Category Archives: HTR Feature Article
Luongo’s stock skyrockets after Penguins snap-up Vokoun
Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis took a couple of days off this weekend to go fishing and clear his head for the decision-making process which is about to begin in earnest over the next couple of days. And while he did that, he and his team got lucky.
At least that’s the way it would appear to anyone watching the goaltending situation.
With the Pittsburgh Penguins snaring of Tomas Vokoun from Washington to back up Marc-Andre Fleury for the next two seasons Monday, and Tim Thomas announcing he was going to sit out next season, the chances of improving the return on any Roberto Luongo deal just took a significant leap forward.
Pens GM Ray Shero seemed to catch others who would have liked to consider Vokoun for their own organizations napping with his pre-July 1 strike, giving up just a seventh-round draft pick to leave teams like Toronto, Chicago and Tampa with their pants at half mast. And assuming Thomas does indeed wish to step away from the game as he says, this leaves the number of experienced available goaltenders depleted by two pretty good players.
The Leafs didn’t sign Tomas Vokoun for goaltending insurance. Pittsburgh traded for his rights from Washington and then signed him to be Marc-Andre Fleury’s backup next season. That means Brent Johnson, a UFA on July 1, will be moving on.
It’s the kind of move many believe the Leafs will be making to add some veteran goaltending insurance to their roster. Vokoun, at 35, is not the perfect guy — he was injured, then lost his job in Washington to Braden Holtby — but he was one possibility. The Leafs, in fact, looked at him last summer but were disinclined to offer a two-year contract.
There are quite a few other UFA goalies coming on the market. The best for the Leafs might be Scott Clemmensen, who they’ve had before and played very well for Florida both this year and in the playoffs. Clemmensen is a solid citizen who might be the perfect and very affordable stabilizing element while the Leafs continue to evaluate the progress of Scrivens and James Reimer. A similar choice might be Johan Hedberg of the Devils, although he’s 39 while Clemmensen is 34.
That, of course, is one of the issues at hand if the Leafs were to try and swing a deal for Roberto Luongo. They’d essentially be writing off the futures of Reimer and Scrivens as possible starting goalies because Luongo would take the position for at least the next five years.
The Montreal Canadiens named Michel Therrien as the team’s next head coach on Tuesday.
The announcement can be seen live on TSN.ca at 2:30pm et/11:30am pt while you can listen to all-day coverage on TSN Radio 990 in Montreal and TSN.ca/Montreal.
Therrien replaces interim head coach Randy Cunneyworth, who was removed from the position by general manager Marc Bergevin on May 2.
The 48-year-old Therrien returns to the Canadiens’ bench for the first time since he replaced Alain Vigneault as head coach during the 2000-01 season. He worked two-and-a-half seasons at the helm before being replaced by Claude Julien in 2002-03.
Therrien then worked in the AHL where he coached the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before being named the Pittsburgh Penguins’ head coach midway through the 2005-06 season. He worked four seasons in Pittsburgh, leading the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007-08.
Acting with deliberate speed in the wake of the news 41-goal scorer Marian Gaborik will require right shoulder surgery that could sideline the sniper into December of next season, Rangers general manager Glen Sather has been in touch with Predators GM David Poile regarding impending Group II free agent winger Alexander Radulov, The Post has learned.
Radulov, who will turn 26 next month, has a lucrative contract offer on the table from CKSA of the KHL, the league in which he played the last four seasons before returning to the Predators for the stretch run and the playoffs, but a well-placed source has told The Post the winger would prefer to continue his career in the NHL.
The 6-1, 190-pounder scored 18 goals as a rookie in 2005-06 and 26 goals the following season before defecting to the KHL with one year remaining on his Entry Level contract.
The degree to which these discussions between Sather and Poile have advanced is unknown, but The Post has learned this is more than the GM “kicking the tires.” The Blueshirts, of course, would have to be given a window in which to conduct contract negotiations with Radulov before agreeing to trade for his rights.
It is unlikely Poile will play hardball, given the alternative is losing him for nothing to the KHL.
That offer from CKSA, whose GM is Sergei Fedorov, adds a degree of urgency to the Blueshirts’ pursuit of Radulov, who recorded seven points (3-4) in nine-regular season games for the Predators before getting six points (1-5) in eight playoff games.
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Holland is eyeing Nashville’s Ryan Suter if the Predators can’t sign him. Holland has said with respect to the prize free agents (Zach Parise is in the same boat), he would be willing to trade for their negotiating rights, usually a window of a few days around the draft and before July 1 when they hit the marketplace for one and all.
“I’ve never done it and it would depend on what the price is, but I’m not opposed to anything,” said Holland, who knows the Philadelphia Flyers have made a history of trading for negotiating rights of UFAs such as Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen and the Predators’ Dan Hamhuis. They signed the first two, and couldn’t work out a deal for Hamhuis in 2010. They dealt his rights to the Pittsburgh Penguins six days later.
The salary cap is going up to $70.3 million from $64 million as of July 1, but only until a new collective bargaining agreement comes in, when the cap will likely drop substantially because the owners don’t want to give the players 57 per cent of the league revenue, more like a 50-50 split. The Red Wings, like most teams, are likely operating under the old model, so they won’t be spending fools. But they would love Suter; they’ve played against the Predators constantly in the playoffs. Parise, they envision, could play with Datsyuk.
For now, they have Niklas Kronwall, Ian White, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl as their top five on defence, with two huge holes. Holland knows he’ll have to get somebody to replace Stuart too, but he doesn’t have a lot to trade.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired goaltender Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 2012 seventh-round draft pick, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.
The Penguins then signed Vokoun to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $2 million. Vokoun’s contract begins with the 2012-13 season and runs through the 2013-14 campaign.
Vokoun, 35, recently completed his 13th NHL season with Washington, posting a 25-17-2 record, 2.51 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and four shutouts in 48 games. One of Vokoun’s shutouts was a 30-save performance in a 1-0 victory over the Penguins on Jan. 11 at the Verizon Center.
A native of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, Vokoun’s 25 victories this season marked the ninth-straight season he has surpassed the 20-win plateau. During that span, Vokoun has topped 25 wins seven times, including three seasons when he has posted 30-plus victories.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Vokoun enters the 2012-13 season ranked sixth among active netminders with 287 career victories – leaving him 13 shy of becoming just the 31st goaltender in NHL history to reach 300 career wins.
Vokoun has appeared in 401 games since the NHL returned from the lockout in 2005-06, the eight-highest total during that span, while also posting 36 shutouts – an average of 5.1 per season. Over the last four seasons, the two-time NHL All-Star (2004, ’08) has posted a .923 save percentage.
Earlier this week, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun linked the Flyers to Senators defenseman Sergei Gonchar as one of the possible replacements for Chris Pronger, whose career may be over as a result of post-concussion syndrome.
Bill Meltzer of HockeyBuzz.com cited a source within the Flyers’ organization, who said the Flyers’ chances of trading for the 38-year-old Gonchar are “slim to none.” While I think the Flyers might be kicking the tires to see exactly where Ottawa stands with Gonchar, there’s also something a little more to the story than the possibility of adding an over-the-hill blueliner, who at one time was one of the best two-way defensemen in the NHL.
The Flyers could very well be searching for a defenseman with just one year remaining on his contract. In the case of Gonchar, he has a cap hit of $5.5 million and he’s an unrestricted free agent after 2012-13. Sure, the Flyers would love to get their hands on Ryan Suter if he hits the open market come July 1. But perhaps the Flyers can still upgrade defensively, though only in the short term for two reasons:
1. I don’t think the organization wants to completely close the door on a Pronger return. If he takes a year off and shows significant improvement between now and the summer of 2013, then it would make sense to make a trade for a veteran D-man, who would come off the cap after 2012-13. I believe Paul Holmgren when he says he looks at Pronger as “a cup half full.” The idea of him “officially” retiring makes no sense at all. Not only would he forfeit five years of salary ($19 million), but the Flyers would be on the hook for his $4.9 cap hit over the next five seasons as well.
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