The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/28/13 at 05:49 PM ET
This post took a very big Red Wings-related turn in the middle of writing it, so while the vast majority of its thrust is more "KK Hockey" than Red Wings-related, I'm co-opting it for my blog and my Wings audence. So you'll have to deal with the non-Wings content, TMR readers:
TSN's Bob McKenzie, Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger got together with James Duthie to hold an "Insider Trading" segment from the draft floor in Newark, and, among their topics of discussion:
1. LeBrun suggests that Kris Letang's agent, Kent Hughes, and Penguins GM Ray Shero will chat after the Penguins turned down a nearly $8-million-a-year counter-offer, and Shero may be "laying the groundwork" for a trade;
2. Regarding Roberto Luongo, Bob McKenzie believes that the Vancouver Canucks want to have Luongo off their roster after this weekend, even though the Canucks insist that they have trade options (Philly? Long Island? Edmonton?) and won't have to buy him out, though they may waive him (and that's how Edmonton would work its way in);
3. Dreger says that Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn will be reluctantly traded by the Flyers for the sake of a forward to replace Briere, and they're going to demand a good young forward, a prospect and possibly a draft pick (if the Flyers had any damn cap space, I'm sure the Wings would be interested in Coburn);
4. The Maple Leafs had dangled Dion Phaneuf, but at present, Dave Nonis hasn't received any trade-worthy offers;
5. McKenzie says that there are teams that want to move players for either financial, roster or "financial pressure" reasons to avoid buyouts, and Detroit's Carlo Colaiacovo, Minnesota's Tom Gilbert, Florida's Filip Kuba and Scottie Upshall, they're all being aggressively moved though there isn't much of a market for them. They may be bought out if they aren't moved by 5 PM on July 4th;
6. LeBrun says that 15 teams have contacted Kent Hughes about Vincent Lecavalier, and he can talk to teams at present. Lecavalier is deciding where the best "fit" is, and it will be a process, but Detroit, Toronto, Montreal, Dallas and other "wild cards" are all interested;
Dreger says that term and salary are key, and the Maple Leafs might be the kind of team that could give him a 5-year deal at $4.5-5 million, which would affect Tyler Bozak's future as the Leafs don't want to invest $5 million in Bozak, and negotiations have broken down;
And McKenzie suggests that whether Lecavalier wishes to play in a "fishbowl" (i.e. Toronto or Montreal) or whether he'd prefer to be a first-line center or blend into a lineup as a second-line center going forward.
Immediately after the segment aired, LeBrun posited a set of "rumblings" on ESPN's website, and he focuses upon Lecavalier and his possible fit with the Red Wings--as well as some other Wings options at center giving that Valtteri Filppula's skiddadling:
During a media call Thursday, Lecavalier mentioned the Detroit Red Wings as a team he liked growing up (along with the Montreal Canadiens). Well, the feeling is apparently mutual. A source Friday said that the Wings have interest in Lecavalier, although certainly not at any cost. It’s going to have to make sense both in salary and term. And the Wings know they won’t be alone in a courtship of Lecavalier.
Pending UFA Stephen Weiss is another potential option for the second-line center job in Detroit, but there will be lots of competition for his services as well.
The Wings are not approaching their buying season with any kind of desperation. They feel they’re in good shape. They’ve got youth coming up, their AHL team just won the Calder Cup, and they’re not going to go out of their way to overspend in free agency for the sake of it. And if they can’t find a center in free agency or via trade, they can always put Henrik Zetterberg in the No. 2 slot, separating him from Pavel Datsyuk.
This is all pending the expectation that Valtteri Filppula is headed to market. The pending UFA forward is not close to a new deal with Detroit, and while the Wings and his agent were slated to speak again this weekend, odds of a new deal don’t seem great.
Which is why guys like Lecavalier or Weiss could be options in free agency.
Keep an eye on former Detroit assistant GM Jim Nill, by the way. The new Dallas Stars GM, I hear, also would like to add a veteran forward, and players like Lecavalier and Weiss are on his radar. He could be competing with his old pal Ken Holland for some of the same players.
He continues at length, suggesting that Jonas Hiller may be on the market, that the Hurricanes would give their 5th overall pick up for a top-four defenseman, he ponders Tuukka Rask and Thomas Vanek's futures, and he ends with this:
One thing to look for over the next week, according to one NHL player agent, if talks break down between pending UFAs and their respective teams, is the possibility of a sign-and-trade to take advantage of the CBA rule that allows teams to sign their free agents to eight-year deals, whereas players can get only seven years on the open market.
Both the player and team would have a potential gain: the old team could get more value in a trade if the player is signed, and the player gets an extra year in term with his new team.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.