Hockey Trade Rumors for July 20, 2009

Happy with Hawks, Sharp deals with rumors

Selanne, Koivu take Anaheim over Montreal

Kessel, Boston not close to deal
Happy with Hawks, Sharp deals with rumors

Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Patrick Sharp is a lot of things to the Blackhawks – one of their most popular players, a dependable goal scorer and a leader in the dressing room.

Is expendable about to be added to that list?

On a team that still needs an experienced defenseman, with a lot of forwards who do the same things and salary cap issues, Sharp remains a prime candidate to be traded if you believe the rumors that won’t go away.

It’s believed the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks are at least two of the teams interested in the 28-year-old Sharp, who carries a cap hit of $3.9 million for the next three seasons.

“It’s not something in my control,” Sharp said of the rumors this weekend at the Hawks fan convention. “It’s something I learned early on as a pro that you worry about the things you can control and other than that there’s no use worrying about it.”

Sharp and his teammates can do the math. While the Hawks would be barely under the NHL’s $56.8 million salary cap if the 2009-10 season started today, there are problems ahead.

Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane will be looking for new contracts after next season and there is only about $13 million coming off the books. General manager Stan Bowman already has said decisions must be made eventually about which players to keep because everyone can’t stay.

Selanne, Koivu take Anaheim over Montreal

Randy Youngman – The Orange County Register

So how much arm-twisting did you have to do, Teemu?

“It wasn’t like that,” a laughing Selanne said this week, by phone from his summer home in Helsinki, Finland, upon returning from a weeklong family vacation in Spain.

“We’ve been talking and joking about this (playing together in the NHL) for a long time. And when Saku became a free agent (after Montreal decided to shake up its roster), we talked some more, before anybody made him an offer.

“I just tried to tell him what a great place Anaheim is to play and let him make up his own mind. I didn’t want to pressure him about it, because I don’t know how long I’m going to play.”

Interestingly, it was Koivu who had tried to persuade Selanne to sign with Montreal when Teemu was mulling retirement after the Ducks won the 2007 Stanley Cup and again the next year when he was still undecided about his future. But Teemu’s deliberations didn’t last long.

“No brainer for me,” Selanne said, laughing again. “No way I was going to Montreal.”

Didn’t take long for Koivu to realize the futility of his recruiting mission.

“We joked about it (playing together in Montreal) a few times and talked about it, because we enjoyed our time with Team Finland,” Koivu said last week from his home in Finland during a media conference call. “But to be honest with you, Teemu and his family love the sun too much and love California and Anaheim too much for me to get him to come to Montreal. He said there was no way.”

Kessel, Boston not close to deal

Kevin Paul Dupont

The Phil Kessel contract talks, if the sides are indeed still talking, have not progressed.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli slams down the Cone of Silence at the mere mention of No. 81, and agent Wade Arnott – not nearly as chatty as his boss, Don Meehan – has politely refused a handful of opportunities to comment on his client, a restricted free agent with no arbitration rights.

So, with about eight weeks to go before the start of training camp, here’s how it’s shaping up for the 21-year-old winger, who potted 36 goals last season. Kessel can:

►Cut a one-year deal, accepting only a slight bump over his 2008-09 wages, and use it as a bridge to arbitration as of next July 1. If he popped in another 36 goals or more in 2009-10, he could ring up the Causeway cash drawer for $5 million per year or more next summer. Remember, the players who scored more than Kessel last year will average $6.5 million in the coming season.

►Take something akin to David Krejci money (three years/$11.25 million), forget about finances for 36 months, and come to the table in the spring of 2012, ideally with a more mature and proven overall game.

►Force his way out of town, either by requesting a trade or refusing to sign, leading Chiarelli to deal away a non-performing asset (probably at the post-Olympic trading deadline).

►Wait for a Group 2 offer sheet, of which there have been none this summer, nearly three weeks into the free agency process.