Rumors and News – June 24, 2010
Flames GM has shown draft-day guile in the past
Sather’s off-season a balancing act
Jose Theodore won’t return to Caps
Edmonton Oilers hope to move Souray July 1Flames GM has shown draft-day guile in the past
OK, what would you do?
Your team has zero selections in the first two rounds of this week’s National Hockey League draft in Los Angeles.
Your team was the third oldest, and the most senior of the non-playoff outfits.
Your team produced the fewest goals in the entire league.
Your team has already committed $53.9 million — not including Ian White’s yet-to-be-inked whopper — to 18 players for 2010-11. (The salary cap is expected to crest at $58 million.)
Your team features an intriguing mix of restricted free agents, topped by White.
It also includes Brett Sutter, Matt Pelech, Kris Chucko, Matt Keetley, Gord Baldwin, Brad Cole and J.D. Watt.
Your team features an intriguing mix of unrestricted free agents, topped by Eric Nystrom.
It also includes Chris Higgins, Craig Conroy, Jamal Mayers, Brian McGrattan, Vesa Toskala, Colin Stuart, Andy Delmore, Carsen Germyn, Brett Palin, Garth Murray, David Van der Gulik.
Your team is lined with veterans carrying no-trade contracts.
Your team appears to be again slotted to play in the Western Conference. (There goes that lament.) Gosh.
What’s a general manager to do?
No, seriously. What does Sutter do?
Lots. As he’s proven before, the old cowboy is not afraid to stir up things. And Sutter will be two-stepping across his favourite stage — the NHL draft floor — starting on Friday.
Sather’s off-season a balancing act
The National Hockey League has officially closed the book on its 2009-10 campaign, and has already begun looking ahead to its next season. A new schedule was announced on Tuesday; the draft will be held this weekend; and free agency gets under way on July 1.
The Rangers are more than ready to turn the page to 2010-11.
Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather and his staff arrived in Los Angeles, the site of this year’s NHL Entry Draft, on Tuesday for their final off-season preparations, a game plan the organization has been working on since being eliminated from playoff contention in a shootout on the final day of the regular season.
“I think the guys are going to come back a lot hungrier next year,” Sather said of his team. “But we’ve got spots that are available. If you look at the organization we’ve got ourselves into a position where we have a lot of young people coming that are going to challenge for jobs.”
That is the challenge Sather faces this off-season in trying to gently restructure the Rangers and continue to integrate the young prospects the organization is developing onto the NHL roster. The organization wants to give youngsters a chance to make an impact at the NHL level, while at the same time realizing that adding a key veteran or two could also be imperative to provide leadership and help the team return to the postseason.
“If you are going to give certain kids the opportunity, then they have to play,” explained Sather. “But they have to be ready to play. You can’t force it and put them on the team before they have earned the opportunity.”
Sather’s preference, as stated on Tuesday, is to sign his own restricted free agents before delving into unrestricted free agency. Unlike recent years — when the Rangers made big splashes on July 1, including last year’s signing of star winger Marian Gaborik — Sather instead expects to closely monitor the market for unrestricted free agents while trying to get his own players signed.
This strategy will help Sather and his staff gauge the market value for unrestricted free agents and will also give the Rangers a better idea of how much salary cap space will be available for those other players they have interest in.
“It’s like a house of cards, someone makes a deal then someone else makes a deal, so it’s kind of hard to predict what’s going to happen (with free agency),” said Sather. “You have to look at the market and see who’s got the money, who’s got the (salary cap) space. And you see teams making some big trades the past few days that takes some of them out of the free agent market. But you know there are going to be some players out there that we’ll have the chance to sign.”
Jose Theodore won’t return to Caps
Moments after a misty-eyed speech here in Las Vegas while accepting the Bill Masterton Trophy, Jose Theodore confirmed to me that GM George McPhee called recently to inform the veteran goal that he won’t be re-signed by the Caps.
“We had a good talk,” Theodore said. “I enjoyed my time in Washington. Two great years. Winning percentage, stats-wise, it was fun to play for the Caps. But things in the new NHL, they are, they’re going to go with the young kids [Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth] and I respect that.”
“I have nothing but good words to say about this city, especially the fans and the organization,” he added. “With the way I finished last year, I’m just looking forward to next season.”
Theodore said he does not know where he’ll end up but quickly added that he’s not ready to be a mentor or a backup.
Edmonton Oilers hope to move Souray July 1
As a WestJet flight was arriving here Wednesday afternoon with scouts and family of draft eligible kids, a well-tanned Sheldon Souray was sitting in the boarding area at LAX waiting to head back to Edmonton to see an Oilers doctor.
“My (formerly broken) hand is fine now, but they want it checked out just to make sure,” said the Oilers defenceman, who expressed his discontent with the organization at season’s end, asking for a trade which might happen here, at his summer home, this weekend.
Nobody is going to deal for Souray, who has two years left on his five-year contract, at $4.25 million a season, until they know the oft-injured veteran is in one piece from his latest medical problem. He also had shoulder surgery in Year 1 of his Oiler days.
His trip to Edmonton will be an in-and-out affair, maybe the last time he’s there.
“I’ll be back (today),” said Souray. “I’m hoping something happens in the next few days.”
So does Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, who doesn’t want the unhappy defenceman at training camp, as Dany Heatley was in Ottawa last fall until he was traded to San Jose for Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo.
“I’m listening (to offers),” said Tambellini, who can deal him anywhere, starting July 1 when his no-trade clause comes off. Until then, Souray conceivably could block any trade — Buffalo reportedly is interested because they only had 30 goals from their entire defence brigade last year, just three coming on the power play — but Souray can’t be too choosy. Buffalo is a long way from his kids, who live with their mother in Las Vegas — the San Jose Sharks might also be looking with Rob Blake and his big shot retiring — but Souray wants a change of scenery after an injury-plagued season (concussion, broken hand, then an infection that landed him in the hospital).