Major NHL offseason rumored signings and trades

By Al Morganti

Special to ESPN.com

The Summer of 2003 is going to be one of the most challenging for National Hockey League executives. Unsure of what looms on the labor front after next season, the people who count the money in the team offices are going to have to trust their instincts.

Most executives believe there will be either a cap on salaries or a luxury tax imposed on big spenders that would have a similar influence as a cap. In other words, even the biggest spenders are going to be worried about what their payroll looks like next September.

With that in mind, here are some stories you will likely be pondering during the Summer of 2003:

Will Dominik Hasek return to the NHL? Sounds silly when we just spoke about a salary cap, but not when you consider that a ticket for Hasek would be a one-year deal. Unlike some of the big names now making zillions, you could sign Hasek to a one-year deal, make a run for a Cup, and then have a zero balance due when the new CBA is in place.

The Rangers’ coaching situation. Watch for the Rangers to try to hire Larry Robinson during the upcoming draft. If they can’t make a deal, figure Glen Sather to come back again. Speaking of the Rangers, you can also expect Sather to either convince Mark Messier to retire, or move Eric Lindros by the start of next season.

The Panthers will trade the No. 1 pick. With goalie Roberto Luongo in place, the Panthers can deal the pick for a team that wants to draft goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The most interesting offer might come from Philadelphia, a team that has young forwards Justin Williams and Simon Gagne as bait.

The Capitals won’t be able to move Jaromir Jagr, and the same will hold true for John LeClair of the Flyers. The best either team will be able to do is restructure contracts, or take the very bold step of a buy out. Washington’s situation will be most perilous because an unhappy and unappreciated Jagr will become a real drain on the team’s energy next season. The Caps will offer to pick up a portion of his contract and GM George McPhee will spend the early summer trying to arrange such a deal, but he won’t find buyers in either Dallas, Detroit or even Manhattan.

Paul Kariya will sign a one-year extension with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. After this spring’s run to the Stanley Cup finals, bailing out now wouldn’t be a good move for the image.

Teemu Selanne will get interest from teams in the East, but he would rather land back in Anaheim with Kariya. The twist here again involves the CBA, and whether the Ducks would dare commit some long-term money to Selanne. Then again, Selanne could opt for the one-year deal many teams will be offering.

Derian Hatcher will stay with the Dallas Stars. The team will find ways to keep him in Dallas, even if theat means trading such people as Bill Guerin. In addition, many GMs feel that Hatcher won’t be nearly the player in another city as he is in Dallas, where he is the leader.

Phoenix will move Sean Burke. The Coyotes have already offered him around for a top-draft pick or two, and don’t be surprised if he lands in Colorado or St. Louis. In other goalie moves, the Flyers will sign either Jeff Hackett or Garth Snow.

Sergei Fedorov will be in play most of the summer. Let’s face it, something is up. Fedorov has twice turned down offers of $10 million per season from the Wings. Although the owner is a huge supporter of Fedorov, the same can’t be said for some management and team leaders. Fedorov might be the exception to the rule of owners being unwilling to commit big money into the future. A smart move here would be to sign Fedorov to huge bucks, and the smartest teams are the Avalanche and Devils.

Finally, the board of governors will meet to discuss the state of the game, and there will be no rash decision to make the nets larger. Instead, there will be serious discussion about eliminating icing calls (especially on penalty killing) and the owners will get some in-depth teaching about the neutral zone trap, and why it can or can not be eliminated.

Al Morganti covers the NHL for ESPN.

I was wondering what your predictions are


28 Responses to Major NHL offseason rumored signings and trades

  1. Avalanche114 says:

    Ok, I’ll be the first to say, the Avalanche are not the smartest team, nor are they one of the smartest teams, of recent that is. Not too mention, what the hell would Colorado do with Fedorov..they might as well throw some goalie pads on him and see how that works out..eesh. First Dominik Hasek, now this..can anyone come up with a feasible solution to fix this team? Let’s hope it’s Pierre Lacroix.

  2. bdeppe says:

    Guerin has NTC, along with Modano, Young, Trugeon and Lemieux. So stop talking about trading them

  3. tharock098 says:

    its not me talking about them, its ESPN

  4. wing25 says:

    Hasek is not going to come back to the nhl. Any team that wants him to play wil have to go to detroit first and do you think detroit is just going to give away the rights to Hasek.

  5. defenestrate says:

    “Eliminating icing on penalty killing?”

    Huh?

  6. Stuv_Dogg says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Detroit own Hasek’s rights for the next year or so? Don’t think Mr. Hasek will be playing next year unless Ken Holland wants an $8 million backup in Cujo.

    Also, Philly is gonna sign either Hackett or Snow? Tell me Philly fans, do you guys like early playoff exits?

    If I were Bobby Clarke and thankfully I’m not, I’d take my chances and stick with Esche.

    As for the rest of your articles bits, yeah, whatever. I might get traded before the season starts, so I guess saying that Lindros, Jagr, et al are gonna be traded isn’t so silly.

    That’s all from me.

  7. infoengine says:

    sorry simon gagne is untouchable

  8. kidhenry1 says:

    More free agents will be signed long-term than it appears, b/c teams will be rebuilding after the CBA and will want to buy cornerstones now

  9. MantaRay says:

    Hasek IS property for Detroit

  10. MantaRay says:

    “A smart move here would be to sign Fedorov to huge bucks, and the smartest teams are the Avalanche and Devils.”

    Are you joking?? The smartest thing those teams could do would be to ignore Federov. He will be a drain on a teams finances, regardless of his talents.

    I don’t know what rock you just crawled out from but your take on things is pretty baseless.

    The Av’s are deep at center and don’t need to throw away big bucks on Federov who wouldn’t get the ice time in Colorado. They will be focusing ALL THEIR attention on Goaltending and improving, in my opinion, a weak blueline. The AV’s are strong upfront.

    Why would the Stanley Cup champions waste $10 million a season on Federov? We obviously don’t need him. The Devils are stocked with talent and a unified group. Federov doesn’t fit.

  11. DaMick says:

    one- Hasek’s rights are owned by the Wings….and i heavily doubt he’ll come back to be a backup.

    two- Federov to the Devils?? makes no sense considering they are a fiscally responsible team.

    The Devils will move Tverdosky if anything.

    Avs i doubt would bring him into the fold….as stated before they dont need Cs they need a G.

    three- Burke going to St Louis?

    Sorry Al..they resigned Osgood….[very dated material]

    and i doubt Snow would be signed by Philly.

    They need a “name” goalie…

    Al Morganti is a name dropping idiot.

    just like Brooks……just on tv.

    DaMick

  12. bruinexpert says:

    hatcher is not better than guerrin, even if hatcher is more of a leader, i would much rather have guerrin on my team any day, they would not be willing to trade him just to keep Hatcher even if guerrin didn’t have a no trade clause. Besides, they were for sure going to keep Hatcher how come they haven’t talked to him about a contract yet? (according to him last time i checked) It sounds like he’s on his way out and probably off to detroit or toronto i would think

  13. JohnFlan22 says:

    i think he means the attacking team dumping it in from anywhere in stead of gaining the red line.

  14. MantaRay says:

    Classic DaMick, just classic.

  15. mikster says:

    Who are you referring this to anyway? Hopefully not the guy who submitted this story because it’s not his.

    Apparently, you didn’t read carefully enough to see that it’s Al Morganti’s story. So to correct you…

    “I don’t know what rock Al Morganti just crawled out from but his take on things is pretty baseless.”

  16. mikster says:

    Hasek is part of the Wings but his rights can be traded. However, i doubt he wants to come back.

    Larry would be a good addition since he wants things done, as he so said, his way. If he declines that means he disagreed with Slats. He is too soft of a coach, and that is not what i am so fond about. However, he knows the right defensive system, has the offense to work with, and he is a positive for the defensemen. But, this is Sather’s responsibility and he’s got to take care of the problems all by himself now. They were above .500 with Slats and top 10 in defense in the last 15-20 games or so.

    “The Panthers will trade the No. 1 pick. With goalie Roberto Luongo in place, the Panthers can deal the pick for a team that wants to draft goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The most interesting offer might come from Philadelphia, a team that has young forwards Justin Williams and Simon Gagne as bait.”

    No? Really? The Panthers will trade their 1st overall since they have Luongo and so they won’t pick Andre? What else is new from pro-Flyers idiot Morganti……mentions an interesting offer from the Flyers who will not get that 1st overall to weaken their forward lines for a goalie who will not win them the Cup in the next couple or more seasons. Hmmm, doesn’t he know that the Canes and Pens are the ones actually persuing the 1st overall? And, there’s a big difference when a team offers you the 2nd or 3rd overall rather than the 11th.

    Morganti sucks, period. Still this gives us something to talk about though.

  17. titans says:

    Sean Burke to Philly!! Mark it down!!

  18. bruinexpert says:

    I think bobby clarke has come to his senses and started throwing gagne’s name around at the deadline…i may be wrong about that though, i just remember being surprised about that…besides he’s overrated as far as i’m concerned, talented but a guy like that should not be untouchable

  19. Rushing says:

    No….he means the “killing” team not being able to dump the puck. It is an idea being floated around.

  20. bdeppe says:

    The Stars GM Doug Armstrong has stated that he will address his free agencies after the draft ( restricted and unrestricted). I think they are going to look into moving up or down in the draft, trade a player or a few for draft picks and or young player. This should free up some space under Tom Hicks “$66 million” budget. My guess is that if they are close ( with in a few million) of his budget that they my go over to sign key players. The players mentioned in rumors are: Turgeon ( he said that he would waive his NTC if it was the right team and deal), Sydor, Arnott, and Matichuk. I would be at all surprised if they bought out Lemieux for 2/3 of his 2.5 million for this season.

  21. aaron says:

    I think he means adding icing on penalty kill…iow, preventing the killing team from just dumping the puck out. It would make power plays more deadly, increase the number of shorthanded goals, and make the newest crackdown on interference much more effective (and w/ the boring as hell dumping the puck down technique that makes pps so boring to watch eliminated, maybe the fans will even tolerate this crackdown).

  22. aaron says:

    Is he? I thought his contract expired at the end of last season. It was only for two years, w/ an option for a third. I’m pretty sure it was a player option though. I don’t think he’s coming back either way though.

  23. aaron says:

    Didn’t you guys boo Burke out of Philly already? Clarke does have some draft picks he can give up though, and Philly and Phoenix do have pretty good trade relations.

  24. defenestrate says:

    Got it… thanks

  25. devfanman4 says:

    As Manta Ray said…kinda….

    Federov to the Devils? No way. They don’t spend that kind of money and why would we need anyone right now except maybe a 3rd or 4th line center?

  26. Rushing says:

    They are thinking about enlarging the nets.

    They are thinking about making the goalies pads smaller.

    They are thinking about doing away with the red lines or two line pass rule.

    They are thinking about the penalty’s two minutes not being eliminated once a goal is scored. In other words, if a goal is scored, the time will continue ’til the two minutes is up. Or……..you will have the man advantage for two minutes, period.

    They are thinking about, as we said, the penalty killing icing.

    There still seems to be some others but I can’t seem to recall the others at this moment.

  27. Rushing says:

    But……if you sign a two year contract……does that literally mean two years “in” the NHL and not just two years period? As if he plays one year then steps out a year(retires a year) as he has done to just skip any such year he so desires?

    Example……the Detroit Lions (NFL)have the rights to Barry Sanders still do they not? Even though it has been a numerous amount of years, he cannot just come back and go anywhere.

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