Rumors and Notes from the NHL

1. Spezza speaks about Heatley

2. Free Agent Winners and Losers so far

3. Sharks could be in the Market for a free Agent

4. Devils interested in Brendan Morrison

5. Leafs shopping for a penality Killer1. Spezza speaks about Heatley is reporting an article where Jason Spezza spoke his opinion on the latest Heatley rumors. Spezza stated “I just hope that this doesn’t stall our organization. We want to move forward, and if he wants to come back, then we’ll accept him back and we’ll be a good team with him. But if he doesn’t want to be here, he has to let us make a move and get some players to replace him.”

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2. Free Agent Winners and Losers so far

Fox Sports is reporting their opinions of who are the winners and loser of the free agent market so far in 2009.



At first blush it appears as though new GM Chuck Fletcher replaced one injury-prone goal guru with another, but signing Martin Havlat — for $2.5 million less than Marian Gaborik, I might add — was of the utmost importance as a building block in the Wild’s new philosophy of up-tempo hockey.

If freshly minted bench boss Todd Richards is going to construct a house of goals, he’ll need some semblance of tools to do it. Not only is Havlat a good foundation, his signing will lay the groundwork for the Wild to attract other UFAs in the coming days.


Many GMs should have their heads examined for the money and terms handed out to players 30 and older, but in this case the Oilers made a smart move. Nikolai Khabibulin will be 40 by the time his four-year deal expires, but at a price tag less than $4 million, it’s not egregious should Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers supplant him as the No. 1 in a couple of seasons.

Plus, with Khabibulin between the pipes, the Oilers have a bona fide game-stealer, which this young but inexperienced squad will need if they hope to make any noise in a tough Western Conference. GM Steve Tambellini and Co. deserve credit for their hot pursuit of Dany Heatley, despite the $4 million bonus the Senators now have paid him.

Tampa Bay

As I said in my analysis of the Matt Walker signing during our real-time coverage Wednesday, GM Brian Lawton, despite being surrounded by ownership in-fighting, deserves a lot of credit for the three moves he made, all of which strengthened the team’s most glaring weakness: its blueline.

Mattias Ohlund was the perfect player for the Lightning: a stable, veteran Swede defenseman who can mentor future star and countryman Victor Hedman. A seven-year deal for a 32-year-old seems excessive, but if Ohlund retires, that money comes off the books. Snagging Matt Walker from the Hawks and re-upping Lukas Krajicek provides the Bolts with a decent top six.


New York Rangers

After ridding themselves of a seemingly unmovable contract (Scott Gomez) the day before and allowing their resident thug (Colton Orr) to walk, GM Glen Sather seemed to be regaining some of the shine that’s worn off since joining the Blueshirts oh so long ago.

It was short lived, however, as New York quickly picked up a soon-to-be unmovable player in Marian Gaborik and took up another roster spot with Donald Brashear, who somehow got a two-year deal at age 37.

Toronto Maple Leafs

GM Brian Burke gets a minus for giving Colton Orr a four-year deal alone, but we’ll backburner that and instead focus on the letdown of accomplishing nothing more than acquiring a pair of rough and tumble blueliners (Mike Komisarek and Garnet Exelby) who can’t score worth a lick. Expectations were high Toronto would add additional scoring punch, but those hopes went for naught.

Yes, the Blue and White will leave teams black and blue next season, but PIMs don’t win games. Goals do.

Chicago Blackhawks

Hey ‘Hawks fans, who do you like better: Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews? Because after this season, you’ll very likely only have one of them in your lineup. Kane, Toews and Duncan Keith, the team’s best defenseman and another must-keep, are all RFAs next summer and each will be looking for a significant raise, somewhere in the $5-6 million range.

With the cap likely going down after 2009-10, there’s not going to be a whole lot of room to spare after Marian Hossa’s deal this summer and Brian Campbell’s in 2008. Never mind the fact you still have RFAs Cam Barker, Kris Versteeg, Ben Eager, Troy Brouwer and Corey Crawford to re-sign with a little less than $9 million to deal with this offseason. Good luck, GM Dale Tallon — you’ll need it.

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3. Sharks could be in the Market for a free Agent is reporting that the Sharks are in the Market to pick up a Veteran Free Agent. They have a very solid D and solid goalie but they are in the Market for a solid forward. The Sharks have been almost invisible in the free agent market so far, even though they have let enough players go to create some cap room. With many of the top free agents signed, the pickings left for General Manager Doug Wilson are slim.

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4. Devils interested in Brendan Morrison

The NYPost is reporting that the Devils are interested in signing Center Brendan Morrison. Former Devil Brendan Morrison is one offensive center still available on the unrestricted market. Agent Kurt Overhardt refused comment on whether Lamoriello is trying to sign Morrison, but did say “there are a couple of things going on,” and that he expects the 33-year-old to sign somewhere in a few days.

Morrison had sought a trade from New Jersey when he was packaged with Denis Pederson to Vancouver for Alexander Mogilny on March 14, 2000.

Meanwhile, Overhardt said negotiations with the Devils for Travis Zajac have not hit any obstacle, despite Zajac’s filing for arbitration as a restricted free agent.

TO Read More….

5. Leafs shopping for a penalty Killer

THe Star is reporting that the leafs are in the Market for a Penalty Killer. After muscling up with miscreants, the Maple Leafs’ next move may be to add a free-agent, penalty-killing forward.

Sure, they need scoring and filling that void is on general manager Brian Burke’s to-do list. But Toronto also had the league’s worst penalty killing last year and with the team likely to spend even more time shorthanded in the coming season, that could be an unfolding disaster unless Burke gets some help.

“A couple of the things we’re looking at are skilled forwards and bottom-six guys who have some special attributes. We’re looking at guys who might do specific tasks,” Burke said yesterday.

One of the tasks Burke mentioned is penalty killing. So that would make an unrestricted free agent forward such as Blair Betts or Travis Moen more attractive to the Leafs than their modest offensive numbers would suggest.

And there are still some decently skilled free-agent forwards such as Jason Williams and Ales Kotalik available more than a week after the market opened, so Burke still has the opportunity to bring in more useful players without giving up assets.
< br>So he was back working the phones yesterday. One day after saying he wasn’t done rebuilding his team, the GM said he spoke to the agents for six free-agent forwards to see if there was the framework for a deal. He said he also received another trade offer for one of his excess defencemen, a move that would bring in a forward and would involve the Leafs taking on some salary.

The Leafs are about $3.3 million (all figures U.S.) below the NHL’s salary cap of $56.8 million. But Burke has said he is quite willing to take advantage of the cushion that allows teams to exceed the cap by 10 per cent during the summer months. In the past, Burke has said he will bury underperformers in the minors if it allows him to bring in players that make his squad better.

“I want to make sure if we’re down to our last three to five million dollars we want to spend the money wisely,” he said. “We’re at a point now where our next couple moves will preclude further movement, so we want to make sure they’re the right the dance steps.”

Penalty killing was a major problem last season for the Leafs on home ice, where they killed off only 69.4 per cent of their shorthanded situations. Basically, you could count on them giving up a goal every three times a Toronto player went to the box.

That problem should be partially corrected by a goaltending situation that appears improved and by the addition of defenceman François Beauchemin, who is a strong penalty killer. Beauchemin led the NHL last season in short-handed ice time per game, with an average of four minutes, 50 seconds.

The Rangers led the NHL in penalty killing last season, nullifying 87.8 per cent of penalties against, and key to that success was the 29-year-old Betts, who earned $615,000. Moen, part of Burke’s team that won a Stanley Cup in Anaheim in 2007, was a big part of making San Jose the fifth-best penalty killing team in the NHL last season.

The Leafs have only 13 forwards under contract who could reasonably be expected to start the season with the big club.

Burke said he will keep fishing to improve those numbers before he leaves on a real fishing trip next week.

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33 Responses to Rumors and Notes from the NHL

  1. Kramer says:

    If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Which means do your summer cooking outdoors.

  2. hatterson says:

    As a note the Leafs actually have more than 3.5M worth of cap space.

    We've got 9 defensemen right now.  Undoubtedly one or 2 will be moved and likely 1 or two will see times in the minors.  We also have some bonus cusion available (total roughly 3M) that we can delay until next year.
    The Leafs could take on roughly 6-7M of salary (beyond what they're giving up in the trade) and still be under.  You can add to that another 5.5M given the 10% cusion and then bury some guys in the minors.
    Overall Burkie has a ton of room to do some moving and I expect not just minor signings but a decent sized shake up with a couple forwards and defensemen being moved around.
  3. zackman13 says:

    san jose only got moen at the trade deadline!

  4. leafmeister says:

    If we are talking short term then yes, the Leafs are losers, they got tougher but no more offense. However unlike the Leafs previous GMs who would just put bandaids where the Leafs currently needed them, Burke has a vision, he wants his teams to play a certain way, and in that style of play, you start from the net out. He has done that with toughening up the blueline, and signing Gustovsson.

  5. glotz_99 says:

    The two names i keep hearing the leafs may pick up as 3rd or 4th line shut down, penalty killers is travis moen and manny malhotra.
    Blair betts wouldnt be bad either last year Betts and Sjöström's penalty kill was a franchise high 87.6%

  6. glotz_99 says:

    hey what the f.uck does fox sports know about hockey anyways.
    why do you think they don't show any games on that piece of shit station anymore? stick to writing articles about stuff ya know,  football, baseball and nascar

  7. goose says:

    I hope the Leafs get either Moen or Malhotra
    and especially Kessel!!!!

  8. glotz_99 says:

    one more thing, even though tyhe leafs gave colton orr a four year deal, it is worth $1 million per season. so if the leafs wanted to buy out his contract after next season, their cap hit would only be $500,000 a year over the next 6 years, thats nothing.

    Articles like this piss me off because they dont see the big picture, I'm not saying the Leafs are winners either but Burke is building the team the way he wants to. First thing he wanted to do was get the team bigger and tougher on the back end, which he acheived. The team is still rebuilding and Burke is going to stick to his plan, so what fox sports has to say.

  9. JoelJoel says:

    Uhh… Beauchemin and Komisarek?.. did anyone forget those two top 3 D-men?

    I though these were huge acquisitions and because of them alone the leafs should be considered winners.

    phuck phox sports

  10. the_word says:

    Yeah, Mark Spector's analysis has been pretty shotty this off season. He takes a nuanced stance with the Habs and dismisses the Leafs in a pretty black and white manner. I think he's trying to mix it up a bit to give his blog a little flavor and he is a Habs fan. After reading him for years he leaves me with the impression that he's a tad disgruntled with the attention the Leafs get.

    Despite whether or not someone in the media wants to acknowledge it, hockey is a contact sport. If you look a recent Leafs history, their success came from nasty, pesty and aggressive hockey. Pat Burns squad had Rob Pearson, Wendal Clark, Ken Baumgartner, Jamie Macoun and Bob Rouse. Quinn's Leafs were constantly in the face of the refs with the likes of Shane Corson, Domi, Dracy Tucker, Gary Roberts and Dimitri Yuskavitch (the guy could throw a hit). Role players matter, the Leafs don't have a Crosby or a Datsyuk, their not going to win on pure skill, so they've given themselves a dimension to be competitive. It could work out better than tanking for six years which in Toronto's sports culture is a pipedream at best.

  11. glotz_99 says:

    The Leafs were sick when they had Tucker, Roberts, Corson, Domi, Every time they would play the Sens in the playoffs, they kicked the shit out of them, not cause they had more skill but because they just wore them down physically.  

  12. glotz_99 says:

    This is how The Hockey News predicted their worst UFA contracts, which is funny cause Minnesota and Edmonton have the 3rd and 4th worst signings, but are somehow still winners in Fox Sports eyes. 

    No more articles about winners and losers in free agency until the season actually starts.

  13. flamefan20 says:

    leafs should look at offenseive forwards instead of defense. looking at their line up i dont see a single forward that could get more than 60 points this year unless grabovski explodes but thats really it. no top line forwards. maybe they will get kadri in there this year but i dont see much offense from that bunch

  14. 93killer93 says:

    aparently some trade talk between the Leafs and Kings has been leaked.
    the trade is

    Colten Teubert

    1st 2010(top 10 protected. should the leafs pick be in the top 10 LA get the Leaf's first rounder in 2011)

    Apparently the Kings took Schenn out of spite. They were after Evander Kane and new Burke wanted Schenn. They figured they could get more from the Leafs if they drafted him and traded him later

    The link is below if you want to read more.

  15. pezzz123 says:

    I can't believe Blair Betts is still available. He's a top 3 PK in the NHL.

    Maybe the Flames can sign him?

    Trade Boyd for a top 6 forward, sign Betts (3 years, 3.5 millions), send Primeau to the minors, and you got this :

    Trade – Langkow – Iginla
    Bourque – Jokinen – Lundmark/Backlund
    Glencross – Conroy – Moss
    Nystrom – Betts – Sjostrom

    Betts and Sjostrom, the best PK duo in the league, would be reunited. 🙂

    Conroy is also a top 3 PK in the league. Adding Bouwmeester would probably give us the best PK in the league.

    Betts – Sjostrom
    Conroy – Glencross

    Regehr – Sarich
    Bouwmeester – Pardy


  16. muckies says:

    I cant' wait for the Heatley matter to be resolved and Ottawa to get its team sorted out. Ottawa has good team on paper now and it could be great once Heatley is traded.

    TRADE – Spezza – Alfie
    Foligno – Fisher – Kovalev
    Kelly -TRADE – Shannon
    Ruutu – Winchester – Neil

    Phillips – Volchenkov
    Kuba – Campoli
    Lee – J. Smith


    Prospects who have a decent shot to make the lineup this year.
    1. P. Regin (C)
    2. Zach Smith (C/W)
    3. Cody Bass (C/W)
    4. Ylia Zobov (C/W)
    5. Eric Karlsson (D)
    6. Patrick Weircoche (D)
    7. Eric Gryba (D)

    If they land a couple of the rumored names – P. Marleau, Ryan Clowe, Cogliano, Penner, Brassard, they will have a very solid 1-20 team and a ton of depth to plug in with injuries. Signing Kovalev has really settled things down and Murray can now go from a position of strength because he no longer HAS to trade Heatley to have a competative team, they are decent already without him.

  17. KingCanada says:

    The buyout is actually less then 500k.  When a player is bought out they are entitled to 2/3 of the contract spread over twice the contract length.  So say after next year he has 3 years left, 2 thirds of the contract is spread over 6 years.

    1 000 000 * 2/3 = 666k

    666k / 2 = 333k

    333k per year is the actual cap hit if he is bought out, which by all means is nothing.

  18. mojo19 says:

    Exactly. Adding a UFA like Gaborik would have been nice, but it wouldnt make us a contender this year anyways. Rebuilds take time, and I like the quality guys we've added with Komisarek and Beauchemin leading the way and giving us some solid d-men.

  19. the_word says:

    Drafted Schenn out of spite? Wow, great way to run a franchise, if a Canadian market GM pulled a stunt like that they'd get rip to shreds.

    Though I find that article hard to believe, if its true Lombardi shoot himself in the foot. That is a ridiculous price to pay for Schenn. Burke is better off paying significantly less for Kessel who is a LNH proven commodity unlike Schenn.

    If Lombardi doesn't want Schenn then Burke has all the leverage. Its not like Burke doesn't have other avenues.

    I'd rather keep quality puck movers like White and Kaberle than gamble on Colten Teubert.

  20. mojo19 says:

    don't forget Travis Green! Robert Svehla in the Yushkevich trade was a stud too. In fact he is the last Leaf to have led the NHL in hits in a season.

    We definitely have some good tough players in their, most notably the 2 steady d-men we added in Bo and Komi.

    On top of that you add a wild card in Gustavsson, who could turn out to be a solid 1A type of goalie. If Toskala can play to the level he played last season ('08) and Gustavsson can be similar calibre, we could have a lethal tandem in goal potentially. Hopefully those two push eachother.

    What you guys think if the Leafs signed Tanguay at a reasonable price?

  21. mojo19 says:

    What about Ponikarovski and Blake who both posted over 60 pts last season (playing on seperate lines.) And don't give credit to their line mates because Poni kept producing after Antropov was dealt, and Blake kept producing after Moore was dealt.

    Also Matt Stajan had 55, so its not unreasonable to assume he could reach 60. Another guy is Nik Hagman and possibly Lee Stempniak who could score in the 50 point range.

    The Leafs don't have any stars but they could be a team that roles 3 balanced scoring lines and gets a little contribution from everywhere.

    At the same time I don't totally disagree with you and I think if they can add a good offensive player in a trade or as a UFA that would be a good thing because they definitely don't have any stars up front.

  22. KingCanada says:

    Thx for finally posting the rumor!  This trade id 100% endorse.  It would take care of us having too many D and also take 7 million off the books.  Of course wed have to replace Poni which I think is the biggest loss since we are so thin up front but there are still a couple free agents available.  So with that trade that would probably give us around 4-5 million of space after you replace Poni.

  23. mojo19 says:

    Looks good, and I agree about Betts but maybe he wants a lot of $.

    And I totally agree about Craig Conroy, one of my favourite players in the league. i really wanted the leafs to get him (last summer?) before Calgary extended him.

    And Dustin Boyd is pretty good. I would keep him and try to re-sign Bertuzzi who was a good fit with that group in Calgary last season.

  24. flamefan20 says:

    yeah man i wasnt aware that poni did that well i thought he was about fifty. and yeah i think that lots of the guys do have potential but there isnt a player that is there to make other players better. they don't have a playmaker like savard or a dominating forward like iginla or nash. they definitly need more

  25. reinjosh says:

    more than you do apparently
    yes he may have made a difference in opinion between you with the leafs but his analysis isnt all that bad
    he mentioned the leafs are going to be mad penalty takers and this will hurt them and hurt burkes goal of getting to the playoffs hence a loser.
    and really on the rest he hid the nail on the head
    Chicago is a loser from the Hossa deal
    The Rangers put themselves right back in the same cap situation with a very similar player (in points, salary and injuries) they had gotten out of mere days before
    Tampa did well by getting Ohlund to mentor Hedman
    Edmonton finally got their true number one goalie, something they have lacked for a very long time, making them winners.
    Minnesota replaced Gaborik with a similar player but one who played a full season last year (unlike Gaborik), is slightly more consistent defensively , and was cheaper by a full 2 and a half million dollars. They win from this.
    Honestly if your really have such a big problem with his opinion here than you dont really have a very strong hockey sense.

  26. reinjosh says:

    i seriously hope you joking about this
    thats a terrible deal.
    We get a forward and a defensive prospect
    for a top 10 offensive defenceman, a 60 point winger, a great hard working 6 or 7th dman/4th line forward (who someone offered a second rounder for at the deadline) and our first
    thats a ridiculous trade and should never ever be given a thought

  27. mojo19 says:

    We don't have anything even closely resembling Iginla or Nash, haha. That would be a dream.

  28. reinjosh says:

    I would so much rather keep Boyd
    hes a great player and only getting better
    Betts would be a great guy to sign for us and would make our PK insane!
    and i dont think Sutter is going after a top 6 forward. After he made the trade for Bouwmeester he mentioned that the team would be fine with the cap and that he didnt need to make room because he had no intention of getting a top 6 forward.
    Bourque will be looked to step up, as will Moss, Boyd, Backlund (assuming he makes the team) Lundmark, Jokinen (looking to rekindle his scoring pace)
    i think that the team we have now is pretty much the team we will have unless something nice falls into Sutters lap.

  29. nordiques100 says:

    what about a trade where the flames send cory sarich to buffalo along with kris chucko for nathan paetsch and jochen hecht.

    chucko for paetsch is a wash. the flames get a depth blueliner since they lose sarich, the sabres get forward depth with hecht gone. I think they could use the depth and paetsch is a mobile, versatile guy who can help in many areas.

    but the meat of the trade is sarich for hecht.

    sarich fills a need for toughness on the sabres defence which they've lacked since mckee left. he is a cap hit of 3.6 mil and is owed still 10.7 mil for the next 3 seasons. they've looked into getting mckee back, but sarich would be nice. imagine him and tyler myers on D together.

    hecht would be a scoring winger the flames need. he had a downer year last year but a fresh start in calgary, playing with either iginla or jokinen may help him. he is owed 10.3 mil over the next 3 years and is a 3.5 mil cap hit. so its not like the flames would be any different money wise. and hecht is a useful player. can help defensively, can score, good skater.

    financially its a wash and i think both teams benefit.




    as for PK, kipper has to be kipper. then the PK will be tough.

  30. pezzz123 says:

    I'd rather take a chance on Tim Connolly than Jochen Hecht. We have enough goal scorers, and what we really need is a playmaker for the PP. Connolly would fill that need.

    But I'm not interested in trading Sarich. We acquired Bouwmeester to put our D up there with the best (Detroit, Chicago), and trading Sarich would leave us with a hole on the 2nd pairing.

    And even though the Sabres are looking for toughness on the backend, I don't think they're looking for another defensive minded D. They already have Lydman, Tallinder, Rivet and Montador for defensive missions. The latter 2 are their best puck-movers so far…it's not scary at all. I think they sould be looking for a puck-mover before anything else.

  31. pezzz123 says:

    and the Nash dream seems over :S

  32. glotz_99 says:

    first tampa signed an average d-man who is already 32 to a 7 year deal, he played all 82 games last year, but had one of his lowest point totals in his career.

    second edmonton signed khabibulin, who is now under contract until he is 40 years old, ya they need a goalie of the future not another old piece of shit.

    third minnesota is the only one close to being a winner, they lost their best player and added havlat, he's gonna collect his big cheque and not even show up.  

    don;t talk to me about hockey sense until you know what the f.uck your talking about.

  33. flamefan20 says:

    maybe you guys should be looking at vinny instead of  mtl

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