Category Archives: HTR Feature Article
Whitney signed with the Coyotes as a free agent, so he knows the drill. He’d like to stay there, but like Doan, is wondering about the ownership situation. Is the team going to stay in Phoenix or suddenly load up for Quebec City? Whitney is a good friend of Steve Yzerman in Tampa and there are teams like the Boston Bruins, Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks who could certainly use a 77-point guy. All things considered, he’d like to stay in the desert, with Carolina a second choice because he won a Stanley Cup there and has a home there, but the Hurricanes probably don’t have the money for him.
“I’ve always said if Phoenix matches any offer, I’ll stay there. Obviously, we have a home in Carolina, but with the trade they made for (Jordan) Staal and the money they’re going to give up … I’m not looking for them,” said Whitney, who is in the catbird’s seat. “There seems to be a shortage of scoring now.”
Dallas will certainly make a play for Doan because Stars owner Tom Gaglardi is the money behind the junior Kamloops Blazers and Doan is an investor along with Jarome Iginla and Mark Recchi.
“There is that connection, but I think Shane will stay in Phoenix. It would be hard for me to see him leave. He’s kind of embedded there. My two years there haven’t embedded me like Shane,” said Whitney, laughing.
Brodeur, Whitney and Jaromir Jagr are all 40-year-old free agents. You wouldn’t think there would be a large market for players of that age, but it’s not like it used to be when 30 was old.
Everyone knows the Vancouver Canucks have as good a chance as any team to secure the most sought-after free agent since Cindy Crawford, that being one Justin Schultz, to whom they made their pitch in Toronto on Wednesday.
Whether or not they land the fellow whose parents apparently own season tickets to Canuck games will have an effect on which players they pursue when the July 1 green flag falls on unrestricted players.
If Schultz is not in the fold, they might go looking hard for somebody somewhat like him named Jason Garrison, a defenceman with the Florida Panthers with some considerable offensive abilities who hails from White Rock and might consider giving Vancouver a small hometown discount.
But will it be a sufficient discount to have it make sense for the Canucks, who hope to get Sami Salo back for at least one more year, and maybe more, and already have another young right-handed shot in Chris Tanev in the fold?
New Jersey Devils veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur could be wearing a new uniform when the puck is dropped for the 2012-2013 season.
Brodeur, an unrestricted free agent on Sunday, has hired player agent Pat Brisson to represent him and might be ready to test his value on the open market.
The 40-year-old netminder has had limited conversation with the Devils on a new deal and though he could still re-sign with the only NHL team he’s played for, his new agent says he will entertain offers from other teams if an agreement is not reached at the beginning of the free agent period.
“He will be testing free agency if a deal is not in place by Sunday,” Brisson told TSN on Friday.
Source tells me it’s official: Olli Jokinen’s days with the Flames are over and he will head to free agency July 1.
— Eric Francis (@EricFrancis) June 28, 2012
While Vancouver Canucks starter-to-be Cory Schneider says he’ll take his time to sign a new deal, the team probably wants to get that whole Roberto Luongo mess cleaned up sooner rather than later. Darren Dreger provides the latest update on that front: the Florida Panthers remain the “frontrunner.” The Toronto Maple Leafs, meanwhile, appear to be lagging behind.
Bob McKenzie paraphrases Dreger as such:
Insider Trading hilites: @DarrenDreger says dialogue continues between FLA and VAN on Luongo. Not so much TOR and VAN. FLA frontrunner.
Plenty has been made of the Panthers’ interest in bringing back Luongo; it’s even clear that the team’s ownership seems OK with his lengthy, risky contract. It appears that Luongo wants to go back to Florida, too, as a report surfaced that he wouldn’t accept a swap to two other interested parties in Toronto and the Chicago Blackhawks.
If Brian Burke is to be believed, don’t expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to be big players in the free agent market this summer.
Speaking at the P.E.I. Special Olympics Festival Luncheon on Wednesday, Burke discussed his plans heading into free agency beginning July 1.
“With the salary cap and the new collective bargaining agreement that’s coming up, I don’t know what our plans are for filling out our roster,” Burke said. “Free agency starts on July 1, it’s a really thin group.
“Teams are locking all these quality players up now, so the group that is getting to the market is thin, it’s shallow. There are really two high-end players and that’s about it, (Nashville defenceman) Ryan Suter and (New Jersey forward) Zach Parise.
Although Suter or Parise would provide the Leafs with an immediate infusion of star power, it seems unlikely either will be wearing the Blue and White next season.
“I don’t think we are going to be in on either one of them,” Burke said.
And despite missing the playoffs each season since being named GM of the Leafs in 2008, Burke said he isn’t ready to abandon his long-term plan for short-term success — even if it costs him his job.
“People say if you don’t make the playoffs you are gone,” said Burke. “That’s fine. I am not going to do anything short term to make the playoffs and keep my job.
Edmonton Oilers fourth on the list in the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, says Oilers insider Bob Stauffer
This just in from Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now on Twitter: “Personally I think the Oilers sit 4th in pursuit of Schultz. Vancouver leads the way imo (home-field advantage). Leafs and Rangers 2nd and 3rd respectively because players recruit players. Gardiner in T.O., and Stepan and McDonagh with NYR.”
So what’s the big deal? Stauffer is just another media guy, right? And didn’t he predict the Oilers would take Ryan Murray?
True, but Stauffer works for the team itself as the colour man on radio broadcasts, and when it comes to having sources inside the Oilers, he is right up there with two Hall of Famers, Terry Jones of the Sun and Jim Matheson of the Journal.
If Stauffer is saying the Oilers are behind some other teams, I’m buying that, even as TSN’s Bob McKenzie and ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun have mentioned Edmonton as as a likley Schultz destination.
The fact is reporters and bloggers from across North America are all speculating on where Schultz will go, and fans from Philadelphia to Ottawa, from Vancouver to Toronto, have their hopes up.
There’s going to plenty of disappointment when the kid does pick a city, but such is the life of the hockey fan.
P.S. In previous tweets, Stauffer had more to say on Schultz: “As for Justin Schultz I did bump into to Newport’s Don Meehan and Craig Oster at the draft. They are well aware of the opportunity in EDM.
“If Schultz does sign with say the Rangers or the Leafs who have defence depth, obviously there may be a trade option for Oilers.”
With new owner, TG saying “we will be in there on any player” (ref: free agency), what is your opinion as to the financial commitment he is willing to make?….Knowing the Stars are not on the “wish list” for any elite player, Is Tom willing “to pay big” to at least “jump start” fan enthusiasm/attendance???..I realize this post requires a subjective opinion, but I greatly respect your thoughts.
Mike Heika: I think they would do it for Parise but not for Suter. That’s my subjective opinion. They would take a risk and overpay for Parise, but I don’t think they would do it for Suter. They would have to get him at the right price.
Which of the Stars draft picks from the past 4 years do you see being pretty near NHL ready next season?
Mike Heika: They aren’t draft picks, but Dillon and Fraser are ready. They’re not going to be perfect, but you live with warts. That’s what happened with Stepan in New York or Craig Smith in Nashville. That’s what LA and SJ have been doing.
There have only been six offer sheets signed under this CBA, with the last one coming in 2010 when the San Jose Sharks took aim at the Chicago Blackhawks when they gave defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson a four-year, $14-million deal that was ultimately matched.
That salary bump, however, eventually helped force the Blackhawks to walk away from netminder Antti Niemi, who then went and signed with San Jose.
So it can be a pretty effective tool to wreak havoc on a rival’s cap situation.
Two potential targets this off-season could be young goaltenders: Cory Schneider of the Vancouver Canucks and Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins.
If teams lose players via an offer sheet, they are compensated by draft picks based on how high the salary of the deal is. This is a moving target – the values increase every year based on the NHL’s average salary.
The Edmonton Oilers are expected to introduce Ralph Krueger as their new head coach at a press conference scheduled for Wednesday.
The 52-year-old Krueger has been the Oilers’ associate coach the past two seasons and would become the 10th head coach in Oilers history.
Prior to being hired by the Oilers on July 30, 2010, Krueger had been a scouting consultant for the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Winnipeg native was also the coach of the Swiss men’s national ice hockey team for more than a decade, including coaching the team at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
It’s almost always “Show me the money” when a player hits the marketplace as an unrestricted free agent (UFA), but the Edmonton Oilers will try to sell Justin Schultz on how much he’s going to play, not how much they’ll pay.
The University of Wisconsin defenceman, who turns 22 on July 6, is the most-talked about item on the Oilers’ shopping list ahead of the July 1 free-agent date.
Schultz’s agent, Wade Arnott (Jason’s brother), will begin hearing pitches from suitors on Wednesday morning at his Newport Sports offices outside Toronto. Schultz will be in attendance.
The defenceman was drafted in the second round by the Anaheim Ducks in 2008, but didn’t want to play there. He used a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) loophole to become an UFA — college players can hit the open market after four years.
Schultz played one season of junior A in the British Columbia Hockey League prior to going to college for three years. For some reason that he’s keeping to himself, the puck-moving D-man doesn’t want to play for the team that drafted him.
The old interweb is alive with reports that Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo has refused to waive his no-trade clause to any place other than his old team, the Florida Panthers.
While it’s certainly true Luongo would look kindly on a return to South Florida, and Canucks GM Mike Gillis most certainly knows that, it’s far too early in the process to suggest he won’t go here or there, with here or there obviously including the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Luongo is a pragmatic, intelligent man. He knows if he wants out of Vancouver, and that’s certainly his preference, he can’t close the door on too many places because, right now anyway, there aren’t too many places that want or can afford him and his contract.
Florida and Toronto appear to have the greatest interest in Luongo, but not so great that either team is at this point willing to meet what they say is a steep asking price from Vancouver.
Florida won’t give up a blue-chip prospect and their offer most certainly includes a contract they’d like to get rid of.
The Leafs just think the current asking price is exorbinant and do not consider themselves to be in the mix until it’s lowered.
Brian Burke returns from the NHL draft with a power forward he covets in James van Riemsdyk, six picks including first-rounder Morgan Rielly and perhaps a different view of the free-agent landscape.
In April, the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager said he would address the team’s positional trades “the old fashioned way” through trades, not free agency.
But that could change Monday when U.S. collegiate defenceman Justin Schultz, a player Burke drafted in the second round in 2008 while GM of the Anaheim Ducks, becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Schultz, 21, and his representative, Newport Sports Management in Toronto, found a loophole in the soon-to-be-expired collective bargaining agreement that allows the player to test free agency because he played an extra year of major junior hockey in British Columbia Hockey League before attending the University of Wisconsin.
Schultz is considered an elite offensive defenceman who many observers believe could step into the NHL next season as a top-four blue-liner. He reportedly will be in Toronto on Tuesday and can begin to field offers Wednesday.
“The competition for Schultz will be every bit as intense as the competition for [unrestricted free agents Ryan] Suter and [Zach] Parise,” former NHL forward-turned broadcaster Ray Ferraro told a Canadian sports radio station recently.
Schultz is a six-foot-two, 185-pound right-handed shooting defenceman fresh off a strong season with the U. of Wisconsin Badgers in which he scored 16 goals and 44 points in 37 games.