Archive for May, 2010

Coaching and free agent NHL Rumors from around the League

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: There’s a good chance the Red Wings won’t bring Kirk Maltby back for his 14th season, despite only making $500,000 last year. Dany Heatley was battling a groin injury in the playoffs. Heatley also only managed to get 16 shots on net in his last 146 shifts. The Oilers may look to add some goalie depth to their system, Swedish Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel had a 1.85 GAA and 6 shutouts in the Swedish First Division. Joe Pavelski didn’t  have a good 2nd round, and may affect his contract offer from the Sharks, maybe in the 4 year, $16 million range. Kirk Muller is a possible candidate for the New Jersey Devils head coaching position. Kevin Dineen could be the leading candidate for the Tampa Bay Lightning head coaching position, with Scott Arniel and Gerard Gallent as other possibilities. Steven Stamkos’ next contract could be in the $6 million range, using Jonathan Toews and Nicklas backstrom as comparables.

Aaron Portzline of Columbus Dispatch: Reports are that the Atlanta Thrashers are close to naming Chicago associate coach, John Torchetti, as their new head coach. Any ‘official’ word would probably come after the Stanley Cup finals. The Columbus Blue Jackets have given Ken Hitchcock permission to talk to any team, and he should get calls from New Jersey and Tampa Bay.

Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe: Ken Hitchcock may be ‘too defensive-minded’ for the Lightning. Paul MacLean, an assistant coach with the Red Wings may be a better fit. Yzerman and the Lightning may go with the ‘Detroit Philosophy’ and not spend big on their goaltender, which may bode well for Mike Smith and his $2.2 million contract. Yzerman will look to bring in grinders to fill out the bottom two lines.

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Boston: Buyout for Ryder, trade Wheeler? Kaberle and more for the 4th overall pick? Boston to trade up for #1?

  • Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe: GM Chiarelli says that one of either Hall or Seguin will have an impact on the how the organization will move forward in the future. “Yes,” said Chiarelli, “it will have a bearing in what direction we go in.” Dupont notes that Michael Ryder could be bought out, which would save them $2.64 million against the cap. Marco Sturm will make $3.5 million next year but can’t be bought out due to the fact that he has a knee injury, but if they could be convince that recovery is too long and he were to retire, he’d come off the books. Blake Wheeler and his $2.85 million could be dealt.
  • Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: The Blue Jackets may be under pressure this year to make the playoffs, and could the #4 overall pick be available? Simmons thinks that Brian Burke could offer Tomas Kaberle and more for the pick.
  • Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald: It’sbeen rumored that the Bruins favor Taylor Hall over Tyler Seguin, and if they want to ensure they get him, they could attempt to make a deal with Edmonton for the #1 overall pick. The Bruins are already deep at center, so Hall would be a better fit for them. The Oilers are in need of centerman more than they are of wingers. Chiarelli hasn’t met with Oilers GM, Steve Tambellini yet, but he plans on it. Harris wonders what it would take to move the one spot, Blake Wheeler or Tim Thomas?

Hockey Night in Canada Hotstove:

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Salary cap could increase $2 million which would the Penguins and others … James Wisniewski may seek #2 Dman money and/or be traded … NHL Draft Rumors

  • Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Pittsburgh Penguins and the rest of the league received some good news in that according to Gary Bettman, the salary cap could be going up by about $2 million from it’s current $56.8 million. This might make it a bit easier for the Penguins to re-sign Sergei Gonchar and Matt Cooke. GM Ray Shero said that Ruslan Fedotenko won’t be back, and that they are talking to Jay McKee, but they might go a different direction. Bill Gurein wants to play next year, but the Pens have to see if he fits in to their plans. No decision has been made on whether they want to bring Alexei Ponikarovsky back or not.
  • Eric Stephens of the OC Register: The Anaheim Ducks will retain the negotiating rights with James Wisniewski by offering him a qualifying offer before the June 25th cut off date. Wisniewski may be looking for a nice raise on his one-year, $2.75 million deal he signed last year. He was 20th in ice time and may be seeking #2 Dman money. If that is the case, look for the Ducks to continue to try and trade him (at the deadline they were trying to move him). Ducks GM Bob Murray has yet to meet with Saku Koivu or his agent. Murray has talked to the agent of Sheldon Brookbank.
  • Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburgh Times: They can’t talk contract extension until after July 1st, but Lightning GM Steve Yzerman plans to start conversations with Steven Stamkos. Stamkos agent told the paper he’d “welcome” the discussion.
  • Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette: Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier said there won’t be a major overhaul of the club. The Canadiens have about 11 million to sign 7 players. They’ll look to trade both Kostitsyn’s but that could be difficult. The 6’5″ Ryan O’Byrne could also be trade bait. Gauthier and Tomas Plekanec’s agent have talked but no offer has been made, and it’s doubtful the Canadiens will overpay for him. He’s rumored to be after $5 million a season. Jaroslav Halak has arbitration rights, and has put up numbers similar to goalies in the $4-5 million range.
  • Gare Joyce of ESPN: The Florida Panthers might be willing to trade down from their #3 draft slot. One Eastern Conference GM said he thinks draft prospect, Jack Campbell, could be a top-10 pick. Kirill Kabanov’s draft stock continues to be surrounded by red flags. One top scout said they won’t interview him, therefore won’t draft him. He met with 17 teams. Brett Connolly who’s draft slot has been in question due battling an injury all season (hip injury), survived the testing and looked good. He’s projected as a top-10 pick, possible a top-5 if further medical tests are good.

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Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Frolov get KHL Offers

TSN.ca: According to a Russian website (Sovsports) , Ilya Kovalchuk as received a 3-year, $30 million contract offer from the SKA St Petersburg. Kovalchuk would like to stay in the NHL, and will wait to see all his options on July 1st.

The same Russian website is also reporting that SKA St Petersburgh has made an offer to Kings forward Alexander Frolov. Kings GM Dean Lombardi didn’t comment on the report, and was unsure if he could re-sign Frolov at the terms he is looking for. It’s not known what SKA offered Frolov.

Now, we all expected Kovalchuk and Frolov to get some offers from the KHL, but what surprised me was how little Kovalchuk’s offer was for. Don’t get me wrong, $10 million tax free a year is a ton of money, but for months its been mentioned that he could get upwards of $20 million a season. We know that some owners/league backers have a ton of money, but are they now realizing they don’t have as much clout as they thought they had? It’s been reported in the past that all players weren’t getting paid or not getting what they were promised. The once powerful Moscow Dynamo folded last month, and were the 2nd team in the last year to cease operations.

In the end, I see Kovalchuk staying in the NHL for around $8 million a season. It’s about $2 million less than what Atlanta was offering, but I think he wanted out. If he goes to a larger market, he will be able to easily make up the difference in endorsements.

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Kulemin-Maple Leaf talks at a standstill … Zherdev wanting to return to NHL … Capitals looking for a #2 center

  • Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun: Talks between the Toronto Maple Leafs and winger Nikolai Kulemin are at a standstill. It is rumored that Kulemin is after a $3 million a year contract, after putting up 36 points in 78 games. According to Brian Burke, “What he is asking for is not what we are prepared to pay”. I think $3 million is little much, but the threat of bolting to the KHL may increase his price. Kulemin started the year off slow, but his game, offensively and defensively, improved greatly as the season went along.
  • Jimmy Murphy via Twitter: A source told Murphy that Vincent Lecavalier would consider waiving his no movement clause for Boston, but he isn’t expecting to be dealt. I seen no reason why the Bruins would be interested in him with Savard, Bergeron, Krejci down the middle and his crazy contract.
  • Corey Masisak of CSNWashington: The Washington Capitals will be looking to add a #2 center and a top 4 defenseman this off-season. Masisak puts together a list of players who would fit the #2 center roll: Patrick Marleau, Saku Koivu, Matt Cullen, Tomas Plekanec, Matthew Lombardi, Eric Belanger, Brendan Morrison, and Vinny Prospal.
  • Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer: Moving up the off-season priority list for the Philadelphia Flyers is re-signing goalie Michael Leighton. The 29-year old waiver pickup will be unrestricted free agent at seasons end. After coming over from Carolina, Leighton put up a 16-5-2 record with a 2.48 GAA. So far in the playoffs he has a 5-1 record with a 1.37 GAA, .951 SV% and 3 shutouts.
  • David Pollak of the San Jose Sharks: One goalies name who’s been left out of most discussions when it comes to the San Jose Sharks, is Swedish netminder Henrik Karlsson. The 26-year old, 6 foot 6 goalie posted a 2.45 GAA in 34 games with a .914 SV% with Farjestad.  Both sides are looking to extend his contract, though he might not be NHL ready yet.

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Boucher back Saturday? Rob Blake leaning to retirement … Nabokov would like to stay in San Jose … Yzerman needs to lock up Stamkos

  • Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer: Though it was speculated that his season was over after suffering sprained ligaments in both knees on May 10th, Brian Boucher returned to practice with the hope of dressing for game 1 on Saturday. He’ll travel with the team to Chicago on Friday. Though he’s experiencing a bit of pain, and it will continue for another month or so, doctors have said the injury has healed.
  • David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News: Signs are pointing to Rob Blake retiring from hockey according to a ‘source’ close to the situation. “You need time to unwind after the season and different things,” Blake said.
  • David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News: Evgeni Nabokov would like to return to the San Jose Sharks next season, but he realizes that decision may not be up to him. “Let’s face it, the mission is not accomplished yet,” he said of the Sharks’ goal of winning the Stanley Cup.  “I want to be a part of it, but I don’t know if it’s up to me.” Patrick Marleau is also a UFA and has said that he and his family like living in San Jose. When asked if he’d take a ‘hometown discount’, Marleau said “I’m not going to get in to that.”
  • Elliotte Friedman of CBCSports: Steve Yzerman is reported to now be the highest paid VP/GM in the league at $2.5 million a season for 5 years. Glen Sather reportedly makes more, but he is also the president. One of Yzerman’s important tasks will be locking Steven Stamkos up long term, next season will be his last on his entry level deal, and will make $875,000 base salary this year with a cap hit of $3.725 million with all bonuses included. Comparables for Stamkos will be: Crosby/Malkin – 5 years, $43.5 million, $8.7 million cap hit. Anze Kopitar – 7 years, $47.6 million, $6.8 million cap hit. Nicklas Backstom – 10 years, $67 million, $6.7 million cap hit. Paul Stastney – 5 years, $33 million, $6.6 cap hit. Toews/Kane – 5 years, $31.5 million, $6.3 million cap hit. Mike Richards – 12 years, $69 million, $5.75 million. Look for Stamkos to sign for below the Crosby/Malkin average ($8.7 million), but higher than Kopitar ($6.8 million).
  • Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun: Trading Jarome Iginla makes no sense for the Calgary Flames, on and off the ice. If they could be guaranteed to get a franchise player in return (top 2 pick in the draft), then it might be possible, but that probably won’t happen.
  • Kevin Allen of the USA Today: After the St. Louis Blues organizational meetings wrap up on June 12th, the Blues GM Doug Armstrong wants to meet with UFA Chris Mason in person. Mason is 34-years old and made $3 million last season.
  • Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: According to Maxim Afinogenov’s agent Don Meehan, he’s received a one-year contract offer from the Atlanta Thrashers. Afinogenov’s was second in team scoring with 61 points after signing a one-year deal worth $800,000 last season. After some discussions, Colby Armstrong will not receive a contract offer from the Thrashers. He made $2.4 million last season.
  • Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider: Kings GM Dean Lombardi was on the 1260-AM and asked if Alexander Frolov will be back or whether they’ll move on, here’s part of his response.

    LOMBARDI: “When you talk about building today, it’s certainly different from prior to the lockout. You really get tied in with, `Do you like the player?’ Yes, but do you like him at `X’ price? Because you now have to get the right price, if you’re going to be able to keep your core together. So would we like to keep him? Yes. But if the price is prohibitive, and maybe would prevent us from filling other holes and making sure we keep Doughty and Johnson and all these kids coming through, then you have to walk away. I think you’re probably right on Fro. He’s a good player. I guess at times, like you say, you think he’s capable of more, but he’s still a productive player. But you still now have to really be astute in how you attach a price tag to that, or you’re going to get yourself in trouble down the road, and then all this building we’ve done makes no sense if we can’t keep these young players that have come through our system. So I’m not too optimistic, given what he’s looking for. The other thing we’re confronting here, don’t forget, is the KHL, and they’re offering an awful lot of money, tax-free. It’s almost like the WHL days, where the difference in dollars is huge.”

  • AP in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Atlanta native and film-maker, Stephen Rollins, hasn’t made an offer to buy the the Atlanta Thrashers, but he did admit to being interested in becoming a majority owner in the club. He has talked to one of the owners about his interest.

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More on the Canadiens … Ryan and Ducks talking … Marleau to Toronto? Jacob Markstrom coming to North America?

  • Sean Gordon of the Globe and Mail: The Montreal Canadiens will have $13-14 million to fill out 9 roster spots. That is not a lot play when players like Tomas Plekanec, Jaroslav Halak and/or Carey Price are due for raises, if they want to keep them. Gordon thinks Halak’s price could be in the $3.55 million range, similar to Kari Lehtonen. Halak doesn’t want to think hockey right now, saying he needs a vacation. GM Pierre Gauthier will consider all options involving both goalies, even if it won’t be popular with fans. Signing Dominic Moore could be a priority for the team. The Habs will probably look to deal Roman Hamrlik, and the Kostitsyn brothers this summer.
  • Eric Stephens of the OC Register: Bobby Ryan’s agent, Don Meehan, confirmed yesterday that he’s had recent talks with the Anaheim Ducks regarding a contract extension, and expects more meetings in the upcoming weeks. It doesn’t sound like a deal will happen soon, but both sides appear to want to get something worked out over the summer.
  • Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail: Do Globe and Mail writers require a ‘comment quota’ they need to reach each month? The article title says it all “Marleau to Toronto makes sense” … It doesn’t make sense if Marleau wants to win a cup soon. Sure the Leafs would probably love to have this guy, but don’t count on it happening.
  • George Richards of the Miami Herald: Panthers GM Dale Tallon met with top goalie prospect Jacob Markstrom about coming over to North America next season. If/when he’s signed, they’d ideally like him to get some action in the AHL to get adjusted to the North American style of play. The Panthers still have Tomas Vokoun and Scott Clemmensen under contract, but if a taker could be found for Vokoun, I’d be surprised if they didn’t move him and have Markstrom battle for the #1 spot.
  • Columbus Dispatch: One of the top candidates for the Columbus Blue Jackets head coach position, may also now be a top contender for the Tampa Bay Lightning position. Newly hired GM Steve Yzerman and Kevin Dineen have a strong friendship dating back years. The Blue Jackets are still waiting to meet with Guy Boucher of the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs, who play game 7 tonight.

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Steve Yzerman named new GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning

Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersbrug Times: It came as a bit of surprise today that Steve Yzerman was named the new General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. For weeks it was thought that he wasn’t interested in taking the position. A few days ago, he offered a ‘no comment’ when asked about his interest in it, which then led one to believe he was back in the running.

The deal could be for 5 years, and with the possibility of Yzerman being one of the top paid GMs in the league (one of the top paid GMs was mentioned on the Fan 590 today).

New Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said “Steve is the right man to bring a winning atmosphere back here and build a world-class organization”. “Vinik lauded Yzerman’s leadership, integrity and loyalty and ‘intelligent, thoughtful approach to making decisions.’”

Yzerman will now look to hiring a new coach, and preparing for the NHL Draft on June 25th-26th which they have the 6th overall pick.

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Wings won’t do anything until Lidstrom decides what he’s doing … Horton trade bait … What will the Canadiens do now?

  • George Malik of MLive: Red Wings GM Ken Holland told MLive that they can’t re-sign Tomas Holmstrom, Todd Bertuzzi, or any of their 5 RFAs before they hear if Nicklas Lidstrom will be back next season or not. Lidstrom has told the them he’ll let them know in a couple weeks. It doesn’t look like Brett Lebda, Jason Williams, and Doug Janik will be back. Derek Meech should get a qualifying offer from them.
  • Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe: Panthers GM Dale Tallon isn’t a fan of players who aren’t willing to pay the price, which means that Nathan Horton could be on his way out, as he known to not have a good work ethic. A Bruin, who has friends on the Panthers has been told that Norton has “No heartbeat”. “We weeded out people who didn’t want to pay the price,” Tallon said. “If you don’t want to pay the price and you don’t want to be involved here, you’re not going to be here.”  The Bruins have limited funds available to sign free agents, but could target Flyers winger, Aaron Asham.
  • Lyle Richardson of Fox Sports: The Montreal Canadiens currently have 14 players locked up for about $45.7 million. Tomas Plekanec is a UFA and it might take around $5 million to re-sign him. Their biggest off-season situation is obviously what to do with Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price. Halak has shown that he can the #1, but Price could be the future star. RFAs Maxim Lapierre, Tom Pyatt, and Benoit Pouliot should be back. Glen Metropolit, Marc-Andre Bergeron, and Paul Mara probably won’t be back. Halak playoff performance may get himself a contract offer from the Canadiens, maybe in the $3 million range. To clear up some salary space, they may try to get rid of Andrei Kostitsyn (1 year, $3.25 million) and Roman Hamrlik (1 year, $5.5 million), but that could be difficult. One option would be for the Canadiens to package one of them with Carey Price. Buying George Laraque out will free up $1 million. Andrei Markov will be a free agent after next year, and could be shopped around if they think he’ll be out of their price range ($7 million?) or not in their long term plans.
  • Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News: It is possible that the Sharks could re-sign both Patrick Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov, but odds are they will only go after 1. Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi will be getting pay increases, and cap space will be disappearing. If they let Nabokov go, they could go with Thomas Greiss and minor leaguer Alex Stalock, or look to bring in a less expensive goalie to challenge for the #1 spot.
  • Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer: Carolina Hurricanes majority owner Peter Karmanos Jr. has hired a New York investment firm to help him find a local buyer for a 49% stake in the team. Karmanos former co-owner, Thomas Thewes, passed away a few years ago, he owned the 49% of the team.

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Kovalchuk to KHL? Marleau talk … Blues to go after a D-man?

  • Mark Everson of the NY Post: Reports are floating around that Ilya Kovalchuk is signing with St. Petersburg of the KHL, but … “Don’t jump to conclusions,” warned the source at the World Championships in Germany.
  • David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News: It’s unsure if the San Jose Sharks will want to bring Patrick Marleau back, but it sounds like he’d like to stay. “There’s lots of time to think about that,” Marleau said. “We love San Jose. We’ll see how every thing works out.”
  • Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle: Ratto thinks the LA Kings and Calgary Flames could have an interest in Patrick Marleau. The Kings we’ve heard before, and the Flames might have trouble fitting his salary under their cap. Rob Blake could retire.
  • Scott Cullen of TSN: The Blues say they are not in the market for a big free agent scorer (they tried acquiring Kovalchuk at the trade deadline), but they could look to a spend some money on a top defenseman free agent, with Cullen naming Paul Martin and Dan Hamhuis as possibilities. They’ll also have to decide what they want to do between the pipes as last years starter, Chris Mason, is a UFA.
  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: Panthers new GM, Dale Tallon, may look to his old team (Blackhawks) to help improve his new club. The ‘Hawks will be the center of plenty of rumors this summer as they will be forced to trade some of their higher price players to get under next seasons cap. Matheson thinks Tallon will go after Kris Versteeg, and possibily Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp. The Blackhawks currently have 14 players under contract for $55 million next season.
  • QMI Agency, Toronto Sun: The Globe and Mail reported that if the NHL can not find a new owner to keep the  Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale by Dec. 31st, the league has a ‘bona-fide offer’ to purchase the club and move it Winnipeg. The city of Glendale agreed on Friday that they would cover up to $25 million in team losses during the 2011-12 season if a new owner can’t be found before hand. True North Sports and Entertainment is the name of the group that is interested in moving the team to Winnipeg.

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No Market for Spezza? Volchenkov to Capitals? Harder for Bruins to trade Tim Thomas now

  • Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun: Jason Spezza has 5 years and $35 million left his salary, and he has a no-movement clause that doesn’t kick in until July 1st. Many fans (44% of those polled by the Sun) would like to see him dealt away. The Sun contacted 5 teams to see if Spezza’s name was out there, but they hadn’t heard anything. “There’s no market for him,” said Sportsnet analyst Doug MacLean, a former GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets. “I think what you do is you hope that he improves. You’ve got (Milan) Michalek and you hope those two can develop some chemistry. You just have to plug around (Spezza).” If they could deal him, they probably wouldn’t get equal value back. Garrioch mentions 3 teams that could be interested in Spezza, Tampa Bay, Columbus, and Edmonton.
  • Don Brennan of the QMI Agency, Toronto Star: Anton Volchenkov appears be getting ready to move on from Ottawa Senators, as he’s put his house up for sale. The Washington Capitals are reportedly getting ready to offer him somewhere in the $5 million a season range. The Senators would still like to re-sign him, but contract talks are going nowhere. Retaining Andy Sutton could be plan B for the Sens.
  • Boston Herald: Trading Tim Thomas this off-season became a little tougher as he had surgery on a torn hip labrum, and it will be 3-4 months recovery. Andrew Ference had hernia surgery that will require 2 month recovery. Vladimir Sobotka will have shoulder surgery on Tuesday.
  • Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: Tomas Holmstrom took a hometown discount on his last Detroit Red Wings contract, but that may not be the case this time around. The 37-year old is looking for a multi-year deal. From  his agents, “On the last contract, Tomas took a hometown discount so the organization would have enough cap room to keep everybody here (in Detroit). But at the end of the day, Tomas is going to have to feel he’s being treated fairly in the realm of what is taking place in the locker room.”
  • Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Though the Penguins have said they aren’t interested in trading Evgeni Malkin, Cook thinks they’d be crazy not to listen to offers, and I agree with him. Why not listen to what teams will throw your way? Though they wouldn’t get the best player in any deal, they should be able to get a lot of nice pieces that might improve their team on a whole. A star winger, a top 2-4 defenseman, a prospect, maybe a pick or 2? Malkin and Crosby make a combined $17.4 million, toss in Jordan Staal, and that’s about $21.4 million in your top 3 centermen.

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Options if Lidstrom Retires … Yzerman still considering Tampa? A new look Shark team next year?

  • George Malik of MLive: If Nicklas Lidstrom retires, Brian Rafalski could step up into a larger role. One option available for the Red Wings would be to call up the Maple Leafs and see what it would take for Tomas Kaberle. They could also look at 2nd tier defenseman like Henrik Tallinder, Toni Lydman, Derek Morris, Joe Corvo, and Kim Johnsson.
  • Ansar Khan of MLive: There are mixed reports on if Steve Yzerman is still considered a candidate or interested in the Tampa Bay Lightning GM position. It was report earlier that he wasn’t interested, but that may not be the case. When asked about it, “My response has always been not to comment,” Yzerman said. That might lead one to speculate that it’s still an option for him.
  • Mike Brophy of Sportsnet: The Sharks are down 3-0, and it will take a miracle for them to come back and win the series versus the Blackhawks. Big changes could be coming from them in the off-season. Odds are looking good that Patrick Marleau won’t be back with the Sharks next season. Evgeni Nabokov is 34 and a UFA, and despite solid regular season numbers, he has a history of not performing in the playoffs. No one questions Joe Thornton’s talent, but the playoffs have a tendency of not bringing out the best of him, he’s a -10 heading into last night. GM Doug Wilson will also be on the hotseat as he’s the one who’s put together this team that has had some playoff woes the past couple seasons.

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