Category Archives: HTR Feature Article

Parise is expected to decide today


Meanwhile, Parise is expected to decide today where he’ll spend his next dozen-or-so seasons. His agent told The Post the Devils remain among a “small, select group” of teams still in the Parise Derby.

Parise is believed set to receive some $100 million for 8-13 years. The financially-troubled Devils remain in contention despite their financial troubles, and the difficulty they may have matching two $12 million signing bonuses.

The Flyers, Red Wings, Wild and Penguins are believed to be among the “small, select group,” of remaining Parise suitors. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello negotiated long and hard with Parise Saturday night and yesterday, making what was called “a competitive offer.”

Besides the financial considerations, Parise is believed to put primary weight on his evaluation of a team’s chances of winning a Stanley Cup. The Devils’ financial plight itself weighs against them, since it suggests that the team might have trouble adding more stars.

Other Devils unrestricteds, Bryce Salvador, Petr Sykora and Johan Hedberg, remained unsigned into last night, while Alexei Ponikarovsky went to Winnipeg.

Brodeur personally negotiated with Lamoriello before turning to free agency, and sources suggest the Devils’ initial offer was well below Brodeur’s salary of $5.2 million last season, and may have helped prompt his decision to test the open market.

Are the Leafs done making moves?


No, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke was pretty quiet on the opening day of free agency on Sunday – making only one small addition in checking centre Jay McClement – and given the market, he was fine with that.

After being burned on July 1 before, he wasn’t wading into the frenzy despite his team’s obvious needs.

“We hand out contracts with unrealistic values and with unrealistic term,” Burke said of NHL teams on free agency. “When you’re in a hard cap system, that bites you right in the butt at some point. …

“I think if you look carefully at the impact players from July 1 have, you’ll see it’s not what people think it is.”

Some evidence of Burke’s previous mistakes in free agency was on display on Sunday.

Colby Armstrong – bought out on the weekend for the final year of a three-year, $9-million (all currency U.S.) deal the Leafs signed him to two years ago – landed with the Montreal Canadiens for just $1-million next season.

Netminder Jonas Gustavsson, a Leafs signing in 2009, received a two-year deal from the Detroit Red Wings, who were happy to have him as a backup and felt he had been misused as a Leaf.

“Their team had trouble and he was kind of leaned on to be the guy and it might have been a bit too much,” Wings vice-president Jim Devellano said. “We’ll have a better team and I think he’ll do just fine.”

Hawks’ interest in Brodeur shows concern with Crawford


The Chicago Blackhawks were one of several teams inquiring about future Hall-of-Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur when the free-agency period opened on Sunday. They have their goaltending concerns, obviously, after Corey Crawford’s rocky sophomore season. You don’t ask about any other goaltender – and a 40-year-old goaltender, to boot – if you’re not a little worried about your situation.

But as Sunday night drew to a close, it appeared that Brodeur’s test of the free-agency waters didn’t make it out of the shallow end.

Darren Dreger of reported late Sunday that the Devils were offering Brodeur a two-year deal. It’s a chance for Brodeur to finish his career as a Devil, and if he accepts the deal it would be a somewhat expected conclusion.

Which brings us back to the Blackhawks’ goaltending. I asked general manager Stan Bowman about Crawford when the GMs met briefly in New York during the Stanley Cup Finals. Did he believe Crawford could return to rookie-year glory this season?


Veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur is staying with the only NHL franchise he’s ever played for.

After hiring agent Pat Brisson and testing Sunday’s free agent market, Brodeur signed a two-year, $9 million contract to stay with the New Jersey Devils.

“I’m really happy,” Brodeur told “Deep down what I always wanted was to re-sign with New Jersey. I’m glad the Devils stepped up when they did. As the process went on I was certainly intrigued by what was out there. But this is really what I wanted.”

Flyers offer Parise and Suter huge deals?




Former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings worth a total of $3 million.

Gustavsson’s rights were traded to the Winnipeg Jets for a conditional seventh-round draft pick earlier in the off-season.

The 27-year-old Gustavsson signed with the Maple Leafs from Sweden in 2009 and spent the past three seasons in Toronto. He was 17-17-4 last season with a 2.92 goals against average and .902 save percentage. Gustavsson, nicknamed the Monster, also had four shutouts.

Florida Panthers may not be as busy, but might trade for Luongo


Luongo has 10 years left on the 12-year contract with Vancouver, and it appears there is interest on all three sides (Vancouver, Florida and Luongo) to get a deal done. Luongo is said to have agreed to waive his no-trade clause to come back to Florida — where he and his family reside for much of the offseason.

Scott Clemmensen, Florida’s backup the past three seasons, will be a free agent Sunday.

Tallon said the Canucks and Panthers talked “goaltending” at last weekend’s draft without mentioning Luongo by name; Santos said Friday there have been no talks about it since.

Florida could also have interest in future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur if he were to leave New Jersey after two decades with the Devils — possibly because of concerns with team ownership. Brodeur owns a home in Palm Beach County and won’t come cheap.

Of the free agents who played for Florida last season, it’s possible Jason Garrison played his final game with the Panthers, although he could still sign with the team.

Garrison, who made an average of $675,000 the past two seasons, could garner $5 million per season on the open market after he scored a career-high 16 goals. Florida has reportedly offered Garrison around $3.5 million per season.

“We’ve kept the line of communications open,” Santos said. “But when you get this close to July 1, typically, the player wants to see what his options are.”

The Panthers have spoken to Clemmensen and forwards Krys Barch and Mikael Samuelsson about returning — and it’s possible the Panthers bring some or all of them back. The Panthers waived Mike Santorelli and Matt Bradley on Thursday.

Florida has quite a bit of money to spend to get to the raised salary cap floor, so don’t be surprised if the Panthers make some big moves.

Are the Oilers looking to trade Hemsky?


Numbers game for Flames


Top-six forwards are in seriously short supply on the UFA market, so don’t be surprised if the Flames don’t land somebody that way via free agency. A trade is more likely.

But, if the Flames look to the free-agent pool, Jaromir Jagr’s name has been bandied about, in part to skate alongside his former KHL linemate Roman Cervenka.

Jiri Hudler certainly would be an interesting departure from the normal Flames acquisition, as would Alex Semin. Shane Doan has close ties in the sense he’s good friends with Jarome Iginla and — as the critics would love to point out — not the kind of player the Flames mostly need, read: Younger.

Brad Boyes is a realistic candidate in the sense he can play centre or wing, just turned 30, and shouldn’t be commanding too much after netting just eight goals and 23 points.

As for the gritty, bottom-six forward, there are potential candidates.

Two-time Flames winger Brandon Prust showed everybody he was more than just a scrapper during his time with the New York Rangers, but may be looking for more coin than the Flames would like to dish out.

Jordin Tootoo is going to receive his share of attention, but would fit the bill. Zenon Konopka can scrap and wins all kinds of faceoffs.

What’s becoming more expected is the fallout from the free-agent frenzy.

Jay Bouwmeester has been the subject of trade rumours since before the draft and the Flames could be hoping teams which miss out on the free-agent defencemen up for bids — notably Suter, Garrison and Carle — will see Bouwmeester as a very good consolation prize.

A pie-in-the-sky dream would also include somebody taking on Anton Babchuk and his $2.5 million contract.

A year ago, the Flames surprising took a solid run at reeling in Brad Richards.

We’re not sure they’ll do anything that exciting this time around. But don’t expect it to be quiet enough to completely ignore the excitement of July 1

Zach Parise could get 10 years, $80 million from Penguins



Zach Parise could be riding shotgun with Sidney Crosby for the next decade.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to offer Parise, the best forward available in free agency by a landslide, a 10-year contract between $75 million and $80 million, according to Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Parise is Sporting News’ top free agent. Get the full list.

The offer, according to the Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi, would not be heavily front-loaded and short on bonuses. Long-term, front-loaded deals—like the 12-year, $104.4 million one Crosby agreed upon earlier this week—may be outlawed in the next collective bargaining agreement.

Parise, 27, has scored at least 30 goals in five of his last six seasons with the New Jersey Devils, the exception being 2010-11, when a knee injury limited him to 13 games. The Penguins have emerged as one of his top potential suitors in the last few weeks—they have the necessary cap space, and Crosby and Parise have been friends for years.

Like all long-term deals, Parise’s contract would be a risk and likely would cause problems for the Penguins down the road. It would also cement Pittsburgh at the top of the Eastern Conference for Parise, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin’s respective primes.

Meanwhile, Parise will spend July 1 at his agents’ office in Ontario fielding calls, offers and visitors, according to multiple reports. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello was scheduled to meet Parise on Saturday for the last time before the market opens at 1 p.m. Sunday, according to’s Bob McKenzie.

Players the Rangers are interested in


Rather than throw Monopoly money at marginal players — e.g., Jason Garrison — the Rangers might revisit a deal for the Coyotes’ Keith Yandle if the price becomes right as the summer evolves.

Ryan Suter, who will be the object of much affection, plays the wrong side; The Rangers believe they’re strong on the left lining up with Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto.

Brandon Prust is all but gone, the valuable support player apparently in line for a contract under which he might earn at least $2.5 million per for three or four years.

Prust may give the Blueshirts a right to match, but it’s extremely unlikely the Rangers would commit that kind of money to a winger who gets less than 12 minutes of ice a game, no matter his intangibles.

Instead, the Blueshirts are likely to at least investigate the possibility of signing Jordin Tootoo, the 29-year-old, eight-season Predators veteran with the checkered history who could play a role similar to Prust.

Sather is likely to check in on Shane Doan, but it is believed the long-time Phoenix captain would prefer to remain out west even if he does not re-up with the Coyotes. The GM probably will check with Alex Semin of the Capitals, Jiri Hudler of the Red Wings, Brad Boyes of the Sabres and Ray Whitney of the Coyotes, but is unlikely to offer lucrative multi-year deals to entice any of them.

Parise would be different. Parise is different.

Indeed, on this day, Parise is unique.

The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with Justin Schultz


Stars to let their UFAs test market, but won’t close door on returns


The Stars have informed the five unrestricted free agents who finished the season on the NHL roster that they won’t be offering them new contracts before July 1, and will thus allow all of them to test the market.

Sheldon Souray, Adam Burish, Radek Dvorak, Jake Dowell and Toby Petersen will join a large group of unrestricted free agents, and each could have NHL value. In fact, Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said he’s not closing the door on one or more possibly returning. He said all sides need to check the environment and see where they are before proceeding.

Souray might be the most desirable player. The big defenseman is a three-time All-Star Game participant and was available as a free agent last summer only because he had fallen out of favor with the Edmonton Oilers and spent the 2010-11 season in the minors. Dallas signed him to a one-year deal at $1.65 million and was ecstatic with his performance. Souray played in 64 games and averaged 20:27 in time on ice. he had 21points (6G, 15A) and was plus-11.

That performance has many believing Souray, who will turn 36 on July 13, can get a contract in the neighborhood of $3 million a year and might be able to get a two-year deal.

The Stars will likely look for a younger option on defense. If they don’t find one, and if Souray still is on the market, the two sides could talk again.

Dallas also had some interest in re-signing Dowell. The versatile forward is 27 and offers grit on the third or fourth line. He averaged 7:37 in ice time last season in 52 games and had 7 points (2G, 5A). He made $800,000.

However, with the acquisition of center Cody Eakin in the Mike Ribeiro trade, the decision to send a qualifying offer to center Tom Wandell, and the push of young forwards who would like to grab a spot in the NHL, the Stars decided to move on without Dowell.

Burish was one of the Stars’ more popular players. The 29-year-old center played 65 games last season and had 19 points (6G, 13A) while averaging 12:47 in ice time. he was plus-6 and made $1.3 million. He’s the type of player who could draw a lot of interest in free agency, so he could be signed quickly.

Blackhawks sure to go for a splash in free agency


With the salary cap at $70.2  million for the time being, Bowman has more than $8 million at his disposal. The Hawks also have been dangling defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, so more cap room may become available.

Here’s a look at free agency:



Notable unrestricted free agents

Zach Parise (Devils), Shane Doan (Coyotes), Olli Jokinen (Flames), Dustin Penner (Kings), P.A, Parenteau (Islanders), Jaromir Jagr (Flyers)

Back check

There are plenty of big names out there — even more so, considering the Blue Jackets’ Rick Nash and the Ducks’ Bobby Ryan are available via trades — but the Hawks have to fix their holes at center. Their lack of depth up the middle has hurt matchups and been exposed far too much.

It’s not just on the second line, either. They simply need more legitimate centermen – not wings capable of handling the middle — who are solid in the faceoff circle but can competently handle all the responsibilities associated with the position. The Hawks had depth in the middle when they won the Stanley Cup in 2010, just as the Kings did this past season.

There are plenty of playmaking wings available. Parise is coveted by everyone, and Doan could provide an aggressive edge and some veteran savvy. Both should be pitched.


Notable UFas

Ryan Suter (Predators), Matt Carle (Flyers), Jason Garrison (Panthers)