Val Bure on waivers, Lumme bought out, Possible $tars on the MOVE!

From TSN:

Blues place Val Bure on waivers and more


In what appears to be a cost-cutting move, the St. Louis Blues have placed winger Valeri Bure on waivers.

Bure, acquired in a trade-deadline deal from Florida for defenceman Mike Van Ryn, has one year left on his contract. Under terms of the trade, the Blues were responsible for at least half of his $3.1 million salary. If Bure had more than 80 points this season, the Blues would have paid the entire salary.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the South Florida Sun Sentinel report that the Panthers appear interested in reacquiring Bure, who has missed 82 games because of injuries over the past two seasons.

If Florida were to claim Bure off waivers, the Blues would get a 2004 conditional draft pick in return. If Bure goes unclaimed, he would remain the property of the Blues, who would then presumably try to trade him.

**My take: If the Panthers are stuck picking up half of his salary next year there will probably be a few teams that would consider a $1.55 million Bure, provided he’s healthy. But realistically it looks like Valeri, like his older brother, will never again be the player that he was when he was in western Canada.

From TSN:

Report: Leafs buying out Lumme


The Toronto Star reports that the Maple Leafs have decided to buy out the final year of defenceman Jyrki Lumme’s contract at almost $2 million.

Lumme is set to make $1.5 million next season. If his contract is bought out by July 1, the team pays two-thirds of that total. There is a team option for the 2004-2005 season with a buyout provision of $750,000, meaning Lumme would get $1.75 million for the final two years of his deal.

Lumme’s agent, Don Baizley, told the Star that the Leafs have informed him of their plans for for the 15-year NHL veteran, but said he would wait for the team to make a formal announcement.

The veteran blueliner was acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars in 2001.

**My take: Poor Jonas Hoglund. Without Lumme around Hoglund’s bound to receive an even bigger whipping from Toronto fans and media. Perhaps it’s time for Jyrki to wind down his playing days in Europe (I remember rumors of him going back to Finland during his time with the Canucks).

From Slam.CA:

Big names, big talk surround NHL draft


NASHVILLE — The best entertainment in the Music City this weekend might be provided by the wheeling and dealing expected to take place at the NHL entry draft.

While there’s plenty of discussion surrounding Florida Panthers GM Rick Dudley’s plans for the No. 1 overall pick — and whether he’ll keep it — that’s minor stuff compared to some of the action that might take place.

As NHL officials started to flock here yesterday for the annual entry draft that begins Saturday at the Gaylord Entertainment Center, the word is some of the league’s biggest names could be on the move.

“Right now, you can pretty well have any of the top players in the league as long as you’re willing to pick up his salary,” said an NHL executive last night. “That’s all it takes because GMs just want to get rid of (big contracts).”

Though it’s been well documented the Washington Capitals are looking to move disappointing winger Jaromir Jagr and his $11-million (all terms US) salary, GM George McPhee also has two other targets on his budget chopping block.

The Capitals recently picked up the option on Peter Bondra’s contract, but sources indicate the winger has also been placed on the trade block along with centre Robert Lang, who was signed last year as an unrestricted free agent.

Still, the Caps are not alone in the salary dumping game. A high-ranking official confirmed the Dallas Stars are willing to move winger Bill Guerin ($8 million) and might even listen to the right offer for centre Mike Modano.

While it would take one special offer to pry Modano out of Dallas, Guerin is being shopped heavily around the league. It’s also part of owner Tom Hicks’ desire to get the Stars’ $60-million payroll down to a more manageable level.

The Stars are also trying to clear enough salary to enable them to keep their captain, unrestricted free agent defenceman Derian Hatcher.

It doesn’t stop there.

The St. Louis Blues are willing to move winger Keith Tkachuk if they can find a team to take on his $8-million salary, while it’s been widely reported Philadelphia is trying to dump winger John LeClair and his $7-million price tag.

There’s also talk the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to send goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and his $6-million salary packing this weekend, while it’s almost certain that Phoenix goalie Sean Burke ($4.5 million) will wind up wearing a Boston uniform.

“If you had an expansion team and about $60 million to spend, you could build yourself a Stanley Cup contender with some of the players that teams are trying to trade right now. It’s unbelievable,” said another executive.

“Every move is about money these days. In some cases, teams don’t even want anything back because they just want to get rid of the contract. The problem is nobody can afford to take these guys. Some of them are great players and they can help, but they’re not worth what they’re being paid.”

With the collective bargaining agreement set to expire after the 2003-04 season, teams have been warned to be ready for a long work stoppage. It’s the size of these contracts that got teams in trouble in the first place and it’s a certainty owners will push for some sort of salary restraint in the new CBA.

“I don’t know if all, or if any, of these guys are going to move, but they can certainly be had,” said an executive. “Guys have spent money out of control and now they’re trying to find a way to dig themselves out of the hole.

“In any trade talks now, the first question asked is about the amount of money involved. How are GMs going to explain it to their fans if some of these deals get completed? They’ll have to tell truth and say they’re simply getting rid of money. You realize how much trouble the game is in.”

It’s true all of the anticipation in the next few days is supposed to be about whether centre Eric Staal or goalten-der Marc-Andre Fleury will go No. 1 in the draft Saturday. But right now that seems to be the least of GMs’ worries here.

Right now, it’s all about getting rid of past mistakes.

**My take: Not very good foresight on McPhee’s part to be wanting to dump Lang after just one year of his deal. According to Slam, Bondra made $4.75 million last year, so I’m guessing his option couldn’t be much more than that. He’s one of the streakiest guys in the league but with his (relatively) low salary he should draw the most interest. I’d love to see him playing wing for the Canucks, but I don’t think that it would happen.

That would have to be one really special offer to get Modano out of Dallas. I can’t imagine that organization without him. It’s like Sakic or Yzerman being traded.

The rest of these guys (Tkachuk, Leclair, Khabibulin, Burke) have been beat to death in other people’s topics, so I’ll refrain from adding to the growing fire.