Recent News, Robert Long-gone from Florida? Teams Still Looking to Trade

Big changes in the East.

Iron Mike ready to deal Luongo?

Teams that will have to make trades.

Winter Olympic hockey to be celebrated Italian Style.Talk about an unexpected event seeing Dany Heatley being dealt to the Ottawa Senators. I waited a day to reflect on this trade and think about it. A lot of fans on here expressed their opinions and it was quite mixed as to who won the trade.

As of right now, how this trade looks on paper, the Atlanta Thrashers got the better end of this deal. Marian Hossa is one of the top forwards of the game and would be even more lethal with the new rule changes. He is an elite RW’er in the NHL, just behind Martin St. Louis.

We all know what Hossa is capable of doing, both negatively and positively. A no-brainer to add on any team as he an Kovalchuk may just become the most lethal offensive pair in the NHL.

It is not just Hossa that comes to Hotlanta, but also solid defenseman Greg de Vries. I remember his short tenure with the Rangers and the guy was great. He and Kasparaitis were a solid pair. He brings a lot to the table to the Thrashers, moreso than to Ottawa.

So the Thrashers get Hossa, an elite forward, and a top four defenseman in de Vries.

They had to trade Dany Heatley and he had every right to request to be traded. I certainly think it would be harsh for him to play every home game in Atlanta and remember that horrible incident. He got Waddell a great trade in return and he leaves to Ottawa to start from scratch.

Though he is a great player, Heatley carries question marks to Ottawa. Can he pull it off? WIll he be the same? He came off some significant injuries as well.

It’s a great deal for the Senators as they get an all-star player at a reasonable price, and dump more salary to be then used next year. Also, Spezza and Heatley could form the future of the Senators, and I seriously think that Heatley is a better captain than Daniel Alfredsson.

Right now, the Thrashers win this deal on paper, but we have yet to see many things before we make any final judgements.

It is obvious that Waddell is making a playoff push and his clock is also ticking. He’s had plenty of high overall picks. The Thrashers will go into the season with Kari Lehtonen. I watched all of his four games the last season played and we may just have another young franchise goalie on the horizon. This guy is unbelievable and is the real deal. Hopefully he will adapt to the new rule changes well enough to continue what she showed in those last four games.

Is Tampa going nucking futs!?!? Sure, Martin St. Louis proved a lot last season and was the number one RW’er in the league. But, would you seriously give such a contract to a late “surprising” bloomer who has had one decent 40 point season, a very good season with 70 point, and an excelent season?

I sure in hell wouldn’t. If this guy can’t be that top league player any more, or goes through an injury that will trouble the rest of his career, then the Bolts will be carrying a ridiculous contract.

I am with GM Lou Lamoriello on this one; that he sees zero logic in making long-term deals. Sure, overpay a player for a year or two, but six is really stretching it.

I am not a St. Louis fan, and I think he still has yet to prove he is worthy of such contract.

This leaves Brad Richards in no man’s land. It is tough to even think where he could go. I keep receiving these trade rumors and though they would make sense if this was the 2003-2004 season, they make no sense with the salary cap in place.

Teams will make salary dumps, even on good players. The latest one was about Kolzig and Datsyuk, but it made zero financial sense for the Wings.

So…the media has a challenge now in making speculations on Brad Richards. He has to go to a team that still has a flexible payroll, and in return go for cheap but NHL ready talent. You figure that a guy like Richards, and the points he put up, unlike St. Louis, in his career (still just 25 years old) will go for a $4M to $5M deal, per season.

I will later revisit the Richards talk when mentioning where teams lie with their payrolls.

Will Roberto be Luong-gone as well? It appears he may ask for a trade, but once again this would be a difficult situation. The goalie market is a bit weak right now, and Luongo being offered around the league puts the Sabres in a horrible situation. They have the goalies to offer, mainly the only team to have that, yet Luongo may push them aside.

I think GM Mike Keenan changed the face of the Panthers and for the first time in years, the Panthers will get recognized (if all goes well planned). But, there is certainly no excuse for Keenan if he loses Luongo due to the arbitration decision. I agree that he should have signed him to a one year deal, see if he can still be the same goalie under the new rule changes and if he does well then he gets a long-term contract.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Panthers are not done dealing yet. They need a scorer, preferebly a LW’er. Keenan is also the type to pull off a blockbuster trade, which he apparently tried to do in order to get Chris Pronger.

I do not see the Vancouver Canucks as a likely destination. They do not have much to offer for Luongo as far as scoring goes. And, no way does Keenan go from having an elite goaltender to normal/average/good goaltender in Dany Cloutier.

Other likely destinations? I believe the Canadiens are number one here. The Panthers and the Canadiens have what it takes to make a trade a la Thrashers and Senators. It is still all up in the air, however, and it would all have to make financial sense for both sides, specifically the Panthers. Of course, Jay Bouwmeester may also become a key to this major trade speculation regarding Luongo.

The second team that could be in the running may be the New York Islanders. Hey, why not make up for losing Luongo by getting him back? Rick DiPietro is also having issues with Mad Mike, and he certainly is not asking Luongo type money, he is still young has loads of potential and his type of character is well suited for Keenan hockey.

Once again, the Panthers would be looking to grab a significant scorer, but it would also have to make financial sense for them.

A short tid-bit on my Rangers aqcuiring Steve Rucchin. Not much of a trade but his name is well known around the NHL, and he is someone I look up to because of his family background, which you will later get to read as well. A solid all-round player that plays in all key situations, he fit the bill for the Rangers youth needing leadership. He may play 2nd or 3rd line, but what is also imporant is that he takes up a spot from a young player, which could mean another trade coming from Slats, in the near future.

Overall, I am thrilled with Rucchin as a Ranger. The Rangers will be safe next off-season due to the one year deal players that they have signed, so no worries with their payroll.

The Montreal Canadiens are, so far, looking good with their payroll and have the room to make trades. Now with Andrej Markov locked up, my guess it is a salary of around $1.5M a season, the Canadiens are running a payroll between $26-27M.

Two main players left to be signed: Michael Ryder and Jose` Theodore.

Though young and scored 63 points, Ryderjust had one NHL season and will most likely not receive much of a salary. I would expect it to be $2M per season, short-term.

Jose` Theodore doesn’t deserve the same amount he got the previous years, but he is still a number one goalie, which means he will receive no less than $4M, and should not be more than $5M.

Adding those two players pushes the Canadiens payroll up towards the $32M range, which leaves them $7M to spend. Montreal should stay away from making any other free agent signings and keep that amount to be used for trades.

Luongo a possibility to the Canadiens? Yes, but it will be very pricey. Luongo is earning just $3.2M this season, and Theodore would be making more, which would mean taking in more salary.

What kind of possible deal are we looking at here?

The Panthers payroll currently sits at about $19.5M. Add in Jokinen’s, Jay Bouwmeester and Van Ryn’s salary, it should push it up to about $27-28M. And, they are not going to reach the $39M max as they will be running on a $30M budget, maybe Keenan may as to add in one more million or two if really necessary.

So the Cats would be looking to have about $2-3M extra to spend. That is very little for a small market team.

Can I still see a Canadiens-Panthers trade? Yes. The Panthers are looking for a scorer, specifically a LW’er if possible. Ryder is pretty much what the Panthers would be looking for, and he’d fit in well with the current roster.

Still, that means that the Panthers have to trade more than just Luongo, and it may be a winger such as Huselius ($1.216). Is that enough?

Luongo + Huselius: $3.2M + $1.216M = $4.416M.

Theodore + Ryder: aprx $4M + aprx $2M = $6M.

Nope, not good enough yet. But hey, someone got Keenan upset and could still get traded, Jay Bouwmeester.

This gets quite complicated as it remains speculation.

I am not sure what Komisarek’s contract is, terms undisclosed, but he may be a possibility.

Luongo + Huselius + Bouwmeester = aprx $7M.

Theodore + Ryder + Komisarek = aprx $7M.

Obviously, prospects and/or draft picks would be involved, but it is a possibility nonetheless.

By the way, the Atlanta Thrashers currently sit at a $30M payroll without Ilya Kovalchuk. I don’t think that the Thrashers have a player budget of $39M that meets the cap. They probably run the finances like the Florida Panthers where they have their own budget, and apparently it could be no more than $35-36M.

With Heatley gone, will Kovalchuk want to stay? I think he would stay, but he reads it more as he would $tay.

Any team can make a contract offer sheet to Kovalchuk. If Team A makes a contract worth between $4M to $5M (p/y) then the Thrashers have to match it, and if not they would receive two 1st round, one 2nd round, and one 3rd round draft picks in compensation. If the offer is above the $5M (p/y) mark, then the Thrashers could receive four 1st rounders from Team A.

Should any team make such an attempt?

Obviously, the first team that comes to mind is the New York Rangers, making an offer of six years for $35M, or even seven years worth $40M.

Would the Thrashers match such an offer? I think they would, but questions should arise if ownership would be capable of doing so.

It will be interesting to see this story reach the media’s attention, so far it has not. Would you do it if you were the Ragers? Nothing to lose, I would.

Brad Richards will be traded unless he would accept a one year deal worth something close to $3M. That is how much the Bolts have left before reaching the salary cap.

The other option: Trade a current player to free up room. In other words, the Tampa Bay Lightning will make a trade. It may be Vaclav Prospal ($1.9M) or Pavel Kubina ($2.584M). That would free up enough room to re-sign Brad Richards to a decent contract for a couple of years or so.

Of course, the Bolts would get little in return from making such trades as they cannot afford to gain much salary from any trades.

New Jersey currently sit well over the salary cap, and they can be recognized, just for now, as the highest paying team in the NHL, or you can call them the New Jersey Devil$.

I am not sure what Lamoriello’s plan is, but his payroll right now is calculated at $44.2M, according to the website.

Expect the Devils to make a block buster deal. I am not sure who can get traded, but Patrick Elias is the logical choice as he carries a hefty contract. Or, Johnny Madden plus a million dollar player and an under million dollar player to make it just to $39M.

Could it be Patrick Elias to the Florida Panthers for Jay Bouwmeester? Stranger things have happened.

I can go on and on about all of these teams needing to make trades, but the bottom line is….

Welcome to the Chaotic Off-Season Part Two.

Tampa, Florida, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Montreal, still Atlanta (depending on the Kovalchuk situation) will, or most likely can, make major trades.

We first had the great surprising UFA signings, along with Edmonton’s excitement of making two major deals, but now we have yet to see how those mentioned teams will handle their situations.

I am thrilled and excited about the Winter Olympics 2006 as they will be played in my home country of Italy. Though I was born in Rome, my family came from a small city that pretty much sits next to Turin called Biella; the Piemonte province. That is where my family lived, and even my grandfather played some ice hockey as a young man. He rooted for Cortina.

People must understand that Northern Italy is far different than South Italy. It’s basically two separate countries in one. Northern Italians are not the stereotypical “Italians” you see here in North America, which are mostly Southern Italians.

So, I am thrilled and proud. I mentioned my appreciation towards the Rangers acquiring Steve Rucchin. I know the name Rucchin well because his older brother, Larry, stayed in Italy for many years and played for them. I looked up to Larry because Italian hockey was going downhill due to the imports of older Russian busts, who were also given passports. Quite embarrassing for a national team to do.

My hope was to see Larry become the main ice hockey director in North Italy (picture it as an extended south and a mix of French, Swiss-Deutch, and Italian). They have the perfect climate, they are very sporty…it’s all about winter sports. And to see Larry improve the ice hockey programs was by wish.

That did not happen, though, as unfortunately Larry Rucchin died of colon cancer at the age of 35 a couple of years back. So, I still remain in hopes to see Steve Rucchin’s future as a retire NHL player who helps build Italian hockey.

So, I will celebrate hockey a la Italiana during the Winter Olympics in 2006, and I will share interesting things with you in a way that you can celebrate hockey Italian style. From red and white wines, to sparkly wines, beers (there is a local Biella/Turin beer), food recipes….. liquors/after drinks.

I am looking forward to do that with you all on here, and I hope many of you will enjoy it.

Anyway, a couple of last things before I end this.

First is, how about this new look to HTR eh? Applauses go out to HTR owner Trademan who made some great changes to this site. The new logo and such.

So, good job Trademan!

Second is an update on the Season Previews. I am actually surprised that I am still able to get on the internet since 1) I’ve had trouvbles with connections 2) A small hurricane is about to come inland right were I live. Which means I will lose electricity, maybe.

It has been a slow process, also because the number of applications sent were overwhelming. Good, but overwhelming.

The Leafs writer has been decided, as well as Flyers and Avs.

So, I really hope I can get a staff ready to go on September 1st, let them work on it for three weeks, and then it will be released!

That’s all and thanks for reading.

Micki Peroni