Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with Justin Schultz

Stars to let their UFAs test market, but won’t close door on returns

The Stars have informed the five unrestricted free agents who finished the season on the NHL roster that they won’t be offering them new contracts before July 1, and will thus allow all of them to test the market.

Sheldon Souray, Adam Burish, Radek Dvorak, Jake Dowell and Toby Petersen will join a large group of unrestricted free agents, and each could have NHL value. In fact, Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said he’s not closing the door on one or more possibly returning. He said all sides need to check the environment and see where they are before proceeding.

Souray might be the most desirable player. The big defenseman is a three-time All-Star Game participant and was available as a free agent last summer only because he had fallen out of favor with the Edmonton Oilers and spent the 2010-11 season in the minors. Dallas signed him to a one-year deal at $1.65 million and was ecstatic with his performance. Souray played in 64 games and averaged 20:27 in time on ice. he had 21points (6G, 15A) and was plus-11.

That performance has many believing Souray, who will turn 36 on July 13, can get a contract in the neighborhood of $3 million a year and might be able to get a two-year deal.

The Stars will likely look for a younger option on defense. If they don’t find one, and if Souray still is on the market, the two sides could talk again.

Dallas also had some interest in re-signing Dowell. The versatile forward is 27 and offers grit on the third or fourth line. He averaged 7:37 in ice time last season in 52 games and had 7 points (2G, 5A). He made $800,000.

However, with the acquisition of center Cody Eakin in the Mike Ribeiro trade, the decision to send a qualifying offer to center Tom Wandell, and the push of young forwards who would like to grab a spot in the NHL, the Stars decided to move on without Dowell.

Burish was one of the Stars’ more popular players. The 29-year-old center played 65 games last season and had 19 points (6G, 13A) while averaging 12:47 in ice time. he was plus-6 and made $1.3 million. He’s the type of player who could draw a lot of interest in free agency, so he could be signed quickly.

http://starsblog.dallasnews.com/2012/06/stars-to-let-their-ufas-test-market-but-wont-close-door-on-returns.html/

Blackhawks sure to go for a splash in free agency

With the salary cap at $70.2  million for the time being, Bowman has more than $8 million at his disposal. The Hawks also have been dangling defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, so more cap room may become available.

Here’s a look at free agency:

 

FORWARDS

Notable unrestricted free agents

Zach Parise (Devils), Shane Doan (Coyotes), Olli Jokinen (Flames), Dustin Penner (Kings), P.A, Parenteau (Islanders), Jaromir Jagr (Flyers)

Back check

There are plenty of big names out there — even more so, considering the Blue Jackets’ Rick Nash and the Ducks’ Bobby Ryan are available via trades — but the Hawks have to fix their holes at center. Their lack of depth up the middle has hurt matchups and been exposed far too much.

It’s not just on the second line, either. They simply need more legitimate centermen – not wings capable of handling the middle — who are solid in the faceoff circle but can competently handle all the responsibilities associated with the position. The Hawks had depth in the middle when they won the Stanley Cup in 2010, just as the Kings did this past season.

There are plenty of playmaking wings available. Parise is coveted by everyone, and Doan could provide an aggressive edge and some veteran savvy. Both should be pitched.

DEFENSEMEN

Notable UFas

Ryan Suter (Predators), Matt Carle (Flyers), Jason Garrison (Panthers)

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/13499008-419/blackhawks-sure-to-go-for-a-splash-in-free-agency.html

 

Parise, Suter stars of upcoming NHL free-agent frenzy

Whitney signed with the Coyotes as a free agent, so he knows the drill. He’d like to stay there, but like Doan, is wondering about the ownership situation. Is the team going to stay in Phoenix or suddenly load up for Quebec City? Whitney is a good friend of Steve Yzerman in Tampa and there are teams like the Boston Bruins, Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks who could certainly use a 77-point guy. All things considered, he’d like to stay in the desert, with Carolina a second choice because he won a Stanley Cup there and has a home there, but the Hurricanes probably don’t have the money for him.

“I’ve always said if Phoenix matches any offer, I’ll stay there. Obviously, we have a home in Carolina, but with the trade they made for (Jordan) Staal and the money they’re going to give up … I’m not looking for them,” said Whitney, who is in the catbird’s seat. “There seems to be a shortage of scoring now.”

Dallas will certainly make a play for Doan because Stars owner Tom Gaglardi is the money behind the junior Kamloops Blazers and Doan is an investor along with Jarome Iginla and Mark Recchi.

“There is that connection, but I think Shane will stay in Phoenix. It would be hard for me to see him leave. He’s kind of embedded there. My two years there haven’t embedded me like Shane,” said Whitney, laughing.

Brodeur, Whitney and Jaromir Jagr are all 40-year-old free agents. You wouldn’t think there would be a large market for players of that age, but it’s not like it used to be when 30 was old.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Hockey+World+Parise+Suter+stars+upcoming/6864949/story.html

Is there big news to come for the Rangers today?

Several players on Canucks’ radar

Everyone knows the Vancouver Canucks have as good a chance as any team to secure the most sought-after free agent since Cindy Crawford, that being one Justin Schultz, to whom they made their pitch in Toronto on Wednesday.

Whether or not they land the fellow whose parents apparently own season tickets to Canuck games will have an effect on which players they pursue when the July 1 green flag falls on unrestricted players.

If Schultz is not in the fold, they might go looking hard for somebody somewhat like him named Jason Garrison, a defenceman with the Florida Panthers with some considerable offensive abilities who hails from White Rock and might consider giving Vancouver a small hometown discount.

But will it be a sufficient discount to have it make sense for the Canucks, who hope to get Sami Salo back for at least one more year, and maybe more, and already have another young right-handed shot in Chris Tanev in the fold?

New Jersey Devils veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur could be wearing a new uniform when the puck is dropped for the 2012-2013 season.

Brodeur, an unrestricted free agent on Sunday, has hired player agent Pat Brisson to represent him and might be ready to test his value on the open market.

The 40-year-old netminder has had limited conversation with the Devils on a new deal and though he could still re-sign with the only NHL team he’s played for, his new agent says he will entertain offers from other teams if an agreement is not reached at the beginning of the free agent period.

“He will be testing free agency if a deal is not in place by Sunday,” Brisson told TSN on Friday.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=399513

Jokinen done with the Flames

Report: Florida remains “frontrunner” for Roberto Luongo

While Vancouver Canucks starter-to-be Cory Schneider says he’ll take his time to sign a new deal, the team probably wants to get that whole Roberto Luongo mess cleaned up sooner rather than later. Darren Dreger provides the latest update on that front: the Florida Panthers remain the “frontrunner.” The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, appear to be lagging behind.

Bob McKenzie paraphrases Dreger as such:

Insider Trading hilites: @DarrenDreger says dialogue continues between FLA and VAN on Luongo. Not so much TOR and VAN. FLA frontrunner.

Plenty has been made of the Panthers’ interest in bringing back Luongo; it’s even clear that the team’s ownership seems OK with his lengthy, risky contract. It appears that Luongo wants to go back to Florida, too, as a report surfaced that he wouldn’t accept a swap to two other interested parties in Toronto and the Chicago Blackhawks.

http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2012/06/28/report-florida-remains-frontrunner-for-roberto-luongo/

Leafs’ Burke: Parise, Suter not likely targets

 

If Brian Burke is to be believed, don’t expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to be big players in the free agent market this summer.

Speaking at the P.E.I. Special Olympics Festival Luncheon on Wednesday, Burke discussed his plans heading into free agency beginning July 1.

“With the salary cap and the new collective bargaining agreement that’s coming up, I don’t know what our plans are for filling out our roster,” Burke said. “Free agency starts on July 1, it’s a really thin group.

“Teams are locking all these quality players up now, so the group that is getting to the market is thin, it’s shallow. There are really two high-end players and that’s about it, (Nashville defenceman) Ryan Suter and (New Jersey forward) Zach Parise.

Although Suter or Parise would provide the Leafs with an immediate infusion of star power, it seems unlikely either will be wearing the Blue and White next season.

“I don’t think we are going to be in on either one of them,” Burke said.

And despite missing the playoffs each season since being named GM of the Leafs in 2008, Burke said he isn’t ready to abandon his long-term plan for short-term success — even if it costs him his job.

“People say if you don’t make the playoffs you are gone,” said Burke. “That’s fine. I am not going to do anything short term to make the playoffs and keep my job.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/free_agency/2012/06/27/nhl_free_agency_brian_burke_zach_parise_ryan_suter/

good possibility the Capitals trade Alex Semin’s rights

Edmonton Oilers fourth on the list in the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, says Oilers insider Bob Stauffer

This just in from Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now on Twitter: “Personally I think the Oilers sit 4th in pursuit of Schultz. Vancouver leads the way imo (home-field advantage). Leafs and Rangers 2nd and 3rd respectively because players recruit players. Gardiner in T.O., and Stepan and McDonagh with NYR.”

So what’s the big deal? Stauffer is just another media guy, right? And didn’t he predict the Oilers would take Ryan Murray?

True, but Stauffer works for the team itself as the colour man on radio broadcasts, and when it comes to having sources inside the Oilers, he is right up there with two Hall of Famers, Terry Jones of the Sun and Jim Matheson of the Journal.

If Stauffer is saying the Oilers are behind some other teams, I’m buying that, even as TSN’s Bob McKenzie and ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun have mentioned Edmonton as as a likley Schultz destination.

The fact is reporters and bloggers from across North America are all speculating on where Schultz will go, and fans from Philadelphia to Ottawa, from Vancouver to Toronto, have their hopes up.

There’s going to plenty of disappointment when the kid does pick a city, but such is the life of the hockey fan.

P.S. In previous tweets, Stauffer had more to say on Schultz: “As for Justin Schultz I did bump into to Newport’s Don Meehan and Craig Oster at the draft. They are well aware of the opportunity in EDM.

“If Schultz does sign with say the Rangers or the Leafs who have defence depth, obviously there may be a trade option for Oilers.”

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2012/06/26/edmonton-oilers-fourth-on-the-list-in-the-justin-schultz-sweepstakes-says-oilers-insider-bob-stauffer/

Stars might be willing to overpay for Zach Parise, but not for Ryan Suter

With new owner, TG saying “we will be in there on any player” (ref: free agency), what is your opinion as to the financial commitment he is willing to make?….Knowing the Stars are not on the “wish list” for any elite player, Is Tom willing “to pay big” to at least “jump start” fan enthusiasm/attendance???..I realize this post requires a subjective opinion, but I greatly respect your thoughts.

Mike Heika: I think they would do it for Parise but not for Suter. That’s my subjective opinion. They would take a risk and overpay for Parise, but I don’t think they would do it for Suter. They would have to get him at the right price.

Which of the Stars draft picks from the past 4 years do you see being pretty near NHL ready next season?

Mike Heika: They aren’t draft picks, but Dillon and Fraser are ready. They’re not going to be perfect, but you live with warts. That’s what happened with Stepan in New York or Craig Smith in Nashville. That’s what LA and SJ have been doing.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-stars/headlines/20120626-heika-stars-might-be-willing-to-overpay-for-zach-parise-but-not-for-ryan-suter.ece