Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: free agents
Josh Bailey is a good, young forward with a lot of potential, but is he worth keeping if the Isles can snag a blue line presence to help solidify one of the weaknesses of the team?
Let’s break down Bailey’s career to this point. He was drafted ninth overall in the 2008 entry draft. In his rookie season, he tallied seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 68 games played. In the 2009-2010 season, Bailey’s second full season in the NHL, he netted 16 goals and added 19 helpers for 35 points. Last season, Bailey took a step backward with 11 goals and 17 assists in 70 games. Bailey certainly has not lived up to expectations in his first three seasons and needs to take a step forward this season. Line combinations are speculation at this point, but it looks as if he will center the line with Blake Comeau and Michael Grabner. Bailey is a restricted free agent this offseason.
I like Bailey as a player and believe that if he stays with the Islanders he will turn into a solid 2nd line center. I hope that Bailey stays with the Isles because I think he will fulfill his potential. After all, he is still only 21 years old.
From Wes Goldstein at CBS Sports,
High-profile names and big-buck contracts are usually the attention grabbers when the free-agent market opens, but many teams help themselves with signings that go under the radar.
Here’s a look at a dozen of those deals:
Ty Conklin, Detroit: With so much focus on Detroit’s stunning signing of Marian Hossa, the other player the champs grabbed from Pittsburgh has been all but forgotten. But getting the former Penguins backup goalie for a one-year, $750,000 deal is a coup for Detroit.
read on for more on Conklin, plus 11 other deals that deserve some extra attention
From Kevin Allen at USA Today,
•Brendan Shanahan: He’s 39, but he had 23 goals last season for the New York Rangers. He still can be effective on the power play with his one-timer.
•Jason Williams: Teams would look at him to improve their special teams. The right wing owns a big shot on the point on the power play and has nifty moves in the shootout.
•Ladislav Nagy: An intriguing scorer, his 2007-08 season was undermined by injury.
CBC asks the question, “What’s behind the big NHL free-agent salaries?”
That’s the word New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello used when asked for his reaction to the amount of money tossed around on July 1, the first day of the National Hockey League’s free-agency period.
Sportsnet has learned defenceman Ron Hainsey has signed a $22.5 million five-year deal with the Atlanta Thrashers.
via TSN’s tracker:
Ottawa Senators sign UFA Forward Jarkko Ruutu to a three-year, $3.9 million contract.
via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The Penguins have lost free-agent right winger Marian Hossa to Detroit.
Team officials are believed to have been informed this morning that he will not re-sign.
Terms of Hossa’s contract were not immediately known, but the Red Wings are believed to have been offering a shorter-term contract than most other clubs.
update 12:37pm, on NHL Live, per TSN, 1 year 7.4M.
update 12:38pm, Done deal!
Update 12:50pm (Alanah): Link to story at TSN
Update 12:50pm (Alanah): Just want to say thanks to the boys at NHL Live on the NHL Network for this!
From Jean Lefebvre at Flames Insider,
The Calgary Flames have raided the roster of their northern rivals. The club today will officially announce the signing of Edmonton Oilers forward Curtis Glencross (see last night’s entry for more details), who scored 15 goals in 62 games this past season.
No terms yet, but one unconfirmed report suggested the deal is for three years and $3.2 million.
The Flames are also expected to announce the signing of incumbent defenceman Jim Vandermeer.
Update 12:55pm ET: The above signings have been confirmed by the Flames via press releases a few minutes ago. Additionally, the Flames also signed Peter Vandermeer.
From Bruce Dowbiggin at the Calgary Herald,
It’s July 1—free-agent liberation day—and agent J.P. Barry rolls through the door of his Calgary office at Creative Artists Agency. The burly Barry has already had a full morning—and the clock has not even hit the magic 10 a.m. opener for offers and signings.
continued… following the day of agent J.P. Barry yesterday.
From Luke DeCock at Lord Stanley’s Blog,
The Canes continued to retool their defense Wednesday, signing defenseman Josef Melichar to a one-year, $1 million contract.
Melichar, 29, spent six seasons with the Penguins before playing last season in Sweden and his native Czech Republic. The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder has seven goals and 33 assists in 310 career NHL games.
From James Duthie at The Good, the Bad and the Duthie,
Bingo! Welcome to The Summer of Lunacy! Seriously, I knew there would be silliness, but this was a cartoon. You’ve heard of spending like drunken sailors? How about spending like billionaire sailors on crack.
10 million dollars a year offered to Mats Sundin? Twenty-two million dollars for Cristobal Huet? (When you already have an overpaid goalie in Khabibulin.) Michael Ryder, a healthy scratch in Montreal, four million a year? Fourteen million over four years for Jeff Freakin’ Finger!?!
Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings spoke with Kings GM Dean Lombardi tonight. Some highlights from that conversation:
—The Kings were right there on Brad Stuart, and apparently didn’t have a problem with either the term or the money, but Stuart decided that he wanted to play for the Red Wings. To this, Lombardi basically tipped his hat and said, ``I can’t blame him for that.’‘
—Lombardi still has his eye on a defenseman who, in his words, fits with both the present and the future. He’s not at liberty to name names, obviously, but I don’t think it’s hard to do some reading between the lines, right?
—Rob Blake is still there as a strong possibility, and discussions are ongoing.
This morning, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke with Scott Laughlin on Hockey This Morning (NHL Home Ice XM 204), discussing the free agent frenzy today.
Daly also talks about the new Russian league and provides other updates on NHL happenings.
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com,
While many of you will be sitting back and keeping tabs on all of the UFA movement, some of us will be hard at work. How hard will we be working, well I went to Lyle Richardson, aka Spector and asked him what his UFA days will consist of.
How busy will you be Lyle?
The NHL’s unrestricted free agency period is one of the busiest times of year for me, topping even the NHL trade deadline for sheer volume of traffic. It’s the first two days that are the most hectic as that’s when the bidding for, and the signing of, the top UFA players is at its most frenzied. I’m almost a shut-in during those two days, rarely venturing outside my home as I track the rumors and signings.
Note: For a list of places to watch & listen to updates today, check out this post from Steve yesterday.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The only way Montreal is not a player for Sundin’s rights, whenever he is ready to start contract negotiations, is if they win, against long odds, the Marian Hossa sweepstakes. Hossa is the top forward up for grabs tomorrow; Brian Campbell the premier defenceman; and Hossa’s long-time of suitors will include two-thirds of the Original Six teams in the NHL (Montreal, Boston, New York, Detroit), plus Pittsburgh, where he finished last season. Even Edmonton and San Jose will make overtures.
Campbell will get offers from half-a-dozen teams, beginning with the Sharks, but also including Chicago, Ottawa and Atlanta. What’ll be really interesting is what happens when Campbell makes his choice, at which point the runners-up that need a boost on the blue line will either turn to Wade Redden as a free-agent possibility, or one of a trio of defencemen that’ll be dangled as trade bait: Mathieu Schenider in Anaheim, Joni Pitkanen in Edmonton and Dan Boyle in Tampa, who starts a six-year, $40 million contract extension signed back in February with the team next season, which will include a no-trade clause (usually they kick in on July 1).
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
Many of those deals will be for terms that were once unfathomable - with seven to 10 years the going rate for a star player in the prime of his career. One thing that obviously hasn’t changed under the new system is the mentality of GMs to get the player now and damn the cost to the franchise later.
Which brings us to the question, what exactly is going to happen to all these long-term deals once the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2011-12 season?
The Florida Panthers have signed forward Rostilav Olesz to a multi-year contract.
Sources says it’s a six-year, $18.75 million deal with an annual salary cap hit of $3.125 million.
To keep track of all the free agent signings, TSN has a handy tracker set up.
Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts are officially members of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and defenceman Dan Boyle might be the player in the team’s cross-hairs.
Malone has agreed to a seven year, $31.5 million contract, while Roberts agreed to terms on a one year contract that pays him a base salary of $1.25 million plus $10,000 for every game that he plays in the 2008-09 NHL regular season. So if Roberts were to play in all 82 games, he would earn $820,000 in bonuses, which could make his total income for the season $2.07 million.
continued… plus some speculation on Dan Boyle’s future
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
TSN asked a group of 12 general managers, coaches and player agents to submit a list of the 10 defencemen expected to generate the most attention on Tuesday.
Needless to say, Campbell and Redden are 1-2.
The Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks are in on the hunt, however many more teams are expected to join the bidding when the market opens.
Michal Rozsival ranks high among general managers in search of a ‘go-to’ defenceman. Rozsival chews up big minutes and can score, a combination that guarantees he’s a hot commodity.
From Pierre LeBrun at Sportsnet,
The NHL’s money season is just around the corner. Come Tuesday, July 1, the wallets come out in full force from the NHL’s 30 teams. Here’s my look at some notable players slated for unrestricted free agency (with age and current team also listed):
Marian Hossa, 29, Pittsburgh Penguins:
GM Ray Shero is off the hook here. He offered Hossa $7 million a year and a chance to continue playing alongside the best centre in the world. That’s a darn generous offer given all the other moving parts Shero has to figure out on his roster.
read on for the estimated values of a pile of UFAs
From Paul Kukla at NHL.com:
Can it get any better for us, hockey fun in the summer time? All teams are at 0-0-0-0. All teams have an equal shot at the Stanley Cup. We all believe, all our team needs is a little tweak here and there, and we are on our way to hockey in June.
These are the days we have been waiting for. An opportunity exists for our team to get better quickly, giving us hope for a dream season. Some teams will go all out, making a big splash in the UFA market while other teams will continue to build from within. Which way is correct? Well, we won’t know until the games are played, but it sure is fun knowing every team has a chance to improve by signing that key player(s)!
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald,
Knowing the panicked proclivity of teams seeking a PR splash, Marian Hossa, Bryan Campbell, Ryan Malone, Sean Avery and even Mr. Huselius will find themselves rich boys by the time September rolls around. Given the fulsome praise heaped on him every night of the Stanley Cup final by Don Cherry, Gary Roberts should break the UFA mint as well. (No? How could Don be wrong?)
Once again, the NHL has achieved the neat trick of creating scarcity in free agents, a sure recipe for overpaying the likes of Hossa, Huselius, Pavol Demitra or Avery.
From Jeff Gordon at STLtoday.com,
[Doug] Weight is looking to play another year and St. Louis has become home. Is there a fit here?
Maybe, maybe not. I recall that Weight was unhappy with how coach Andy Murray was using him last season, before his deal. Murray saw Weight as more of a role player at this late stage of his career, a designation that Weight resisted.
But if Doug did return to the Blues as a free agent, he would have to embrace a third- or fourth-line assignment if the lines fell that way.
more on the Blues summer priorities
From Lyle Richardson at Fox Sports,
The NHL’s buyout period runs from June 15-30, with most usually occurring within the first week.
Unlike in previous years when buyouts were few in number, the increase of the salary cap to an anticipated $56 million could see teams more receptive to buying out contracts of players who for various reasons may no longer fit into their future plans.
Topping the list of this year’s potential candidates is Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery…
With the NHL’s 2007-08 campaign in the books, the drama now shifts from the ice to the front office as the league’s 30 teams begin their mad scramble to prepare for next season.
As of Friday, half a dozen teams are still in need of a new head coach, with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Atlanta Thrashers, San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators conducting searches. And the list of ‘free agent’ bench bosses is impressive to say the least.
Names being circulated over the last month include…
read on for an overview of the coach quest, and other matters on the NHL summer agenda
From Mike Smith at The Hockey News,
The new CBA has been successful in creating, while not in excess, a healthy supply of free agents. The growing number of “Powerball lottery” contracts for players entering restricted free agency for the first time results in older players, either free agents or those making too much money, being more readily available.
The art is to pick the right ones, the ones who want to play and play well, not just be paid well. All managers make judgment errors signing players; the good ones make fewer.
I have had different free agent signing experiences as a manager. While in Winnipeg, we did not place much, if any, emphasis on free agents. To put it simply, Winnipeg had no money to spend on the older free agent.
From Lyle Richardson at The Hockey News,
GM Paul Holmgren would like to re-sign restricted free agents Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger and Randy Jones, but with over $47 million already committed to next year’s payroll, Holmgren probably won’t have enough cap space to retain the three even though the upper limit is expected to rise to around $56 million next season.
Holmgren also has to consider whether to retain any of his unrestricted free agents. Vaclav Prospal, Jason Smith, Jaroslav Modry and Jim Dowd fall into that category and if speculation in the Philadelphia media is anything to go by, Holmgren will cut those players loose and focus on re-signing his younger talent.
But not retaining his impending UFAs won’t solve Holmgren’s cap problem; he’s going to have to consider other options.
more… plus a look at the Dallas Stars
From Michael Russo, Russo’s Rants at the Star Tribune,
Funny, last year when I wrote at the Draft that the Wild was going to pursue Alexei Yashin, people didn’t believe me even though it was true. Now it’s being reported the Wild has interest in Yashin and people believe it when it’s not true.
I’ve been told as of now Yashin’s name has not come up within Wild offices and it has not had conversations with Yashin’s agent, Mark Gandler, as has been reported.
Here’s the deal: the Wild had genuine interest in Yashin last summer when it was reported he’d be willing to sign for little money. The Wild made an offer, and Yashin responded by asking for multiple millions of dollars, according to people in the know.
That left a sour taste in the Wild’s mouth, and as of now, it has no interest in revisiting him despite the strong season he had in Russia. That could change, of course, but this is what I’m being led to believe now.
more on the off-season in Minnesota
From Jeff Marek at CBC,
As much as it’s been a slow year for trades building buzz for the NHL, you can’t say the same for contracts.
As the CBA and the salary cap have made swapping players challenging if not impossible at times Edmonton general manager Kevin Lowe’s offer-sheet summer made all 29 other GMs in the league snap to attention and make sure their young talent is locked up long term.
continued… Marek takes a comparison look at contracts yet to be signed. Players like Dion Phaneuf, Shea Weber, Andrei Meszaros and Brent Burns, and what their values might be.
From Mike Chen at Fox Sports,
There are a few teams we’ll know for certain to be buyers, though. Let’s look at the cap space situation for the league’s top eight teams. If you’re wondering where the East Coast love is, don’t blame me. Other than the Sens, no Eastern team has cracked 50 points.
1. Detroit: With a cap space of $5.4 million, the Wings have enough room to make probably one major move for a UFA (paying a portion of his salary for this year). However, between their big-name players, much of their cap is tied up for next year, so don’t anticipate the Wings getting someone who may have a year or two left on his contract. Besides, one glance at Detroit on the ice and the only thing they may actually need is a cup of coffee to make sure they keep running at this pace.
From Ken Campbell at The Hockey News,
With the signing of Mike Ribeiro by the Dallas Stars, you can scratch another name off the list of impact forwards who will be available July 1. That list is growing smaller and less impressive by the day, which means the ones who will be available will get better deals because of the laws of supply and demand.
Here are the top forwards who will be available July 1, provided they don’t sign with their teams before then.
Kristian Huselius, Calgary: The hottest player in the NHL since early December, Huselius is incredibly talented with the puck. Jarome Iginla deserves some of the credit here, but Huselius has been outstanding on his own.
plus lots more to pick from…