On the 2018 Winter Olympics …
Slava Malamud: Alexei Shevchenko of Sport-Express reports that Russian NHLers have told him that the NHL has a backup schedule that has an Olympic break.
Elliotte Friedman: Players that are signed to AHL-only contracts maybe eligible to play in the Olympics.
Elliotte Friedman: NHL GMs were thinking that players who have signed two-way contracts wouldn’t be eligible. Still waiting on final ruling by the league.
Ken Campbell: “For what it’s worth, I’ve been told by people both on NHL and players’ side there’s no way the NHL is going to 2018 Olympics. Done deal.”
On the top 10 remaining NHL free agents …
Luke Fox of Sportsnet: Looking at the top 10 remaining UFAs and some rumors/notes on them.
1. Andrei Markov – Acting as his own agent and is looking for a two-year, $12 million deal. The Montreal Canadiens countered with a one-year deal.
2. Thomas Vanek – A handful of teams have kicked tires on Vanek. Would like to return to the Detroit Red Wings but they currently don’t have a lot of cap space.
3. Jaromir Jagr – He wants to stay in the NHL. ECHL’s Florida Everblades are interested. Playing in the Czech league and going to the Olympics could be an option.
4. Mike Fisher – Still deciding on whether to play next year or retire. The Nashville Predators may like to have Fisher back on a one-year deal at a lower price.
5. Cody Franson – The 29-year old could help out a teams third pairing. Teams are interested but it may not for the term he’d like. The New Jersey Devils would be a good fit, but not at the three years he’s looking for. There is a report that the Chicago Blackhawks would give him a PTO.
6. Drew Stafford – Would like to re-sign with the Boston Bruins, the Bruins haven’t closed the door on it. There is also a mutual interest between the Wild and Stafford.
7. Mark Streit – Could be a second or third pairing defensemen that can play on the power-play. Reports are he’s a fall back for the Canadiens if they can’t re-sign Markov.
8. Brian Gionta – The Buffalo Sabres haven’t ruled out bringing him back, but it’s not looking good for him at this point.
9. Jarome Iginla – The 40-year is unsure about playing next year. Will be ready if he does. Admitted that last season may have been his toughest.
10. Shane Doan – The 40-year old is having trouble finding the right fit. The St. Louis Blues could be a fit on a one-year deal.