July 3, 2009 – NHL News and Rumors Roundup

Opening offer a disappointment for Nash

Wild waiting on decision from Saku Koivu

Opening offer a disappointment for Nash


It didn’t take long for the Blue Jackets’ contract negotiations with captain Rick Nash to take a contentious turn.

After meeting with his agent, Joe Resnick, Nash told The Dispatch last night that the initial offer from Jackets general manager Scott Howson fell short of what he had in mind.

Nash watched yesterday’s free-agent spending spree, with NHL teams continuing to shower elite players with huge contracts, and said he expected more from the Blue Jackets.

“There were tons of teams throwing some pretty big money around,” Nash said. “If this doesn’t get done, I’m sure I won’t have a problem getting signed by somebody next summer.”

Neither Howson nor Nash revealed details of the proposal, but sources indicated to The Dispatch it was a five-year offer.

“Things didn’t line up the way I anticipated them lining up,” Nash said. “I thought we had a solid chance of getting (a contract) done, especially with all the interest they said they had going into this. If they want me that bad, they’ll get it done.”

Nash, 25, can be an unrestricted free agent after the 2009-10 season, but the Blue Jackets are trying to avoid a messy situation by getting him signed quickly.

Resnick is expected to issue a counterproposal today.


Wild waiting on decision from Saku Koivu


One day after signing winger Martin Havlat to a six-year, $30 million deal, General Manager Chuck Fletcher spent much of Thursday trying to fill another significant hole in the Wild’s lineup.

Fletcher said “negotiations are ongoing with Saku” Koivu, the decorated older brother of Wild center Mikko Koivu.

But according to sources, the deal appeared to be heading south fast after the team believed Koivu-to-Minnesota was a lock Wednesday night.

“We’ve expressed some interest. I think a lot of teams have expressed interest,” Fletcher said. “He’s a great hockey player and there aren’t a lot of centermen in the market place, so I’d be stunned if 10 or 15 teams haven’t reached out to him by this point.

“I certainly sensed some interest [from Koivu], but there’s a lot of good situations out there. Most teams in the league are thin at the center position.”

Fletcher, who spoke with Mikko Koivu on Wednesday to ensure his comfort level in the Wild pursuing his brother, added the “ball’s in [Saku’s] court.”

Agent Don Baizley reserved comment other than to say no decision is imminent.

If the Wild isn’t able to land Koivu, it’s unlikely the team would sign another free-agent center.




Now the trick for Glen Sather is to find another high-end talent to complement Marian Gaborik, but that’s easier said than it’s going to be for the general manager to get done, given the paucity of upper echelon players with cap-affordable contracts on the market.

The Rangers scoured the free agent and trade markets yesterday in an attempt to find a center to complement Gaborik, the right winger who signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the club on Wednesday, but came up empty.

That’s neither terribly surprising nor terribly alarming because, a) the season doesn’t start for another three months; b) Gaborik doesn’t rely on his center to set him up the way, say, Dany Heatley does; and, c) Brandon Dubinsky almost certainly could handle the assignment beside Gaborik just as he handled centering Jaromir Jagr.

It’s far better for the Rangers to be patient while surveying an unimposing market that includes comparatively cheap, short-term alternatives such as Brendan Morrison, Robert Lang or Mike Comrie, should it come to that, than rush into a bad contract carrying a long-term commitment to, say, a Saku Koivu.