NHL Rumors and News – July 24, 2009

Leafs’ Kaberle no longer on trade hot seat

Bruins nix team-bonding trip

Enigmatic Afinogenov worth a shot?

Taylor Pyatt in Canucks’ rear-view mirror

Leafs’ Kaberle no longer on trade hot seat


The Maple Leafs are still attempting to move one of their excess defencemen but it looks less and less like Tomas Kaberle will be the one shipped out of town.

In one of his strongest statements to date about the star blueliner’s future in Toronto, general manager Brian Burke yesterday said he’d “be shocked if (Kaberle) is not a Leaf on opening night.”

“I look at our defence now and I’d put it up against just about anybody’s. I think (Kaberle) is going to be a big part of that,” continued Burke, who bolstered Toronto’s back line with the off-season acquisitions of Mike Komisarek, François Beauchemin and Garnet Exelby.

“I look forward to seeing what Tomas can do with a little more size and toughness around him, where he’s not going to be picking his teeth out of the glass all night.”

Kaberle, 31, has two years remaining on a contract that will pay him $4.25 million (all figures U.S.) each season, a relatively modest stipend that, combined with his impressive skill set, should make him very attractive to a contending team.

A deal for Kaberle that would have seen Phil Kessel arrive in Toronto from Boston was almost consummated at the trade deadline due to a communication breakdown.

There is a window in Kaberle’s contract that allows Toronto to trade him before Aug. 15, but Burke said there is no deal in the works.

“I don’t sense (a trade) is going to happen,” said Burke.


Bruins nix team-bonding trip

This fall, for the first time since Claude Julien has assumed control of the Boston bench, the Bruins will not partake in their team-bonding trip to Stowe, Vt., during training camp. The early start and compressed schedule will not give them enough time for the trip.


Enigmatic Afinogenov worth a shot?

Predators general manager David Poile says he’s happy with his current roster, but hasn’t closed his eyes to the few remaining forwards on the unrestricted free-agent market either.

One of the free agents Poile has inquired after is former Buffalo forward Maxim Afinogenov, who Poile calls “an interesting player.’’

Interesting certainly in that the 29 year-old Afinogenov has plenty of speed, skill and scoring ability. But if Afinogenov was a stock, he’d probably be selling for a penny these days.

Over the past four seasons, Afinogenov has seen his points total drop from 73 to 61 to 28 to 20. Granted, he missed significant stretches of the last couple of seasons with groin/hip injuries, but he also suffered a handful of healthy scratches. Afinogenov’s attitude buried him so deeply in the doghouse of Sabres coach Lindy Ruff that the team considered building an addition out back for him.

As far back as November of 2008, Buffalo News columnist Bucky Gleason suggested that the Sabres should already have traded Afinogenov, reasoning that his return value had fallen to “three autographed practice sweaters and a case of beer.’’

Clearly, a change of scenery could do nothing but boost Afinogenov. But whether a mercurial Russian sniper would be a good fit for the Predators is a matter of debate.


Taylor Pyatt in Canucks’ rear-view mirror

Jim Jamieson, The Province

Taylor Pyatt has turned the page on his time with the Vancouver Canucks and Jannik Hansen may be skating himself onto thin ice with the NHL club.

Pyatt told TBnewswatch.com in his hometown of Thunder Bay that he doesn’t expect to come back to Vancouver for a fourth season and said he has spoken with four or five NHL teams about the coming season.

“I don’t think I’ll be back there (Vancouver) this year,” Pyatt told TBnewswatch.com.

“I really enjoyed my time there. The organization treated me great and my teammates were great to me, but I guess it’s time for me to move on,” he said.

Pyatt’s world was ripped apart by the tragic death of his fiancée Carly Bragnalo in a car crash in Jamaica on April 2.

He was absent from the team for about a month and returned to play in the final four games of the Chicago series, won in six games by the Blackhawks. It was revealed Pyatt required arthroscopic knee surgery following the series.

Pyatt clearly feels he’s ready to resume his career.


32 Responses to NHL Rumors and News – July 24, 2009

  1. zackman13 says:

    a sad tale for taylor, i hope he can recover from his loss and begin to play again!

  2. cam7777 says:

    It's not just Afinogenov left on the market as far as interesting, and likely ridiculously cheap options.  There are a ton of free agents left who very soon are going to be forced with the option of playing for much less than they anticipiated (in most cases a million or less), retiring, or going to Europe to try and restore some value to their careers there. 

    If they elect to play, certain teams can fill up the bottom half of their rosters with fading stars, and overlooked middling players.  let's remember, guy's like mike comrie and mike grier aren't useless assets.  they might not be top six guys on good teams, but they can certainly be great bottom six players, and now, teams can probably afford to pay them to do just that. 

    I still can't believe a team like the Islanders haven't snapped up any of Sykora, Bertuzzi, Malhotra, Comrie, Grier, Moore, Chelios, Shannahan, Afinogenov, Axelsson, etc.  These guys would cost next to nothing!

  3. hockey_lover says:

    Truly. It always sucks to lose a loved one but man, these stories stink.

  4. goose says:

    Malhotra, Bertuzzi, Sykora, & afinogenov would
    look good in a Leafs jersey,
    pick on or two?

    Malhotra would be a good asset, a Burke type player, a third line power-forwards who can tally 10-15 goals.

    Bertuzzi is a pure Burke type player, they know eachother very well and if Bertuzzi works hard this summer and can keep up his game he can get better point totals than from last season with the Flames.

    Sykora is a pure sniper. Played with Malkin and Crosby this past season and won a cup. An easy 20 goal scorer, and if he also keeps up his game he can easily yet score 30 goals.

    Afinogenov has been struggling the past few seasons, but thats because of injuries. If he puts this all behind him and works extra hard this summer and works on his all around game, he will get back to the top and could be a great asset yet again. He can score 20-25 goals a season, and can make plays too.

  5. hockey_lover says:

    I think a lot of these guys will end up in the KHL. They seem to be throwing ridiculous money at players. $5M a year / 2 years for Hudler? As if. Good player, dont get me wrong. Potential to be amazing but right now? $5 mil? Uhhh no.

    I think guys like Afinogenov are going to get stupid offers from other leagues. So they will play the waiting game and see what comes up. What would you do .. play in the NHL for $1m or play in the KHL for $4mil tax free?

    Having said that, I think a guy like Max would be a neat addition on Malkins' wing for $1mil/1 year. Its a chance for him to play on a contender AND with a star player AND it could likely ressurect his career so he can get another big pay day … cause you KNOW some retarded GM will pay him huge bucks next year if he gets 75 points this season while playing with Malkin.

    There are some other good guys on that list too.

  6. cam7777 says:

    Yea, for sure some of the Russian born players would likely depart, but I heard that the offers aren't rolling in like they used to.  Teams over there are preferring now to target young guys like Hudler, and they are starting to lean away from bringing in the struggling NHL veterans.  I heard there have been little in the way of offers for any of the free agent left-overs.  Can't remember for the life of me where I read that though.

    Still, I was talking with nordiques about this in another thread.  If you're the Islanders, how do you not go out and sign a bunch of these guys to short term deals.  They have all the cap-space in the world, and no one to eat it up.  They want to land Tanguay, but why would he want to play for a team that doesn't want to help itself?

    If I'm Snow, I'm getting PJ Axelsson to man the penalty kill and play the 4th line center position – effectively grooming any young kids who play there into quality 4th liners.  I'm going to go out and spend on Malhotra to be a quality 3rd line center for my team.  This is probably a guy he can afford to pay good money to because he is young still.  Then, I look to Mike Grier for my 3rd line.  He seems to be having a hard time finding work anywhere.  Why not on the Island?  Suddenly, you've got some veterans scattered throughout the lineup that make the team look a little more respectable – Tavares with Weight, Grier, Malhotra, Axelsson, Biron, Roloson, and Streit.  I could see Tanguay signing on if that were the case.

    Also, if I'm one of these guys withot a contract, I'm thinking "1 year deal with the Islanders and then shipped to a contender for a shot at the Cup?  How about yes!"

  7. goose says:

    tsn.ca just reported that the Boston Bruins have traded D Aaron Ward to the Carolina Hurricanes is exchange for F Patrick Eaves and a 4th round pick in 2010.

    The Bruins than waived his contract for purposes to buy out his contract.

    Leafs should pick up Eaves!
    He is a good two-way player, struggled last year after a 20-30 goals season a couple years ago with the Senators.

  8. cam7777 says:

    Aaron Ward traded to Carolina for Eaves, and then Eaves was immediately waived, apparently awaiting a buyout.

    I know the Bruins are super deep, and that they should know have the money to resign Kessel, but I feel they've made some really questionable moves.  Eaves will now be on the cap for 4 years at an average of about a half a million dollars.  They've already got Schaefer there , and Murray.  With the cap collapsing, little dollar amounts like this are going to end up hurting them.  An extra million or so would be nice next year when they have to re-up Savard, Lucic, Wheeler, and Rask (not to mention, pay whatever bonuses Rask ac*****ulates this year).

    My concern isn't with the cap so much as the character of the team.  Lost in all the Kessel drama is what I consider to be a couple of pretty crucial losses in Ward and Axelsson.  Only a year ago, Ward took a paycut to stay with the Bruins.  Chiarelli had a lengthy barganing process with him, and convinced him to stick around for less money.  He showed some loyalty to the team in the twilight of his career, and they returned the favor by dishing him for a buyout, and a late pick.

    Then you have Axelsson, a career Bruin, who gets left in the cold despite having been a crucial member of this club for a long time.  Combine this with the fact that Kessel has been repeatedly mentioned on the trade market for the last two years, and you have to me, a club that isn't being very respectful of it's players.  I understand there's a cap, but a classy organization like Detroit seems to make it work.  I would have brought back Axelsson over Recchi, for instance.

    Now, the Bruins are good enough, and deep enough, that little things like this will probably go under the radar.  They will likely continue to storm their way back to the playoffs unhindered by all of this.  I'm just saying, it's bad karma to treat your players like this, especially veterans and kids.  

  9. cam7777 says:

    no, there are cheaper and better options than eaves.  he performed well with the sens because they were the most offensive team in the league.  his performance with the hurricanes was more telling of his abilities.

  10. bbruins37 says:

    wow bad karma to try and get under the cap? the bruins organization are just awful people aren't they? lol you would probably shoot down anything the bruins do.

    ward will be missed but this gives the bruins the opportunity to see what boychuk can do with the big club. but ward with walker? that could be interesting.

    axe will be missed too. he's one of the best PK players in the league. however, if you watch bruins games he gives up soooo many pucks, and there were so many times where he was on the first line when he never should have been. still, it'll be tough to lose axe as he has been a bruin for so long.

    b's still have chara, wideman, ference, hunwick, boychuk, stuart as their top 6. and when you just allowed the least amount of goals un the league by a long shot, it shouldn't be too significant of a loss. stuart should end up taking on ward's role

  11. hockey_lover says:

    "and when you just allowed the least amount of goals un the league by a long shot, it shouldn't be too significant of a loss."

    MAN, you are amusing lol

    By a longshot? They gave up 196 goals. Minnesota gave up 200. San Jose gave up 204. New Jersey gave up 209.   Yep .. a REAL longshot. In other news, Malkin won the scoring race by a "longshot" as well.

    The Bruins are probably the best team of all time. They have, according to you:

    – "one of the best, if not the best, scorer in the game" with Kessel (yes,
      thats a quote that you said)
    – Savard who is the best playmakers in the game today
    – Axelsson who is apparantly one of the best PKers in the league
    – Thomas who is apparantly the best 'tender in the league
    – Rask, who is now known as the best prospect in the league
    – Chara who is, according to you, the most dominating dman in the NHL

    Did I miss anything?

    I surely expect the Bruins to win 82 games next year and winning the cup in 16 straight games in the playoffs.

  12. hockey_lover says:

    I think Bertuzzi is done. He can still fill a roll but his best days are well behind him. I wouldnt expect much out of him at this point.

    Sykora, while still talented, had the benefit of playing on a line with Malkin. That had to have helped a little bit. I dont know if he can reach the 30 goal plateau again.

  13. Kramer says:


    The Holliday trade has happened!


  14. hockey_lover says:

    Sneaky boy 🙂

  15. cam7777 says:

    so many posters here are so quickly agitated and reactionary.  just because i comment negatively on players or general mangers, does not mean i dislike the team.  i was cheering for the bruins in the playoffs this year.  i like the way their team is put together.  i'm simply telling you that i don't think it was good business on chiarelli's part to do what he did.

    what should he have done? well first off, it's not like the cap was a new invention this year.  he knew, when he convinced ward to stay last summer, that the cap was going to be an issue for him going forward.  granted, he got breakout years from kessel and krejci, but regardless, he knew he was going to be signing a boatload of young talent over the next two season (krejci, kessel, bitz, hunwick, lashoff – prior to being traded, wheeler, lucic, and of course the older guys, chara, and savard).  you don't plead with a player to stick around and take a discount, and then just trade them away.  ward could have got what he was asking for on the market last year, and now he has less money and is playing for a lesser team (yes, even though carolina beat them in the playoffs, they are the lesser team).  also, i'm sure ward is just thrilled to be back in carolina after the bad blood there in the playoffs.

    secondly, i realize that axelsson didn't want to take a paycut to stay with the bruins.  as you said, he's one of the better penalty killers in the league (although i love how you point this out, and then immediately start criticizing him because he will be leaving your organization – just ridiculous).  but still, what i would have done is wait out the market.  tell recchi to hold his horses, and you'll sign him a contract if things pan out.  for sure axelsson would consider that pay cut not that he sees the offers aren't rolling in.  now they have recchi, and axelsson is left out in the cold.

    again, i don't dislike the bruins at all.  i love the way the team is built right now.  i just think chiarelli is starting to mismanage the team.  of course it was all on the up and up when the team sucked, but now he's being given the oppurtunity to make mistakes.  they have begun.

  16. bbruins37 says:

    your last comment might be the biggest strawman argument ive seen in a while but:

    – when did i say the kessel quote? lets see proof and context. im not an idiot kessel is an amazing pure scorer but to put him in the class of ovechkin, kovalchuk, etc. is idiotic
    -savard is arguably the best playmaker in the game if you actually watch him. i wouldnt be mad if someone said crosby or thornton though.
    – axe is a great PK man (and is one of the best)and thats about it.
    – thomas has a legit claim as the no. 1 goalie in the league although ive said that belongs to luongo
    – i said i thought rask was the best GOALTENDING prospect in the league…again you have issues putting things into context
    – chara is without a doubt the most dominating dman in the NHL. lidstrom is right up there but in my opinion has now claimed that role this year. if you disagree, so be it. i really could care less about what hockey_lover thinks as you should care less what bbruins37 thinks, but obviously you can't get over that a random bruins fan disagrees with you.

  17. cam7777 says:

    You actually did say that, I believe it was in an article you wrote.  It was ridiculous, and I think you even defended it when people mentioned Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, etc…

    Thomas is a great goaltender, I won't disagree.

    The jury is still out on Chara though.  If you ask me, he has never done anything in the playoffs.  In Ottawa, he could never even carry the Sens past the Leafs.  He wears down when a team beats up on him in the playoffs.  In my opinion, you really could use a top notch secondary guy, like Kaberle.  Chara is going to become the Joe Thornton of defensemen if he doesn't take the team to the conference finals this year.

    Chara is dominating, but it hasn't added up to winning playoff series.  You can't even compare his accolades to Nik Lidstrom, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger.

  18. bbruins37 says:

    "axe will be missed too. he's one of the best PK players in the league. however, if you watch bruins games he gives up soooo many pucks, and there were so many times where he was on the first line when he never should have been. still, it'll be tough to lose axe as he has been a bruin for so long."

    somehow this was turned into me criticizing him for leaving?

    being a great PK man and giving up the puck have nothing to do with each other. i'd rather have axe as a bruin than not to have him as a bruin. no idea how im criticizing him for leaving.

    as for ward. they understand its a business. GMs dont go around trying to please everyone. they try to better their team.

    recchi was a 60 point guy last season. if he wants only a million to play on the b's, give it to him.

    ive also learned not to question chiarelli. wideman/boyes is a perfect example. he has proved himself as one of the better GMs in the league

  19. bbruins37 says:

    find me proof that i said that about kessel. im obviously not going to compare him to those guys.

    hey, uh, you said that grabovski is the best player in the league. lol its really not hard to say someone said something. if i say kessel is one of the best in the league id be talking top 15 or something like that. i obviously did not defend him against ovie and kovalchuk.

    yeah chara doesnt have those accolades but im talking about who is the best right now. and to me chara is

  20. bbruins37 says:

    even if this isnt the halladay trade this is still huge. holliday is a great player

  21. hockey_lover says:

    I notice no comment on the "longshot" part. Big shock.

    Since you "could care less about what hockey_lover thinks," I wont bother responding. It does, however, beg the question: if you dont care what others thing, why bother posting on a message board? Isnt that sort of the whole point of posting on here? Or is it just me that you dislike? (which would make me weep openly, Im sure).

    PS. It was actually futurebruin who retardedly said that Kessel was the top offensive threat in the league. Please accept my apologies.

  22. bbruins37 says:

    yeah i just found that tachmo said that kessel is comparable to semin and kovalchuk. maybe this was the confusion?

  23. bbruins37 says:

    long shot:

    minny played the trap, the bruins still managed to have the 2nd best offense in the league. yeah long shot was an exaggeration. i was mainly thinking of thomas' GAA when i said it. no one else was really close.

  24. cam7777 says:

    meh, it might not have been you.  someone literally said kessel is the one of the best, if not the best sniper in the league.  i don't feel like looking.  if you say it wasn't you, i'm sold.

  25. bbruins37 says:

    oh so it wasnt me…big shock.

  26. RealisticNick says:

    Unless I'm missing something do the Bruins have enough D-men left?  Chara, Wideman, Hunwick Ference, Stuart, Boychuck and ?

    That is six but I would think they still need to find a better replacement to fill out the top six.

  27. cam7777 says:

    well, this is like me saying:

    kaberle will be missed (if he was ever traded).  he was the best offensive defensemen in the east, and could man a powerplay like nobodies business.  but he's gone now.  if you watched leafs games, he actually did a lot of bad things too – he's a little soft, and helpless in front of his own net.  oh well, sad to see him go.

    it's like you remember the best part about him while he was a bruin, and now that he's gone, rip apart his shortcomings.  axelsson will be missed, and his turnovers im sure were a non-issue.  

    i would rather have him than recchi.  recchi is very good, and i know it, but you have a million guys who can score.  how many do you have that can kill a penalty like pj?  not as many, not by a longshot. 

  28. mojo19 says:

    hockey_lover, I would have agreed with your Bertuzzi comments a year ago, but clearly you never saw him play for Calgary this past season. A couple stretches of injuries aside, he was awesome. He is a top line player on a weak team, and no less than a 2nd line player on a strong team. His hands are going, he's physical, he creates offense out of situations where he probably shouldn't be able too. I was never a big Bert fan, but he won me over with his awesome season.

    Make no mistake, Todd Bertuzzi is not finished and he would be an assett. The only reason he isn't signed (as per my speculation) is that teams are low balling him, and because of health.

  29. hockey_lover says:

    I did the research and it was futurebruin who had said it.

    His quote was that Kessel was the biggest offensive threat in the league.

  30. leafy says:

    I agree, Ward is one of those solid guys on the blueline that play under the radar but are invaluable.

    I guess they feel they have enough depth to afford his loss.

  31. Tachmo says:

    I’m not sure what is going on with Boston at the moment. They what I thought cleared up room to sign Kessel, they went ahead and signed Derek Morris. Is it just me or is 3 million way too much for him? His numbers don’t look that great. This is just aweful, what an aweful move by Chiarelli. What are they thinking, I just don’t get it.

  32. bbruins37 says:

    this is definitely shocking. 3.3 is way too much. we'll see what else chia has planned but as of right now, i dont like it at all

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