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Monday, June 30, 2008

Fedorov apparently asking for $4 million per season

From Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post:

It's believed that Fedorov is seeking around $4 million per year, which is about
$2 million more than the Caps are comfortable offering. There could be some
bonuses involved (one a year deal) in order to close some of the gap.

Read the entire article here.

If anyone pays Sergei Fedorov $4 million per season, they should be drug tested immediately.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Gaustad re-signs with Sabres

From John Vogl of the Buffalo News:

The Sabres have taken one of their restricted free agents off the market, agreeing to terms with Paul Gaustad on a four-year deal worth $9.2 million. The big forward and fan favorite will earn $1.7 million this season and $2.5 in each of the three years after that.

Read more from Vogl here.

Gaustad is a massive winger, whose hands aren't that bad. His size and willingness to battle in the corners and drop the gloves are important to the Sabres' cause. Not a bad signing by Darcy Regier.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Blue Jackets to make big bid for Redden

From Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch:

-- The Blue Jackets will take a major swing at defensemen Wade Redden. Not
saying they'll get him, but they'll make a hell of an offer.

Read more notes from Puck-rakers here.

The Jackets will one of a few teams that will toss a lot of money at Wade Redden. Teams like San Jose, Florida and Chicago are sure to be interested.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Free Agent Misses

Over at Fox Sports, Spector discusses some free-agent signings that went awry.

Signing a top free agent may be more expensive than drafting a potential young star, but at the very least a general manager knows that via free agency he's getting an established NHL player who can help his club right away.

History, however, has shown that a major free-agent signing can sometimes turn into a disastrous move.

Illegal Curve is also wary of the big-ticket signings, as they rarely ever cover their contract. That being said, teams can find some gems if they are willing to sort through the bargain basement bin.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Ken Campbell Discusses Long-Term Contracts

The Hockey News columnist Ken Campbell is of the opinion that long term contracts only set a team up for future pain, and will eventually lead to more labour unrest. The entire article can be found here.

But mark my words, as the CBA deadline gets closer, the league will direct teams not to sign players past 2011-12, the same way it did prior to the last lockout. And don’t think the owners won’t be looking for big changes in the next deal; there’s little doubt all those contracts that carry over after ’11-12 will be on the table as one of the negotiating points.

Illegal Curve sees the point Mr. Campbell is trying to make, but can also see how teams like the long term certainty the contracts provide. If the salary cap keeps rising, some of these deals may end up being bargains a few years down the road.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Ian Mendes Takes Erik Karlsson to Ikea

Sportsnet's Ian Mendes took the Senators' first-round selection to Ikea to get to know the prospect a little better.

The entire article can be found here.

As we cruise down the 417 highway towards IKEA, our conversation flows effortlessly from topic to topic. Erik explains how he worked out with NHL players last summer near his hometown of Landsbro, Sweden. He proudly mentions that he scored three times on five penalty shots against New York Rangers superstar Henrik Lundqvist during one session.
Though these pieces are largely fluff, it still offers some insight into the prospect that hockey fans will surely enjoy over a long, hockey-less summer.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Panthers Re-Sign Olesz

TSN is reporting that the Florida Panthers has re-signed forward Rostislav Olesz to a 6-year, $18.75 million dollar deal.

Olesz, picked 7th overall in the 2004 draft by the Panthers, was on the verge of a breakout season but was hampered by a hand injury most of the year. He ended up with 14 goals, 12 assists and 26 points in 56 games.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Zhitnik officially bought out

From TSN:

The Atlanta Thrashers bought out Zhitnik after he had a disappoitning season. The 15-year veteran was acquired from Philadelphia for defenceman Braydon Coburn on Feb. 24, 2007. Last season, the Kiev, Ukraine native recorded three goals and five assists with a minus- 8 rating.

The 35-year-old Zhitnik was a 4th round selection, 81st overall, by Los Angeles in 1991.

Read the entire piece here.

Two words: Braydon Coburn.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Becoming an NHL Owner

Fanhouse features an excellent article about the current troubles of a select group of NHL owners, and wonders if the NHL is doing enough due diligence in examining membership applications to it's exclusive club.

But when you look at what some NHL owners have done in recent days, you begin to wonder what in the world the selection process to become one entails. I imagine it's got a lot more to do with sweet talking NHL HQ and having the appearance of riches than what your management principles and moral values are.
Illegal Curve acknowledges the fact that examining every facet of a multi-millionaire's life is tough, but the more these allegations come out, the more one wonders if there is some truth to the rumour that the NHL is not interested in additional Canadian teams.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Memorial Cup History

Gregg Drinnan over at Taking Note has done an excellent job in compiling brief histories of all the Memorial Cups going back many decades. I have lost track of where I left off linking the stories during my absence, so I encourage everyone to take a look when you have time. The pieces include some fascinating tidbits about Major Junior's premier event.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Devils to Pursue Hossa?

Tom Gulitti of northjersey.com says that the New Jersey Devils may be in the market for Marion Hossa in order to propel the Devils back the Eastern Conference lime-light. Secondary targets might be Wade Redden and Brian Campbell.


Although pursuing such big-name players would seem to be out of character for Lamoriello, he suggests otherwise.

"All of that goes on behind the scenes and we don't talk about it," he said. "If we can do something that makes our team better, we'll do that. You try to do that during the regular season, but you can't always do it."


I do not foresee the Devils making a big splash in the market. They have some good young talent up front already and spending big dollars on Hossa or Campbell seems to be too big of a departure from their team building model.

Ballhype: hype it up!

The Future of Visors in the NHL

The Hockey News recently polled the top draft picks on their plans for wearing visors in the NHL.


“A visor?” Toronto’s Luke Schenn said with a chuckle. “That’s a ways away. I’m notPublish Post too sure.”

“Oh yeah, of course (I’ll wear a visor),” Nikita Filatov said, laughing as if there wasn’t any need to think over the decision.


Though Illegal Curve feels it should be the player's choice, the writing is on the wall. Visors will be mandatory sooner rather than later.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Free Agent (Betting) Frenzy and 2009 Stanley Cup Odds

Every year, on July 1st, two significant events occur that people in Canada care about and Americans don’t. The first is that unrestricted free agents can be pursued in the NHL. Can you guess the second? Though not the most exciting year for free agents, there are more than a few impact players available this year.

As I’ve mentioned many times in my column, one of the advantages the hockey bettor has over people betting on other North American sports is that few people pay attention to hockey. The fewer people betting on hockey, the less reactive the futures market is to changes in team personnel.

Hockey is so insignificant, though, that I was only able to find two sportsbooks offering odds on next year’s Stanley Cup winner: 10bet and Bet365. I have never used the site 10bet, but they are rated C by Sportsbook Reivew and do not allow American players.

Perhaps I am reconstructing history, but I remember more sites having futures markets up last year. Specifically 5dimes and Betfair. I remember scrambling to bet money on Philadelphia after they signed top-tier free agents.

You see friends, the hockey futures market, especially in the summer, is not a priority for sportsbooks. Therefore when a difference maker like Brian Campbell is signed, you will probably have time to bet on his new team at the same odds as before he was signed.

What you will likely have to do, is wait until August, when more sportsbooks release odds for the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals and then determine if these odds are based on each team’s performance last year or if teams' free agent acquisitions are incorporated.

Below are the 2009 Stanley Cup Futures odds from 10Bet and Bet365. I was surprised to see that the Montreal Canadiens are next year’s Stanley Cup favorites. If you find any other sites offering 2009 Stanley Cup odds or have a comment about these odds, feel free to use the comments section or to e-mail illegalcurve@gmail.com.


Montreal Canadiens……….......…...+555………………………+550

Detroit Red Wings..........................+555................................+600

Pittsburgh Penguins........................+650................................+650

San Jose Sharks.............................+1000...............................+1100

Anaheim Ducks.............................+1400..............................+1400

Washington Capitals......................+1400..............................+1400

New York Rangers........................+1500..............................+1400

New Jersey Devils........................+1500...............................+1600

Ottawa Senators............................+1550..............................+1600

Minnesota Wild............................+1800..............................+1800

Dallas Stars..................................+1800..............................+1800

Philadelphia Flyers........................+2000.............................+1800

Colorado Avalanche......................+2000.............................+1800

Calgary Flames.............................+2000.............................+2000

Buffalo Sabres..............................+2000.............................+2500

Vancouver Canucks.......................+2600............................+2500

Carolina Hurricanes.......................+2500............................+2800

Boston Bruins...............................+3000............................+3500

Tampa Bay Lightning....................+3500............................+3500

Nashville Predators........................+4000...........................+4000

Florida Panthers.............................+4200...........................+4000

Chicago Blackhawks......................

Phoenix Coyotes............................+5100.............................+5000

Edmonton Oilers...........................+5200..............................+5000

Columbus Blue Jackets..................+6500..............................+6500

St. Louis Blues..............................+6500.............................+6500

Toronto Maple Leafs......................+6500.............................+6500

New York Islanders.......................+7000..............................+6500

Atlanta Thrashers...........................+8100..............................+8000

Los Angeles Kings.........................+10000...........................+10000

For illegal curve, I'm Ari Baum-Cohen

May 22 Frozen Assets w/Links to 2007-2008 Columns

Ballhype: hype it up!

The Edmonton take on the Visnovsky trade

From Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal:

"Although it's tough to see good players and good people move on, we feel we've made a step towards improving our overall offence," general manager Kevin Lowe said in statement released by the team. "(Visnovsky) has been one of the premier offensive defencemen over the past five years."

Read the short article here.

From Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun:
In making this deal, Lowe telegraphed another - acquiring Visnovsky means Pitkanen is about to become part of a package deal for a forward.

Read the entire article here.

From Jonathan at Copper & Blue:
What does this do to the Oilers defense? The first thing I'd like to point out is that the Oilers have made the correct choice in the Smid vs. Greene choice for the bottom pairing, since in addition to his higher upside and younger age, Smid's already a better player. Secondly, the obvious answer is that Joni Pitkanen is on his way out of town, because there simply isn't room for 4 defensemen in the 4M+ range. As nice as it is to imagine that the Oilers have Sheldon Souray on the way out, it just isn't happening, and Tom Gilbert just signed a long-term deal, so Pitkanen's out, likely for a top-6 forward with grit. My guess would be Erik Cole, but there are other possibilities. It's too bad, really; Pitkanen's a better player than we've seen to date.

Read his entire entry here.

There you have it. I have to admit, I am somewhat surprised by this deal. With Souray having a contract that no one will take on, the Oilers have a lot of money locked up in him and Visnovsky. Also, with this trade most definitely comes the inevitable trade of Joni Pitkanen. If Pitkanen is traded for another higher salaried player, then I think the Oilers will have taken on too much money. Keeping Pitkanen, who is younger and has more prime years, and trading for a scoring winger (I guess that wasn't possible) may have been the preferred route.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Marleau expected to stay in San Jose

From David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News:

Today, for example, General Manager Doug Wilson could send captain Patrick Marleau to another team before the no-trade clause in his two-year, $12.6 million contract extension takes effect Tuesday. Rumors over the past two months have had Marleau wearing several different jerseys next season.

But a source familiar with the situation said Sunday that Marleau is not the subject of any trade talk, making it all but certain he will remain a Shark.

Read the entire article here.

I'm sure this is just a break from the usual number of Marleau rumors that circulate during the season.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Scott Howson will match any offer sheet

From Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch:

The Blue Jackets have one restricted free agent who could attract interest -- goaltender Pascal Leclaire, considered a budding No. 1 goaltender. Center R.J. Umberger might have a market, too.

"I'm not worried about offer sheets," Howson said. "We'll match any offer. We have the (salary cap) room, and we'll match."

Read the entire article here.

I doubt that there will be any offer sheets this summer.

Ballhype: hype it up!

It won't be easy for Sather to re-sign Jagr

From Larry Brooks of the NY Post:

It's not going to be easy for Sather to seal the deal now. It's not going to be easy for the GM to convince Jagr to sign a one-year contract with easily achievable bonuses that would justly make him the Blueshirts' highest-paid player while giving them the maneuverability to: A) add Sundin on the same type of over-35, one-year deal; B) retain Sean Avery ; and C) re-sign Michal Rozsival as the No. 1 defenseman.

It's not going to be easy for the Rangers to appeal to this immensely proud man, not with the clock about to strike midnight and the GM having allowed the sands to slip through the hourglass without a care in the world.

Read more from Brooks here.

It seems fairly simple, if the Rangers offer Jagr enough money on a two-year deal (or a one year deal with easily reachable bonuses), then they will be able to re-sign him.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Rolston still looking forward to July 1

From Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

"Whether we get something done with Tampa or not, we haven't talked to Tampa yet. We have 24 hours," Rolston said in a phone interview. "But as far as I'm concerned, it's no different today than it was yesterday. I'm a free agent July 1. I wanted to go to July 1 and see where I'm at in the NHL market. This is the last
time I might become a free agent."

Read more about the Rolston trade here.

As I said last night, why did Tampa give away a draft pick for 24 extra hours of exclusive negotiating? If the team's offers are so strong, then why not just wait the extra day and throw money at Rolston? From the sounds of it, Rolston is going to explore his options after July 1.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Lombardi's take on the Visnovsky trade

From Rich Hammond of the L.A. Daily News:

"It's never easy to give up a player of (Visnovsky's) caliber, but for the direction of this franchise, this exchange allows us to add two players who fit the long-term vision for this team," Kings president and general manager Dean Lombardi said in a statement.

Read the entire article here.

The Kings are clearly purging some salary that was going to their veteran players, and re-allocating that money to their youthful core.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Ducks may look to trade for second-line center

From Dan Wood of the Orange County Register:

"Right now, having profiled the guys that are there and how much money they'll get, I doubt we'll do much on July 1," Burke said. "Second-line center is a void, but we might have to get this player the old-fashioned way, and trade for him."

Having added 10 prospects during the entry draft earlier this month, including seven in the first three rounds, the Ducks have some chips to play.

"There is trade bait in the system," Burke said. "If we don't like the price tags on July 1, we'll wait. We don't play a game that counts in the standings until October."

Read the entire article here.

Doug Weight sure didn't work out in that role, so look for Burke to trade a defenseman, or some young assets, for a solid second-line center.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Analyzing the Ryan Malone contract

After reading that Ryan Malone had signed a 7 year, $31.5 million dollar deal on Sunday afternoon, I have to admit, I wasn't overly surprised. The Bolts have made it be known they are going to be spending money, and all signs pointed to Malone getting a massive deal. Now that the deal is official, I can't say I think it is a good one.

I just have one question:

Is Ryan Malone that much different than Jarret Stoll?

If provided with the career numbers for both of these players, it would be almost impossible to determine who's who. Malone's career points-per-game is 0.57; whereas Stoll's career points-per-game is 0.58. Malone has played 299 career NHL games; whereas Stoll has played 286 career NHL games. Malone has averaged 18:10 minutes of ice-time over his career; whereas Stoll has averaged 17:00 minutes. Malone is a -27 +/- for his career; whereas Stoll is -12.

The list could go on and on, but the fact is that Malone is now making an average of $4.5 million per season and Stoll is coming off a season where he made $2.2 millon per season. Stoll will be hard pressed to make over $3 million next season. Without the public perception, these players' production are shockingly similar.

If Stoll were to get a 7 year contract worth $31.5 million this off-season from the Kings, would you approve? Not likely. In fact, the NHL would almost certainly be in an uproar. Even though Stoll is actually three years younger than Malone, can play the point on the power play and takes face-offs. Not to mention Stoll has never played with linemates named Malkin or Crosby.

Sometimes perception is not reality.

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Rolston's rights traded to Tampa

From Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

9:57 pm update: OK, here’s the best it’s been described to me. Rolston’s rights were traded to Tampa Bay for a third in 2010. However, if the Ryan Malone contract is approved as expected, the pick becomes the 2009 fourth round pick Tampa traded to Pittsburgh.

HOWEVER, if Rolston signs there, that fourth becomes a third again — either San Jose’s third-round pick in 2009 that Tampa Bay owns or Tampa Bay’s third in 2010 — at the Wild’s option.

Read more about this trade from Russo's Rants here.

Easy Tampa. Are the Lightning going to acquire Gretzky and Lemieux next?? All joking aside, I don't fully understand what the Lightning are doing. If their offers are so good, then why are they just giving away draft picks? I realize they want exclusive rights, but in this case they only get one day extra to negotiate.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Bolts sign Malone

From TSN:

Ryan Malone has agreed to a seven year, $31.5 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Malone, who would have drawn considerable interest from around the NHL as an unrestricted free agent, will earn between $7 and $8 million in each of the first two years of the deal.

Tampa Bay traded a third-round draft pick in 2009 to the Penguins in exchange for the exclusive negotiating rights to forwards Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts on Saturday. On Sunday, the Lightning and Malone's camp got a deal done.

Read the entire story here.

I'll have full analysis of this contract posted tomorrow morning.

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Avs re-sign Liles and Foote

From TSN:

Sources tell TSN that Liles and the Colorado Avalanche have agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth an average of slightly more than $4 million per year.

Liles was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday. The deal is likely to be formally announced Monday.It's also expected the Avalanche will announce then that they have also re-signed Foote.

Sources tell TSN Foote's deal is believed to be for two years and a total of $6 million, or $3 million per year.

Read more about the signings here.

Foote's deal is reasonable in both term and salary. The Avs really had no choice but to re-sign him after giving away a first round pick to secure his services at the deadline. That being said, he is still a solid stay-at-home defenseman, who is a strong voice in the dressing room.

As for Liles, his contract seems reasonable as well. Liles is just entering some of his prime years, so his four year deal is a perfect amount of time. Additionally, $4 million per season is about what defensemen of his skill-level are making.

Good work by Francois Giguere and Co.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Visnovsky traded to Oilers

From Lowetide:

The Edmonton Oilers have acquired defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for C Jarret Stoll and D Matt Greene.

A hat tip to Bob Stauffer from Team 1260 for getting to this before everyone else.

The trade just happened so I think it's important to take a look at it one item at a time.

Visnovsky: His contract is 7M, 7M, 6M, 5M, 3M and isn't complete until the summer of 2013. The annual cap hit is $5.6M, effectively making him the highest paid player on the roster.

Read more on the trade here.

Not very surprising that the Oilers dealt Stoll and Greene, however, it is quite surprising that they traded for a big-time offensive defenseman. Speculation had the Oilers looking for a steady veteran defenseman, and an offensive scoring winger. While Visnovsky is a good puck-mover and power play quarterback, he is quite expensive. Unless there is something we don't know about Sheldon Souray, then I don't really understand this deal. It seems like Lowe has a bigger plan in action here, but we will have to wait and see if that is truly the case.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stars don't have much room for UFAs

From Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News:

"Honestly, we might only have room for one right now," Jackson said.

Jackson said he is seeking a right-handed right wing with scoring ability. However, he added that the team is on a budget and won't spend to the salary cap of $56.7 million. So they might have only $2 million to $3 million for unrestricted free agents.

"We won't be bidding on any of the big free agents," Jackson said.

Read the entire article here.

Michael Ryder anyone?

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Devils and Salvador make progress

From Mark Everson of the NY Post:

Contract talks between Bryce Salvador and Lou Lamoriello yesterday produced significant progress yesterday, the agent for impending unrestricted defenseman told The Post yesterday.

"We made progress on several items, and still have a few more to go," agent Carlos Sosa said. "We'll continue talking with the New Jersey Devils through Tuesday, and after Tuesday, too, if we still have more to do."

Read the short article here.

Salvador is expected to net about $3 million per season, and it appears the sides are closing in on an agreement. The tough stay-at-home defenseman is a solid fit in New Jersey.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Snow not interested in big-time UFAs

From Greg Logan of Newsday:

The free-agent market opens Tuesday, but Snow said: "We're not going to be
major players on July 1. We're going to kick tires, and we'll try to make our
team better if it makes sense in our overall plan ... The emphasis for me is on
the plan we've been talking about, which is developing our own players."

Read the entire article here.

Good plan by Snow. The Islanders aren't good enough to attract big free agents unless they overpay substantially, and they have no reason to lock up all that money when they know they aren't going to compete for a cup. With Snow planning on building from the ground up, that should be comforting for Isles fans.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Avery permitted to speak to other teams

From Larry Brooks of the NY Post:

THIS is either a ploy by Glen Sather to allow the competition to es tablish a dollar value for Sean Avery that he will match, or it is evidence that the GM simply doesn't understand what the New York Rangers have in this impending-free-agent difference-maker.

Slap Shots has learned that Sather late last week granted permission to Avery's agent, Pat Morris, to negotiate with any interested NHL team in advance of Tuesday's official opening of the free-agent market.

Read more about the Avery situation here.

Larry Brooks might as well be Avery's agent. No one loves Avery likes Brooks does, and as part of his love for the feisty winger, he overstates his importance to the Rangers cause. While Avery is better than most give him credit for, his loss won't be as awful as Brooks makes it seem. He is an energetic player with a fair amount of talent; however, if he was that good, then why would the Kings and Wings have given up on him beforehand? The Rangers would be better off spending that $4 million that Avery will probably get on a defenseman.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Rangers interested in Hossa and Streit

From Larry Brooks of the NY Post:

Sharks are on Marian Hossa's short list on which the New York Rangers, Penguins and Red Wings also appear, a source reports. If San Jose adds Hossa, who is believed seeking between $7.5-8M per, they will intensify their efforts to deal Jonathan Cheechoo, who was dangled at the draft. Blueshirts will be all ears.

Brian Campbell, good but hardly a difference-maker, is seeking $7M a year. That's why there is going to be so much interest - cough, cough, Rangers - in Montreal's Mark Streit, who compiled 52 of his 62 points from the point this season and will probably come in at half Campbell's cost.

Read the entire article here.

Rumors have been around for a while that the Rangers are interested in both Hossa and Streit. Personally, I think Streit should be of more priority than Hossa. The Rangers don't particularly need another big money, long-term deal like Hossa will demand and the team is in dire need of a point-man on the power play. Never mind the fact that he will cost significantly less.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Could Brunette return to Minnesota?

From Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

I talked with Andrew Brunette this early evening, and he’s interested in returning to Minnesota as you can read in this article. The Wild isn’t permitted to talk about potential free agents, but I think the team is interested in Brunette returning.

So this could very well come into fruition.

If you watched Brunette the last three years in Colorado and in the playoffs against the Wild, you know he can still play the game at a high level. Brunette could be a positive addition, not just on the ice, but in a locker room that’s going to definitely lose Keith Carney and Sean Hill, and almost certainly Brian Rolston (see below post), as well as Todd Fedoruk – four beloved veterans. The Wild will need Brunette’s type of character.

Read Russo's entire entry here.

The Wild look like they will probably lose Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston, so adding a reliable veteran winger like Brunette would not be a bad idea. He doesn't get much attention, but he does the job and that is a perfect Wild type of player.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Blue Jackets interested in Morrison?

From Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch:

-- Center Brendan Morrison, according to a report in Vancouver, is on the Blue Jackets' free agency wish list. When you look at the list of available centers, Morrison is clearly at the top of the list, so it's not a surprise. Howson will not comment. He's not allowed to until Morrison is a free agent, on July 1. At 32 years old, Morrison is coming off two significant injuries, to his wrist and his knee. Doctors have sent an email to select clubs informing them that Morrison will be 100 percent by the start of training camp. When Morrison is healthy, he's a very good NHL center.

Read more news and notes about the Blue Jackets here.

Morrison has struggled the past two seasons, and at 32 years old, it is tough to say if he will return to the form of a few seasons ago. I don't know how much I'd invest in the 32 year old center, but if a team like Columbus could get him for a reasonable 2 year deal, then I'd probably look closely at that.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Malone and Roberts traded to Lightning

From TSN:

The Tampa Bay Lightning's new ownership group vowed to be "staggeringly aggressive' in the NHL's free agent sweepstakes and they are trying to get a head start on that.

The Lightning have traded a fourth-round draft pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for the exclusive negotiating rights to forwards
Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts, who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

''We said earlier this week we would be aggressive in our pursuit of free agents in order to win and compete,'' Lightning owner Oren Koules said. ''This trade today doesn't guarantee anything, but we believe it gives us a leg up in our attempt to sign these two impact players.''

Read the entire story here.

Ladies and gentlemen, the NHL's version of Mark Cuban has arrived. The Bolts promised to spend money and, boy, they weren't lying. By acquiring the rights to Malone and Roberts, the Bolts have exclusive negotiating rights with the two through Tuesday. If they opted to give away a 4th round pick for that privilige, you have to think they will sign both players before that deadline arrives.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Offer sheet compensation

From Tim Wharnsby of the Globe & Mail:

If a team signs a restricted free agent to an offer sheet, it has to surrender a draft pick or picks as compensation — and the price can be steep depending on the size of the player's new annual salary:

$863,156 or less — no picks
$863,157 to $1,307,812 — a third-round pick
$1,307,813 to $2,615,625 — a second-rounder
$2,615,626 to $3,923,437 — a first- and a third-rounder
$3,923,438 to $5,231,249 — a first-, second- and third-rounder
$5,231,250 to $6,539,062 — two first-, second- and third-rounders
More than $6,539,062 — four first-rounders

Read more about free agency from Wharnsby here.

I don't anticipate any significant offer sheets this off-season.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Lightning marketing team makes advertising mistake

From Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times:

Steve Stamkos has a right-handed shot. He signs autographs with his right hand. You’d figure those would have been clues to the ad agency the Lightning hired to put together the 47-foot tall collage of four players, including Stamkos, hanging on the exterior wall of the St. Pete Times Forum at the corner of Morgan Street and Channelside Drive.

Alas, Stamkos, the No. 1 overall pick in last weekend’s draft, the player the team is hyping as the next face of the franchise, is shown holding his stick left-handed. The good news, I guess, is his image only covers 10 feet.

Read the entire story here.

How do you make that mistake? Honestly. I mean, this is the same as the EA Sports people having Bobby Holik as a left-handed shot for like five years in the late 90's/early 2000's.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Sundin and Habs to talk over weekend

From Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette:

Sundin talks continuing: The negotiations between the Canadiens and Mats Sundin are becoming as tiresome as a Russian novel. The latest news is Gainey emailed Sundin yesterday and the two will talk during the weekend.

There are continuing reports the New York Rangers are waiting for Tuesday to offer Sundin a contract, but their interest might wane if Jaromir Jagr sticks around. He has been offered megabucks by the new league in Russia, but the Rangers, who seemed anxious to dump his contract last season, have a renewed interest in his services.

Read more about the Habs' off-season plans here.

The more I read, the more it looks like Sundin will wait until July 1st to guage how much interest there really is in his services. I wouldn't count out the Habs if July 1st hits, however, their chances of signing him are probably not very high at this point in time.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Streit to go the free agent route?

From Kevin Mio of the Montreal Gazette:

According to RDS, it looks like utility man Mark Streit will be able to offer his
services to the NHL's 29 other teams next Tuesday.

The all-sports network is reporting that the Canadiens have yet to offer the Swiss player a new contract.

Read Mio's short entry here.

While I am surprised the Habs haven't offered Streit a contract, I would not be surprised if Streit walks after July 1. Lots of teams could use a power play quarterback with forward/defense versatility.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Westcott a class act

From Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch:

"He was asking me about it, yeah," Westcott said. "I told him it was a great city, a great bunch of guys int he room, great fans and an awesome building. It's a great place to play and raise a family, right? He and his wife just had a little one. And, you know, the way Ryan plays, he'd be a perfect fit in Hitch's system. Hitch likes big, physical wingers who get the puck deep and just wear people down. I think he'd be great there, if that's how it works out. I told him that, too."

Now just think about that for a second. Westcott was, in essence, fired by the Blue Jackets. Yes, he got a nice going away present, but he's being paid not to play, which has to hurt one's pride. And here he is, selling the Blue Jackets to a prospective free agent.

Read the entire entry from Puck-rakers here.

Westcott was on his way up only a few years back, so here's hoping the defenseman gets another opportunity at a NHL job this summer. You can't help but be impressed by the class with which he accepted his buyout.

Ballhype: hype it up!

David Perron impressing Blues management

From Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"You know that I can tell with David Perron ... he wants it as bad as anybody in the NHL," Blues President John Davidson said. "Now that he's made the NHL, he wants to come back and prove that he can play at another level. The passion that that kid has is special.

Davidson was sitting next to Blues assistant GM Doug Armstrong this week and "Doug turned to me and said, 'Boy, the puck really follows that kid, doesn't it?' That's true. David's got a long way to go yet, but he's making every concerted effort possible to go to the next level, and I have a lot of respect for that."

Read the entire story here.

Perron was a pleasant surprise for the Blues at training camp last season and it looks like he hasn't stopped impressing management during this summer. Expect the youngster to clip the 20 goal plateau this upcoming season.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Campbell not enjoying all this attention

From David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News:

"This hasn't been the most enjoyable experience," the 29-year-old defenseman said in a phone interview Friday from southern Ontario. "There's been a lot of tossing and turning, and I'm looking forward to getting it done. It's an opportunity, but there's also a lot of pressure."

Read the entire story here.

If continue to read between the lines, it appears Campbell will end up on the east coast after July 1. Which team will be able to land him, is anyone's guess.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Jeff Carter's new contract is official now

From Kevin Tatum of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Jeff Carter didn't want to leave, and the Flyers wanted him to stay, so yesterday the club signed the center to a three-year contract worth a reported $15 million.

Read the entire story here.

This was the worst kept surprise in hockey. The agreement and terms of the contract were released a while back. This was just the official announcement. Seems like a reasonable agreement for both sides. Carter continued to progress last season as a solid two way centerman, and has proven his ability to play in all situations on the ice. His point totals should continue to climb as well.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Jagr looks like he's done in NY

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.

Read the entire article here.

There will be many teams who will want to sign Jagr and would gladly give him more than a one year pact. Even though Jagr is getting older, he is still a dominant player (see last year's playoffs) who can change the outlook of a team.

It appears the Rangers have decided that they want to hand the team off to Chris Drury, Scott Gomez and Co., which is fine. However, if they have decided to do so, then they should make their intentions known and let Jagr know he is moving on. With this report out, I expect the Rangers to go hard after Marian Hossa.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Colin Wilson is an American, not Canadian

From John Glennon of the Tennessean:

Colin Wilson calls Canada home, but the U.S. is his nation of choice.

Wilson was born in a Connecticut hospital and spent his first three years in New York, but has lived ever since in Winnipeg, where his father — former NHL player Carey Wilson — grew up.

The younger Wilson was in the midst of trying out for a Canadian national junior team at age 15 when U.S. National Training and Development Program officials spotted him.

Read the short article here.

Wilson will probably have an easier time making international teams for the US than he would for Canada.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Could the Jackets eventually move?

From Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch:

There is a notion that the Blue Jackets' franchise is unstable, and can be easily packaged for transport to Kansas City, Mo., or Hamilton, Ontario. This notion is not born of random patter.

Although the Jackets have improved their on-ice product -- from 62 points in 2003-04, before the lockout, to 80 points last season -- they've been well behind the curve of other recent expansion teams. They're the only team in the 30-team league that has yet to make the playoffs.

Read the rest of Arace's article here.

Arace points out the reasons why the Jackets could possibly move, so it will be interesting to see how the team progresses in the next few seasons and if the team's struggles continue. If the Jackets are put on sale, there won't be a lack of interest.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Nothing personal between Burke and Bertuzzi

From Dan Wood of the Orange County Register:

"This is dictated by our cap situation and our budget situation — nothing more, nothing less," Burke said. "It's a tough day for me because obviously I've been through a lot of battles with Todd Bertuzzi. He played some great hockey for me. There's no beef with the player whatsoever."

Read the entire article here.

Burke has arguably been Bertuzzi's biggest supporter throughout the past five years, so his buyout of the forward on Friday was obviously difficult for him. Nonetheless, Burke has to do what he thinks is best for the Anaheim Ducks at this time and not let personal relationships get in the way of that goal. Give him credit for buying out the veteran winger and moving on.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Return to San Jose still a possibility for Campbell

From David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News:

Brian Campbell’s agent says that San Jose remains very much in the running as the 29-year-old defenseman decides where his NHL future will be.

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.

Read more from Working the Corners here.

Even though the sides are talking, it still seems like Campbell will be heading east once July 1st hits.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Raycroft bought out

From the National Post:

Continuing their offseason house cleaning, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday bought out the remaining year of goaltender Andrew Raycroft's contract.

Read the entire article here.

The Raycroft acquisition was a disaster from the outset. Anytime you acquire a goaltender from a team within your division, something is fishy.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Interview with Colten Teubert

From the L.A. Daily News:

Question: Did you know much about the Kings before they drafted you?

Teubert: To be honest with you I didn't know much. They had the second overall pick and did not have the thirteenth yet, so I didn't expect to go to them at all. But it is exciting and I am looking forward to getting to know the city and the organization.

Read the entire interview here.

Teubert, Jack Johnson, Thomas Hickey and Drew Doughty should be a terrific defensive core for the Kings for years to come.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Jagr wants to stay in NHL

From Larry Brooks of NY Post:

"Jaromir and I spoke last night and this morning, and his goal first and foremost is to play in the NHL for another two or three seasons," Jagr's agent, Pat Brisson, told The Post this afternoon. "His objective is to sign a new contract with the New York Rangers , and that has always been his priority.

"But his mindset is that it's not where he wants it to be with New York and (if) it doesn't work out with the Rangers, he will be on the market for other NHL teams. He believes that he can play at a very high level for another two or three years."

Read the entire article here.

No surprise that Jagr wants to stay in the NHL. There really hasn't been anything substantive that says Jagr wants to go back overseas. What is news from this article is that Jagr is fully willing to leave NY if a deal doesn't get done soon.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Flames re-sign four

From TSN:

The Calgary Flames announced Friday that the team has re-signed centres Craig Conroy and Daymond Langkow, left wing Eric Nystrom and goaltender Curtis McElhinney.

"Conroy and Langkow are two of our top centremen who are strong role models for our team both on and off the ice," said GM Darryl Sutter in a statement. "Especially with more young wingers in our line-up next season, their experience and leadership will be important. We are happy to be able to make it work by fitting them into our salary structure."

Read the remainder of the article here.

The Langkow signing has been rumored for months now. The terms have not yet been released, but the initial word a few weeks back was 4 yr, $20 million. As for Conroy, he will continue to be a solid defensive center, whose scoring days are behind him. Nystrom's contract is believed to be for two years, as the Flames are hoping he can improve on his consistency and consistently play on one of the top three lines. Finally, McElhinney is going to get another chance to back-up Miikka Kiprusoff.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Ducks waive Bertuzzi

From Sportsnet:

The Anaheim Ducks have placed forward Todd Bertuzzi on waivers for the purpose
buying out his contract, Sportsnet has learned.

Read the entire report here.

I have to admit I am a bit surprised by this development. Bertuzzi was entering the last year of his contract and the Ducks aren't exactly loaded with offense up front. Nonetheless, Bertuzzi was overpaid last season and would have been overpaid this season, so I guess Brian Burke wants the financial flexibility (especially with Niedermayer returning) to make a couple more moves.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Oilers not taking Pitkanen or Stoll to arbitration

From Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal:

In the end, the Edmonton Oilers elected to submit qualifying offers to centre Jarret Stoll and defenceman Joni Pitkanen, their two key restricted free agents.

They could have taken one or both to arbitration, which would have prevented opposing clubs from submitting offer sheets when the free-agent market opens on Tuesday.

Read the rest of the article here.

The Oilers clearly aren't too concerned about either of these players getting offer sheets. I don't expect either one to sign on with another team. If the Oilers are having trouble signing Stoll and Pitkanen, I could see one or both being moved in a trade. However, if they decide they want both back, it is probably for the better that they decided not to take either player to arbitration. Arbitration is generally a bad thing for team/player relations.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Teams interested in Ray Emery

From Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:

Ex-Ottawa goalie Ray Emery won't be out of work long.

Judging by the initial reaction of NHL teams to Emery's status as an unrestricted free agent after being bought out last week by the Senators, the 25-year-old could have a new contract in hand not long after he's allowed to officially sign with another team on July 1.

Read the entire article here.

Teams know that Emery won't cost a lot of money and he has proven he can play in the playoffs, so teams that have a need at goalie see him as a good option. I would think he'd probably end up on a team with a lot of veterans, as we have seen in the past how his actions can be divisive in the locker room.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Funny Q & A with Steve Stamkos

From the Tampa Tribune:

TT: Are you disappointed Barry Melrose no longer has a mullet?

STAMKOS: A little bit. That was pretty cool. I remember watching the highlight films of when he coached in L.A. against the Leafs and he was sporting the "cool-do," but I guess times have changed.

Read the entire back and forth here.

Good to see the Tribune go funny once in a while.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Leafs want to get rid of McCabe

From Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star:

Bryan McCabe is all but done as a Maple Leaf.

The only question remaining is the method by which the organization will cut ties with the veteran defenceman.

The Leafs have been working for almost a month on convincing McCabe to soften his stance on the no-trade, no-movement clause in his contract – with no success.

Read the entire article here.

I don't know why the Leafs are so adament about getting rid of McCabe so soon. Sure he has a massive contract, but he is still a very productive NHL defenseman; with a good season he can up his trade value. The team should continue to look at trade options, but a buyout should not be an option (which as of now it isn't). McCabe will eventually get sick of the media attention and losing and want out.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Avery willing to play for Leafs now?

From Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun:

If Cliff Fletcher truly wants to make the Maple Leafs a team opponents hate to play, he could sign the dean of despised players, Sean Avery.

According a source, the National Hockey League's reigning shock jock has changed his mind on playing in his native Canada, and his GTA home in particular, after July 1. Last year, the Pickering-born centre dumped on Toronto saying: "I don't enjoy hockey-obsessed Canadians. The (US-Canadian dollar) exchange is not very good right now. And it's going to cost me a lot of money in tickets for people I don't even like."

Read the entire story here.

The Leafs would be better off passing on Avery. They don't need his services as they are looking to rebuild for three years down the road.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Alex Pietrangelo doesn't get ahead of himself

From Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

To know the Blues' 18-year-old first-round pick is to know his family, a
down-to-earth foursome that includes his father, Joe, and brother, David.
Despite a hockey career that has blossomed the past few years, highlighted by
his selection as the fourth overall pick in last week's NHL draft, Alex has been
kept grounded by glamour-less ideals and pride that stays close to the vest.

Read the entire story here.

Hard not to cheer for a player so grounded and respectful. Never mind the fact that he is a supremely talented defender. Looks like the Blues made a pretty good pick at number four last week.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Trent Yawney could become assistant coach in San Jose

From the San Jose Mercury News:

One name reportedly receiving strong consideration is Trent Yawney, a former NHL defenseman with ties to both McLellan and Doug Wilson, as well as previous experience as an NHL head coach. Yawney, 42, was McLellan's teammate for two seasons with the Saskatoon Blades in the mid-1980s; later, Yawney played alongside Wilson with the Chicago Blackhawks and coached that team in 2005-07.

Read the entire article here.

I think this would be a solid hire. It think it is a good idea to have someone with NHL head coaching experience on a staff with a rookie NHL coach.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Report: Jagr offered $35 million by Omsk

From Larry Brooks of the NY Post:

A reliable third party source yesterday told The Post that his connections in the Czech Republic believe that Jagr has recently received a three-year contract offer for the equivalent of $35M after-tax US dollars from Omsk of the Russian Super League. The captain is believed to have received the formal offer this week from Omsk GM Anatoly Bardin after months of conversations.

Read the entire article here.

I really don't think the amount of money from overseas is going to change Jagr's mind. We have known all along he was going to/already got a big offer from overseas. I still believe his first preference is to continue playing in the NHL for NY. If the Rangers fail to offer him a "reasoonable" contract, then the Omsk offer should be taken more seriously.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Panthers re-sign Campbell, close to re-signing Olesz

From Steve Gorten of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

The Panthers re-signed forward Gregory Campbell to a two-year contract Thursday and expect to secure forward Rostislav Olesz with a long-term extension in the next few days.

General Manager Jacques Martin said he's "very confident" a deal with Olesz would be done by Tuesday.

Terms of Campbell's deal weren't disclosed, but the center/winger said it's more than the $525,000 he earned last season. Campbell, 24, played on the Panthers' third and fourth lines last season — his third in the NHL — and was a pesky penalty killer.

Read the entire article here.

Both of these young players should play a key role in the Panthers' future, so it is good to get them under contract and have their focus shift to next season.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Niedermayer's return makes Ducks contender

From Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register:

Scott Niedermayer returned to the Ducks officially Thursday, bringing with him something else quite official looking.

A chance.

And we're not talking a snowball's chance in San Dimas. We're talking the best kind of chance — a legitimate one.

From potential pretenders to cup contenders. In the span of one phone call, one that included the key phrase, "I'm going to play."

Read the entire article here.

Miller is right. Without Niedermayer, the Ducks would have had to look for a suitable replacement, which of course isn't available on the market. So, with Niedermayer back in the fold, the Ducks are a piece or two away from being a title contender once again.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lecavalier taking the Yzerman path?

From Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times:

While the Lightning and Vinny Lecavalier are working on a nine-year, $77-million deal, Tampa Bay's plans for Lecavalier extend a lot further. Koules, who heads OK Hockey, which is expected to officially take control of the Lightning on Monday, said he sees Lecavalier as a Lightning executive after he retires.

So, the contract may not be a lifetime deal, but the organization seems to want to make a lifetime commitment.

"We absolutely do," Koules said. "We've already talked to Vinny about it. When we talked, we talked about lifestyle, about how long he wants to live here. He wants to retire here when he's done, and he wants to be part of this. We look at Stevie Y as the exact model of what we want to do with Vinny."

Read the entire story here.

I think we should all just worry about Vinny playing hockey for the next decade. We can worry about his management career in 2020.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Shawn Bates to be bought out

From Greg Logan of Newsday:

The handwriting has been on the wall for the past couple seasons regarding the demise of Shawn Bates’ Islanders career. The Islanders are expected to make it official Friday morning when they announce their decision to buy out the remaining year of his contract.

Bates was scheduled to make $1.2 million, but under NHL buyout provisions, he will receiver two-thirds of that amount in equal installments of $400,000 spread over the next two seasons. Last season, Bates appeared in only two games, and he was limited to 48 games the previous season by a groin injury and hernia surgery.

Read the entire story here.

The Islanders are in full rebuilding mode, so cutting Bates, who has significantly slowed down the past couple of seasons, and going with a young player in his place is a good move by Garth Snow.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Straka looks like he's done with Rangers

From John Dellapina of the NY Daily News:

Finally, while the Rangers might not have seen this coming so soon, they would hardly be crushed to learn that it was true. Fact is, it is difficult to imagine how the Rangers would have tried to re-sign a 35-year-old Straka. They’d like to clear lineup space for younger forwards such as Ryan Callahan, Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha and have major interest in upgrading up front by signing somebody like Ryan Malone.

Read the entire story from Blueshirts Blog here.

Dellapina doesn't see the Rangers making a serious play to re-sign Straka; so it looks like if he doesn't end up going overseas, he will end up playing somewhere other than NY in the NHL.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Boyle not going anywhere

From Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times:

Oren Koules rolled his eyes when told about the rumor floating around the Lightning. Barry Melrose just chuckled.

The rumor from Canada's TSN: Defenseman Dan Boyle could be trade bait this summer in order to free up some salary cap space.

Melrose said it was a case of the Canadian media trying to "make" the news, and added, "Danny Boyle is the guy I'm counting on to play 25 minutes a night."

Read more from Lightning Strikes here.

Boyle is a terrific defenseman. There would be no reason at all to trade him.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Orpik rejects Penguins offer

From Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Defenseman Brooks Orpik has received, and rejected, a contract offer from
the Penguins.

"We did receive an offer, which we turned down," said Orpik's agent, Lewis
Gross. "But we're still talking."

Read more from Molinari here.

There is still time for both sides to get a deal done; however, if the sides don't have a deal by July 1, I suspect Orpik will end up elsewhere.

Ballhype: hype it up!

Arbitration allows for later buyouts

From Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe:

The arbitration process, per the league’s collective bargaining agreement, allows clubs to revisit potential buyout plans for a 48-hour window after each arbitration award. Wideman’s arbitration hearing cannot be held earlier than July 20, nor later than Aug. 4.

Read more on this story and Dennis Wideman filing for artbitration here.

This allows teams more time to make decisions on their rosters. In the Bruins' case, Dupont points out that it allows for Boston management to decide about a Glen Murray buyout a little later on in the summer.

I've said this before, the NHL needs to move its arbitration hearings to July. Arbitration doesn't only affect players going to arbitration, it affects other players on the roster too.

Ballhype: hype it up!