Category Archives: Free Agents
Today marks hockey’s version of Black Friday, the day when everyone can look for a deal with an unrestricted free agent.
If I were walking into a Vegas sports book right now and they had a list of NHL free agents and their likelihood to sign with certain teams, I would probably empty out whatever meager amount was in my wallet and put most or all of it on “Tomas Vokoun to the Avalanche.”
The agent for Jaromir Jagr said his client is in New York and said today he expects a decision about Jagr’s NHL future by the end of today.
Petr Svoboda said he was scheduled to speak with Penguins general manager Ray Shero shortly. This was around 9:20 a.m.
“We are going to exchange some things,” Svoboda said, adding that he would also speak with Detroit and Montreal about Jagr.
Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier has some extra cash to spend when the National Hockey League’s free agency market opens at noon Friday.
The Canadiens’ situation became clearer Wednesday when (a) Roman Hamrlik rejected the Canadiens’ offer of a one-year contract; (b) Montreal traded the rights for impending unrestricted free agent James Wisniewski to Columbus for a draft pick; and (c) Yannick Weber was signed to a two-year deal worth $1.7 million.
Here are five forwards — assuming they reach July 1 — who might intrigue the Canucks as they look to become more abrasiveness and add more scoring punch to their bottom-six group:
1. Right-winger Joel Ward (Nashville, age 30, cap hit $1.5 million in 2010-11): An outstanding checker and penalty killer, Ward also exhibited his scoring touch during the second playoff round against the Canucks.
It is a complicated scenario made even more vague by the fact that for all sorts of reasons, Toronto general manager Brian Burke and his management team have no interest in discussing the matter publicly in advance of the July 1 free-agency period.
The Leafs got burned, you will remember, on the foiled pursuit of the Sedin twins a couple of years ago and, to add to that frustration, were charged by the NHL with tampering because of seemingly innocent comments made by coach Ron Wilson while the Sedins were still under contract with the Canucks.
If I heard it once, I heard it a dozen times during this Entry Draft weekend in Minnesota: “[Brad] Richards told [X] he wants to come to New York.”
And this, too: “Slats [general manager Glen Sather] is going to blow his brains out to sign Richards.”
To which I respond: If Richards “wants to come to New York,” $32.5 million over five years — starting at $11 million this year to protect against a potential future rollback — should be enough money and enough of a commitment for him to achieve his dream.
Team by team list of players who are set to become unrestricted free agents (can sign with any team) on July 1, 2011.
It was Super Bowl week in Dallas, early February, but there was hockey, too, and there was Dallas Stars star center Brad Richards (you might remember him) in his team’s dressing room after a loss to Vancouver, talking about all his times in Tampa.
“Tampa is still where I won a championship,” Richards said. “I’ll be there, live there after I retire. And you never know, you never say never about going back and playing there. You never know.”
We still don’t, do we?
After three seasons in the KHL, Jaromir Jagr could be ready to return to the National Hockey League.
According to reports on MLive.com and the Detroit Free Press on Thursday, Jagr’s agent Petr Svoboda has put out feelers to five NHL teams – the Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens – about the possibility of the future Hall of Famer signing on as a free agent.
Check out the HTR 2011 list of the soon to be Unrestricted Free Agent Centers.
Will anything happen with Brad Richards before July 1?
It seems highly unlikely. Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said last week he was not going to make Richards another contract offer, after trying — and failing — to sign the 31-year-old to an extension before the trade deadline. The Stars would love to make a trade before Richards becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but he has a no-trade clause in his contract, and would have to give the team permission to make a move. With teams all across the league looking for a premier centre, and with the potential of surprise bidders emerging on July 1, it seems unlikely that permission would be granted.
10. Willie Mitchell , D, $3.5 million
Mitchell , 33, battled through an injury-plagued season at the worst possible time. Not sure he’ll be able to command $3 million again, but assuming he recovers from his concussion, he can still be a top shutdown guy.
Whitney mulling future
“TSN’s Darren Dreger and Sportsnet’s Bill Watters said that some of the recent rumors about Toronto being interest in signing the big names of the unrestricted free agent market are just the product of someone’s imagination. They said that it is more likely that someone has a secret agenda out there in an effort to get people belileving things that are not actually true.
The Devils may not have to choose between superstar left wings after all. The Russian campaign is on to lure Ilya Kovalchuk to the KHL, although it is believed no deal is yet done.
A source close to the two-time 52 goal scorer told The Post not to fully accept some Russian reports that Kovalchuk already has agreed to play for St. Petersburg next season.
Matt Cullen hasn’t ruled out a return to the Senators.
The centre, acquired from the Hurricanes in February in exchange for defenceman Alex Picard and a second-round pick, said Monday his agent, Pat Morris, has held preliminary talks with Ottawa GM Bryan Murray about a new contract.
Cullen, 33 , who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, was one of the Senators’ top performers in the playoffs, recording three goals and five assists in their first-round loss in six games to the Penguins.
As mentioned the other day, the Kings will potentially have six unrestricted free agents on July 1: Alexander Frolov , Jeff Halpern , Raitis Ivanans , Randy Jones , Fredrik Modin and Sean O’Donnell. The most intriguing situation, by far, is that of Frolov, whose seven-season career with the Kings has been quite a journey. A first-round draft pick in 2000, Frolov finally reached the playoffs this season. A former two-time 30-goal scorer, Frolov netted only 19 goals this season, his lowest total since his rookie season (14) and he drew the public ire of Terry Murray, who benched him from an early-season game because the coach didn’t like his attitude and play. That said, Frolov brings immense talent to the table, at both ends of the ice, for stretches of time, and there’s bound to be significant debate about whether he should return. A lot of that might be determined by how much of a raise Frolov is seeking from his current $2.9 million.
TSN.ca is reporting that both Rob and Scott Neidermayer could be interested in joining the Canucks as unrestricted free agents this summer.
It is reported that their agent was on the Team 1040 radio show in Vancouver and mentioned that the brothers could be interested in playing for Canada’s West Coast club.
Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun is reporting on the possibility that Burke will make a run to land the Sedins this offseason. He notes that Burke is very loyal to his players and has made moves to bring players who he has worked with in the past into his organizations.