Friday, July 31, 2009

Zherdev: quietly on the move?


Amidst all the noise surrounding the malcontent (Heatley), the goal scoring RFA (Kessel), and the last of the big ticket UFAs (Tanguay), Nik Zherdev has quietly waited his turn for an arbitration hearing which will then determine his immediate future.

Aside from our friends at Blueshirt Banter, not much has been mentioned regarding Zherdev's impact on the market.

It has been reported that Zherdev rejected a $3.25 million contract offer from the Rangers and is requesting $4.5 million for next season. No matter what salary he is awarded today, the team is likely to decline the opportunity to retain him, as the Rangers still need to re-sign top line pivot, Brandon Dubinsky as well.

As an UFA, Zherdev, only 24, would like teams to notice that his 58 points scored from last season were in range of other players like Scott Hartnell, Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Olli Jokinen and Pavol Demitra, all of whom are paid at least $4 million per season.

Again we mention that there teams out there with plenty of cap space that would see adding a young, talented winger as a chance to move to the next level.
Could a return to Columbus and Rick Nash's protective shadow be ruled out? Zherdev would certainly be welcomed by the Islanders, Thrashers, Avalanche, Stars, Kings and Canucks... quietly welcomed of course.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What's Happening!!


Raj, Dwayne and Rerun want to make sure that you are informed of "Watts" been going on the last few days in the NHL.

The NHL Board of Governors approved a bid Wednesday by Jerry Reinsdorf to assume ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes, and NOT ONLY REJECTED, BUT...unanimously rejected an application by Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie to buy the team. TSN.


What doesn't the league like about Balsillie? Is it that he wanted to buy the Penguins and move them to Hamilton? Is it that he tried to move the Nashville Predators, and even started to accept season ticket deposits for the Hamilton Predators through Ticketmaster without league approval? Is it that he wanted to move the Coyotes to Hamilton?
Listen Jim, I don't think that the NHL wants Hamilton, a market that would infringe on both the Toronto and Buffalo franchises. Maybe try Quebec City for "Make it 7" next time??

The KHL has issued an official statement that Jiri Hudler's contract will be registered, citing a myriad of NHL infractions as reasoning for their decision. KHL Official site. This comes as no surprise to the Red Wings, who have already moved on. The Wings signed blueliner, Andy Delmore, a 32-year-old veteran who has not played in the NHL since '05-'06, but has been a force playing in Germany for the last two seasons.

Back to the Coyotes. Phoenix re-signed left wing Scottie Upshall to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. Is it me or do the Coyotes seem like a contender for a playoff spot this season?

"The Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with Rick Wilson, naming him associate coach..." adding to coach Rick Tocchet's staff. The important thing is that he is "a Rick."

Having lost out on new Atlanta Associate GM, Rick Dudley, the Lightning have attempted to add to their Ricks by adding Wilson. Word on the street is that Rick Astley has been invited to sing the anthem on opening night. Also, after offering former ESPN pitchman, "The Rick" a deal to switch team allegiances, Len Barrie was reported to be devastated to find out that his real name was Mike O'Malley, and angrily rescinded the offer.


The Lightning also bought out the remaining contract of Vaclav Prospal, who signed a four-year, $14 million contract with the Lightning last year, and had $10.5 million left on his deal. Prospal was slightly over paid, but after just one year? The most sound reasoning I could come up with for this, is that his name isn't Rick!


In a similar move, the Carolina Hurricanes have bought out the final year of defenseman Frantisek Kaberle's contract. The 35-year old Kaberle was set to earn $2.2 million this season but will collect two-thirds of that ($1,467,400) spread over the next two seasons. "This move is part of our effort to restructure the Hurricanes' defense to become bigger and more physical," said Hurricanes' general manager Jim Rutherford in a statement. TSN.

"Bigger and more physical"... meaning we hope to become the Carolina Maple Leafs?

Speaking of the Leafs, they traded for Wayne Primeau. What? Yes, they swapped newly acquired Colin Stuart, who really is just a younger version of Primeau, and Anton Stralman for WP and (the kicker) the Flames 2nd rounder in 2011.

Well, that's it for now. Let's meet at Rob's Place to see if Shirley knows anything more!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Phil Kessel and other dominos


With the addition of defenseman Derek Morris, it becomes abundantly clear that the Boston Bruins have no intention of signing Phil Kessel. Morris' $3.3 million deal puts the Bruins technically, over the salary cap. After scoring more than thirty goals last season, Kessel is looking for Tanguay-type money ($5 million-ish), therefore the Bruins will be selling.

As slow as it has been the last two weeks on the NHL transaction front, there will be headlines galore very soon as Kessel and quite a few other big money players will change teams in the month of August. The salary cap era has changed the business of hockey. There are quite a few teams at, near or over the cap who still need to round out their rosters and just as many teams with vast amounts of cap space that will welcome a few big ticket items.

Lets take a look a some of the sellers:

Boston: Technically the B's are more than $4 million over the cap. Marc Savard will be an UFA, Milan Lucic a RFA and only 3 defenseman are signed after this season. There is no room for Kessel and another player or two via waivers or trade will need to be moved. Patrick Eaves will be bought out and will then only count about 1/4 of his $1.4 million cap number, but there is more to be done.

Chicago: The Blackhawks also are over the cap by more than $4 million. The team faces the task of re-signing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews next season. As has been mention before here, Patrick Sharp and his $3.9 million cap number seems a logical choice to move. Sharp will require a serious return in the for of draft picks or prospects.

New York Rangers: The Rangers still have more than $2 million in cap room. However, Nik Zherdev's arbitration ruling will either force the team to trade him, or accept his deal and move someone else.

Ottawa: The Senators are over the cap by a little less than $2 million. Everyone knows that they have been trying to move Dany Heatley. the Oilers trade seems unlikely now that other teams seem to be in the mix...the ground will shake when this deal does get done.

San Jose: The Sharks have less than $600k in cap space. The team has more than it's share of soft, under performing, high-priced forwards and blueliners that they would like to unload. To make matters a little more tricky, they are in need of adding forward depth and have no backup netminder to speak of. A deal must get done.

The buyers:

Atlanta, Buffalo, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Phoenix and Vancouver all have significant money to spend and will be active in pursuing Kessel, Heatley and all others available on the market.

Montreal, St. Louis and Tampa do not have the cap space that the others do, but will be active in making deals to improve their clubs.

What domino falls first?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Beacuse its "Canada's Game"?


I was reading a piece on the Leafs and scrolled through the readers comments and noticed this:

"...I'm a Habs fan I want the Leafs to come to the playoffs because more Canadian teams mean more chances of winning a Stanley cup from a Canadian team."

What is this, and can the class please tell me what is wrong with this statement?
This just does not work for me on so many levels.
Before we move forward, let me preface this by saying, I get the whole national pride thing, but...

1.) You are ok with a rival team winning it all?

Really? Canadiens fan is cool with Ottawa or Toronto hoisting the Cup after watching the Habs bow out in round one? I know when my team fails in it's bid for the grail, it does my heart no better to see another U.S. based team win it... and certainly, it would sicken me to see a divisional rival take the Cup away from my team.


2.) Can the NHL become more of an international game?

Not to belabor the point, but just as an example: The "Canadiens" roster features 11 Canadian born players who skate along side 13 non-Canadian borns, made up of 5 U.S., 3 Czech, 2 Belarus borns, a Russian, Swiss and Slovakian born. Incidentally, Les Canadiens are Canada's least Canadian team.


3.) What if?

The Flyers, who boast 16 Canadians and 4 nons, were to defeat Toronto (12 Canadians), Ottawa (13 Canadians) and Montreal (11 Canadians) in successive rounds on their way to the final? What part of Canada is doing the winning and losing here?

Don't you want to see Canada triumph in the Olympics and the World Championships? Sure you do! But don't go pledging allegiance to another NHL club until you know where they were manufactured, ok?

No offense. Hope I haven't cooked it here. I don't mean to be a hoser, eh? Je suis désolé très.


*No geese, beavers or moose were used in the testing of this post.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dancing Partners: Isles and Hawks made for each other?

Recent events have the ol' gears a turnin'...

The Isles have signed free-agent netminder Martin Biron to a one-year contract worth $1.4 million. The team now has three starting goaltenders after adding Dwayne Roloson on July 1st.


Could this mean Rick DiPietro is being shopped? NO WAY! The perennially injured franchise backstopper is signed to a 15-year deal through the 2020-21 season which pays him $4.5 million each year. (Side note: the Isles love doing this as they are still paying the perennially injured franchise forward Alexei Yashin through the 2014-15 season. If you haven't been following the Islanders closely, Yashin hasn't played for them since 2007.)

Well... what does it mean then? Most likely it means that DiPietro, who appeared in a whopping 5 games last season is not ready to play. However, it could signal that the Islanders will attempt to play 3 goaltenders at once, because whether uber-rookie John Tavares plays or not, the team will struggle to score goals this season.

Yet, help in the goal scoring department is out there. The Islanders certainly could sign free-agent winger Alex Tanguay. The team possesses nearly $20 million in cap space. But what about the trade market?

The Chicago Blackhawks are technically over the cap right now. With a glut of forwards (15 to be precise, with 12 making at least $1 million this year) and potential free agents next season by the names of Kane and Toews, the Hawks have to make a deal. So why not the Isles?

It is quite logical really. The Islanders need scoring help, have loads of cap room and always seem to find their way to the top of the draft each season. Would this not be an attractive scenario for Chicago, as the Blackhawks would need to unload some higher priced payroll with having to take back any salary in return? Patrick Sharp's $3.9 million dollar deal in return for a low round, potentially top draft pick perhaps? I'm no rumor monger folks, but the stars align pretty well for this, don't they?


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thrashers mission: Re-sign Kovalchuk



We have been very congratulatory toward the off-season moves the Atlanta Thrashers have made thusfar. Will the signing of Nik Antropov, re-signings of Colby Armstrong and Kari Lehtonen, the trade for Pavel Kubina and drafting and signing of super prospect Evander Kane be enough to convince the newest Thrashers captain to stay for the long haul?

We will find out soon enough.

Thrashers GM Don Waddell's mission is quite clear. The fact that the Thrashers do not spend to the cap limit actually places the team in an advantageous situation should Kovalchuk decide to test the market after next season, as they will have more available money to offer than almost anyone.

Yet, as AJC sports columnist Jeff Schultz points out the Thrasher have one other thing going for them in these negotiations: Kovalchuk likes being in Atlanta.

After he was named captain last season Kovalchuk embraced his leadership role. He was involved in recruiting Antropov (something a player doesn't necessarily do if intent on leaving, no?), and all anyone needs is just one visit to the Thrashers website to see how incredibly involved Kovalchuk is in the Atlanta community.

Schultz states that "Theoretically, his new deal could pay him up to $11.2 million per season (20 percent of the NHL salary cap of $56 million). The bigger issue is term"... Kovalchuk will command a generous salary, however, I would expect that his salary may fall somewhere between Columbus' newly extended Rick Nash ($7.8 million per season) and Ilya's pal Evgeni Malkin ($8.7 million per season).

Shultz concludes that "Re-signing Kovalchuk would be step one. But it’s only step one." It is THE step. Ilya means as much to the Thrashers as any player does to any other team... Crosby, Ovechkin, Nash, you name it, he means that much.

GM Don Waddell, like Harry Potter, must not fail in his mission.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What is to become of the Coyotes?

We have poked fun at the ownership struggles in Tampa recently. However, their soap opera consisting of infighting and control battles pales in comparison to the embarrassment in Phoenix.

The story begins when current Coyotes owner, Jerry Moyes, took the team into Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 5, 2009 with a plan to sell the team, which would then relocate.

The NHL clearly wants to keep the team in Arizona and contends the Coyotes could be successful staying put. The NHL removed Moyes from all positions of authority with the team after the league was caught by surprise by the bankruptcy filing.

If that were not enough, a battle between Moyes group, which includes Coyotes coach, Wayne Gretzky and the city of Glendale, AZ (the Phoenix suburban area where the Coyotes play) rages.

Glendale claims it would be financially devastated should the Phoenix Coyotes move. The city is making the payments on the $180 million borrowed to build an arena for the Coyotes. Reports also indicate that Glendale gives a $15 million annual concession to the team.

The Coyotes claim that city officials destroyed documents that showed the team had requested repeatedly, over several months, to restructure the team's lease at Jobing.com Arena, which violated Arizona law.

Additionally, a group known as the Goldwater Institute has joined in the Coyotes bankruptcy case. The Institute is suing Glendale over the city’s failure to disclose information on concession renegotiations with potential new owners. Glendale contends that all negotiations are confidential and the demand for such information is "overbroad."

Why is the Goldwater Institute involved? They currently are in the midst of another lawsuit involving the city of Phoenix and a mall development that is also disputing city concessions.

…and yet the fight branches out even further.

The bankruptcy court has set July 24 as the deadline for submitting bids to buy the team and keep it in Glendale with the sale set for Aug. 5. If no acceptable purchaser is found, the bidding will be open to prospective buyers who could relocate the franchise.

That would reopen the door for Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who has offered $212.5 million to buy the team and move it to Hamilton, Ontario. Balsillie is a minority investor with the current Moyes group, and was in the original plan to sell the team as part of the Chapter 11 filing.

Since taking control of the franchise, the NHL has announced offers by new ownership groups that would keep the team playing in Glendale.

Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of baseball's Chicago White Sox and the NBA's Chicago Bulls, with a group that includes Phoenix attorney John Kaites and Tony Tavaras, made a preliminary offer to buy the team for $148 million.

More recently, Canadian Daryl Jones told The Globe and Mail that his group, which includes businessmen from the United States and Canada, met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman last Thursday and plan on submitting a formal offer of over $140 million.

Both groups would seek a new lease agreement and a greater concession by the city of Glendale.

Before the Jones bid, the Moyes group alleged that the NHL had discouraged other bids aside from Reinsdorf’s group, and of course, both groups’ request to renegotiate the city concession has incited the Goldwater Institute action.

So now that we are caught up on all the arguments, what shall become of the Coyotes?

Commissioner Bettman is hell-bent on keeping this franchise in the Phoenix market, but why? To save face? To somehow prove that the NHL can thrive in non-traditional markets? If Bettman succeeds in his endeavor, he only dooms the next group to financial loss and delays an inevitable request to move again.

The Coyotes have marginal fan interest. As a result, low, local television revenues, an undesirable lease agreement and poor gate receipts. Bettman insists that the Coyotes could be successful with better management and more success on the ice... Yes, but realistically, how much better can it get? Bettman has to accept that Phoenix, even if all the pieces fall into place, will only ever be a marginally profitable venture. Why would any owner want that, and more importantly why would the NHL want it with greener pastures elsewhere?

The city of Glendale loses either way. If the team stays, they get to spend even more of the taxpayer’s money on concessions and still have to pay off the loan on the arena. If the team leaves they pay off said arena and have no tenant. Which nightmare do they really want?

The best solution can only be for the NHL to buy the franchise, ala MLB and the Montreal Expos. I know that it seems ludicrous to advocate anything that MLB has done, but hear me out. The league would bring the team out of Chapter 11 and operate the franchise until an acceptable buyer is found. The league could sell the team and include a relocation fee in the agreement. As a gesture of goodwill, and to avoid future trepidation by other NHL cities, the league could use the relocation fee to help the city of Glendale offset the remaining costs involved in the jobbing.com arena loan.

No other solution offers such mutual benefit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thrashers continue strong off-season, sign Lehtonen.

Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Wadell announced that the team has re-signed the second overall selection in the 2002 NHL draft, goaltender Kari Lehtonen. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lehtonen, 25, was 19-22-3 last season, registered 3 shutouts, a 3.06 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage in 46 games.

In his career Lehtonen has a 94-83-17 NHL record with 14 shutouts, a 2.87 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage in 204 games with the Thrashers.

Locally Lehtonen is viewed as inconsistent and is criticized for his penchant for injury. However, consider that the Thrashers other goaltenders during that time have a combined record of 92-100-24 during that span.

Lehtonen's statistics seem even more impressive considering the team has only made the playoffs once during that span and have not been the model for commitment to defensive or system play as a whole.

This is an excellent move by the franchise. As the Thrashers continue to add pieces to the puzzle in front of their netminder, (Antropov, Kubina and Welch) playoff appearance number two does not look all that far away.


KHL, NHL Battle Grows Even More Embarrassing

Last week Darren Dreger of TSN.ca reported on forward Jiri Hudler's situation who had signed with the KHL's Moscow Dynamo on July 8:

"Jiri Hudler remains property of the Detroit Red Wings and therefore the recent contract he signed in the KHL is being contested.

The National Hockey League has approached both the IIHF and KHL, seeking their intervention.

According to the NHL, Hudler is contractually obligated to the Red Wings for next season.
Hudler, a restricted free agent filed for salary arbitration, which in the eyes of the league is acknowledgement of his intent to play in the NHL next year.

Szymon Szemberg, Communications Director for the International Ice Hockey Federation tells TSN the IIHF is fully involved in the dispute.

'The IIHF has been informed by the NHL about the Jiri Hudler case. Upon, this the IIHF has informed the Russian Ice Hockey Federation about the NHL's position and the case is under investigation. As this is a transfer to an IIHF member league the player will be needing an International Transfer Card (ITC), approved by the IIHF, to complete the transfer. Only upon the IIHF's signing the ITC, the transfer would be finalized and approved,' Szemberg said."

The IIHF adopted new rules in the wake of last years debacle when then Predators winger, Alexander Radulov signed with a KHL team despite having a year left on his contract with Nashville.
Back then the IIHF only "urged" the KHL to void the contract. Now they will "not approve" the transfer.

Wearing the white hat through all of this, the Atlanta Thrashers rescinded their offer to Joel Kwiatkowski when it was discovered that he had already signed a two-year deal to play for SKA St Petersburg of the KHL.

There needs to be a definitive agreement in place between these two leagues that clearly defines organizational and player rights. The annual renewing of a gentleman's agreement does not work, nor does it spare the hockey world this embarrassing melodrama.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fenway Park to Host NHL Major Announcement!


The National Hockey League will make a major announcement concerning a special event Wednesday at 2 pm ET.

What suspense! Ha! The worst kept secret in sports will officially be "revealed" today that the Boston Bruins will host the next Winter Classic on New Years Day at Fenway Park.

The only bit of mystery is the Bruins opponent. The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers were supposedly the two finalists for the gig, but wouldn't you want a natural, division rival in that spot, say like... the Canadiens if you were a Bruins fan?

Here's to hoping its Alexander the Gr8t and the B's on January One. I'll be there either way!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tanguay still job hunting?

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN asks why Alex Tanguay is still on the market.

"There's a point-a-game player left on the NHL's free-agency market, but his camp will be patient before making a decision now that the first and second wave of signings have passed.

Alex Tanguay is an immensely talented forward looking for a new home after spending a season in Montreal. He had 41 points (16-25) in 50 games with the Canadiens last season while earning $5.375 million, his season marred by a shoulder injury.

"We're talking to several teams," Tanguay's veteran agent, former NHL goalie Bob Sauve, told ESPN.com in French on Friday. "Lots of teams have expressed interest. We've had a few offers, but not yet something that we want to firm up.

"We're going to take our time," added Sauve. "We're going to wait, not only in terms of money, but also in terms of fit."

...but that is just it, isn't it? Where does Tanguay fit? LeBrun answers part of his own question as to why: Tanguay has not been a point-a-game player for the past two years and his goal production has been in decline for the past three years.

What is his value? Certainly not the $5 million plus he made last season. Tanguay's skills are not in question, just his production... which can be quite detrimental to the health of his wallet. Tanguay should fit with a number of teams that need offensive chances and a forward who is responsible in his own end, but don't necessarily require much edge or grit on the ice.

Tanguay should offer teams a chance to prove that at 29 he is not washed up. In the right situation Tanguay could turn the tables and have teams lining up to talk to him next off-season.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Islanders Win!

In our "spotlight" on the New York Islanders and their Lighthouse project, we pointed out that the local buzz surrounding the Isles' number one overall pick, their manufactured mystery about the selection and planned draft party was well orchestrated by the team.

Since that time, the Islanders thrilled their fans at said party by selecting John Tavares, had encouraging meetings regarding the Lighthouse project and yesterday, held a welcoming party for the new face of the franchise. Read the whole story and see the videos on the Isles website here.

“Today feels like we are celebrating the rebirth of the New York Islanders Franchise,” exclaimed Islanders broadcaster Howie Rose. And the press conference to welcome John Tavares was underway.

Cheers rang out from the more than 500 fans in attendance at Nassau Coliseum Wednesday afternoon, as the Islanders formally welcomed their No. 1 overall draft pick. With the scoreboard lowered to the floor, fans dressed in No. 91 Tavares t-shirts and jerseys, gave Tavares a standing ovation. There were even a few fans who were wearing t-shirts that had Tavares’ likeness emblazoned on the front."

The Islanders had 500 fans show up to a Wednesday afternoon presser!

There were games last season where 500 fans was not a bad turnout! This is a franchise with a glorious history. They were a post-expansion dynasty in the 80's, but faded faster than a Devo cassette after the last of their star players moved elsewhere.

Even if years down the road, Tavares is more like Alexandre Daigle than Sidney Crosby, the Islanders may very well be playing in front of thousands of frenzied faithful, in a new arena because they had played their cards right in 2009! Again, good for them and good for the NHL.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Man in Black... and Red

The Chicago Blackhawks, you fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never improperly file your paperwork regarding qualifying offers or your RFAs can be ruled UFAs!



TSN this morning:



"The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly on the verge of putting their restricted free-agent woes behind them.

According to a report in the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, the Hawks are finalizing a three-year contract worth more than $9 million with forward Kris Versteeg. The contract is similar to the one signed by defenceman Cam Barker on Monday...

The 23-year old Lethbridge, Alberta native scored 22 goals and 31 assists in 78 games for the Hawks last season while adding four goals and eight assists during Chicago's run to the Western Conference finals.

The $3 million cap hit would put the Blackhawks payroll at $55.578 million for the upcoming season, the NHL's salary cap is set at $56.8 million for the 2009-10 season and the Blackhawks still need to sign a goaltender to backup Cristobal Huet. A trade to free up some money is likely to happen with Versteeg, Barker and Patrick Sharp being named as potential bait."

When a team invests $17,934,541 annually in Marian Hossa,30, Brian Campbell, 30 and Cristobal Huet, 33, that team must look at letting go a Kris Versteeg, 23, Cam Barker, 23, or Patrick Sharp, 27, who would collectively represent a cap hit of $9, 900, 000 annually.

Is it crazy to think that the long money should go to the guys short on mileage?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Flyers, Pronger Sign Extension

Chris Pronger signed a seven-year, $35 million contract extension with the Flyers today. TSN reported earlier today:

"It looks as though Chris Pronger may finish his career as a Philadelphia Flyer.

Pronger's agent Pat Morris said on Tuesday that his client has signed a seven-year contract extension with the team worth $35 million. The contract also includes a no-movement clause, meaning Pronger, 34, is likely to wrap up his time in the NHL as a member of the Flyers.

'I am very excited to be able to retire a Philadelphia Flyer and I am looking forward to many years with the Flyers logo on my chest,' Pronger said in a statement.

'We are pleased to have one of the NHL's premier defencemen in our organization and under contract long term,' said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. "

'When we made the trade for Chris, it was our intention to get him signed to an extension and we are glad we could come to this agreement.'"

With all apologies to Flyer fan, Paul Holmgren and Mr. Pronger, the Flyers do NOT "have one of the NHL's premier defencemen in" their organization as a result of this signing. He will be 35 next season, playing a 16th season. To his credit, his point production has remained fairly consistent over the last few seasons. Yet anyone who watched him play in the playoffs last season saw Pronger frustrated playing against skilled players, taking more than a few dumb penalties particularly against Detroit.

Now, Philadelphia does boast about physical play, intimidation and guys with a penchant for racking up suspensions... he does seem like a perfect fit for the Raiders of the NHL. However, when facing the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Semin, Gaborik or Parise in the playoffs... when it really counts will Philly boast of games won or games suspended I wonder?

Leafs Get Their "Monster" In Net.



According to sportsnet.ca, the Monster, Jonas Gustavsson has chosen the Toronto Maple Leafs over other suitors Dallas and San Jose.

"A Swedish source told Sportsnet the long awaited decision by Jonas Gustavsson is over as he's decided to start his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. An announcement is expected as early as today as 'The Monster' signed off on a 1-year, $900,000 to start the 09-10 season backing up Vesa Toskola. "

Gustavsson was widely regarded as the best goaltender not playing in the NHL. The Monster steps into a good situation now as the Leafs have added a pair of net-clearing, shot-blocking blueliners to play in front of him.

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Maple Leafs Roster Continues Turn Over


Brian Burke continues the Toronto make over.

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin has agreed a three-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

TSN says the deal is worth an average of $3.8 million per season.

"Francois will be a welcome addition to our blue line," Leafs President and General Manager Brian Burke said Monday in a statement announcing the signing. "He’s a rock-solid, steady defender that will add character to our team."

Does this move open the door to finally trade Tomas Kaberle? A deal supposedly has been in the works with Vancouver, who would seek to replace the newly departed Ohlund. The Leafs are getting bigger, tougher as Burke has promised. Will they be better? Well, it says here that with the group that they have now assembled, they won't get beat on a nightly basis from a lack of effort!

Kovalev to the Capital


Not the Capitals in Washington... the Capital of Canada, you know, Ottawa? Where Dany Heatley may or may not be playing next season.

As reported by canadaeast.com, Alexei Kovalev has signed a two-year deal with the Ottawa Senators that will pay him $10 million.

"The 16-year veteran spent the past six seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and led the team with 26 goals and 65 points in 2008-09.

He earned $4.5 million last season and became an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

The Senators become Kovalev's fourth NHL team. In 1,151 career games with the Rangers, Pittsburgh and Montreal, he has 394 goals and 547 assists for 941 points, while adding 1,200 penalty minutes."
It's tough to analyze this move. The Sens have been through some serious drama with one malcontent, Heatley, and now have signed Kovalev, who had to be placed in "time-out" last season in Montreal because he wasn't seeing eye-to-eye with the team.
We see this in all sports. Some teams just have a magnet for guys who cause strife. Other teams would not even consider adding a guy that has a me-first track record. If this move goes south for Ottawa, don't go feeling sorry for them.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4: Who Still Remains Independent?


Entering the fourth day of free agency, many impact players still remain on the market. Let us examine some of those players and discuss where they may end up.


UFAs


  • Alex Tanguay, LW - Avs, Thrashers, Devils: Avs freed up space in the Smyth deal today. Thrashers need 1 more skilled forward, Devils replace Gionta?

  • Alex Kovalev, RW - Caps, Sabres, Islanders: Caps replace Fedorov, Sabres and Isles add a skilled, veteran point producer.

  • Saku Koivu, C - Wild, Ducks, Rangers: Wild have his brother, Ducks his buddy Selanne and Rangers need players signed.

  • Petr Sykora, RW - Pens, Devils: the two teams who see value in Sykora's game, or the KHL beckons.

  • Ales Kotalik, RW - Oilers, Devils, Rangers: Oilers keep a speedy asset, Devils and Rangers see above.

  • Maxim Afinogenov, RW - Caps replace Kozlov?

  • Francois Beauchemin, D - Leafs, Habs, Pens: Leafs keep adding hard-nosed players, Habs replace Komisarek, Pens Scuderi?

  • Sergei Zubov, D - Blues, Rangers, Ducks, Canucks: Zubov getting up in years but all there teams still see a speedy, puck moving blueliner.

  • Dennis Seidenberg, D - Canes, Jackets, Rangers: Somewhat underrated balanced d-man. All of these teams fit nicely.

  • Jay McKee, D - Pens, Preds, Hawks: Stay at home, hitter type.

  • Manny Fernandez, G - Leafs, Stars, Sharks: Whatever teams lose out on the "Monster" sweepstakes will look at the best netminder available.


RFAs


  • Phil Kessel, RW: The Bruins just don't have the cap space to keep him. Trade still most likely possibility.

  • Jack Johnson, D: The Kings just dealt away a high priced blueliner, Tom Preissing, in the Smyth deal... to free up space to retain JJ? Johnson has been rumored in trades all off-season, particularly Pittsburgh to play with his BFF Sid, but I cannot see this working out.

On a related note, Mirtle put together a fantastic chart on all 30 teams and their remaining cap space. It is particularly interesting because he considers each teams' projected budget, not just the cap max.


If you have not been paying attention, here are the latest moves:

The Colorado Avalanche have traded forward Ryan Smyth to the Los Angeles Kings for defensemen Kyle Quincey, Tom Preissing and a fifth-round pick.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Ruslan Fedotenko signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract.

Ryane Clowe re-signed with the San Jose Sharks. ESPN reports that it's a four-year deal for just over $3.5 million a season.

The Vancouver Canucks signed winger Mikael Samuelsson with a three-year, $7.5 million deal. Samuelsson in an interview later stated that the "money was key." - refreshing, huh?

The Minnesota Wild signed defenseman Shane Hnidy to a one-year contract. Value not disclosed.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Getting Nash-ty out there!

The frenzy has subsided to a nice friendly meal and some drinks. Now that the big spenders have ordered new checkbooks there is time to watch the tickers and follow the most interesting storylines.

With the Heatley drama clearly on the back burner, let us turn our attention to another goal scoring wizard who is is the midst of talks about his future: Rick Nash.

The Blue Jackets and Nash began initial discussions on an extension on Tuesday. At first, it was reported that the two sides were far apart, but the Columbus Dispatch now reports that a new deal is near and may be imminent.
"Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash hasn't signed a contract extension yet, but a deal could be struck soon. Negotiations became more intense yesterday between Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson and Nash's agent, Joe Resnick. Sources told The Dispatch last night that the sides are not far apart.

Apparently, two offers have been discussed: a seven-year deal that would pay Nash between $8 million and $9 million per season, and a 10-year deal worth between $7.5 million and $8.5 million per season. A no-movement clause is expected to be included in any deal, meaning Nash could not be traded or waived without his approval." Read the rest of Aaron Portzline's story here.

Nash is young and the cornerstone of this franchise. Columbus made the playoffs for the first time last season. If they can secure Nash, the Jackets become a much more attractive destination for free agents to consider, but climbing into legitimate Cup contention in the West is still a daunting task for any team, even one on the rise!
Just as I write this, TSN announced:
"Rick Nash will be staying in Columbus for the long haul.
The 25-year old forward has signed an eight-year, $62.4 million contract extension with the Blue Jackets. The yearly cap hit on the deal is $7.8 million."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day Two Moves

The Atlanta Thrashers signed forward Nik Antropov to a four-year, $16 million deal. Antropov, 29, set career-highs on last year with 28 goals and 59 points in 81 games for the Leafs and Rangers.


The Thrashers also re-signed forward Chris Thorburn and are executing their plan to fit coach John Anderson's up-tempo game. Adding another veteran forward may be enough to convince superstar captain Ilya Kovalchuk to sign a long term extension.



The Los Angeles Kings finally were successful in signing defenseman Rob Scuderi to a four-year, $13.6 million contract. Scuds made the hockey world take notice last season with the Penguins with an outstanding playoff performance, including making a "save" to preserve a 2-1 lead in game 6 of the Finals.



The Florida Panthers signed defenseman Jordan Leopold, who was acquired in the deal that sent the rights to Jay Bouwmeester to Calgary, to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million.

The Carolina Hurricanes signed Chad LaRose to a two-year deal that will pay him $1.5 million in the upcoming season and US$1.9 million in 2010-11. LaRose, 27, had a career year playing in81 games, and scoring 19 goals and 31 points. He was instrumental in helping the Hurricanes reach the Conference finals last season.







The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed RFA forward Mikhail Grabovski to a three-year contract averaging $2.9 million a season. Grabovski, 25, had an excellent first season, scoring 20 goals and 48 points in 78 games.


The Boston Bruins have re-signed forward Mark Recchi to a one-year, $1 million contract.




Surprisingly, the Phoenix Coyotes added another veteran signing defenseman Adrian Aucoin to a one-year, $2.25-million deal.


Free Agency Results: Day One, Part Two


Continuing our recap of the day one signings...


As Paul Harvey used to say: "and now, the rest of the story"



Nashville Predators:

Re-signed forwards Steve Sullivan and Joel Ward. Sullivan signed a 2-year deal for $7.5 million is the teams' inspirational leader after battling back from two years off from injury. Ward nearly netted 20 goals last season and represents a good value.





New Jersey Devils:

Re-signed role player Andy Greene. The Devils big accomplishment was made the night before re-signing Johnny Oduya. New Jersey has been linked to Chad LaRose among others. Lou will add somebody within the next few days.





New York Islanders:

Signed goaltender Dwayne Roloson to a 2-year, $5 million deal. Roloson took over the starting job last season in Edmonton. Will he grab the reigns in Long Island too? the Isles had their day in the sun at the draft, and may look to add unspectacular vets to guide their young future stars.





New York Rangers:

Signed forwards Marian Gaborik and Donald Brashear. Gaborik was the big prize that New York was looking for. However his 5-year, $37.5 contract is typical Rangers all the way. Gaborik is a dynamite talent, but he is injury prone and played less than 20 games last season. If he cannot stay on the ice for 70+ games each year, which is highly unlikely, this will just be another free agent bomb for the Blueshirts. New York also signed a ultra-high mileage goon for 2 years in Brashear, requiring the team to pay $1.4 million each year for a guy that does little more than take penalties.





Ottawa Senators:

Resigned forward Chris Neil. While Ottawa waited for Dany Heatley to make up his mind (what a joke), Neil turned down several more lucrative offers to return to the Sens, inking a 4-year, $8 million contract. Ottawa needs to take control of this situation, give Heatley an ultimatum and move forward.





Philadelphia Flyers:

Signed goalie Brian Boucher and forward Ian Laperriere. Boucher returns to the team that drafted him by signing a 2-year, $1.85 million deal to compete with former malcontent Ray Emery. Laperriere ads effort and energy but not the scoring touch of the newly departed Knuble. Philadelphia has made moves this off-season, signing a new goaltending tandem, trading for Pronger, etc... but i am not sure that they are any better off for it.





Phoenix Coyotes:

Signed forward Vernon Fiddler and goaltender Jason LaBarbera. You know what you are gonna get out of Fiddler: he has scored 11 goals in each of the last 3 seasons in Nashville. LaBarbera is a capable backup. Nothing flashy here. How could there be? Phoenix needs to shore up their ownership situation. Until then only minor tinkering can be expected.





Pittsburgh Penguins:

Signed forward Michael Rupp. Versatile, tough guy Rupp signed a 2-year, $1.65 million contract. Rupp's signing probably indicates that the Pens will look to move resident pugilist Goddard. Pittsburgh has been busy concentrating on bringing back their own. look for Pittsburgh to stay in the hunt for Scuderi and Fedotenko, but GM Ray Shero will have plan B at the ready if those re-signings fall through.





San Jose Sharks:

Re-signed defenseman Kent Huskins. San Jose acquired Huskins from the Ducks at the trade deadline and then he promptly went down for the rest of the season with a broken foot. The Sharks want to see what they got in the big blueliner. Don't expect San Jose to do much other than look to add some grit to some of the forward lines.





St. Louis Blues:

Signed goalie Ty Conklin. The Blues get a much needed experienced backup at $1.3 million for the next 2 seasons. I expected the Blues to be much more active yesterday, and I have not heard anything on what they might be trying to accomplish in free agency regarding the talent still available.





Tampa Bay Lightning:

Re-signed defenseman Lukas Krajicek and signed defenseman Mattias Ohlund and forward Matt Walker. Walker signed for 4 years, $6.8 million and provides Tampa with some two way effort, but the splash was made with defense. Ohlund, 7-years, $26.25 million. Tampa gets a power play QB and a veteran leader, but is on the hook until Ohlund is 39 years old! Time will tell and who knows what is going on in the Lightning camp?



Toronto Maple Leafs:

Signed defensman Mike Komisarek and forward Colton Orr. Traded Pavel Kubina and the rights to Tim Stapleton for defenseman Garnet Exelby and forward Colin Stuart. GM Brian Burke vowed to improve his team's toughness and made the moves to do so. Komisarek was the big signing. The rugged, shot-blocking specialist signed a 5-year, $22.5 million deal. Toronto also made a solid move by adding the bone-crunching Exelby and big wingers Orr and Stuart. No matter what you may think of the moves, Toronto has a set course and have already set the wheels in motion to being a very physical team. Toronto still faces questions regarding their scoring ability and goaltending. If they are indeed able to land Swedish netminder Jonas (Monster) Gustavsson, they could find themselves on the fast track to contending.



Vancouver Canucks:

Re-signed forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin and signed Aaron Rome. Vancouver started the day with big news. they were able to retain the twins with identical 5-year, $30.5 million contracts. The Canucks nearly had to do this top six forwards are hard to come by and with the competition out there waiting for their services, the team signed them for a workable rate. Vancouver will certainly be seeking to compliment this signing after an encouraging campaign last year.



Washington Capitals:

Signed forward Mike Knuble to a 2-year, $5.6 million deal. the Caps were expected to be quiet, but signing the guy they wanted worked to perfection. The quick and easy man-shopping

trip is now likely over as the Caps don't have much room to maneuver. Not much needs to be tinkered with on their high octane machine.

Free Agency Results: Day One, Part One

See you in July!

There were some very busy bees yesterday and some that just sat by a watched the action. Here are the first day tallies and reports for each team:



Anaheim Ducks:

Re-signed defenseman Scott Niedermayer and forward Erik Christensen. Niedermayer inked a 1-year deal at $6 million and Christensen's terms were undisclosed. Neither signing was unexpected and both were solid, but short-term moves.



Atlanta Thrashers:

Traded defenseman Garnet Exelby and forward Colin Stuart for defenseman Pavel Kubina and the rights to RFA forward Tim Stapleton. The Thrashers swapped size and grit for speed and skill. Fan favorite Exelby was, by far, their hardest hitter and Stuart a big, young winger. However, in return Atlanta got a power play QB in Kubina, who can lug the puck and a diminutive Stapleton who has some considerable speed. The jury is out on this trade until we can see what plan the Thrashers have for this off-season.



Boston Bruins:

Signed forward Steve Begin and re-signed Byron Bitz. Role players. No movement on Kessel.



Buffalo Sabres:

Signed defenseman Steve Montadore for 2-years, $3.1 million. Solid, budget conscious moves. Montadore seems to get a little better every year.



Carolina Hurricanes:

Re-signed Erik Cole to a 2-year $5.8 million deal. Cole had no intention of leaving the 'Canes and they NEEDED to do this.



Calgary Flames:

Signed forward Fredrik Sjostrom and re-signed defenseman Adam Pardy. Jay Bouwmeester counts here as well as he made all the headlines the night before. Landing the big ticket, Jay Bo gives the Flames a powerful and potent blueline, but Calgary will have to hope that their younger forwards Moss and Bourque can step up for the loss of Mike Cammalleri.



Chicago Black Hawks:

Signed prized winger Marian Hossa and forwards Tomas Kopecky and John Madden. Hossa was the signing of the day. Chicago inked Hoss to a 12-year, $62.8 million, front-loaded deal. Twelve years! Although they added a premier player, took two away from rival Detroit and added a fantastic face off man in Madden, the Hawks paid by having to let key players go in the process. Havlat, Walker, Pahlsson and Khabibulin all moved elsewhere yesterday. Chicago now possesses an impressive array of forwards, but it will be absolutely vital that mega bucks defenseman, Brian Campbell and netminder Christobal Huet play much than they did last season if they are going to be serious contenders in the West.



Columbus Blue Jackets:

Signed forward Sammy Pahlsson and goaltender Mathieu Garon. Both deals were reasonable, if not unspectacular. Pahlsson brings some skill and two-way ability, while Garon gives the Jackets an experienced backup to their super-sophomore, goalie Mason.



Colorado Avalanche:

Signed goaltender Craig Anderson and forward David Koci. Anderson, who played extremely well last season in Florida, agreed to a 2-year, $3.6 million deal and will be counted upon to assume the staring job in Denver. The mammoth 6'6", 238 lb., Koci brings...ummm, shade? Anderson was an excellent and economical signing for the 'lanche. Low risk, high reward!



Dallas Stars:

Nada. A surprise really. I expected them to be uncharacteristically busy yesterday. Nope.



Detroit Red Wings:

Lost players to Chicago and St. Louis. Not like they need anyone.



Edmonton Oilers:

Signed netminder Nikolai Khabibulin and re-signed Jason Strudwick. the Oilers waited around all day to see if they could convince Dany Heatley to accept the trade to play there. No dice. Yet they did upgrade at goaltender, bringing in the super streaky "Bulin Wall" at a reasonable $15 million over 4 years.



Florida Panthers:

Re-signed forwards David Booth and Radek Dvorak and signed goalie Scott Clemmensen. Booth is a gifted scorer and maybe Florida's most important player. Locking him up with a 6-year, $25.5 million contract will seem a huge bargain down the road. Dvorak is a known commodity and fills a role at minimal cost. Clemmensen provides an excellent fill-in at goaltender when needed. It will be interesting to see how the team handles losing Jay Bo.



Los Angeles Kings:

Nothing at all! They tried and tried at all the big names and came up empty.



Minnesota Wild:

Signed forward Martin Havlat and defenseman Greg Zanon. Havlat will essentially be replacing Gaborik for a lesser fee. The winger signed a 6-year, $30 million contract. Zanon gives the Wild a girthy, physical presence at an acceptable rate of $1.93 per season for 3 years. Minnesota will continue to make more moves in the next few days, as they are known to be pursuing Ruslan Fedotenko and Rob Scuderi.



Montreal Canadiens:

Signed forwards, Brian Gionta and Mike Cammalleri and defensemen Hal Gill and Jaroslav Spacek. The Canadiens spent their money! After trading for Scott Gomez and his $7.357 million cap hit, Montreal added Cammalleri's $6 million for the next five years and Gionta's $5 million over the same term. That is more than $18 million each year for just 3 guys! Gill and Spacek give the Canadiens size and veteran leadership. Cammalleri was easily their best move, but even he is no guaranteed success! Montreal need to hit home runs with this money and they fell short of the fences. After his stint with the Rangers, I just don't see how Gomez lives up to his pay rate. In Montreal that is a bad, bad thing! GM Bob Gainey might have just punched his ticket out.

"Wild" Day Comes To a Close

Winger Marian Gaborik agreed to a five-year contract with the New York Rangers which will pay him $7.5 million per year.



Gaborik was pursued by a handful of teams, but the Rangers were able to use Scott Gomez' recently vacated salary slot to pay the oft-injured forward the premium coin.




Smarting from the loss of their star player, the Minnesota Wild went to work and agreed to a deal with forward Martin Havlat on a six-year, $30 million contract.


Minnesota is also reported to be one of two finalists, along with Anaheim, to secure the services of former Montreal captain, Saku Koivu. The Wild already employ Koivu's brother, Mikko, who led the Wild in scoring last season.



Forward Chris Neil agreed to a four-year, $8 million contract to remain with the Ottawa Senators. Neil, reportedly turned down offers from the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs.




... and surprise! The Dany Heatley saga continues!


According to TSN's Darren Dreger, "Heatley wont decide tonight. He believed NYR and SJ were the main targets before Oilers offer was accepted."
Meaning now Dany is in charge of all business decisions for the Senators. Seriously people... why would anyone want this guy on their team?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Montreal, Toronto: Turning Over a New Leaf?




Montreal and Toronto were expected to splash the pot today and neither disappointed. The Canadiens had the most cash to blow, and boy, did they ever!
Yesterday the Habs made headlines by trading for Scotty Gomez. Today, they reeled in one of the big ones... Mike Cammalleri signed a five-year deal with the Canadiens, worth $30 million. Last season with Calgary Cammalleri scored a career high, 39 times!
UPDATE: Brian Gionta has signed a five-year, $25 million deal with the Canadiens.
The Canadiens also added two blueliners signing Jaroslav Spacek to a three-year, $11.5 million contract and Hal Gill to a two-year, $4.5 million deal.
A few days ago Brian Burke told everyone how he was going to remake the Leafs into a rough and tumble group. Burke made good on his promise by adding bruiser Colton Orr early in the day, but he wasn't done.
Toronto plucked Mike Komisarek from their nemesis, the Montreal Canadiens by signing the 27-year old, shot-blocking, bulldog defenseman to a five-year, $22.5 million deal. Burke then traded Pavel Kubina and the rights to forward Tim Stapleton to the Atlanta Thrashers for one of the games hardest hitters, defenseman Garnet Exelby and winger Colin Stuart.
If that wasn't enough, Toronto has also put in an offer for former Senator tough guy, Chris Neil. Tougher indeed!
The Edmonton Oilers, who are still waiting to find out if they have a trade for Dany Heatley, lost their starting netminder when Roloson signed a deal with the Islanders. Edmonton did not wait around long when they signed the "Bulin Wall," Nikolai Khabibulin to a four-year, $15 million contract.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed goaltender Mathieu Garon to a two-year deal paying the most recent Stanley Cup champion backup goalie $1.2 million per season. The Jackets also signed Sammy Pahlsson to a three-year, $7.95 million contract.
Speaking of Pittsburgh, the Penguins signed former New Jersey forward Mike Rupp to a two-year, $1.65 million deal.
Some notable re-signings included Scott Niedermayer returning to the Ducks, Erik Cole to Carolina and Steve Sullivan with the Predators.
For a full list of today's signings visit TSN's sortable free agent tracker.

Mo' Money, Mo' Money, Mo' Money!


The Chicago Blackhawks have signed winger Marian Hossa to a 12-year contract averaging $5.2 million per season. The deal requires $59.3 million to be paid out over the first eight years, and $3.5 million total for the final four years. Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin is a UFA. With the Hossa deal now in place, will the Blackhawks have to let him walk... or possibly trade their other netminder Huet?
With all the hype surrounding the Hossa deal, Chicago did not stop there: signing another former Red Wing, Tomas Kopecky to a two-year deal worth $1.2 million per season.
Dwayne Roloson has signed a two-year deal with the New York Islanders for $5-million.
Roloson took over of the starting job and appeared in 63 games for the Oilers in '08-'09, posting a 28-24-9 record with a 2.77 GAA and 1 shutout.
Another goaltender, Craig Anderson has signed a two-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche. Anderson, 28, was 15-7-5 with Florida last season, posting a .924 save percentage, 2.71 GAA and 3 shutouts in 31 games.
The Buffalo Sabres have agreed to terms with defenseman Steve Montador on a two-year deal worth $1.55 million per season.
Winger Mike Knuble has signed with the Washington Capitals for two years at $2.8 million per season.
TSN reports that The Rangers have agreed to terms with tough guy Donald Brashear.
... and another goalie signing. Ty Conklin has agreed to a two-years deal with an average of $1.3 million per year with the St. Louis Blues.
That concludes hour number three. Nothing new on Kovalev or Kubina yet.

For Sale: Who is Buying, the first 2 hours...

The Vancouver Canucks have re-signed the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik. The brothers signed identical five-year contacts worth $6.1 million per season with no-trade clauses included. Daniel led the Canucks in goal scoring with 31 last year and Henrik had a career-high 22 goals. Both finished with 82 points on the season.





The Florida Panthers have re-signed winger Radek Dvorak to a two-year deal averaging $1.7 million per season. Dvorak, 32, scored 15 goals and had 21 assists with Florida in '08-'09.


With all of their recent drama, the Tampa Bay Lightning still found a way to lure former Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund with a new seven-year contract worth $24.5 million. (7 years?!?)
The 32-year-old Swede had 6 goals and 19 assists in 81 games with the Canucks last season.


Toronto GM Brian Burke has accomplished one of his goals to make the Maple Leafs "tougher" by adding forward Colton Orr, signing him to a four-year contract worth $4 million. Orr, 27, played the last season with the Rangers and had 5 points with 193 penalty minutes last season.
Still unconfirmed:
CBC reported that Alexei Kovalev has re-signed with Montreal. Kovi's agent refuted the report.
TSN's Darren Dreger reports that Marian Hossa has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks and that Atlanta has traded for Toronto's Pavel Kubina.
Stay tuned!

No Deal: Heatley Rejects Trade

Dany Heatley will NOT be an Oiler afterall... at least for now. By refusing to waive his no trade clause to go to Edmonton, the Senators will be on the hook for Heatley's $4 million bonus to be paid before midnight.

After the 1st, the bonus payment cannot be transferred in cash considerations to a new team, which means Ottawa loses $4 million in cap space whether Heatley is traded or not.

It appears that the fork... has been stuck to Ottawa, and they may very well be done trying to trade the disgruntled forward until the trade deadline next season.

It is now free agent time... there will be a hurricane of activity by the afternoon! Stay updated here.