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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.”
Today could be a day that determines whether the Blues will need to trade a forward - quite possibly a top-six forward.
The Blues have a hole on the left side of their defense and they are trying to fill it via free agency. General manager Doug Armstrong said that the club reached out to several free agents on Sunday, expressing interest.
Armstrong would not confirm whether the team made contact with Ryan Suter’s camp, but the Blues aren’t believed to be in the mix anyway. But they did send feelers out to Florida’s Jason Garrison and Philadelphia’s Matt Carle.
Garrison signed a six-year, $27.6 million contract with Vancouver, and while the Blues may have matched the $4.6 annual average on the contract, it appears they didn’t have much of a chance anyway because the British Columbia-native was looking to play close to home. Some Blues fans may be relieved because Garrison, 27, has had only one above-average year in the NHL, posting 16 goals and 33 points last season.
Carle, 27, might be a higher priority for the Blues anyway. He had 38 points with Philadelphia last season and has 113 points over the last three years with the Flyers. In 2010-11, he had 39 assists and was a plus-30.
Carle is coming off a four-year, $13.75 million contract, which paid him $3.8 million last year. Some are speculating that Carle could be commanding close to $5 million in the open market, and with Garrison receiving a term of six years from Vancouver, teams might need to match that length for Carle, too.
Reports from Sunday night suggested that Carle probably won’t sign until Suter signs. That would make Carle “Plan A” for the teams who lost out on Suter. Carle would be coveted because the options after him dwindle. Phoenix’s Michal Rozsival, Philadelphia’s Pavel Kubina, Toronto’s Jeff Finger, New Jersey’s Bryce Salvador and recent Blue Carlo Colaiacovo are available free agents.
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.
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.
QUESTION: Carlo Colaiacovo is now an unrestricted free agent. Do you think there is any chance Colaiacovo will return to the Blues next season? Would he rank among the team’s top six defensemen at this point?
At this point, I would say the chances of Colaiacovo returning are 50-50. Doug Armstrong hasn’t closed the door, but the Blues are exhausting other options in landing a defenseman, including free agency and trade partners. Colaiacovo can be a decent defenseman in the league and he showed that he has chemistry with Alex Pietrangelo. But whether it was injury-related or not, Colaiacovo struggled down the stretch, and with his contract up, the Blues are looking for an upgrade. If they can’t find one, he could be back.
#RedWings initial offer to D Ryan Suter was $80M 13 years, now up to $90 M. Team wants to keep cap # reasonable – preferably under $7 M.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 TSN.ca 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 ESPN.com. “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.”
The Red Wings could well add prize free agent defenseman Ryan Suter to their lineup today, but as the market opened Sunday, they already got started on forging a fiercer team.
They add a big, promising goaltender in Jonas Gustavsson, help for the power play in Mikael Samuelsson and grit in Jordin Tootoo. They also made forward Damien Brunner official, announcing they’d signed the coveted Swiss forward after he had agreed to terms last month.
The Wings are in the process of upgrading after losing in the first round of the playoffs in April, followed a month later by the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom and departure of Brad Stuart, both of whom were top-four defensemen. Their top targets are Suter and forward Zach Parise, and general manager Ken Holland made offers to both early Sunday afternoon. Neither was expected to make a decision before today, but the Wings are among the front-runners for Suter.
The Wings remain interested in Columbus superstar Rick Nash but are disadvantaged by needing to make an offer so sweet it will entice the Blue Jackets to trade the face of their franchise to a team within the Central Division.
Sources say FLyers’ gave Suter and Parise each a 10-year offer … guess the $$$
— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) July 1, 2012
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.
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.
It’s my belief that Ales Hemsky is heavily in play today on the trade front. #TSN
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) July 1, 2012
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 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.
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 TSN.ca’s Bob McKenzie.