NHL Rumors and News June 20, 2009

Maple Leafs try to lure Monster between pipes
Habs fitted for cap – Have money $30 million to spend on free agents
All eyes on Brent Sutter?

Maple Leafs try to lure Monster between pipes
Free agent goalie Jonas Gustavsson jetted into town yesterday, surrounded, apparently, by a cone of silence.
It was all quiet from Gustavsson’s agent, Joe Resnick, while the only comment Leafs GM Brian Burke was: “Radio silence.”
Gustavsson – nicknamed The Monster because of his 6-foot-3 frame – blossomed last season in leading Farjestad to the Swedish Elite League championship to become this off-season’s most sought-after undrafted player.
The 24-year-old was also Sweden’s goalie at the world championship.
Toronto was the last stop on his tour of the four NHL teams he’s interested in, which included Dallas, San Jose and Colorado.
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Habs fitted for cap – Have money $30 million to spend on free agents
PAT HICKEY, The Gazette
The National Hockey League salary cap for the 2009-10 season will be revealed next week, but one thing is already certain – the Canadiens have more money to spend on free agents than any other team.
But it remains to be seen whether this is a blessing or a curse.
For the first time since the lockout, the salary cap won’t rise. But it is expected to be in the $54 million-$56 million U.S. range, and the Canadiens have 11 NHL players under contract with a commitment of only $23.5 million.
For starters, Gainey must make decisions on which of his own potential UFAs to keep, and hope that the keepers also decide they want to stay in Montreal.
Once that task is completed, the next step will be to assess the available free agents and hope he can lure some of them to Montreal. This has proved to be a difficult task in the past, but money shouldn’t be a problem.
The wild card in the Canadiens’ offseason planning is Vincent Lecavalier. The Tampa Bay Lightning faces a decision on the future direction of the franchise, and dumping the Île Bizard native’s $7.227-million cap hit could give the team some flexibility of its own.
The main UFAs on the current Canadiens roster include defenceman Mike Komisarek and top-six forwards Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay and Robert Lang. If Lecavalier does land in Montreal, that would end speculation about Koivu’s future and he’ll move on.
While the acquisition of Lecavalier would solve the Canadiens’ need for a big centre, it would create holes elsewhere. The Lightning’s greatest need is on defence, and reports from Tampa suggest Andrei Markov would have to be part of any deal.
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All eyes on Brent Sutter?
By George Johnson, Calgary Herald
Ah, if only they’d been this airtight in front of Miikka Kiprusoff. Then Mike Keenan, the Iron Giant, would still be helming the rudder and there’d be no need for the continuing torrent of speculation.
Ask anyone remotely connected to the Calgary Flames, even on the sly, about the prolonged search for a head coach and they go chalk-white, uncomfortably avoid eye contact and get all “I know notttttthing” Sergeant Schultzy on you.
Such is the Cone of Silence being thrown up, the evil eye cast, by don’t-cross-him general manager Darryl Sutter.
The Dome is in lockdown.
With the annual National Hockey League Entry Draft set for late next week at the Bell Centre, Monday would seem the likely date for a rah-rah-siss-boom-bah! confetti-and-streamers announcement on a new tactician for the Flames, what with the entire management team and coaching staff (that is, if they had one) jetting off to Montreal the next day.
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