Archive for April, 2010

Leonis on the Caps Off-Season … Hudler Announcement Today … Hamhuis Leaving Nashville?

  • Ted Leonis on Ted’s Takes: Leonis’s thoughts on the Capitals off-season …

    We won’t do anything rash or make any decisions out of emotional angst. We will collect our thoughts. We will be energized by our failure. We will seek to improve. We will be diligent in our research and we won’t deviate from our plan. We still intend to build around our core. We will make adjustments. We will keep our upside. We will accentuate the positives and we will tweak and change around the negatives where needed.

  • Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: The official annoucement should come today that Jiri Hudler will be returning to the Red  Wings next season. Hudler got out of the last year of his KHL deal when his team, Moscow Dynamo folded.
  • John Glennon of the Tennessean: Nashville Predators UFA Dan Hamhuis could be looking for around $4 million a season, and it’s not known if they’ll be able to afford him. Talks could begin soon. On the possibility of returning, Hamhuis said: “I think so. I’ve enjoyed playing with a great group of guys and the community — my wife and family really enjoy it. There are a lot of great things in Nashville we enjoy. “At the same time, there are options out there, too. So we’ll take some time to think about it. We’re certainly not clawing out the door to leave. That’s for sure.”
  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: Omsk GM is certain that Jaromir Jagr will be staying in the KHL next season. The Oilers have reportedly been interested in bringing him over, but they have never said that publicly.
  • Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun: Canucks prospect Cory Schneider will spend the playoffs watching and learning with the team. He was recalled by the team, and will begin the process of becoming the teams backup goalie for next season. Regarded as one of the top goalie prospects not in the NHL, Schneider has been part of trade rumors for well over a year. He is a RFA at seasons end, and hasn’t had any contract negotiations, nor any idea what the Canucks have in mind for him. They may be thinking that his trade value will increase, with the more NHL experience he gets.

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Changes to Senators Defense for Next Year … Short List for Lightning GM … Coyotes and Avalanche Off-Season

  • Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun: Some big changes to the Senators defense could be coming this off-season. The Sens may not be willing to give Anton Volchenkov the $5 million a year he might get on the open market. Trade deadline acquisition, Andy Sutton, is 35-years-old and made $3.5 million last season, and will be looking for one more good contract before retirement. GM Bryan Murray thinks that prospects Patrick Wiercioch and Jared Cowen could be ready for the jump to the NHL next season. Other potential defenseman free agents that might be interested in playing for the Senators at a reasonable price are; Brian Pothier (former Sen), Sean O’Donnell (hometown), Shane Hnidy (former Sen), Zbynek Michalek (Milan’s brother), Kurtis Foster (lived close to Ottawa). On the forward side of things, they might look to re-sign Matt Cullen. They might have to turn to a trade to bring in some scoring if they are able to get some scoring from the free agent market.
  • Matt Paulson (AP) in the USA Today: The main off-season issue for the Phoenix Coyotes will be to find an owner once again. On the free agent side of things, which involves half their defensive corps, as well as forwards Matthew Lombardi and Lee Stempniak. Zbynek Michalek could be costly to keep around.
  • Darren Dreger of TSN: Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeffrey Vinik has a short list of potential GMs he likes, Dave Nonis, Doug Risebrough, and Steve Yzerman. It is rumored that the Red Wings have given the Lightning permission to speak with Yzerman. Vinik said before that he wanted to have a CEO in place before a GM was hired. Seattle Seahawks CEO, Tod Leiweke, has said previously he’s not a candidate, though some believe the details are being finalized for him to be named CEO.
  • Adrian Dater of the Denver Post: The Colorado Avalanche need to be bigger and faster along the blueline next season. Anyone of Kevin Shattenkirk, Colby Cohen, and Cameron Gaunce have a shot at making the team next fall. Chris Stewart and Peter Mueller will be looking for raises, both are coming off their entry level deals. The Avalanche do have the cap room to investigate adding a big name, but have shown lately that they may stick to rebuilding from in-house.
  • Helene Elliot of the LA Times: LA Kings coach Terry Murray would ‘absolutely’ like to Alexander Frolov back next year. It will probably come down to money, as Frolov is looking for a big deal, reportedly in the $5 million range.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Another Young Goaltender

“The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to beef up their goaltending.

The Leafs have signed college free agent Ben Scrivens to a one year, entry-level contract.

Scrivens, a native of Spruce Grove, Alberta, starred with Cornell and was a top 10 Hobey Baker finalist for college player of the year. He just finished his fourth season with the Big Red, compiling a 21-9-4 record and an impressive .934 save percentage.

Scrivens is expected to challenge for a spot with the Toronto Marlies next season.” (Source: TSN)

Well, I guess there’s always room for more goaltending talent and Brian Burke seems determined to bolster the defensive side of the team.

It will be interesting to see if there will be any players available via trade with the Washington Capitals after their early playoff exit at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens just moments ago, especially considering the Caps uncertain future pertaining to goaltending.

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Changes Coming in LA and Buffalo … Devils Coaching Options

  • Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times: The LA Kings have 9 free agents to deal with this off-seaosn, 6 UFAs and 3 RFAs, and there is a chance at all 6 UFAs won’t be back. Alexander Frolov could be looking for $5 million a year, not likely getting that in LA, or maybe from anyone else in the NHL. Freddie Modin wasn’t very productive since being acquired at the deadline. Jeff Halpren didn’t have much success either. Poor defensive play since December injury, and coming off a $3 million contract may have paved the wayRandy Jones to move on. The game may be getting too quick for Sean O’Donnell. Raitis Ivanans may not be worth the roster spot anymore. Their 3 restricted free agents, Brad Richardson, Scott Parse, and Rich Clune, all made under $600,000 and wouldn’t be getting big raises, so they might be back.
  • Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun: Jason Spezza’s no movement clause starts on July 1st, and fans are starting to hope that he’s traded. But fans may not get their wish as both he, and the Sens would like to have him wearing a Senators uniform next season.
  • Elliotte Friedman of CBC.ca: Anton Volchenkov’s starting point will be Mike Komisarek’s 5 year, $22.5 million, and someone will give that or more. Friedman thinks Halak won’t re-sign in Montreal unless it’s for a boat load of cash. Wherever Carey Price ends up next year, he needs a veteran goalie to mentor him. Doug Risebrough is in the running for the Lightning GM job, and could be a candidate for San Jose if the organization goes in a different direction. The Lightning’s new GM will decide the fate of Vinny Lecavalier, new owner Jeffrey Vinik might be open to keeping him.
  • Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News: Changes could be coming with the Buffalo Sabres, GM Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff could be on the hotseat. Tim Connolly, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy underacheived. Trade deadline acquisition Raffi Torres was a scratch for their elimination game. The team in general is on the small side, without the physical side that you need in the playoffs.
  • Larry Brooks of the NY Post: The New Jersey Devils will be searching for a new coach at Lemaire retired after one year. Brooks thinks the Devils should look inhouse and promote their AHL coach and long time Devil, John MacLean. Other candidates could be Ken Hitchcock, Bob Hartley, and Mike Keenan.

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Gagne and Savard Injury Updates … Surgery for Stars

  • Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer: Simon Gagne is making remarkable progress from his broken toe, and there is a chance that he’ll be ready to go for game 3. Gagne could resume skating on Friday.
  • Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald: The Boston Bruins are awaiting word on Marc Savard’s neuropsychological exam that he took yesterday, with word expected to be coming down today. It’s expected that he’ll be cleared and ready to for the start of their next series. Savard has been skating for a week, and had his first full practice on Sunday.
  • Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: Surgery time for some Dallas Stars. Brad Richards had surgery on his hip labrum with recovery time anywhere between 8-12 weeks. Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley had surgery on their shoulder labrums, with recovery time about 12 weeks.

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New Jersey Devils Coach Jacques Lemaire Retires

In a bit of a surprise, New Jersey Devils head coach, Jacques Lemaire retires from coaching. Lemaire will stay with the club in a yet to be determined role.

The news comes 4 days after the Devils were eliminated by the Flyers, and a couple days after GM Lou Lamoriello said he still wanted Lemaire behind the bench for next season.

Lemaire said he just doesn’t have the energy to coach anymore.

Maybe this is a good time to bring in a more offensive minded coach.  An offensive coach could also help entice Ilya Kovalchuk to re-sign. I’m sure they’ll want to get someone in as fast as possible as the NHL Draft and free agency are about a month away.

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Hudler Officially a Wing Later this Week … A Regeher to Capitals Thought? Hurricanes Draft Wish … Big Contract for Chris Stewart?

  • Ansar Khan of MLive: The agreement to bring Jiri Hudler back to the Detroit Red Wings should be finalized by GM Ken Holland and Hudler’s agent sometime this week. In the next couple days, Hudler’s camp should be able to make it official that he’s being released from his KHL contract. When adding his salary cap number of $2.875 million, the Red Wings will have 14 players under contract at a $43.6 million cap number.
  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: The Red Wings will have to let Jason Williams, Kirk Maltby, and Brad May walk to fit in Hudler’s salary. Matheson thinks the Capitals should offer Tomas Fleischman or Eric Fehr and a pick to the Flames for Robyn Regehr.
  • Paul Branecky of NHL.com: Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford may have tipped their NHL draft wish in a recent interview. “If we end up getting one of these top-three guys, one of them could end up making the team,” said Rutherford. Rutherford is referring to defenseman, Cam Fowler, Brandon Gormley and Erik Gudbranson. The Canes pick #7, so they’ll need couple teams that are picking between #3-6 to select forwards. See MyNHLdraft.com for more NHL Draft info.
  • Terry Frei of the Denver Post: Chris Stewart of the Colorado Avalanche is a restricted free agent, and could be in-line for a nice raise. Stewart had a breakout season in the final year of his entry level contract, recording 28 goals and 36 assists for 64 points in 77 games. Frei likens Stewart’s situation and stats to Corey Perry and his 5 year, $26.25 deal that he signed in 2008.

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Anton Volchenkov leaving Ottawa?

Anton Volchenkov will be a UFA this summer and with Ottawa looking like they will be heading into a re-building phase, his days in the nations capital might be numbered.

According to TSN…. “Anton Volchenkov, Andy Sutton and Matt Cullen are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

The Ottawa Senators would love to keep all three, but sources say that possibility only exists if all three are willing to leave money on the table to stay.

In Volchenkov’s case, NHL general managers are waiting for free agency with tongues wagging.

The 28-year old shutdown defenseman is regarded as one of the toughest men in the league. Volchenkov consistently plays a remarkably hard and very clean game – earning just 38 penalty minutes during the regular season.

A shot-blocking machine, Volchenkov has recorded 1023 blocked shots in the regular season since the NHL starting keeping track of the statistic in 2005-2006. That’s 124 more than his closest rival, Brett Clark of Colorado.” (Source:TSN)

The loss of Volchenkov would be huge for the Sens but this is the reality of the new NHL. All the pieces need to fit together at just the right moment in time, and that time has passed for the likes of Daniel Alfredsson and company.

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Would the Caps Trade Semin? Lou wants Kovalchuk and Martin Re-signed

  • Tom Gulitti of the Record: Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has said that coach Jacques Lemaire will be back coaching next season, and that he’ll try to re-sign Ilya Kovalchuk. There have been no talks as of yet between Lamoriello and the Kovalchuk side. Lou will also have to deal with UFA Paul Martin, who’ll be looking for something similar or more than his $4.5 salary.
  • Damien Cox of the Toronto Star: Could the Washington Capitals look at trading Alexander Semin next year? The Caps have Ovechkin and Mike Green locked up long term, and are negotiating a long term extension with Nicklas Backstrom. Semin only signed a 1 year deal worth $6 million for next year. Semin can disappear, and can drive Bruce Boudreau nuts at times. Cox likens him to Phil Kessel, though a little older, and the 2 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick the Leafs gave up. The Caps have Marcus Johansson coming up soon. I also think they have some good, young secondary scores on the team that appear to be ready to step it up a notch and fight for 1st line time with Ovie and Backstrom. The Caps could also use some help on the blueline, a Semin deal could help them there.
  • Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe: The Bruins would like to bring Dennis Seidenberg back next season, but they might have trouble fitting him in under the cap if he’s looking to earn more than last season, where Seidenberg earned $2.25 million.
  • Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune: Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has begun contract talks with RFA Guillaume Latendresse yet. The Wild have wait until after July 1st to begin contract extension talks with Mikko Koivu.

Hockey Night in Canada Hotstove from last night :

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KHL for Kovalchuk, if he Wants the Most Money … No KHL Extension for Jagr … Hudler and Filatov back in NHL?

  • Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail: If Kovalchuk is wanting the most money he can get, he’ll have to go to the KHL. If he’s willing to settle for for less, he’ll be back in the NHL. There won’t be a team that will offer him close to what Atlanta was willing to give him. Some teams may be reluctant to make him their top paid player. Kovalchuk’s lack-luster playoff performance may scare some teams away.
  • Ray Slover of the SportingNews: Changes are probably going to happening in New Jersey, and Slover asks the question, is it time they part ways with Martin Brodeur? I can’t believe anyone would write that. That thought shouldn’t cross anyone’s mind. Marty is a Devil for Life.
  • Helen St. James of the Detroit Free Press: Jiri Hudler’s agent is finalizing the release of Hudler from his Moscow Dynamo contract. By next week the Red Wings should know more if Hudler will be heading back to the Wings for 2 years and $5.75 million.
  • Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch: Nikita Filatov sent a text to the Dispatch that he’ll be at Columbus training camp next fall. “The coaching change doesn’t mean much for me,” Filatov said. “Anyway, I was going to be back. When I left (in November), I said I was coming back, and that was no matter who the coach will be.”

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Kovalchuk Open to Anything … What Will the Devils Do? Jagr Re-signs with Omsk? Doan a Game Time Decision

  • Tom Gulitti of The Record: Ilya Kovalchuk said he is “open to anything”, and enjoyed his time with the Devils (not including the 1st round loss). “I love everything here,” Kovalchuk said. “I think it’s a great organization. I appreciate (general manager Lou Lamoriello) giving me a chance to play here. It was a great experience. I played with some great players. I loved it. So, we all know it’s a business. I’m open to anything.”
  • Lyle Richardson of Fox Sports: The New Jersey Devils will have to do some re-tinkering if they hope to return to their glory years. One area they’ll need to start considering is finding a replacement for Martin Brodeur when he retires (2 years left on his contract). Richardson suggests Carey Price could be a good fit, and would benefit from learning from Brodeur for a couple seasons. The Devils also need to improve along the blueline, especially if Paul Martin leaves via free agency. Richardson also doesn’t think that Kovalchuk will be re-signed, especially if he’s looking for a contract north of $8 million. Captain Jamie Langenbrunner has had some issues with coach Lemaire, and might be willing to waive his no-trade clause, though I don’t think he’d bring back a big return.
  • BeyondtheBlueshirts.com: They are reporting, via sport-planet.ru, that Jaromir Jagr has signed a 2-year contract with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.
  • The Globe and Mail: Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu probably won’t have much of a fun this off-season. Over the next couple days, he’ll have surgery on his knee that will require 3-4 weeks of recovery. He’ll also have surgery to repair a torn labrum on his right shoulder that will require 3-4 months of rehab.

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Lidstrom Retiring After Season? Jarome Wants Out? Jagr Staying in Russia

  • James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail: Rumors are spreading throughout Joe Louis Arena that All-World defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom could retire after season. I wonder who’s whispering this though? “It’s going to come sooner or later,” Lidstrom said, chuckling at all the attention his milestone birthday is getting of late. “I’m getting up there in age, people are watching me closely and think something’s going to happen, but … nothing’s really changed. I know what I have to do. I feel the same out there.”
  • Elliotte Friedman of CBC.ca: Word around the league is that Jarome Iginla may be wanting to get out of Calgary. I can’t really blame him if he does. The face of the organization for so many years, has needed a #1 center to play with him, and what does the organization do for him lately? Trade for, and re-sign for 4 years, Matt Stajan …. ughhhh! Friedman thinks the Oilers could get a decent return for Ales Hemsky, who has 2 years left at a $4.1 million cap hit ($4.5 million next year, $5 million in 11-12).
  • Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer: Talk about some tough injuries to overcome. The Flyers will be without Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne for awhile, both will have surgery on their fractured right foot. Gagne will be gone for at least 3 weeks, while Carter will out for at least 6 weeks.
  • Sport-Express.ru: The 38-year old Jaromir Jagr has had contract negotiations with his former KHL team, Omsk. Jagr is looking for a 2 year deal. It is not know as of yet if NHL teams, including the often rumored Edmonton Oilers are not interested in signing Jagr. I wonder if this is just a way Jagr can put some pressure on NHL teams to hurry up and make an offer.
  • Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: Senators defenseman Anton Volchenkov has already turned down a 5-year contract extension from the Ottawa Senators, could get a contract in the range of $5 million on the open market this off-season. One team who might be interested is the Washington Capitals. I’m not sure how that contract would fit in to their salary cap situation.
  • Mark Whicker of the OC Register: Potential free agent targets for the Anaheim Ducks given their salary cap space: Raffi Torres, Tomas Plekanek, Marek Svatos, Alex Tanguay, Eric Nystrom, Matt Lombardi, Brad Winchester, and Ilya Kovalchuk.
  • Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch: Despite have 10 defenseman prospects in the system that are 22 years old or younger, the Blue Jackets may still look to drafting a Dman with the 4th overal pick. One reason would be that only John Moore may be a legit NHL defenseman. The other, could be that currently the 3rd to 6th rated draft eligible prospects are defenseman; Eric Gudbranson, Cam Fowler, and Brandon Gormley. MyNHLdraft.com has the Blue Jackets selecting Cam Fowler.

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