Archive for March, 2010

Devils Not Talking to Ilya Yet … Flyer Injury Updates and the Goalie Situation … Gonchar Still in Penguins Plans

    Mark Everson of the NY Post: There hasn’t been a lot of negotiations between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk. The Devils have a track record of waiting to late on re-signing some of their key UFAs. Kovalchuk turned down $10 million a year from Atlanta, but would Lou go that high? Everson thinks they should be making an offer before he possibly bolts for the Rangers (I don’t see how they’d fit his salary in) or Russia (he better not for my keeper fantasy teams sake). I can see the Blues making a run at him if he opts for free agency.
    Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post: Jeff Carter could be back in the Flyers lineup before the end of the regular season. Their 4th backup goalie, Johan Backluns is still day-to-day with a groin injury. Michael Leighton has started skating (out with high ankle sprain) but won’t be ready until the start of the playoffs at the earliest. Ray Emery will be undergoing bone graff surgery on his leg and hip tomorrow, which will hopefully save his career.
    Chuck Gormley of the Courier Post: The Flyers goaltending situation is in flux this season, and the off-season will bring plenty of different decisions for the team. Ray Emery’s career could be over. Michael Leighton is a UFA. Brian Boucher has 1 year left on his contract. Johan Backlund is 28, unproven, and a UFA at seasons end. The Flyers will most likely talk to the Canadiens about Carey Price, but what would the cost be?  Other Flyer free agents are Dan Carcillo, Arron Asham, Darroll Powe, Braydon Coburn, Ryan Parent and Lucas Krajicek.
    Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Penguins signing of Kris Letang yesterday shouldn’t affect Sergei Gonchar re-signing with the Penguins. “This doesn’t affect Sergei at all,” Shero said of the Letang deal. “This is part of our plan, to sign Kris Letang. I’m hoping we can have Sergei back and, hopefully, after the season we can continue those discussions. [Gonchar] has been a fantastic player here for five years, and, hopefully, we’ll have him for more.” Talks between Gonchar’s agent and Shero will resume after the season. The Penguins won’t have a ton of money, so Gonchar will not get the same amount as he would if he explored the free agent market.
    Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The St. Louis Blues may look at making some changes to their blueline this off-season. The Blues may look at moving Eric Brewer (1 year, $4.5 million left) and Barrett Jackman (2 years, $7.5 million left). Carlo Colaiacovo and Mike Weaver are UFAs, and Darryl Sydor could retire.
    Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Both Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin practiced yesterday, with Gonchar more likely to play tonight. They will take the morning skate to see how it goes, then make a decision from there.
    Robyn Norwood of the LA Times: Ryan Getzlaf (sprained left ankle) and Jonas Hiller (back spasms) will miss tonight’s game against the Avalanche.
    Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald: The Boston Bruins have signed 2008 1st round pick (16th overall), Joe Colbourne to a 3 year entry level contract. Colbourne will report to the AHL Providence Bruins. It is reportedly worth $787,500 base with bonuses that could make it $1.1 million.
    Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun: The Toronto Maple Leafs will be one of eleven teams that will be wearing a new jersey design next year. Anaheim, Calgary, Columbus, Dallas, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

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Penguins Lock up Kris Letang

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed defenseman Kris Letang for another 4 years. The 22-year-old Letang would have been a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The 4 year contract will pay him an average of $3.5 million per season.

In 67 games this season, Letang has recorded 3 goals and 24 assists. He is averaging 21 minutes and 30 seconds per game, and is a +3 with 47 PIMs.

Though only 22, he`s played in 211 career games so far, recording 21 goals and 58 assists with 98 PIMs.


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Coyotes back to Winnipeg? 2009 Draft picks to join Senators … Duncan Keith has bad Skates

  • Andrew Willis of the Globe and Mail: Winnipeg entrepreneur Mark Chipman (who co-owns the 15,000 seat arena) and Toronto billionaire David Thomson are working on bringing the NHL back to Winnipeg. Rumors out of Phoenix yesterday were that they were getting close to doing this, but that may not be the case. Rumors that the Coyotes will be changing to the Jets have been around for over a month, but are being shot down by the league. Bill Daly says the NHL has no plans on moving the Coyotes to Winnipeg or to any other city. The NHL still wants to find a buyer that wants to keep the team in Phoenix. More will be known about Jerry Reinsdorf`s intensions and Ice Edge Holdings by Thursday, as that is the date the city of Glendale set for a lease to be settled.
  • Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen: 2009 1st round pick Jared Cowen will join the Ottawa Senators if his Junior club is eliminated from the playoffs, but it`s doubtful he`ll play a game. They are also close to signing 2009 2nd round pick, U of Denver defenseman Patrick Wiercioch, who`ll also join the team but probably not play. If either plays a game, they`ll burn a year on their entry level contracts.
  • Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: One UFA who might consider retiring after the season is Stars winger Jere Lehtinen. The 37-year-old will wait until the summer to decide if he wants to come back. The Stars would like to have him back. This season he made $1.5 million base with up to $1 million in bonuses, which he’ll make most of.
  • Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was on fire for most of the season, but has struggled recently, going a minus 7 in the last 13 games. One of the reasons for his struggles has been that he hasn’t been comfortable in his skates. “I like my skates to fit right and to feel good,” Keith said. “When you feel good out there, you play good. It’s been a while since I had a good pair. “They’re just not sending me good pairs of skates, there’s not much more to say. Every hockey player likes his equipment to feel good and my skating is my biggest asset. When my skates are feeling good and fit right and are how I like them, then I skate how I want to skate.” Keith says he doesn’t want to make a big deal of the skate issue. If you don’t want to make a big deal out it Duncan, why did you bring it up to the media then?
  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: The Blue Jackets will most likely be looking for a new coach in the off-season, and early candidates could be former Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, Anaheim AHL coach Kevin Dineen, and Predators assistant coach Brent Peterson.
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    Gagne for Thomas? Zherdev Coming back to NHL? 2011 Winter Classic in Pittsburgh

  • Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe: At the trade deadline, it was rumored that the Philadelphia Flyers offered Simon Gagne to Boston for Tim Thomas. Gagne has 1 year left on his deal at $5.25, Thomas has 3 years and a $5 million cap hit.
  • Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette: The Jaroslav Halak – Carey Price debate goes on in Montreal. Cowan thinks the Canadiens should keep Halak and trade Price. It may turn out to be a good move by not trading either at the deadline, see what Halak can do in the playoffs, and then make their decision in the off-season. It will definitely be interesting to see which goalie they decide to keep, and what they can get in return for the other.
  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal:
    • Mathson thinks the Blackhawks will buyout Cristobal Huet after this season. It would be a $1.8 cap hit for the next 4 years.
    • The Detroit Red Wings could offer Nicklas Lidstrom a “Joe Sakic one-year-at-a-time” contract at around $5 million a year.
  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal:
    • If Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne retire, there should be plenty of room to re-sign Bobby Ryan and bring in a top blueliner. Matheson thinks Ryan could be re-signed for about $4 million a year, a deal similar to Nathan Horton’s 6 year, $24 million. I think it will take more than that, somewhere in the $4.5 to $5 million neighborhood.
    • The Edmonton Oilers are one of about 8 teams interested in Finnish goalie, Jussi Rynnas.
    • Matheson thinks it makes more sense for the Oilers to take center Tyler Seguin over LWer Taylor Hall. Seguin could center RWer Jordan Eberle and LWer Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson. If the Bruins win the Lottery with the Maple Leafs pick, they’d most likely take winger Taylor Hall as they have Savard, Krejci and Bergeron up middle.
  • Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: The Penguins are rumored to be the leading candidates to host the 2011 Winter Classic. The January 1st game would be played at Heinz Field, with the Washington Capitals the potential opponents.
  • David Staples of the Edmonton Journal: Nikolai Zherdev is considering returning to the NHL next year, and has already received 3 offers. Zherdev’s contract ends at the end of April.
  • Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Sergei Gonchar has missed the last 3 games with an illness, but is expected back soon. Evgeni Malkin has missed 6 or 7 (4 consecutive) with a bruised right foot, could resume skating in the next couple days. The Pens want to make sure he’s 100% before they put him back in the lineup.
  • Eric Stephens of the OC Register: Teemu Selanne is unsure if he’ll retire following the season. “Dealing with what I’ve had this year, in many ways it has been a nightmare because of the injuries,” Selanne said. “But everything else, I really enjoy it. Anytime I have been healthy, I think I have played well. I have enjoyed playing. That’s what I want. “It’s hard to get hurt all the time. Especially at this age.”
  • Bob McKenzie of TSN: Milan Michalek of the Ottawa Senators say he will miss a couple weeks with a knee injury, and will attempt to comback wearing a brace. McKenzie thinks differently, and that an ACL injury (if surgery required) can take anywhere from 6 months to a year.
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    Stamkos and St. Louis Getting Extensions? Thornton Hurt … Boychuk Getting Suspended

  • Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune: The Tampa Bay Lightning may be looking to extend both Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. St. Louis will be entering the final year of his 6 year contract, and is the heart and soul of the Lightning. Stamkos has one year left on his entry level deal, and will be looking for some big bucks. A Stamkos deal could be along the lines of Crosby’s contract, $8.7 million.
  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal:
    • If the Oilers can’t trade for the 2nd overal pick in this years draft, maybe they should go after the 3rd, and pick up Cam Fowler.
    • The Dallas Stars will definitely trying to trade Fabian Brunnstrom this summer.
    • The 35-year-old Alex Tanguay is having a disappointing season in Tampa, which brings up the question, is his career over?
  • David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News: The San Jose Sharks got quite a scare when big Joe Thornton crashed awkwardly into the boards in the second period last night. It looked like he was favoring his right leg when he left the ice. His status for today’s game is not known. Thorton has played in 380 consectutive games for the Sharks.
  • Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald: The NHL may come after Boston Bruins Johnny Boychuk for a hit on Flames forward, Rene Bourque. Boychuk was given an elbowing major and a game misconduct.
  • Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun: At the trade deadline the Maple Leafs and Penguins pulled off a trade that sent Alex Ponikarovsky to the Pens for Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula. Initially the Pens said they Caputi was one of 2 untouchables (Eric Tangradi would be the other). The Leafs told them that they were going to go in a different direction if thtey didn’t include Caputi.
  • Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Alex Steen has been one of the Blues best forwards this season. He is a restricted free agent after the season, and both he and the Blues would like to get an extension done.
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    Gretzky to Russia? Blues to Have Busy Off-Season? Leafs after Goalies? Huet to Minors? Ward Back Monday

  • Peter Adler of the Edmonton Journal: SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL has reportedly contacted Wayne Gretzky about the possibility of becoming their next head coach. Alexander Medvedev (KHL and SKA boss) has contacted Gretzky with an offer. Russian sources are saying that Gretzky has been in contact with them for months. Adler also notes that Jaromir Jagr will leave the KHL and Avangard Omsk when his contract runs out in mid-April.
  • Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: St. Louis Blues owner, Dave Checketts, has said the team will continue building around their young players, but he predicts they will go after some free agents this offseason. The team currently has under $30 million tied up in 11 contracts for next year. Keith Tkachuk is expected to retire. Paul Kariya ($6 mill.) and Chris Mason ($3 mill.) are UFA’s, one or both may be resigned, with Kariya at a lower number. RFA’s that they will look resign are Steen, Perron, Johnson, Janssen, King and D’Agostini. The Blues had trouble scoring this year, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they take a run Ilya Kovalchuk. It was rumored that the Blues were one of the teams to make a pitch for Kovalchuk before he was dealt to New Jersey.
  • Damien Cox of the Toronto Star: The Toronto Maple Leafs may join the list of teams that are looking at signing European goalie free agent, Jussi Rynnas. The Leafs could also look at signing college free agent goaltender, Ben Scrivens of Cornell.
  • Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald: According to Sassone, there is a chance that the Blackhawks might send Cristobal Huet to the minors and call up Corey Crawford.
  • Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer: Cam Ward will make his first start between the pipes for Carlina since February 3rd on Monday. GM Jim Rutherford said the Hurricanes won’t go shopping for a backup goaltender next year, and will go with either Manny Legace (UFA) or Justin Peters.
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    Huet Done in Chicago … Ranger Talk … Not much movement for Bruins next year?

  • Mike Kiley of Chicago Now: Kiley wonders when, not if, the Blackhawks will buy out Cristobal Huet. Lastnight’s 8-3 lose could be the end of the line for Huet in the ‘Hawks net. But are they completely sold on Niemi?
  • Jay Greenberg of the NY Post: The New York Rangers need to find a center for Marion Gaborik, Ollie Jokinen isn’t the answer. He’ll probably walk at the end of the season, he’s a UFA, and the $5.5 million savings will be used to re-sign RFA’s Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. The Rangers are pretty much handcuffed with the over-priced Wade Redden ($21 million over 4 years, $6.5 mill next year), Michal Rozsival ($7 million over 2, $4 mill next year), and Chris Drury ($13 million over 2, $8 mill next year). The fans and media will once again call for Redden to be sent to the minors to clear up over $6 million in cap space.
  • James Murphy of NESN: With the recent signing of Andrew Ference (3 years, $6.75 million), the Bruins find their next seasons cap number around $45 million. After re-signing some of their RFA’s and UFA’s, they will be really close to the cap. There is a good chance their lineup could be the same next year, unless some moves are made via trades.
  • Alvin Chang of ESPN: The Oilers offered the Bruins Dustin Penner and Tom Gilbert for the Bruins 1st round pick (Toronto’s). There is still the rumor that Bruins are still interested in Tomas Kaberle, and that the Leafs would love to get their 1st round pick back.
  • Eric Stephens of the OC Register: Saku Koivu’s season hasn’t turned out the way he had hoped. The soon to be UFA see’s the potential in Anaheim, but the 35 year old may be looking for a contender. The Ducks have shown interest in bringing him back next year.
  • The Flyers have been scouting Russian forward Evgeny Bodrov (they signed his brother Denis in January) and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
  • Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune: Mattias Ohlund may return to the Lightning lineup Saturday versus the Sabres. Ohlund has missed the last 7 games with an ankle injury.
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    Malkin Still Out … Coach and GM Getting Fired in Tampa? Getzlaf Shut Down for Year?

  • Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Evgeni Malkin missed his 4th game in the last 5, due to a foot injury. The injury is apparently not long term, but a return date is not known.
  • Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune: Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Rick Tocchet and GM Brian Lawton could lose their jobs following the season. New owernship and another disappointing season could mean change is coming. Stamkos, St. Louis, and Hedman are probably on the only untouchables in their lineup.
  • Eric Stephens of the OC Register: The Anaheim Ducks may consider shutting down Ryan Getzlaf for the remainder of the season due to his wonky ankle, and the fact that they are pretty much eliminated from the playoffs. As long as my fantasy team is in contention for the championship, I don’t think the Ducks should do this, as it will hurt the productivity of Corey Perry.
  • Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star: The Maple Leafs don’t have a player who stands in front of the net and collects the “garbage goals”. Zwolinski notes that Devils forward David Clarkson is a RFA, and could be a player the Leafs target via trade.
  • Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer: Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward was taking shots at practice yesterday and is eyeing a return next week. Ward has been out since February 3rd with a bad back. On the bad news front for the ‘Canes, Tuomo Ruutu will be out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury, surgery is scheduled for today.
  • Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk will look at some college free agents, but realizes the success rate of them making the NHL isn’t great. “I think you have to look and say that 97 percent probably aren’t going to play in our league, but there’s still a chance you can hit a home run on one and there’s definitely an opportunity to stock some depth in your organization,” Nieuwendyk said.The Stars will look at signing a player or 2.
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    Oils Want #1 and #2 … Leafs after the Hobbit … Good News on the Injury front for Rangers and Canadiens

  • Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal: Coming out of Edmonton the last couple days is the hope/wishful thinking of landing both the #1 and #2 picks in this years amateur draft. Could the 31st pick overall and Ales Hemsky land the Leafs pick that belongs to Boston? The Oils might have to take back Michael Ryder’s $4 million cap hit.
  • Damien Cox of the Toronto Star: The Maple Leafs are one of at least 6 teams that are interested in signing the Norwegian Hobbit, Mats Zuccarello-Aasen. Other teams who are reportedly interested in MZA are the Red Wings, Thrashers, Stars, Oilers and Blackhawks. The Leafs are more interested in adding size upfront, but are also on the lookout for potential top 6 forwards.
  • Jay Greenberg of NY Post: New York Rangers forward Ryan Callahan might be ready go after suffering a right leg injury after colliding with Zdeno Chara. Sean Avery missed practiced on Monday, but will be lineup on Thrusday against the Devils.
  • Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette: Both Mike Cammalleri and Marc-Andre Bergeron will return to the Canadiens lineup tonight against the Buffalo Sabres, and will give their powerplay a much needed boost.
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    Michalek’s MRI Results Today … Hemsky Skating but Won’t be back … Captain Phaneuf?

  • Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen: The results from Ottawa Senators forward Milan Michalek’s MRI should be known later today. Michalek suffered an injury to his left leg after crashing into the net against Atlanta last week.
  • Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun: Edmonton Oilers Ales Hemsky skated yesterday for the first time in 3 1/2 months since undergoing season ending shoulder surgery. Hemsky feels his shoulder is 70% healed, and should be 100% by training camp.
  • Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star: The Toronto Maple Leafs have been without a captain since Mats Sundin, but may have found their ‘next one’ in Dion Phaneuf. It may not happen until next season, but the vocal Phaneuf may be the leading candidate.
  • Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: Mike Modano will meet with Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk after the season, and then decide if he will retire or not.
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