a return to San Jose.”
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