Hawks Rumors, Predators and general NHL rumors

Time to pay the piper; tough cuts ahead for Hawks

Nashville Predators are open to free agents

A Real Look At the Rumor Mill

Time to pay the piper; tough cuts ahead for Hawks

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman admitted Tuesday he has spoken with every other GM in the league over the last week, some of them more than once.

The Hawks’ salary-cap problems are no secret. Some very good players off a Stanley Cup championship team are available – there’s blood in the water, and rival general managers are circling.

Bowman has tried to prepare fans for this, and the sting of potential changes is soothed by the fact the Hawks did win the 2010 Stanley Cup.

But the reality is, not everyone who hoisted the Cup on that hot evening in Philadelphia can stay. Bowman likely must shed between $10 million and $15 million in payroll before the regular-season opener Oct. 7 at Colorado.

“The core of our team is going to be identical to this year,” Bowman said. “I’m not trying to diminish it. We are going to have to move some very good players out, but at the same time I think the fans can be comfortable in knowing the core of this group is going to be together a long time.

“Filling in with the depth is going to be the key, the guys to surround those core players. That’s where we have to rely on some young players coming in to make contributions and also some acquisitions we’ll have to make to fill some of those spots.”

So who stays and who goes? Only Bowman and his staff know the plan as we head into draft weekend Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles.

What might happen? We can only speculate.

On their way out?

Cristobal Huet
Brent Sopel
Ben Eager
Adam Burish
John Madden
Kim Johnsson
Nick Boynton


Nashville Predators are open to free agents

The Nashville Predators might not have made a big free-agent splash since signing Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont in 2006, but that’s not to say they’ve snoozed through the summers either.

A few of the key contributors the Predators have plucked from the free-agent market over the past years include goalie Dan Ellis and defenseman Greg de Vries in 2007, forward Joel Ward in 2008, and forward Marcel Goc and defenseman Francis Bouillon in 2009.

As he looked ahead to the start of the unrestricted free agent period July 1, Predators General Manager David Poile sounded Monday as if the team might be doing some more shopping before the start of next season.

Top priorities for the team will be bolstering goal-scoring up front because of the Arnott trade, and adding a goaltender to replace backup Ellis.

“I just had two-hour conference call with all the pro scouts and (assistant general manager) Paul Fenton,” said Poile, who leaves today for Los Angeles, where the NHL Entry Draft will be Friday and Saturday.

“Now that we’ve made this trade with Arnott , we’re looking at our forwards and seeing who’s available either at a wing or center position that we could acquire. I’m not saying it’s going to happen. But we’re certainly looking into it and I’m going to sit down with the coaches when we get out to L.A., get their thoughts on where we are with our forwards and see if we can put our heads together and can come up with — maybe through trade or (free agency) — another forward.”


A Real Look At the Rumor Mill

With so many insane things that are spreading across the Internet, it is nice to finally garner some truth from those who truly do have an inside scoop and can add logic to the names that are potentially being moved from the clubs they currently play for. A great write up by Dan Rosen who is a staff writer for NHL.com.

The rumor mill is churning at full speed this week and what you believe can largely be based on what media outlet — newspaper, Web site, Twitter feed or blog — you choose to read.

Tuesday, for example, Jason Spezza was apparently going to be traded to Columbus, a rumor that has since been squashed by several folks in the know several times. However, Ottawa GM Bryan Murray did say Monday that Spezza “wouldn’t object” to a trade. Tomas Kaberle could reportedly be traded out of Toronto soon and Andrew Ladd is apparently on his way out of Chicago because the Blackhawks can’t afford to even tender him a new contract, according to TSN analyst Bob McKenzie.

This is just a sampling of what we’re hearing as the business side of the game takes over this week. With every notable executive heading to Los Angeles for this weekend’s Entry Draft, the general assumption is that the transactions page will be littered with NHL news — be it from trades or signings.

It already started Tuesday with the retirement of Scott Niedermayer, Tom Renney being promoted to the Oilers’ head coach, Boston and Florida pulling off a major trade, Tomas Plekanec signing a monster six-year deal with the Canadiens, and Matt Cooke re-upping in Pittsburgh for three years.

It was a busy day and there is plenty more percolating throughout the NHL right now, but that means fans have several questions about what could potentially happen in the coming days and weeks. Here are five that could be answered by the end of the weekend:
How are the Blackhawks going to handle their salary cap issues?

At least part of this question will likely be answered this weekend when GM Stan Bowman can huddle in a corner with any of his cohorts from around the League. The Blackhawks have a lot of moves to make in order to work with the cap this season, a number that has not yet been revealed but is expected to be around $59 million. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Hawks have $57 million tied up in 14 players. Antti Niemi
, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Ladd are restricted free agents, but there’s no way the Hawks can re-sign them all, which is why Ladd is reportedly on the trading block now. Kris Versteeg , Dustin Byfuglien , Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp are four more names we’re hearing when it comes to trade talk. Sharp is probably too valuable at a $3.9 million to get rid of and Bolland ($3.375 million) is probably too valuable because of what he can do as a third-line center, but Versteeg ($3.083 million) and Byfuglien ($3 million) could be shopped. Bowman could choose to dump Cristobal Huet and his $5.625 million in the minors, which would take his cap hit away. Finding a taker for Brian Campbell and his $7.1 million salary would also make Bowman’s life easier.


3 Responses to Hawks Rumors, Predators and general NHL rumors

  1. Boston_Bruins says:

    Wow huge salary dump by the Hawks to the Thrashers.

    Hawks trade Byfuglien, Eager, Sopel and prospect to Thrashers for 1st-round pick, a 2nd-round pick, prospect Jeremy Morin and M. Reasoner.

    Hawks did really well on this one. Thrashers get a really good player in Byfuglien.

  2. Boston_Bruins says:

    Aliu also to the Thrashers and the picks are 24th and 54th

  3. reinjosh says:

    Byfuglien, Sopel, Aliu and Eager for the 24th pick, the 54th Marty Reasoner and Jeremy Morin.

    Wow. Atlanta just made a big deal. Chicago got more than I expected too. A first, 2nd and Morin? Although they had to give up Aliu as well they still got a lot. Not bad for both teams. Atlanta is really making a push for a better team. Bergfors, Enstrom, Oduya, Bogosian, Pavelec, Kane and now Byfuglien will make for a nice young core.

    On a side note, Eklund seems to actually be on top of things. First he announced the extended CBA hours before TSN, announced the 5% raise in the cap a full day before TSN, said the Horton deal was going down the morning of. Is he finally gaining some credibility?

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