NHL News and Rumor Roundup – June 30, 2009

Devils to let Madden and Gionta become UFA’s

Pens ink Guerin and Adams, others are a wait game.

Wings, Marian Hossa still talking

Kings looking to sign a big name UFA

Devils to let Madden and Gionta become UFA’s

MARK EVERSON – New York Post

The Devils are believed to be on the verge of re-signing unrestricted free agent defenseman Johnny Oduya, while allowing their only Selke Trophy winner, John Madden, and team-record single-season goal-scorer Brian Gionta to walk as unrestricted free agents tomorrow.

The Post first reported on June 18 the initiation of contract talks between the Devils and Oduya. Although the contract was not believed to be complete yesterday, the sides were said to be putting the final touches on what may be a four-year deal in the $3-4 million annual salary range — a major raise from the $600,000 Oduya made last season.

On the other hand, agent Steve Bartlett figures to start fielding calls tomorrow when Gionta, who scored 48 goals in 2005-06, goes on the open market.

“I don’t expect anything to happen, so we’re looking at July 1,” said Bartlett, who said Gionta would not object to re-signing with New Jersey after becoming an unrestricted free agent.


Pens ink Guerin and Adams, others are a wait game.

The Penguins were able to sign Bill Guerin and Craig Adams. No answer from Ruslan Fedotenko and Petr Sykora, so far. With a little over 5 million to work with for three key possisions the question remains what’s next?

Reports out of Pittsburgh stated that Guerin has accepted a one year 2 million deal. Craig Adams accepted a two year 1.1 million dollar deal. Both have taken pay cuts to remain with the Stanley Cup Champions. The question remains on what Ruslan Fedotenko and Petr Sykora want to do and will they price themselves out of Pittsburgh.

From what I’ve heard on rumors the Penguins will not wait for Fedotenko or Sykora’s answers and if they don’t ink a deal by 12 mid-night on July 1st they might find themselves having to find another team.

Pittsburgh learning from last years mistake of waiting for Hossa have found if they don’t strike earily in free agency might get stuck with leftovers. Even though it didn’t end in a complete disaster and they did find a diamond in the rough with Fedotenko and Satan was a force in the playoffs despite a lack of effort during the regular season, the Pens aren’t exactly looking in putting themselves into the same situation.

As it stands right now the Pens have the need for two top four wingers and one shutdown d-man and a little over 5 million to work with.

With names like Knuble, Kovalev, and Havlat sitting out there and have been linked with rumors with Pittsburgh it’s not wise to let the Pens wait for long or someone else might jump into that empty spot when your not looking. After all Detroit had some perks winning the cup last year when they picked up some nice free agents.

Wings, Marian Hossa still talking

Ted Kulfan / The Detroit News

NHL free agency begins Wednesday, and the Wings continue working on finding a way to keep potential free agent Marian Hossa in the fold.

The Wings and Hossa continued talks Monday, with the Wednesday deadline looming for both sides.

It doesn’t look promising.

With the salary cap at $56.8 million — and the Wings already committed to nearly $53 million for 19 players — there isn’t much room for Hossa.

“We only have so much cap space left,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “We can get creative in term, but at the end of the day, we only have so much left.”

The Wings are hopeful Hossa will accept a long-term contract with a lower salary cap, for somewhere between $4 million to $5 million.

Hossa’s agent, Ritch Winter, wouldn’t offer any clues Monday as to how negotiations were progressing.

“See no evil, hear no evil,” Winter said.

The Wings could possibly trade Hossa’s negotiating rights to another team Tuesday for draft picks if negotiations come to a standstill.

While Hossa is the primary point of interest for Wings fans, there remains two other potential unrestricted free agent forwards.

Mikael Samuelsson and Tomas Kopecky also are on the verge of testing the market.

Samuelsson, 32, scored 19 goals during the regular season and possesses one of the hardest shots in the league. At 6-foot-2, 213 pounds, Samuelsson, has the size and ability which could spark interest from many NHL teams looking for a relative bargain.


Kings looking to sign a big name UFA

Rich Hammond

Wednesday, for those who don’t keep close tabs, is the first day that unrestricted free agents can sign contracts with new teams. The Kings don’t have much work to do in terms of their own UFAs, as only Derek Armstrong, Kyle Calder, Denis Gauthier and Matt Moulson fall into that category. Restricted free agents needing new contracts include Teddy Purcell, Jack Johnson, Corey Elkins, Kevin Westgarth, Joe Piskula, Drew Bagnall, Scott Parse, Danny Taylor and Vladimir Dravecky.

I’m still awaiting confirmation as to which players the Kings have made qualifying offers to, but we should find that out today.

As for the unrestricted free agents, the Kings have identified the three “top-tier” left wingers. Not surprisingly, they are Marian Gaborik, Martin Havlat and Marian Hossa. Realistically, the Kings’ chances of landing any one of those three is iffy at best. Hossa and Havlat are likely to bring huge multi-year contracts. That leaves Gaborik as the wild card, and the Kings are likely to be interested only if Gaborik is willing to sign a one-year contract, or maybe two years at the most.


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