Archive for August, 2010

Kovalchuk decision today … New player in Phoenix ownership … Niemi close to new home

  • Tom Gulitti of the Record: The NHL spent Monday reviewing Ilya Kovalchuk’s 15 year, $100 million contract, with an announcement likely coming today. It is not known if the league has already let the Devils know their decision, before it would released to the public. The NHL must rule before 5:00 pm on Wednesday or the contract would deemed approved and registered. According to tweets by Nick Kypreos, Kovalchuk would be paid $90 million over the first 10 seasons, and $10 million over the last 5. In the last year of the deal he is scheduled to have a base salary of $4 million, with the average salary over the final 3 seasons being $2.6 million.
  • Mike Sunnucks of the Phoenix Business Journal: An undisclosed wealthy person is interested in purchasing the Phoenix Coyotes from the NHL, and keeping the team in Glendale. Details are limited, but could be made public soon, they have asked to keep the negotiations private. The Ice Edge Holdings group have taken a backseat and they have been focusing on bringing an ECHL team to Thunder Bay, Ontario. If a deal is not in place by December 31st to keep the team Phoenix, they will look to sell the team to someone, and move them Canada.
  • James Murphy of ESPN Boston: According to a source of Murphy, the Bruins are still “actively shopping” Marc Savard. His contract investigations have hampered talks. The Bruins are still over the salary cap ceiling and need to get under before the start of the season.
  • James Murphy of ESPN Boston: Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli originally told Steve Begin that they wouldn’t be bringing him back, but according to Begin they are still  interested, but currently sit $3 million over the cap. Begin told RDS that the Bruins are trying to do some things, but the market is slow.
  • Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago: Source telling Rogers that Antti Niemi is close to deciding where he’ll play next season, with a decision possibly coming in the next 48 hours. He has offers from multiple teams.
  • James Mirtle via twitter: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke says there is some progress being made with RFA, Christian Hanson, and he expects it to be done by training camp.
  • Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas: There is still no decision by Jere Lehtinen on if he’ll play next season, but according to a Finnish paper, Lehtinen is giving serious consideration into not playing next season. GM Joe Nieuwendyk said that he hasn’t been working out as much as he normally does when preparing for the season.

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Thornton-Sharks talking extension … On why Kovalchuk deal should be accepted … Devils moving Zajac?

  • Mark Emmons of the San Jose Mercury News: Joe Thornton is having preliminary talks with the San Jose Sharks about a contract extension. The 31-year old Thornton will be a UFA at seasons end. Thornton has a cap hit of $7.2 million this season according to capgeek.com.
  • Nick Kypreos via twitter: On why the new Kovalchuk deal should get approved. Rejected deal had $2.75 million over the last 5 years. New deal, $10 million over the last 5 years.
  • Mark Everson of the NY Post: Rumors are out there that Travis Zajac could be one of the players the New Jersey Devils move to make room for Ilya Kovalchuk. The Devils could be looking to move Bryce Salvador and Dainius Zubrus. The 25-year old Zajac is the teams number 1 center, and has a cap hit of $3.89 million for the next 3 years. Zajac had 25 goals and totalled 67 last year.
  • Mike Hume of ESPN: Trading Zajac would be a serious hit to the Devils. Jason Arnott would then be the teams top center. Zajac could bring back a decent return in prospects and/or draft picks. The Washington Capitals have been looking for a 2nd line center and have a deep farm system. 2009 draft pick, Jacob Josefson, would be a possible internal replacement.
  • Jimmy Murphy via twitter: Sources are telling Murphy that nothing will most likely come from the Marc Savard contract investigations. The investigation is hampering trade talks.
  • Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News: Kirk Maltby’s agent said they are negotiating with the Detroit Red Wings, and that a deal could be finalized this week. The deal will most likely be a 2-way deal.  Maltby did talk with other teams, including the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Oilers re-sign Sam Gagne … Lee Stempniak re-signs with Coyotes

  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: Sam Gagner re-signed with the Edmonton Oilers yesterday. The deal is for 2 years and $4.55 million, a cap hit of $2.275 million.

    Gagne was drafted 6th overall in 2007, and has recorded 131 points in 223 games. Gagne is coming off a 41 point season, were he scored 15 goals and added 26 assists in 68 games. In his rookie season he produced his highest point total with 49, while missing only 3 games.

  • Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic: Lee Stempniak has re-signed with Phoenix Coyotes. It’s a 2 year deal worth $3.5 million, a $1.75 million cap hit. Stempniak turned his game around after being acquired from the Maple Leafs, scoring 14 goals in 18 games. His game tailed off in the playoffs where he recorded only 2 assists in 7 games. In 62 games with the Leafs last year,  he scored 14 goals with 16 assists in 62 games.

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Kovalchuk decision by Wednesday … Staal not looking for offer sheet … 5 teams interested in Kennedy … Penner to Kings?

  • Mark Everson of the NY Post: The NHL has until Wednesday to decide if they are going to reject or accept the latest Ilya Kovalchuk contract. The contract is said to be 15 years and $100 million, a $6.67 million cap hit. The Devils will then have to shed more than $3 million in salary, plus an extra couple million for injury call-ups. Some say Lou has some deals ready to go if the contract is accepted. Dallas could be interested in Bryce Salvador ($2.9 million) and Dainius Zubrus ($3.4 million) could be moved.
  • Mark Everson of the NY Post: The Kovalchuk saga could be coming to an end soon (thank god). Kovalchuk may have received some interest throughout this process from the Kings, Islanders, Stars, Blues and KHL SKA St. Petersburg. During Monday’s meeting with the league, Kovalchuk reportedly gave a weekend deadline for the leagues approval and threatened that the KHL could be possible.
  • Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News: Tim Kennedy is still one of the unsigned forwards looking for an NHL contract. 5 teams have shown interest in Kennedy, possibly the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers. He thinks he can get a one-way contract but realizes he might have to take two-way deal.
  • Chris Custance of the Sporting News: Getting an offer sheet isn’t being focused on by Marc Staal’s agent, Paul Krepelka. Krepelka said there is no truth to the rumor that they were hoping to get one.

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Kariya out next season … Could Guerin end up in LA? Oilers nixed a Souray-Hartnell deal last year?

  • Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy: Paul Kariya’s agent, Don Baizley, issued a statement saying that Paul Kariya will sit out the 2010-11 season with post-concussion syndrome. Kariya has a history of concussion problems, and missed 6 games last season with a concussion. There was no mention of him retiring.
  • Jimmy Murphy via twitter: It wouldn’t be a surprise if Bill Guerin signed with the Los Angeles Kings. Kings GM Dean Lombardi and Guerin have a western Massachusetts connection.
  • JP Hoornstra of the LA Daily News: Joffery Lupul’s mysterious blood ailment will keep him off skates until he’s re-evaluated on September 20th. He’s still confident that he’ll be ready for the season opener.
  • David Staples of the Edmonton Journal: Edmonton TV sportscaster, Kevin Karius said the Edmonton Oilers came close to to sending Sheldon Souray to the Philadelphia Flyers for Scott Hartnell last season. Journal reporter Jim Matheson also confirmed that it almost happened as well.

    “Steve Tambellini offered Sheldon Souray to the Flyers for Scott Hartnell. And Hartnell has a no-trade clause and Paul Holmgren went to Hartnell and said, ‘Listen, the Oilers are interested in you. Would you waive your no trade?’ And Hartnell said, ‘You know, I’d like to, I wouldn’t mind going to Edmonton and playing.’

    “He’s a Lloydminster guy. He’s an Alberta guy. He likes it here. I think it would have been a kind of a homecoming for him. A power forward, kind of what the Oilers need. So he said, ‘Go ahead.’ So Paul Holmgren phoned Tamby back and said, ‘Here is the deal. It’s done if you want it,’ and Tamby pulled out.

  • Greg Wyshynski of Puddy Daddy talked to a source close to Hartnell that said Hartnell has never waived his no-movement clause, or been asked to waive it.
  • Will DePaoli of Inside Pittsburgh Sports: Brendan Morrison, Jeff Halpren and Mike Comrie are just a couple UFA’s that don’t have any contract offers, and might have to take a training camp invite if they don’t get any offers between now and the start of training camp. The Penguins are looking at forwards who they could invite to camp. Patrick O’Sullivan is getting interest from several clubs who are interested in bringing him in on tryout basis. O’Sullivan is considered a bit of risk (and worth the risk in my opinion, there’s no doubting the kid is talented). Scouts say his fundamentals are flawed and there are concerns about his desire to play in the NHL. Indications are that the Penguins don’t have an interest, but O’Sullivan’s side has contacted the Penguins.
  • Elliotte Friedman via twitter: Nikolai Khabibulin may be suspended by the NHL for his drunk driving charges, to go along with his possible jail time.

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Kovalchuk saga coming to a close soon

3:15 pm: EJ Hradek via twitter: “As of 3:02 pm ET, NHL Deputy Commish Bill Daly says the league has not yet signed off on concepts for new Kovy-Devils deal.”

2:33 pm: Tom Gulitti is tweeting that there might not be an announcement from the Devils until Saturday.

Will DePaoli is reporting that the deal could be in the $84-$91 million, 12-13 year range.

Gulitti gets another confirmation on the deal being approved. Dmitry Chesnokov is confirming as well.

2:11 pm: According to Dmitry Chesnokov via twitter, the latest and possibly the last Ilya Kovalchuk proposal was sent to the league several hours ago. Tom Gulitti says it’s looking like the Devils-Kovalchuk got the thumbs up from the league. Greg Wyshynski, a source told Dmitry that the NHL will approved the proposal.

It was reported earlier through Chesnokov by Pavel Lysenkov who spoke with Kovalchuk’s Russian agent, that if he were to sign a KHL contract, he would spend the entire season there. There were reports earlier that Kovalchuk could start the season in the KHL, and return to the NHL once a contract was finalized.

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Staal’s return delayed … Ducks looking for D depth … Bergfors-Thrashers not close … Pens not talking to Kariya or Svatos

  • Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Penguins center Jordan Staal has “experienced a couple of setbacks” from the torn tendon is his foot. They will take it easy with him and there is no need for concern if he misses a couple days or weeks.
  • Eric Stephens of the OC Register: The Anaheim Ducks are looking to add some ‘low cost depth options’ on the point, but it’s possible they enter camp with what they have. The Ducks have considered trading for Kevin Bieksa, but the Canucks aren’t in a rush to move him any more.
  • Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: Jiri Lehtinen isn’t ready to make a decision yet if he’ll return to the Stars or retire. Mike Ribeiro’s no-trade clause stipulates that he can name 10 that he doesn’t want to be traded to (that doesn’t sound like much of a ‘no-trade’ clause to me if you name teams you don’t want to be traded to).  The Stars want to sign RFA James Neal to a 2 year deal, Neal is fine with a 1 or 2 year deal.
  • Dave Stubbs of Habs Inside/Out: The Canadiens have yet to talk to Andre Markov about a contract extension. Markov is a UFA after the season, GM Pierre Gauthier told Markov’s agent “(Gauthier) wants to wait until the right time”.
  • Eric Engels via twitter: Engels thinks the Canadiens would be foolish if they weren’t interested in Bill Guerin.
  • Chris Vivlamore via twitter: Thrashers GM Rick Dudley says that they remain ways apart with RFA Niclas Bergfors, not close on “value of player.”
  • The Hockey Writers: Marek Svatos’ agent Richard Evans, “Marek would certainly be able to provide offence for a team like Pittsburgh,” Evans told THW Tuesday.  “Pittsburgh is a team that Marek would be very interested in joining…on paper it looks like a good fit — but ultimately that is up to Ray [Shero].”

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Kovalchuk to the KHL? Pens and Bruins say no Guerin

  • Dmitry Chesnokov via twitter: With the KHL season starting on Sept. 8th, there is the possibility that Kovalchuk starts there, then returns to the NHL when is contract is finalized.
  • Pavel Lysenkov via twitter: Lysenkov called Kovalchuk’s Russian agent, who confirmed that he called Medvedev’s assistant, not the KHL president.
  • Will DePaoli via twitter: A source told DePaoli that the feeling was that GM Ray Shero was interested in bringing Bill Guerin back, but the rest of the organization/coaching staff wasn’t.
  • Andy Strickland via twitter: The St. Louis Blues have been contacted by the Anaheim Ducks equipment people about Paul Kariya. It appears that he’ll be playing with the Ducks, but he still won’t say that he’s playing next year.

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Kovalchuk’s agent calls KHL … Why Mitchell didn’t sign with the Sharks, Canucks … Fehr in as NHLPA leader?

  • Dmitry Chesnokov via twitter: According to @plysenkov and their mutual sources, the league is looking for a 13 year contract for Kovalchuk.
  • Craig Custance via twitter: KHL president Alexander Medvedev said that he received a call from Jay Grossman, Kovalchuk’s agent, and he remains hopeful that the KHL is still an option.
  • James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail: Medvedev is still hopeful that his club, SKA St. Petersberg can sign Kovalchuk. “Ilya knows that our proposal is still on the table,” Medvedev said. “Actually, I got a call from his agent. I will call (him back) after I finishing the discussion with you.” Gary Bettman said yesterday that the NHL did not reject a second contract between the Devils and Kovalchuk (reports were that the ‘framework’ had been rejected). Bill Daly said he thinks that Kovalchuk will stay but league will stand by their rejection of the contract even if Kovalchuk leaves for Russia.
  • David Pollack  of the San Jose Mercury News: The San Jose Sharks, and at least 2 other teams were unwilling to offer Willie Mitchell a multi-year deal, money wasn’t the issue. A front-office source says the Sharks won’t be bringing back Owen Nolan. Sources also tell Pollack that the team isn’t interested in Antti Niemi.
  • Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province: With the Canucks over the salary cap by around $3 million, they couldn’t offer Mitchell a lot. They were offered him a one-year deal in the $1.8-$2 million range.
  • James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail: Sources are saying that Donald Fehr will be taking over as the executive director of the NHLPA.  Fehr stepped down from the MLBPA last year, and has been link to the NHLPA for months. The NHL 30 player reps will put it to a vote, which may not be completed until after the season starts.

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Kings reach agreement with Mitchell … Bieksa staying a Canuck for now? Lou-Grossman back at it

Update: LAKingsInsider.com: Mitchell signs with the Kings for 2 years, $7 million.

  • Nick Kypreos via twitter: Clubs have been notified they are out of the Mitchell running. LA should be announcing multi-year deal soon.
  • Ian Mendes via twitter: Brian Burke said that neither Kaberle or his agent have expressed that Tomas was unhappy with the Leafs or Ron Wilson to him.
  • Katie Stange via twitter: The structure of Doug Weight’s contract with the Islanders is finalized, should be made official a couple days.
  • Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Province: There is a good chance that Kevin Bieksa will start the season as a Vancouver Canuck. “The trade market is barren” and the Canucks have some cap flexibility with Sami Salo and Alex Burrows expected to go on IR. Bieksa is the clubs only healthy right handed shot.
  • Tom Gulitti of the Record: Lou Lamoriello and Jay Grossman are back at it trying to get an acceptable contract for Ilya Kovalchuk. Lou says he’s not frustrated by this process.

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Kovalchuk framework rejected … Staal hoping for offer sheet … Lehtinen undecided

Mark Everson of the NY Post: The NHL criticized the framework of a contract between the New Jersey Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk that was presented to them on Monday. This could jeopardize Kovalchuk staying in the NHL, as the frameworks of his contract(s) have taken weeks to formulate, and the start of the KHL is just around the corner (Sept. 8th). Lou may not want to go back to the ‘drawing board’ on another contract. Training camp starts on the 17th, and he’ll need to move out players to get under the cap if Kovalchuk is signed.

Tom Gulitti of the Record: The Devils and Kovalchuk’s agent, Jay Grossman, have been working on the framework of deal for the last 16 days, and only to have it not approved. Monday’s framework was not the first they submitted to the league.

Scott Burnside of ESPN: Flyers coach Peter Laviolette doesn’t have a sense when Chris Pronger will return from knee surgery, but isn’t that concerned.

Arthur Staple via twitter: It’s not definite that Marc Staal will be a training camp holdout. He has no leverage, and is still hoping for an offer sheet.

CapGeek via twitter: After the Vancouver Canucks signed Raffi Torres (1 year, $1 million), they now have 24 players on one-way contracts and are $3.6 million over the salary cap.

Adam Proteau of the Hockey News: Leafs coach Ron Wilson wants to sit down with Tomas Kaberle and have a face-to-face to talk about the rumors that they don’t get along. Kaberle’s father told a Czech publication that Tomas isn’t likely to re-sign with the team as long as Wilson is still the coach.

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News: Dallas Stars winger Jiri Lehtinen is still undecided about returning next season. Lehtinen and GM Joe Nieuwendyk are expected to meet today.

Ben Wright of Blueland Blog: The Atlanta Thrashers have invited Kyle McLaren to their training camp on a tryout.

Bill Tiller of the Atlanta Journal Constitution: It makes some sense that the Thrashers are possibly interested in Lee Stempniak, as they are looking to replace goals lost by Maxim Afingenov who left for the KHL.

Dmitry Chesnokov via twitter: Neither Jose Theodore or Vesa Toskala was interested in signing with the KHL’s Traktor.

EJ Hradek and Richard Pollock of ESPN: Though the Florida Panthers have 6 NHL caliber defenseman, their 2010 3rd overall pick, Eric Gudbranson will be given a shot at making the roster.

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Afternoon rumor updates for Kovalchuk, Salvador, Souray, Ryan and Guerin

  • Dmitry Chesnokov via twitter: “Contract, framework, blank contract = technicalities. If the NHL OKs what was submitted to them, Kovalchuk will sign on the dotted line.”
  • Mark Everson of the NY Post: The Devils and Kovalchuk’s agent ran a new contract structure past the NHL. It could be passed today. A source tells Everson that Lou is trying to deal Bryce Salvador and his $2.9 million contract. Dallas could be a destination for Salvador.
  • Mike Mazzeo of the Star-Ledger: Bill Daly told ESPN that “There was no new contract submitted. We talked conceptually.” Lou Lamoriello wouldn’t comment on the situation.
  • Eric Stephens of the OC Register: The Ducks have offered Bobby Ryan 5 years and $25 million, and 4 years and $18.6 million, both were turned down as he’s looking for 3 year deal.

    “I don’t want a trade,” Ryan told the Register on Monday following a workout. “I’m not asking for a trade. I want to be here in Anaheim. This is where I want to be.

    “If it comes to a situation where there’s heads butting, then I guess it would be best. But I am not looking for a trade. I have no intentions of being traded. I love it here and want to remain a Duck.”

  • Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: Oilers GM Steve Tambellini is still trying hard to trade Sheldon Souray. Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano are both without a contract still. Souray cleared waivers weeks ago with no takers. There have been the Souray to Caps for Tomas Fleischmann rumors, but the Caps may be looking for more stay-at-home defenseman, Willie Mitchell. Cogliano and the Oilers are off on the dollar amount, and haven’t had extensive talks.

Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy: Owen Nolan has been skating with some players from the San Jose Sharks, and would like to play for another 2 years.

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