Category Archives: HTR Feature Article

Senators in mix for Bobby Ryan

ottawa

The Senators may not be done big-game hunting.

Though any chance of landing Columbus Blue Jackets winger Rick Nash has been scratched off the list, don’t rule out the possibility of the Senators making a pitch for unhappy Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan.

While the Senators believe top prospects Jacob Silfverberg and Mark Stone and newly-signed winger Guillaume Latendresse are going to battle for spots, don’t be surprised if Ottawa is in the Ryan sweepstakes.

Even if captain Daniel Alfredsson does decide against retirement and signs an extension, the Senators could still add depth up front. With its pursuit of Nash, the club proved owner Eugene Melnyk is willing to spend.

Though business was on hold while six teams with a serious chance of signing winger Zach Parise waited for him to agree to terms with the Minnesota Wild Wednesday, trade talk heated up again Thursday.

Ryan, 25, is going to be a valuable commodity on the trade market. He had 31 goals and 26 assists in 82 games, which means he’s going to be in heavy demand once the Ducks decide exactly what they’d like in return.

Since former Washington winger Alexander Semin — a high-risk gamble by any stretch of the imagination — is the only legitimate high-scoring forward left as a UFA, attention could very well turn to Nash and Ryan.

So desperate is Nash to get out of Columbus he might be willing to expand his potential trade list from four teams, but even if he is to put Ottawa on his new list, Melnyk told the Sun Tuesday the club doesn’t want Nash.

That means the Senators could focus on Ryan.

http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/07/05/sens-in-mix-for-ryan

Canes, Pens turn attention to Nash

rumors

Zach Parise’s decision to sign with the Minnesota Wild, along with Ryan Suter, got everyone’s attention on Wednesday. Thirteen-year, $98 million deals tend to do that and it was quite the package deal.

Now, the attention turns to Rick Nash.

The Canes are pushing hard to make a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the All-Star winger and are thought to have made a strong offer. But the Pittsburgh Penguins, spurned by Parise, could ratchet up the ante.

Pens general manager Ray Shero told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he wants a winger to play with center Sidney Crosby. Shero said that could come in free agency or a trade. If it’s a trade, he said, it has to make sense.

Nash appears to be the No. 1 target. If not Nash, maybe Shane Doan of Phoenix. Or Alexander Semin.

Which all sounds familiar. Sounds as if the Canes and Pens — and some others — could be in lock step approaching CBJ general manager Scott Howson about Nash.

Nash has a no-movement clause in his contract. The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday that five teams — Pens, Rangers, Flyers, Red Wings and Sharks — were believed to be approved for trades but that there could be one or two others. The Dispatch said today that Carolina could be the first team added to the list — that the recent trade for Jordan Staal was another attention-grabber.

It’s uncertain what the Canes have offered for Nash, although it’s believed Jeff Skinner would not be a part of the trade package.

Habs GM on Gomez: ‘I’m not buying him out’

canadiens

A handful of hefty issues weighed on Marc Bergevin when he was named general manager of the Montreal Canadiens in early May.

Now that he’s hired a head coach, Michel Therrien, locked up star goaltender Carey Price to a six-year deal, drafted highly touted forward Alex Galchenyuk and signed some gritty free agents, one more big question looms.

Will Bergevin buyout Scott Gomez, the club’s overpaid 32-year-old centre?

According to a report from Arpon Brasu, managing editor of LNH.com (NHL.com’s French site), who spoke with Bergevin on Monday, the answer is no.

Gomez, who is slated to rake in $5.5 million in 2012-13 and $4.5 million in 2013-14, had a buyout date of June 15. His buyout ratio would be set at 2/3 and his total buyout cost would be $6.67 million spread over four years, according to CapGeek.com.

The Alaska native became an NHL punch line in 2011-12 due to his lack of offensive production; he did not score his first goal of the season until Feb. 9.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2012/07/03/scott_gomez_buy_out_marc_bergevin_montreal_canadiens/

After Parise, Suter go Wild

pittsburgh
“We like our defense the way it is and, if there’s a chance to upgrade, certainly we’re going to do that,” he said. “But there is a number of teams looking for defensman now, and they’re difficult to find.”We’ll go with what we have at this point. Same thing up front.”

There are some quality wingers available on the trade market, although the Penguins would be hard-pressed to meet the asking price for either, even if they would decide to pursue one of them aggressively.

Columbus left winger Rick Nash, a premier power forward, is coming off a soap-opera season that included a request to be traded. Blue Jackets management is trying to accommodate him — the Columbus Dispatch reported that the Penguins are on a list of teams to which Nash would approve a trade — but Columbus is hoping to add goal-scoring forwards, and the Penguins have none to spare.

Anaheim, meanwhile, would like to get a second-line center as part of any package for Bobby Ryan. The Penguins have a pretty fair one of those — whether it’s Crosby or Evgeni Malkin who carries that label depends on who you ask — but they aren’t planning to part with either anytime soon.

Still, situations can evolve, and deals that seemed unthinkable can come together with a single phone call.

“We’ll continue to do our homework here and see if we can upgrade our team at some point,” Shero said. “We’ll see what the summer brings us.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/penguins/after-parise-suter-go-wild-643349/#ixzz1zl8OC7x1

Helene St. James: Red Wings down but not out of options

redwings

Though the Wings would have given that to Suter had it come down to that, they weren’t going anywhere near a $7.5-million average salary cap hit for a small winger like Parise, who last season had 69 points. If they’re going to take on that kind of contract for a forward, it’ll be by trading for Columbus’ Rick Nash, a 6-foot-4 behemoth who’d be a 40-goal scorer next to Pavel Datsyuk.

That possibility will be explored, but for now, the Wings wake up with nearly $17 million in salary cap space and will look at Plans B for the defense. There aren’t any elite options left. Carlo Colaiacovo has a good offensive upside, but he has been injury-prone. Chris Campoli is another possibility. The Wings weren’t remotely interested in paying Matt Carle the $5.5-million average he got for six years from Tampa Bay Wednesday night.

A likelier course of action is trading. Calgary’s Jay Bouwmeester, 28, is a great skater, capable of eating up 25 minutes a game, and he could rediscover his offensive skills playing in Detroit’s system.

General manager Ken Holland said he “was down” about Suter’s decision, which was announced around noon. But by the afternoon, Holland already was putting things in perspective.

“Our focus going back to last year was to be positioned for this summer,” he said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to add a high-profile player or two. But I think we have a lot of good pieces in place, and we have some players ready to take bigger roles. We’ll explore the marketplace. We’ll explore trading. We’ll move on.”

http://www.freep.com/article/20120705/SPORTS05/207050521/Helene-St-James-Red-Wings-down-but-not-out-of-options

Rangers sign Pyatt, interested in Coyotes teammate Doan

rangers

The Rangers have made their interest clear in Doan, the 6-2, 228-pound right wing who recorded 50 points (22-28) last year before adding nine (5-4) in 16 playoff matches for the Western finalists. Doan, a right-handed shot who could move to the off-wing, has scored 20 or more goals in 11 of his past 12 seasons and has a career 788 points (318-470) in 1,198 career matches.

Doan, whose time with the organization predates by a year the move from Winnipeg to Phoenix in 1996-97, will decide his future next week after the situation regarding a lease between Glendale, Ariz., and prospective ownership comes into clearer focus.

Signatures are due by Monday on a referendum that would refer the recently reached lease agreement between the city council and prospective owner to the November general election. Seven candidates for the Glendale city council, including two contenders for Mayor, recently endorsed the referendum.

“As we’ve stated previously, Shane’s priority is to make a decision based on his loyalty to the club, but he wants to get a clearer idea regarding the franchise’s long-term future in Phoenix,” Bross said of Doan, who is coming off a five-year contract worth $4.75 million per.

WILD AGREE TO TERMS WITH FREE AGENTS SUTER, PARISE

wild

The Minnesota Wild were a starless team in need of a big-time jolt to get the franchise back to the point of being worthy of playing in “the State of Hockey.”

The jolts don’t come any bigger than this.

The Wild landed not one but both of the NHL’s top prizes in free agency, signing forward Zach Parise and defenceman Ryan Suter on Wednesday. Each deal is for 13 years and $98 million, according to three people familiar with the contracts who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not release details.

“WE GOT ‘EM!” the Wild announced on their Twitter account early Wednesday afternoon, sending shockwaves across the league and through a devoted fan base that was starting to show signs of apathy after missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season.

Parise, the former New Jersey Devils playmaker, and Suter, who paired with Shea Weber on the Nashville blue line, were regarded the cream of what was a thin free agent crop, and each had spent the past four days poring over numerous offers from several teams before making a decision.

“This is a great day in the history of the Minnesota Wild,” GM Chuck Fletcher said in a conference call.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=399913

Islanders’ Al Montoya could be good fit for Canucks No. 2

rangers

In the 2005 world junior hockey tournament, Cory Schneider had a long look at how teammate and roommate Al Montoya handled expectation in backstopping the U.S. to within a win of a medal in Grand Forks, N.D.

It could be the other way around next NHL season. But that might be a bit of a stretch, based more on a past link than a pressing present need. Time will tell.

When the Vancouver Canucks finally move Roberto Luongo in an offseason trade scenario, they will need to address various needs and also find more than just a capable backup for Schneider in his new role as the bonafide starter.

They’ll need someone who can step in and play a number of pre-determined games or more if Schneider succumbs to injury or indifferent play. They’ll need someone who can support the starter and who won’t wilt under the glare of the media spotlight.

In time, that goalie will be Eddie Lack. For now, it could be Montoya. Or it could someone else.

The right unrestricted free agent may provide what the Canucks are seeking because of what the Presidents’ Trophy winners and the St. Louis Blues proved last season.

Burke vows to make more roster moves

toronto

He was never going to fill the needs in the entry draft and the chances were remote that a big, first-line centre and an experienced goalie from the early days of free agency.

But that doesn’t mean Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke plans to head to training camp without acquiring either big ticket or both. Whether realistic or not, Burke vowed on Tuesday that there is plenty to be done over the next two-plus months.

“I would say that’s not a real possibility at all,” Burke told Sportsnet 590 The Fan radio when asked if the current roster will be the one that reports for camp. “That’s remote. We need to do some more work.

“We believe we can upgrade at those positions, yes.”

Burke acknowledged that the requirements of new coach Randy Carlyle will be different than those of Ron Wilson which is why size will matter in whatever shopping happens. He believes he answered that in part by acquiring big (but not necessarily nasty) winger James van Riemsdyk in the draft-day trade with Philadephia but more needs to be done.

 http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/FreeAgents/2012/07/03/19947701.html

Top players avoiding Maple Leafs?

toronto

At least Brian Burke used the pronoun “we.”

When describing the perils of spending stupid money on July 1, the Maple Leafs general manager included himself in the group that tends to overpay on hockey’s annual shopping day, whether the shelves are stocked with quality merchandise or not.

Burke, after all, has seen his share of acquisitions blow up in each of his first three summers here. First there was Mike Komisarek who was overpaid and immediately underachieved. Then there was Colby Armstrong who might have been a useful third-liner if he could have stayed healthy. And most recently, the failed first-line centre named Tim Connolly.

In each case Burke was taking a shot and various deficiencies, including injury, conspired against the success of the top three, especially Armstrong, who had his contract bought out on the weekend.

So not doing anything of significance on the first two days of free agency may not have been the worst thing for Burke and Leafs management. Not that they had a choice at landing the big game, mind you.

Not overspending this time around is in part prudence by the team and in part the predicament that the Leafs find themselves in.

With a lean market to begin with, a roster with too many holes and too many questions about which direction the team is headed, Toronto is far from a preferred destination for the top end of any free agent crop.

It may not have always been that way. When Burke first arrived here, it was probably easier to get players and agents around the league to buy into the buzz. One of the sport’s biggest personalities landing in maybe its biggest market was tantalizing. Getting Phil Kessel as a bonafide superstar right out of the hop, plus the declaration that he wasn’t interested in a five-year rebuild made the Leafs at least intriguing.

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/02/top-players-avoiding-maple-leafs

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