Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Heatley Asked To Waive No Trade Clause for Oilers

According to TSN:

Sources say Dany Heatley has been asked to waive his no-trade clause to go to Edmonton in exchange for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid.

If Heatley agrees to waive, it would appear the Sens and Oilers will have a deal, pending the official trade call with NHL central registry, but that is generally a formality.

Still nothing confirmed, but this is just the latest Dany Heatley news as we head into the beginning of free agency in just over an hour.

Bouwmeester Signs With Flames

According to TSN:

Defenceman Jay Bouwmeester has agreed to terms with the Calgary Flames.

Bouwmeester avoids unrestricted free agency, agreeing to a 5 year deal worth $6.6 million per year against the salary cap.

The Flames acquired the rights of the 25-year old defenceman from the Florida Panthers on Saturday at the NHL Draft.

Rangers Trade Gomez to Montreal for Chris Higgins

According to Kevin Allen of USA Today:

Canadiens' Higgins just traded to the Rangers, details to follow shortly as I get them.

Here are Higgins' stats, he is a restricted free agent as of tomorrow.

Update @ 5:05PM

According to TSN:
The Montreal Canadiens have acquired centre Scott Gomez from the New York Rangers in exchange for winger Chris Higgins.
This is a big trade for the Rangers, it clears a whole lot of cap room off of the Rangers roster. It could make Sather a major player tomorrow for one of the higher priced UFAs. I just hope he doesn't make another stupid mistake.

I'm waiting to see if there is still more to this deal that hasn't been released yet because Montreal just took on a huge contract for a player that is set to become an RFA tomorrow. As a NYR fan I would've preferred to have dumped Drury or Redden's contracts, but this is a start. I wish Gomez the best, he's not a bad guy & I actually think he tried but just didn't have the wingers that he needed to play with.

Update 5:25PM:
James Mirtle now reporting the extra players involved, nothing major.

Trade is like so:
Gomez along with Tom Pyatt and Michael Busto for Higgins and defencemen Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko and Doug Janik.

Antropov Not Returning to NYR

According to ESPN:
The New York Rangers have been unable to re-sign forward Nik Antropov, and it appears he's going to market. "He's definitely going to hit the market because the Rangers have no space to sign him," Antropov's agent, Mark Gandler, told ESPN.com on Tuesday.

Two sources told ESPN that Gandler asked the Rangers for five years at $5.25 million a year, which seems a little rich.

Well, this really isn't a surprise if you've been following PuckCentral.net for the past couple of weeks. First it was reported that Antropov wanted a 5-year deal worth around $4.5M per season (which is also too much) and then this weekend Glen Sather said that Antropov's agent was asking for too much money for his client.

I'm not going to say that I didn't want to see Nik Antropov back at the Garden, but there's no way that he's worth that much money. He's a consistent 25-goal scorer, asking for the money of a 40-goal scorer. He might get it somewhere, but the Rangers certainly can't do it with the cap situtaion that they have.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Rangers Make Qualifying Offers

According to Steve Zipay of Blue Notes, the Rangers have made qualifying offers to Dubinsky, Callahan, Korpikoski, Potter and newly acquired Brian Boyle.
So the Rangers retain negotiating rights to those players.

Brandon Dubinsky ($633,333), Ryan Callahan ($575,000) and Potter ($535,000) all earned less than $660,000, so the minimum raise they were due to receive was 10 percent. Boyle, obtained Saturday from Los Angeles, earned $750,000 and is due a five percent hike. Lauri Korpikoski, at $1.017 million, had to be matched.

If a player rejects an offer, he becomes a free agent. If another team makes an offer, the Rangers have a right to match.

These were all anticipated, but I definitely expect Callahan and Dubinksy to reject these offers. They will easily ask for at least twice as much as their qualifying offer.
I don't think that there will be a problem re-signing Korpikoski for that price, that is a generous salary for him in my (no-so-expert) opinion. The same can be said for Potter and Boyle.

Updated 6/30 - 2:40PM:
According to Blue Notes, Dane Byers and Greg Moore also get qualifying offers

Maybe Some Good Colton Orr News

Fingers crossed Rangers fans, hopefully this is a sign that the Rangers may be bringing Colton Orr back. Then again, it could just have easily been Glen Sather's way of telling Voros and Orr that they won't be back.

According to Stan Fischler:
Not that anything too serious should be read into it, but Colton Orr and Aaron Voros accompanied Glen Sather to last week's Canadian Society annual hockey dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. Does this mean either – or both – will be back with the Blueshirts? Not necessarily. Now that the hated Flyers have Chris (not so Mr. Clean) Pronger, Orr might be the best bully-deterrent on Broadway.

The Top 50 NHL Free Agents

Free Agency begins in just two days, actually less since teams can start negotiating contracts with UFAs at midnight on July 1st.

We completed a similar list, sorted by position back in March [Link]

Here is NHL.com's list of the Top 50 Unrestricted Free Agents:

Defensemen Current team '08-09 Stats Scuttlebutt
Jay Bouwmeester Calgary (acquired rights from Florida on 6-27) 15-27-42 in 82 GP He's the big fish among defenseman. Calgary, which dealt for his rights on Saturday, will try to sign him before free agency begins. The Edmonton native said he wants to play in a more hockey-passionate area than South Florida.
Scott Niedermayer Anaheim 14-45-59 in 82 GP The Ducks' captain still has the wheels and the skill to be an elite defenseman. He told the Ducks on Friday he's going to play in 2009-10, and is likely to stay put.
Rob Blake San Jose 10-35-45 in 73 GP Blake was a perfect fit in San Jose, which is likely to want to bring him back even though he turns 40 in December.
Mattias Ohlund Vancouver 6-19-25 in 82 GP At 32, he's a solid second-pair defenseman, but is likely to wind up somewhere else after 11 seasons in Vancouver.
Johnny Oduya New Jersey 7-22-29 in 82 GP The Devils are talking to Oduya, a former 7th-rounder who has quietly turned into one of their best defensemen, in hopes of keeping him off the market.
Mike Komisarek Montreal 2-9-11 in 66 GP Komisarek, a physical defenseman had an injury-plagued '08-09 season that could turn off some potential suitors.
Francois Beauchemin Anaheim 4-1-5 in 20 GP He returned late in the season after a serious knee injury. Anaheim will need him if Niedermayer and/or Chris Pronger are gone.
Marc-Andre Bergeron Minnesota 14-18-32 in 72 GP His big shot can help a power play, though his lack of size hampers his play in his own zone.
Hal Gill Pittsburgh 2-8-10 in 62 GP At 6-7 and 250 pounds, Gill is still a good crease-clearer at age 34. But the Penguins may not be able to afford him.
Jordan Leopold Florida (rights acquired on 6-27) 7-17-24 in 83 GP Flames sent the rights to Deadline Day acquisition to Florida in Bouwmeester deal. Panthers want to keep him in South Florida.
Paul Mara NY Rangers 5-16-21 in 79 GP The soon-to-be 30-year-old had a solid season and likely would provide good value at the right price.
Steve Montador Boston 4-17-21 in 78 GP A workhorse defensive defenseman who's coming off his two best offensive seasons.
Derek Morris NY Rangers 5-15-20 in 75 GP The 31-year-old is looking for a job after the poorest offensive season of his NHL career.
Rob Scuderi Pittsburgh 1-15-16 in 81 GP A fine showing in Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup Final win should attract plenty of interest for this physical, shot-blocking defenseman if he opts to leave.
Sergei Zubov Dallas 0-4-4 in 10 GP Now 38 and coming off two injury-filled seasons. Dallas may opt to let him go. His smarts alone would help a contender in a limited role if he's healthy.

Forwards Current team '08-09 stats Scuttlebutt
Marian Hossa Detroit 40-31-72 in 74 GP The only 40-goal scorer on the market, Hossa took a one-year deal from Detroit last year, ignoring much bigger multiyear offers. He had a disappointing showing in the Final and didn't get the Cup he was seeking. Expect him to go for a long-term contract this time, with Detroit or someone else.
Martin Havlat Chicago 29-48-77 in 81 GP The Blackhawks, coming off their best season in years, would like to retain their leading scorer. But with a lot of their younger stars a year away from new contracts, it may not be easy -- especially if he wants a long-term deal.
Marian Gaborik Minnesota 13-10-23 in 17 GP Gaborik is the wild card in free agency. His skill is unquestioned, but he's been plagued with injuries for most of his career. Will he be interested in staying with the Wild under new coach Todd Richards' more offensive-oriented system or look elsewhere?.
Henrik Sedin Vancouver 31-51-82 in 82 GP "The Twins" have played their entire career together in Vancouver and don't want to split up now. That could be a problem, since it would mean any team signing them would take up a lot of cap room.
Daniel Sedin Vancouver 22-60-82 in 82 GP
Mike Cammalleri Calgary 39-43-82 in 81 GP The cap-strapped Flames may not be able to keep Cammalleri, who's coming off a career-high 39-goal season and is still only 27. He figures to draw a lot of interest from teams that need offense.
Joe Sakic Colorado 2-10-12 in 15 GP Does Colorado's longtime captain, coming off an injury-plagued season, plan to play again? And if so, does the native of British Columbus want to go back to the rebuilding Avs, the only franchise he's ever played for, after their worst season in Colorado?
Saku Koivu Montreal 16-34-50 in 65 GP Few players have given as much of themselves to the Canadiens as Koivu, but at age 34 and with diminishing offensive skills, Montreal's captain may not fit into their plans. If not, there will still be a market for his services -- possibly starting in Minnesota, where younger brother Mikko is captain.
Alex Kovalev Montreal 26-39-65 in 78 GP Kovalev's offensive numbers dropped significantly from 2007-08, when he led the Canadiens to first place in the East. At 36, he can still be a dominant offensive force, but potential suitors have to wonder if he'll bring his "A" game every night.
Robert Lang Montreal 18-21-39 in 50 GP Lang turns 39 in December and is coming off an Achilles tendon injury, potentially limiting the size and length of his contract. But before he got hurt, he showed he still had something left. Montreal missed him badly after he got hurt.
Alex Tanguay Montreal 16-25-41 in 50 GP Like Lang, Tanguay is coming off an injury-ruined season. His point production has dropped from 81 to 58 to 41 in the past three seasons. Would the Quebec native be willing to take less to remain in Montreal?
Maxim Afinogenov Buffalo 6-14-20 in 48 GP Afinogenov's play has dropped off severely in the past two seasons, during which he's also been plagued by injuries. He might need to go somewhere else and get a fresh start.
Nik Antropov NY Rangers 28-31-59 in 81 GP Players with size and good hands will always find a home. But the Rangers may not be able to afford Antropov, a Deadline Day acquisition from Toronto -- at least not at the price and contract length he reportedly wants.
Brian Gionta New Jersey 20-40-60 in 81 GP Gionta, a career Devil at age 30, hasn't had more than 25 goals in any of the three seasons since his 48-goal explosion in 2005-06. He still has the speed and skill to help a team in a supporting role.
Mike Knuble Philadelphia 27-20-47 in 82 GP If Knuble were 27 instead of 37, teams would be knocking down doors to sign him. As it is, he's still a good offensive producer and a great character guy -- though the cap-strapped Flyers may have to pass on re-signing him.
Bill Guerin Pittsburgh 21-27-48 in 78 GP Getting Guerin from the Islanders at the deadline might have been GM Ray Shero's best move. At 38, he still has the skill and wheels to contribute offensively, and his locker-room presence was a big help to the young Penguins. How much all that is worth is the big question.
Ian Laperriere Colorado 7-12-19 in 74 GP Laperriere, now 35, still brings character and toughness with him. The question is how much that's worth to a rebuilding team like the Avs -- or should he look for a new home with a contender?
John Madden New Jersey 7-16-23 in 76 GP At 36, this career Devil is likely to test the free-agent market -- but will he like what he sees after a season in which he went from 20 goals and 43 points to 7 and 23?
Chris Neil Ottawa 3-7-10 in 60 GP Neil's seven-year run with the Senators may be done -- he's headed for free agency after the two sides couldn't work out a new deal. When he's healthy, Neil is a tough guy who can actually play, a commodity that's much in demand around the NHL.
Erik Cole Carolina 18-24-42 in 80 GP Cole struggled in Edmonton but perked up after returning to Carolina in a trade -- though he struggled to score in the playoffs. He's played almost all of his career with the 'Canes and meshes well with Eric Staal.
Mats Sundin Vancouver 9-19-28 in 41 GP The Canucks hoped adding Sundin at midseason would be the last piece needed for a long playoff run. But he never really found his game after joining the team in January after a three-month soap opera. At 38, he's in the twilight of his career.
Steve Sullivan Nashville 11-21-32 in 41 GP The Masterton Trophy winner showed he still had something left after missing nearly two years with a back injury. If Sullivan and the Preds can't agree on a new deal, he's sure to draw plenty of interest.
Jason Williams Columbus 19-28-47 in 80 GP Williams finally managed to stay healthy and gave Columbus some offensive production after coming over in a midseason trade with Atlanta. He'll attract attention from teams that need secondary scoring.
Brendan Morrison Dallas 16-15-31 in 81 GP Morrison stayed healthy after an injury-plagued '07-08 season, but didn't put up the kind of numbers he did in his prime. He still has the ability to be a useful No. 2 or No. 3 center.
Mark Recchi Boston 23-38-61 in 80 GP He's 41, but Recchi continues to be a valuable contributor on offense and is showing no signs of slowing down. He was an excellent fit for the Bruins after coming over from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline.
Mike Comrie Ottawa 10-17-27 in 63 GP Comrie's value figures to be down after the worst season of his career. But the five-time 20-goal scorer is still just 28 and could be a bargain if he's finally over the injuries that slowed him in '08-09.

Goaltenders Current team '08-09 stats Scuttlebutt
Nikolai Khabibulin Chicago 25-8-7 2.33 GAA Khabibulin is coming off his best season since leading Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup in 2004. But he's 36, and the Blackhawks already have Cristobal Huet signed to a long-term contract -- so it's tough to picture them spending a lot to keep the "Bulin Wall."
Dwayne Roloson Edmonton 28-24-9 2.77 GAA Roloson, now 39, seems to be getting better as he gets older -- he was the biggest reason the Oilers had any chance for a playoff berth last season. Years rather than money could be the big issue.
Martin Biron Philadelphia 29-15-5 2.76 GAA The Flyers have already signed Ray Emery, meaning that Biron's time as in Philly may be over. With not a lot of starting jobs to be had, Biron's opportunities figure to be limited.
Manny Fernandez Boston 16-8-3 2.59 GAA Tim Thomas is firmly in place as the starter in Boston, so Fernandez will have to look elsewhere if he has any hopes of being a starter. He's played more than 44 games in a season just once in his career (2005-06, with Minnesota).
Craig Anderson Florida 15-7-5 2.71 GAA Anderson played a career-high 31 games last season and likely would like to find a place where he can be a starter for the first time in his career. His save percentages over the past three seasons: .931, .935, .924.
Scott Clemmensen New Jersey 25-13-1 2.39 GAA Clemmensen saved New Jersey's '08-09 season, beating out Kevin Weekes (also a free agent this summer) for the starting job when Martin Brodeur got hurt and winning 25 games. His reward: going back to the minors when Brodeur was healthy again.
Ty Conklin Detroit 25-11-2 2.51 GAA There may not be any room in Detroit for Conklin this fall despite a regular season in which he outplayed playoff hero Chris Osgood. He's 43-19-7 with a 2.51 GAA over the past two seasons.
Antero Niittymaki Philadelphia 15-8-6 2.76 GAA Niittymaki could return to the Flyers as part of a tandem with Ray Emery. As a backup, he's been solid for the Flyers, though he's never been able to grab a starting job.
Manny Legace St. Louis 13-9-2 3.18 GAA One year after making the All-Star Game, Legace spent the last half of '08-09 in the minors after Chris Mason took the starting job. At 36, his options may also be limited.
Olaf Kolzig Toronto 2-4-1 3.66 GAA "Olie the Goalie" has 303 career wins -- but he's 39 and coming off an injury-plagued season. Kolzig would need to find a team with a young starter that needs an experienced backup/mentor.

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Brian Boyle (Newest Ranger) Videos

Found this video while searching the good old internet, hopefully next season Brian Boyle is doing this quite often for the Rangers while playing on the 3rd or 4th lines.

I just hope that the Rangers don't think that Boyle is a good replacement for Orr:

Usually Dion Phaneuf is doing this to the opponent!

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

More Sather Quotes

Blue Notes has some more interesting Sather quotes, adding to what was mentioned earlier.
the GM said he believed that penalty-killing UFA center Blair Betts could be wooed by Edmonton. He is from Western Canada..."and Tom (Renney) always liked him."

On Zherdev: "He might not take the (qualifying) offer. His agent's kind of tough to get a straight answer from...It depends. he's still a young guy. He's got to be a little more determined."

There's five defensemen, Sather said, "who are knocking on the door: Gilroy, Sanguinetti, Del Zotto, Sauer and Potter...and we have to start making room for our young guys." He did not, however, rule out signing a crease-clearing free-agent defenseman this summer....
Very true what Sather said about Betts, Renney was the reason Sather brought Betts to New York in the first place and now it looks like he could follow Renney to Edmonton. The way things are going the whole 4th line from 2008-09 will be gone. The quote about the defenseman makes it sound like the Rangers may be letting UFA Paul Mara walk, it was already expected that Derek Morris wouldn't be brought back next season.

Rangers Qualify Zherdev, Not Sjostrom

According to Blue Notes:
Rangers president and general manager said a few minutes ago that the Rangers have given qualifying offers to some of their restricted free agents, including Nik Zherdev, but not Fredrik Sjostrom.

In his first interview with New York writers since the Rangers exited the playoffs in the first round, Sather also said that the agent for Nik Antropov was overpricing his client.

Looks like for one of the few times Glen Sather agrees with me on something, as I posted last week that I thought that Antropov was asking for way too much money.

Will post more when I find out what other Rangers were given qualifying offers, as of now the Rangers are just reporting that Zherdev was qualified. Does this mean he won't be traded to Ottawa now? Or, is it a sign and trade?

Opinions Ranger fans?

Rangers Draft Reading

Here's some reading if you want to read more about the Rangers 2009 Draft Picks.
  • The Prospect Park doesn't like the Rangers selection of Kreider with their first round pick. They echo my opinion that Kreider won't be NHL ready anytime soon (meaning 3+ seasons). [Link]

  • Scotty Hockey has a nice reaction to each of the Rangers picks [Link], Ranger Rants also has commentary on Day 2 of the Draft

  • The Manic Ranger has plenty of scouting report quotes about Chris Kreider [Link]

  • Rangers make some qualifying offers (Zherdev), not Sjostrom & make a trade with the Kings for 6-7, 250lb Brian Boyle (talk about adding size!) [Link]

  • Blueshirt Banter has some live blogging from Montreal

Big Trades on Draft Floor

Bouwmeester Traded To Flames

Florida trades Jay Bouwmeester to Calgary for Jordan Leopold and their 2009 third-round pick

Pronger Traded to Philly

Ducks trade Chris Pronger and prospect Ryan Dingle to Philadelphia for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, first-round picks in 2009 and 2010 and a conditional third-round pick in 2010 or 2011.

Rangers Select Chris Kreider In 1st Rd

With the 19th pick of the first round in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Rangers selected Chris Kreider. According to Rangers' Director of Player Personnel, Gordie Clark, the Rangers were expecting Kreider to be drafted earlier in the round:

“We had a number of things we tried to move up to get him, but nothing worked out; but it did work out in the end,” explained Gordie Clark, the Rangers Director, Player Personnel.

“He is an elite athlete, physically and mentally,” continued Clark.

Kreider starred for Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., last season. He led his team in goals (33), assists (23), and points (56), and was the top-rated high school prospect in the draft. Overall Kreider was the 14th-highest rated North American skater, according to the final Central Scouting Rankings of 2009-draft eligible players.

What sets Kreider apart from others in this draft, in Clark’s opinion, is his tremendous speed. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was acknowledged by most experts to be the fastest skater available.

“He’s the fastest kid in the draft, and that’s the first thing that stands out about him,” stated Clark. “He just dominated with his speed. He gets so many breakaways because he is so bloody fast. He’s got that (Alexander) Mogilny-type speed.”

Skating faster than everybody else on the ice is not Kreider’s only skill, however.

“He can shoot the puck at full speed and from the tops of circles, which is sniper-range,” said Clark.
Kreider is not NHL ready and won't be seeing any NHL action for at least a few seasons down the road.

NHL 2009 Entry Draft First Round Selections

1. New York Islanders: John Tavares
2. Tampa Bay Lightning: Victor Hedman
3. Colorado Avalanche: Matt Duchene
4. Atlanta Thrashers: Evander Kane
5. Los Angeles Kings: Brayden Schenn

(Note: A pick trade—#16 and #77 for #26, #37, 62 and #92—between Columbus Blue Jackets and the NYI.)

6. Phoenix Coyotes: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
7. Toronto Maple Leafs: Nazem Kadri
8. Dallas Stars: Scott Glennie
9. Ottawa Senators: Jared Cowen
10. Edmonton Oilers: Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson
11. Nashville Predators: Ryan Ellis

(Note: A pick trade—Minnesota Wild trades #12 to NYI for #16, #77, #182.)

12. New York Islanders: Calvin DeHaan
13. Buffalo Sabres: Zack Kassian
14. Florida Panthers: Dmitry Kulikov
15. Anaheim Ducks: Peter Holland
16. Minnesota Wild: Nick Leddy
17. St. Louis Blues: David Rundblad
18. Montreal Canadiens: Louis Leblanc
19. New York Rangers: Chris Kreider

(Note: A pick trade—Calgary trades #20 for #23 and #84 from New Jersey Devils.)

20. New Jersey Devils: Jacob Josefson

21. Columbus Blue Jackets: John Moore
22. Vancouver Canucks: Jordan Schroeder
23. Calgary Flames: Tim Erixon
24. Washington Capitals: Marcus Johansson
25. Boston Bruins: Jordan Caron
26. Anaheim Ducks: Kyle Palmieri
27. Carolina Hurricanes: Philippe Paradis
28. Chicago Blackhawks: Dylan Olsen

(Note: A pick trade—Detroit trades #29 for #32 and #75 from Tampa.)

29. Tampa Bay Lightning: Carter Ashton
30. Pittsburgh Penguins: Simon Despres

Thanks to Kukla's Korner for the complete list

Friday, June 26, 2009

Niedermayer Returning Next Season To Ducks

Per TSN's NHL Draft Day Blog, Scott Niedermayer has informed the Ducks that he will be returning to play at least one more season.

Could this mean that Chris Pronger is going to be traded tonight, or the coming weeks?

In other news, according to Bob McKenzie, the possible trade between the Bruins and Leafs for Kaberle could be dead.

Update 6/27 12:15PM: According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, Teemu Selanne has informed the Ducks that he'll be back next season

Burke Denies Leafs Interested in Redden

Ranger Rants reports that Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke has denied the rumor that the Leafs are interested in Wade Redden. I posted the rumor on Wednesday but also stated how skeptical I was because in my honest opinion nobody is interested in Wade Redden and that redonkulous contract.

"I don't know where that got started," Burke told reporters in Montreal tonight. "We're not in discussions on that player."

Of course the fact that Burke has denied the rumor doesn't mean anything, but Ranger fans let's be honest with ourselves, how many of you actually believed that the Leafs were interested in Wade Redden??!

In other Toronto news, there has been a lot of talk about the Leafs fielding offers for Tomas Kaberle. The latest report from TSN this morning has the Boston Bruins offering up Phil Kessel in return for Kaberle and the Leafs 1st round pick (7th overall).

Interesting Fact About The 1974 NHL Draft

Did you know that in the 1974 entry draft, Buffalo Sabres General Manager Punch Imlach deliberately selected an imaginary Japanese center, Taro Tsujimoto, supposedly of the Tokyo Katanas of the Japanese Ice Hockey League, in the 11th round (183rd overall)?

Only after weeks had passed did the league discover that Tsujimoto did not in fact exist. Imlach later revealed that he had played the prank because of his frustration with the excessive tedium and length of that year's draft proceedings.

Today, the league officially records the 183rd selection of the 1974 entry draft as an "invalid claim".

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Luongo Long-Term Deal To Be Announced July 1st

According to the Team 1040 in Vancouver:
ESPN's John Buccigross told Pratt and Taylor Thursday that Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo has agreed to terms on a long-term extension that will officially be announced July 1st.

The 30-year-old Luongo went 33-13-7 last season with nine shutouts and is entering the final year of a 4-year, $27million contract.

Under NHL rules, the extension cannot be officially announced - and the two sides cannot discuss an extension - until Luongo is in the final year of his contract, which would be July 1st.

NHL Salary Cap To Stay Around $56M

According to Larry Brooks:
The NHL players union has voted to trigger the 5-percent escalator on the 2009-10 salary cap, The Post has learned.

This means that the 2009-10 cap will remain within a couple of hundred thousand dollars of last season's figure of $56.7 million.

NHL revenues decreased by approximately 5 percent in 2008-09, with the decline owed primarily to the dip in Canadian currency. The vote of the 30 player reps was close, The Post was told.

Those voting against the bump were concerned with the immediate impact on escrow deductions.

Well it's about time there was some type of news regarding the salary cap for next season. At least there is a ball park figure. Is it just me, or is it absolutely ridiculous that we're heading into one of the busiest trade days of the NHL season (historically 2nd behind the Trade Deadline) and the GMs don't know how much salary they can have on their roster for next season? At least if this report is accurate, GMs will have a rough idea on how much salary they can take on, or how much they have to clear.

Updated 6/26 2:50pm

H/T Kukla's Korner

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed Friday that next year’s cap will go up by $100,000 to $56.8-million in 2009-10.

Clowe on the Trade Block: Sather Should Inquire

According to TSN:
The San Jose Sharks are in discussions with a couple of teams, with Sharks forward Ryan Clowe the centre of trade talks.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have shown interest, but aren't willing to part with their first round pick to close the deal, while the Philadelphia Flyers have also shown interest. However, San Jose is believed to have asked for either Claude Giroux, or Scott Hartnell...a price the Flyers aren't willing to pay.

Nothing reported yet about the Rangers being interested and there probably won't be, but this is the type of player that the Rangers should be making a call about. Clowe is a big boy (6'2 & 225lbs) - pretty much the reason why you know the Rangers won't look into him. While not THE answer to the Rangers goal scoring problems, he has some hands and he is the power forward that the Rangers need.

Take a look at Clowe's stats [Link]

Not sure what I'd be willing to give up in return if I was Glen Sather, if the report by TSN is accurate then the Sharks may be asking for a little too much. He's an RFA this summer after making $1.6M last season. But, it's certainly worth the phone call.

If history tells us anything, it tells us that the Rangers are far more likely to go after a little forward like Brian Gionta. [Rumor link] Which is exactly what the Rangers don't need - another guy who's about a buck fity soaking wet.

Fedorov To KHL Confirmed & Brashear to Leave Caps?

According to Capitals Insider :
According to three reports out of Russia this morning, Sergei Fedorov's NHL career is officially over. The 39-year-old ended more than a month of speculation about his future and has reportedly signed a two-year deal with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.

The deal is reportedly for two years at $3.8 million per season.

Magnitogorsk has also announced the signing on their Web site. [It's in Russian so I'm assuming that Capitals Insider had it translated for them - for all I know the "report" is an advertisement for a local circus]

In other Capitals news, Donald Brashear's days with the team may be numbered. Brashear who will be a UFA on July 1st told The Washington Post that he has not been offered a contract extension by the Capitals and that he expects to hit the open market next week. [Link]

Brian Leetch Highlight Video

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Look At The Rangers 1st Rd Picks Since 1994

I think it's safe to say that over the past decade and a half the Rangers draft success with their first round picks has been pretty bad [that's putting it nicely]. Here are the New York Rangers first round picks in each NHL Entry Draft since the 1994 Draft. Especially the disaster in 2003, one of the most talented draft classes in recent years and the Rangers managed to select Hugh Jessiman. The picks after 2004 can hopefully continue to show progress.

Below are the picks that were made and players that the Rangers passed on who were later selected in the first round. I only listed the players who were passed on before 2005, because it's too early to make determinations on those draft years just yet.

1994 #26 Overall - Dan Cloutier [G]

1996 #22 Overall - Jeff Brown [D] passed on Daniel Briere

1997 #19 Overall - Stefan Cherneski [RW] passed on Brenden Morrow

1998 #7 Overall - Manny Malhotra [C] passed on Scott Gomez, Simon Gagne, Alex Tanguay & Nik Antropov

1999 #4 Overall - Pavel Brendl [RW] passed on Tim Connolly, Martin Havlat & Nick Boynton

1999 #9 Overall - Jamie Lundmark [C] passed on Martin Havlat & Nick Boynton

2001 #10 Overall - Dan Blackburn [G] passed on Ales Hemsky & R.J. Umberger

2003 #12 Overall - Hugh Jessiman [RW] passed on Patrick Eaves, Mike Richards, Ryan Kesler, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Steve Bernier, Zach Parise, Brent Burns & Ryan Getzlef

2004 #6 Overall - Al Montoya [G] passed on Mike Green, Andrej Meszaros, Travis Zajac & Alexander Radulov

2004 #19 Overall - Lauri Korpikoski [LW]

2005 #12 Overall - Marc Staal [D]

2006 #21 Overall - Bob Sanguinetti [D]

2007 #17 Overall - Alexei Cherepanov RIP [RW]

2008 #20 Overall - Michael Del Zotto [D]

Sigh of Relief for Flyer Fans; Esche Stays in KHL

From Kukla's Korner today from WKTV:
Having to choose between a return to the National Hockey League and a return to the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia, goalie and Whitesboro native Rob Esche has chosen the latter, telling WKTV he will honor the final year of his contract with SKA St. Petersburg.
Many Flyers fans certainly relieved because last week there was an internet rumor that Esche was possibly going to be Ray Emery's backup next season.

Leafs Interested In Redden?

I'm very skeptical about this rumor, who in their right mind would have interest in Wade Redden with that ridiculous contract?

According to a Toronto Newspaper today:
There is belief the Maple Leafs have been zeroing in on New York Rangers defenceman Wade Redden and forward Peter Schaefer of the Boston Bruins.

Schaefer, 31, was buried in the minors by the Bruins last season because of salary cap concerns. He has one more year on his contract at $2.3-million (U.S.). Redden, 32, was signed to a six-year, $39-million unrestricted free-agent deal last summer, and the Rangers would not be averse to moving him.

The Leafs have plenty of salary cap room – $10-million to $13-million depending on the contract given to restricted free-agent forward Mikhail Grabovski – to accommodate both players.

But if the Leafs have interest in Redden, it means Burke must be serious about trading away either Tomas Kaberle or Pavel Kubina. The two veteran defenceman have no-trade contracts, but a window in which they can be traded opens when the draft commences on Friday.

“I’m going [to Montreal] to listen to offers,” said Burke.

I'm not buying it. No one has interest in Wade Redden. I would understand if the purpose was to clear cap space by trading Kaberle and/or Kubina - but from a Toronto standpoint this trade makes no sense unless they are getting a lot in return (like top draft pick(s) or prospects). According to NHLNumbers, Kubina has only one more year left on his contract ($5M) and Kaberle only two more years, each season making $4.25M. Wade Redden on the other hand is under contract for the next 5 seasons and has $31M remaining on his contract. The only thing that Brian Burke and the Leafs are interested in is the fact that they see a potential chance to absolutely rip off the Rangers by accepting Redden's contract. Hey, the Rangers need him off the books, so whatever it takes, I guess.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gaborik Buys House In Vancouver - Sign?

If this is true, then it certainly looks like Gaborik is going to be a Canuck in a few weeks.

According to a newspaper report of out of Vancouver:

Marian Gaborik has bought a house in the Vancouver area, The Province has learned.
What this means come July 1, when he is set to become an unrestricted free agent, is speculation at this point but it's a safe bet the Slovak likes the city and could be angling for a contract here.
So far, it's not unlike last year when Gaborik's former Minnesota Wild linemate Pavol Demitra was seen visiting Vancouver weeks before he became a free agent. Demitra eventually signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Canucks.

Demitra and Gaborik are close friends.
The Wild have apparently been desperately trying to keep Gaborik. Minny has replaced the coach and GM with people vowing to play the run-and-gun game Gaborik has long craved to play but never could under Jacques Lemaire.
There are plenty of questions about Gaborik. He has had a history of injuries and only played 17 games last year. In those 17 games, he scored 13 goals and put up 10 assists for 23 points.

Official: Leetch In Hockey Hall of Fame

According to the Rangers website, as expected:
It's official. Rangers great Brian Leetch is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In a conference call on Tuesday afternoon, the Hall of Fame Selection Committee announced that Leetch would be part of the 2009 Hall induction class, along with Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Steve Yzerman, who were all inducted in the Players' category.

Also entering the Hall is New Jersey Devils President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello, who was added in the Builders' Category.

Leetch, who grew up in Cheshire, Conn., becomes the only Rangers draft pick other than Brad Park to earn hockey's highest honor. He is also the first U.S.-born defenseman in the Hall and only the second with American citizenship, following Rod Langway.

Leetch, who took part in the selection announcement conference call on Tuesday afternoon, said he was "humbled" by the honor of entering the Hall.

Leetch, whose No. 2 was retired by the Rangers organization on Jan. 24, 2008, is now a member of both the Hockey Hall of Fame and the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, which he entered last year. He is the 45th former Rangers player to be selected to the Hall, while Robitaille, who spent two years as Leetch's teammate in the mid-1990s, brings the total to 46.

The 2009 Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Nov. 9 at the Hall's home in Toronto.

Congrats to Leetch, one of my favorite players to watch while growing up and he definitely deserves to be in the Hall. Not many could carry the puck from end to end like Leetch, one of the best defensemen ever to lace up the skates.

Also Congratulations to Lamoriello, Hull, Yzerman & Robitaille who all had great NHL careers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pascal Dupuis With Some New Ink

Brian Leetch On Hall of Fame Selection Ballot

This is taken from the Official Rangers website:

On Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. ET, the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee will announce the members of the 2009 Hall of Fame induction class, which promises to be one of the best in history.

You don’t have to be a hockey historian or scholar to know that Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull will be chosen. And you don’t have to be a die-hard Rangers fan to fully expect that former Blueshirts star Brian Leetch, whose No. 2 was retired by the team on Jan. 24, 2008, will be right there with them.

After all, if Brian Leetch isn’t a Hall of Famer, then who is? His statistics alone are mind-boggling. He is the seventh-highest scoring defenseman in NHL history with 1,028 career points in 1,205 career games. He holds more than 40 Rangers team records, including the career assists mark, and was named to the NHL All-Star Game 11 times. The list of achievements goes on and on

The one statistic that best illustrates Leetch’s greatness on the NHL stage is this: Leetch is the only player other than Bobby Orr to win the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year, the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman (he won that one twice), and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. To do this, you have to be great when you come into the league, great on a consistent basis throughout the regular season, and great in the postseason. Leetch was all three.

Since the selection committee can add only four players in any given year, the most interesting decision on Tuesday will likely involve the potential fourth spot. Luc Robitaille, who spent two years with the Rangers in the mid-1990s but is best known for his many seasons in Los Angeles, appears to have the best chance. He will get in at some point, if not this year.

Although the class will be named on Tuesday, this year’s actual Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Nov. 9 in Toronto. If Leetch reaches the Hall, it would mark the third straight year that a member of the 1994 Stanley Cup championship team is honored at the induction ceremony. Mark Messier joined the Hall in 2007, and Glenn Anderson was part of last year’s class.

With both Leetch and Robitaille in the mix, Tuesday afternoon’s announcement promises to be a thrilling moment for Blueshirts fans. The selection of Leetch alone would be historic, because Leetch stands to become the first U.S.-born defenseman to reach the Hall in more than 60 years worth of induction ceremonies.

The first American defenseman to become a Hall of Famer was Rod Langway, but he was born overseas before coming back to the States with his family as a youngster.

Leetch was born in Texas but raised in Cheshire, Conn., and attended Boston College for one year. Former BC star Joey Mullen, a native New Yorker, is already in the Hall of Fame, which means Leetch would become the second former Eagles star to get there for his accomplishments as an NHL player. Both Leetch and Mullen are members of the United States Hockey Hall, which is based in Minnesota.

For the Rangers organization, and its scouting staff in particular, the potential to see Leetch to reach the Hall of Fame just three days before the 2009 NHL Entry Draft is truly inspiring. Leetch was drafted by the Rangers in 1986, and the man who discovered him, Ray Clearwater, is still scouting for the Blueshirts and will be at the draft table on June 26-27 in Montreal.

Leetch would not be the first Rangers draft pick to reach the Hall of Fame. That honor will always belong to Brad Park, who played the same position and wore the same number as Leetch. Park was selected in 1966, however, when the draft was still limited to the handful of players not already sponsored by NHL teams under a system that predated the first draft in 1963.

That old sponsorship system did not fully end until 1969, which means Leetch can become the first Rangers draft pick of the “universal” draft era to reach the Hall. It would make the Rangers the 18th of the 30 current NHL teams to have drafted a Hall of Famer in the past 40 years.

News From Around The NHL

  • Colorado who don't appear set to re-sign veteran Ian Laperriere, have opted to extend Cody McLeod for three more seasons ($3.1M total). [Link]

  • Top NHL Draft prospects by position. [Link]

  • Last year there was a lot of hype surrounding Fabian Brunnstrom, the free agent who came to the NHL from Europe, this season all of the hype is surrounding goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. [Link]

  • Mats Sundin won't play for Sweden at the Olympics. Now we'll wait for the announcement that he is not decided, then another media release that he's still not committed either way and finally he'll make a decision on the eve of the Olympics. [Link]

  • Montreal sold for half a friggin billion dollars! [Link]

  • Chris Chelios (aka "The Fossil") will be involved with Team USA at the 2010 Olympics, but not as a player. [Link]

  • Boston Bruins don't have to pay Glen Murray $1.4M according to an arbitrator [Link]

  • The Islanders aren't thinking about who to pick #1 at the NHL Draft this weekend, they are already thinking ahead to their 26th overall pick. [Link]

  • Lots of uncertainty still whether the Wings will sign Marian Hossa & Mickael Samuelsson [Link]

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Orr's Days in New York Appear To Be Over

One very pissed off Rangers fan reporting that according to Larry Brooks of the NY Post today:

The Rangers, by the way, have made no effort to re-sign Colton Orr, who will have no trouble at all scoring a multi-year deal within hours of the opening of the market. We’re told Florida is keenly interested in the heavyweight.
I've stated my opinion on this several times in the past few months. I'm going to be extremely annoyed if the Rangers let the best young enforcer in the game just walk. Pathetic!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rumor: Antropov Wants $4M+

According to Andy Strickland of HockeyBuzz - (yeah, I'm about to quote that site):
The Rangers and Nik Antropov are having some preliminary discussions as they would like to re-sign the 29 yr old sniper, but in reality there is very little the Rangers can do unless they move some bodies.

I’m told Antropov is seeking a 4-5 yr. deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $4-5 million per season.

Sources inform me that Antropov has cut ties with agent Don Meehan.
Maybe Antropov cut ties with his agent because Don Meehan told him to lay off the crack!

Seriously, $4M+ ? Nik, c'mon...your an ok player, but that kinda money is way out of your league. I'm just hoping that the Antropov camp threw these numbers out there so that when he eventually agrees to a $3M (2-3yr deal) the Rangers think that they got themselves a deal.

Last season (2008-09) between the Rangers and Leafs was Antropov's best NHL season, he had an incredible 59 points (sarcasm!) It was also only the second time in his 8+ NHL seasons that he managed to score more than 20 goals. Check out his stats [here].

Let's just hope this is a really bad rumor. Considering the source, it's not that much of a stretch ;)

Good News Hockey Fight Fans: 'Staged' Fighting Rule A No Go!

Great news being reported by Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN regarding the 'Staged Fighting Rule' that was discussed at the end of the regular season. According to their article:
It appears the "staged fights" rule recommended by the NHL's 30 GMs will not see the light of day.

The players discussed it at their meeting here this week and they recommended to their members on the competition committee to vote against it. The committee needs seven of 10 votes to pass a new rule and won't get them if all five players vote "no" next Thursday when the group meets in Montreal.

The union brought in a number of tough guys Wednesday and they shared their universal thumbs-down on the "staged fights" rule proposition.

"They gave the group a pretty clear message," said NHL Players' Association executive Glenn Healy. "What's the code? What are the rules of engagement? Everyone talks about it, but what is it? So we had these guys come in and talk about it.

"We're about safety, but we also understand that if a fight breaks out in a game, Gandhi isn't leaving; he's going to stay and watch it. We understand that it's part of our sport, it cleans up our sport, it polices our sport, and it's entertainment. Goals, saves, fights -- thank you."

The rule would see players receive an automatic 10-minute misconduct for a fight right off a faceoff, or a staged fight. Montreal Canadiens tough guy Georges Laraque said Friday the rule would never work.

"It would turn into a mockery anyway because I would turn to a guy and say, 'OK, we can't fight right now because of the rule, so we'll do six Mississippis and meet in the corner.' It's true, we would make a mockery out of it," said Laraque.
Like I said that is great news, at least for now. However, if the NHL continues to move in the anti-fighting direction then they'll easily find a way around it. Perhaps "re-interpreting" an old rule or just creating a new rule that's all about "safety". Time will tell, but for now, this is certainly a step in the right direction (or at least not a step in the wrong direction).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blues Re-Sign Keith Tkachuk

According to Sporting News:

The St. Louis Blues are bringing back veteran forward Keith Tkachuk, who signed a one-year deal today worth $2.15 million that includes a no-movement clause.
Tkachuk, 37, could've became an unrestricted free agent next week. He has played 8 seasons with the Blues, he had 25 goals and 49 points last season.

Not surprising as it was rumored for quite some time that Tkachuk wanted to remain in St.Louis. It's also not surprising that the deal is for less money than he made last season, in 2008-09 he made $4.5M and had a cap hit of $4M.

Phoenix Signs Prucha & Trades Reinprecht

According to TSN:

Phoenix has traded centre Steve Reinprecht to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Stefan Meyer.

The Coyotes have also signed forward Petr Prucha to a two-year deal.

Reinprecht, meanwhile, has signed a three-year deal with the Panthers.

Reinprecht's three-year deal has a cap hit of $2.050 million. He will get $1.8 million in the first year and $2.175 million in each of the following two years.

Break Down of the Voting

Grabbed this from Kukla's Korner this morning. Interesting to see the break down of the voting to see how close the voting "races" actually were. The tightest race was the voting for the Selke Trophy, in which Pavel Datsyuk received 945 points compared to Mike Richards' 942, Richards actually had more first place votes than Datsyuk. Some expected the Hart Trophy to be a tight race, it wasn't - Ovechkin ran away with it getting 115 of the first place votes, compared to Malkin's 12 first place votes.

Below is a break down for each trophy that was voted on at the NHL Awards:

2008-2009 Hart Trophy Voting

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Alex Ovechkin, WSH 1264 (115-14-2-2-0)
2. Evgeni Malkin, PIT 787 (12-71-27-9-8)
3. Pavel Datsyuk, DET 404 (4-14-38-19-19)
4. Steve Mason, CBJ 266 (0-13-21-18-16)
5. Zach Parise, N.J. 257 (0-5-20-31-29)
6. Sidney Crosby, PIT 103 (0-3-5-13-18)
7. Tim Thomas, BOS 100 (0-3-9-7-13)
8. Zdeno Chara, BOS 79 (2-3-2-8-4)
9. Joe Thornton, S.J. 27 (0-2-1-2-2)
10. Roberto Luongo, VAN 19 (0-2-0-1-2)
11. Jeff Carter, PHI 19 (0-1-0-2-6)
12. Jarome Iginla, CGY 19 (0-0-2-2-3)
13. Mike Green, WSH 13 (0-0-2-1-0)
14. Rick Nash, CBJ 13 (0-0-1-2-2)
15. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 11 (0-0-1-2-0)
16. Evgeni Nabokov, S.J. 8 (0-0-1-1-0)
17. Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 7 (0-1-0-0-0)
18. Patrick Marleau, S.J. 7 (0-0-0-2-1)
Cam Ward, CAR 7 (0-0-0-2-1)
20. Miikka Kiprusoff, CGY 6 (0-0-0-2-0)
21. Henrik Zetterberg, DET 6 (0-0-0-1-3)
22. Chris Mason, STL 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
Eric Staal, CAR 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
24. Dan Boyle, S.J. 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
Marian Hossa, DET 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
26. Mike Richards, PHI 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Marc Savard, BOS 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

2008-2009 Frank Selke Trophy Voting, Top 20 Finishers

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Pavel Datsyuk, DET 945 (55-48-8-5-4)
2. Mike Richards, PHI 942 (61-42-6-2-2)
3. Ryan Kesler, VAN 290 (1-9-33-14-10)
4. Henrik Zetterberg, DET 154 (3-3-8-17-12)
5. Mikko Koivu, MIN 154 (1-3-13-17-7)
6. David Krejci, BOS 109 (2-5-5-8-5)
7. Travis Zajac, N.J. 89 (0-3-10-5-3)
8. Zach Parise, N.J. 80 (2-2-9-0-1)
9. Patrick Marleau, S.J. 64 (0-1-5-7-11)
10. Jamie Langenbrunner, N.J. 58 (1-1-3-6-8)
11. Alex Burrows, VAN 35 (1-0-4-1-2)
12. Craig Conroy, CGY 33 (0-2-1-2-8)
13. Marian Hossa, DET 33 (0-0-3-6-0)
14. Andrew Ladd, CHI 30 (1-2-0-2-0)
15. Simon Gagne, PHI 26 (0-3-1-0-0)
16. Rod Brind’Amour, CAR 23 (1-1-1-0-1)
17. Jonathan Toews, CHI 22 (1-1-0-1-2)
18. Jeff Carter, PHI 22 (0-1-1-2-4)
19. Manny Malhotra, CBJ 21 (0-0-3-0-6)
20. Joe Pavelski, S.J. 17 (0-0-3

2008-2009 Norris Trophy Voting

Pts. 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th
1. Zdeno Chara, BOS 1034 (68-36-18-4-0)
2. Mike Green, WSH 982 (50-53-19-4-4)
3. Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 733 (14-34-58-19-8)
4. Shea Weber, NSH 186 (0-4-11-25-28)
5. Dan Boyle, S.J. 173 (0-2-4-38-25)
6. Duncan Keith, CHI 95 (0-2-4-14-19)
7. Andrei Markov, MTL 95 (0-1-9-10-13)
8. Mark Streit, NYI 29 (0-0-1-5-9)
9. Brian Rafalski, DET 27 (1-0-0-4-5)
10. Scott Niedermayer, ANA 27 (0-0-3-2-6)
11. Dennis Wideman, BOS 24 (0-0-2-3-5)
12. Dion Phaneuf, CGY 17 (0-0-2-2-1)
13. Sheldon Souray, EDM 16 (0-1-1-1-1)
14. Jay Bouwmeester, FLA 9 (0-0-1-0-4)
15. Kimmo Timonen, PHI 8 (0-0-0-1-5)
16. Brian Campbell, CHI 3 (0-0-0-1-0)

2008-2009 Lady Byng Trophy Voting, Top 20 Finishers

Pts. 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th
1. Pavel Datsyuk, DET 933 (64-35-4-7-7)
2. Martin St. Louis, T.B. 662 (30-22-36-7-7)
3. Zach Parise, N.J. 521 (15-30-23-14-4)
4. Patrick Marleau, S.J. 203 (1-10-12-17-12)
5. Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 116 (4-3-3-12-4)
6. Daniel Alfredsson, OTT 113 (2-3-5-12-11)
7. Jarome Iginla, CGY 90 (3-4-2-6-4)
8. Brian Rafalski, DET 74 (2-3-3-2-12)
9. Phil Kessel, BOS 49 (0-3-3-3-4)
10. Ray Whitney, CAR 47 (2-0-2-4-5)
11. Martin Havlat, CHI 47 (1-1-3-3-6)
12. Brian Campbell, CHI 42 (1-2-2-2-2)
13. Loui Eriksson, DAL 41 (0-1-2-7-3)
14. Teemu Selanne, ANA 32 (0-2-3-1-0)
15. Jason Pominville, BUF 29 (0-0-2-4-7)
16. Brad Boyes, STL 25 (1-2-0-0-1)
17. Brad Richards, DAL 25 (0-1-3-0-3)
18. Daniel Sedin, VAN 24 (0-0-1-5-4)
19. Todd White, ATL 22 (1-1-0-1-2)
20. David Krejci, BOS 21 (0-0-2-3-2)

2008-2009 Calder Trophy Voting

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Steve Mason, CBJ 1268 (121-6-2-2-0)
2. Bobby Ryan, ANA 829 (9-84-24-9-4)
3. Kris Versteeg, CHI 323 (1-8-26-35-22)
4. Pekka Rinne, NSH 319 (0-15-34-9-17)
5. Drew Doughty, L.A. 303 (0-14-22-26-17)
6. Blake Wheeler, BOS 157 (1-3-11-17-20)
7. Patrik Berglund, STL 128 (0-0-10-20-18)
8. T.J. Oshie, STL 30 (0-1-1-5-3)
9. Steven Stamkos, T.B. 22 (0-0-0-3-13)
10. Michael Frolik, FLA 12 (0-1-1-0-0)
11. Mikhail Grabovski, TOR 8 (0-0-0-2-2)
12. Zach Bogosian, ATL 7 (0-0-0-1-4)
13. Chris Butler, BUF 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
14. Matt Hunwick, BOS 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
15. Kyle Okposo, NYI 4 (0-0-0-0-4)
16. Jonathan Quick, L.A. 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
17. James Neal, DAL 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
Luke Schenn, TOR 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
19. Derick Brassard, CBJ 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Claude Giroux, PHI 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

2008-2009 Vezina Trophy Voting

Pts. 1st-2nd-3rd
1. Tim Thomas, BOS 127 (22-5-2)
2. Steve Mason, CBJ 33 (3-4-6)
3. Niklas Backstrom, MIN 31 (1-8-2)
4. Roberto Luongo, VAN 30 (2-5-5)
5. Evgeni Nabokov, S.J. 20 (1-4-3)
6. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 14 (1-1-6)
7. Cam Ward, CAR 11 (0-2-5)
8. Miikka Kiprusoff, CGY 3 (0-1-0)
9. Tomas Vokoun, FLA 1 (0-0-1)

2008-2009 Jack Adams Award Voting

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)
1. Claude Julien, BOS 224 (35-14-7)
2. Andy Murray, STL 135 (15-17-9)
3. Todd McLellan, S.J. 98 (9-14-11)
4. Ken Hitchcock, CBJ 69 (5-9-17)
5. Brent Sutter, N.J. 36 (3-6-3)
6. Mike Babcock, DET 20 (3-1-2)
7. Joel Quenneville, CHI 15 (1-2-4)
8. Paul Maurice, CAR 11 (0-3-2)
9. Alain Vigneault, VAN 10 (0-1-7)
10. Barry Trotz, NSH 8 (0-2-2)
11. Bruce Boudreau, WSH 6 (0-1-3)
12. Peter DeBoer, FLA 3 (0-1-0)
13. Dan Bylsma, PIT 2 (0-0-2)
Ron Wilson, TOR 2 (0-0-2)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2009 NHL Awards - My Predictions

The annual NHL Awards ceremony takes place tonight in Las Vegas and will be televised on Versus (in the U.S.) and CBC (in Canada) starting at 7:30pm ET.

Here are my predictions for some of the awards up for grabs tonight.

Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL MVP)
Nominees: Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin

My Selection: Alexander Ovechkin

Vezina Trophy (NHL's Top Goaltender)
Nominees: Niklas Backstrom, Steve Mason, Tim Thomas

My Selection: Tim Thomas

James Norris Memorial Trophy (NHL's Best Defenseman)
Nominees: Zdeno Chara, Mike Green, Niklas Lidstrom

My Selection: Mike Green

Calder Memorial Trophy (NHL's Best Rookie)
Nominees: Steve Mason, Bobby Ryan, Kris Versteeg

My Selection: Steve Mason

Jack Adams Trophy (NHL's Best Coach)
Nominees: Claude Julien, Todd McLellan, Andy Murray

My Selection: Claude Julien

Lady Byng Trophy (NHL's Most Gentlemanly Player)
Nominees: Pavel Datsyuk, Zach Parise, Martin St. Louis

My Selection: Zach Parise

Selke Trophy (NHL's Best Defensive Forward)
Nominees: Mike Richards, Ryan Kesler, Pavel Datsyuk

My Selection: Pavel Datsyuk

For other blogger predictions check out [Link]

If you don't have access to a TV while the Award show is on, you can always check out the NHL Awards Blog which is being updated after each award is presented. [Link]

The Draft, Free Agents, Vegas Odds & More NHL News

  • What will Tampa do if the Islanders take Victor Hedman with the 1st overall pick at the draft? They might just be willing to trade their 2nd overall pick if the big Swedish defenseman is selected first by the Isles. If that's the case Tampa should expect a phone call from Brian Burke (along with the rest of the league). [Link]

  • Ian Laperriere's days in Colorado appear to be over. [Link] I think this move is going to piss off a lot of Avs fans.

  • Paul Maurice was given a 3-yr contract extenstion as the coach of the Hurricanes. [Link]

  • Meanwhile, in Boston they like the progress that the Bruins have made under GM Peter Chiarelli and have extended him for 4 more years, keeping him under contract until after the 2013-14 season. [Link]

  • Is Lemaire coming back to coach the Devils? Well, one thing is for sure, Jacques has quite the sense of humor as he pulled a fast one on Minnesota Wild beat writer, Mike Russo. [Link]

  • Odds already being given for the 2009-10 Stanley Cup winners. The Red Wings are once against the favorites (5-1) and not surprisingly the Islanders are the major underdogs (100-1). The New York Rangers were right in the middle of the pack (25-1). [Link]

  • Capitals GM George McPhee says that Michael Nylander probably won't play in Russia next season. Caps fans are certainly hoping that Nylander pulls a "Naslund" - he still has 2 yrs & $8.5M left on his contract with the Caps. [Link]

  • Looks like Jay Bouwmeester (yeah! I can finally spell that without looking it up) may join the $7M defensemen club in a few weeks. I still think that he is way overrated, but maybe seeing him on a different team on a regular basis would change my opinion. [Link]
  • John Madden hasn't had contract talks with the NJ Devils. Will he become a UFA on July 1st? [Link]

  • The same can be said for both Mike Rupp & Brian Gionta. [Link]

  • Update @ 11am: Mike Gillis got a swift kick to the groin recently when the Sedin sisters told him that they want $63M each to stay in Vancouver. TSN is reporting that each of the twins wants a 12 yr deal worth $63M, similar to the one that the much better Swede (Zetterberg) signed this season. [Link]

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Filling Glen Sather's Shoes This Summer

If I'm Glen Sather, here's what I do between now and October to have a better team for the 2009-10 NHL season.

1) Attempt to move up in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (NYRs currently have the 19th overall pick) or trade that first round pick if it can significantly improve the Rangers offense. [Example]

2) If I'm not able to move up & choose with the 19th overall pick, I choose the best player available. Currently the Rangers need forwards because they have many defensive prospects in the system. But, making a trade in the future is always possible. In my opinion, you always choose the best player available, I don't endorse drafting based on organizational needs for the most part. So, if the best player available is a defenseman, that's the player that you pick. Then, down the road it's always possible to trade that player or another defenseman in the system for a position that is needed.

3) Try to trade Redden, Drury, Gomez & Rozsival - in that particular order. All four players have contracts that are a burden to the Rangers roster and getting rid of any of the four would be a major help. The main goal is to clear salary cap room, getting something of value in return would be a bonus!

4) Sign RFAs Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan immediately. These two players have shown throughout their short NHL careers that they have what it takes to play in the NHL, they are gifted offensively (both legit top 6 forwards) and both are willing to play the physical game. Dubinsky is a future Captain and Callahan a future Assistant Captain.

5) Sign UFA Colton Orr - The Rangers must bring back Orr, he is now a top 3 fighter in the NHL. Orr has improved dramatically since coming to New York and is no longer a liability when he's out there on the ice. Not to mention, he rarely takes a minor penalty, which is something that most other NHL heavies do on a regular basis. Plus, the best thing about Orr is that he loves to fight. He made $550k last season and I see no reason why Sather shouldn't be able to get him back in Blue for another two seasons at $650k per year (or less). If the Rangers don't re-sign him before July 1st, someone (cough, cough Brian Burke) will.

6) Make decisions about the other RFAs & UFAs [as discussed in the past here @ Puck Central]
  • Re-Sign Antropov to short-term deal (1-2 yrs) @ no more than $3M/yr
  • Re-Sign Blair Betts to a deal similar to the one he had last season ($600-700k)
  • Re-Sign Zherdev to the minimum amount possible if I know that I'm not going to be successful getting a similar scoring winger through UFA
  • See what kind of interest there is around the league in Lauri Korpikoski, but don't let him walk for nothing
  • Let Derek Morris walk -- too expensive
  • Re-Sign Paul Mara if I can't sign a guy like Francois Beauchemin during free agency - this signing should be done after considering other options during the opening few weeks of free agency.

7) Call Marcus Naslund & thank him once again for freeing up some much needed cap space for next season

8) Call to inquire about Dany Heatley & Ilya Kovalchuk, see what the asking price for the two is. Call Jimmy Dolan and ask him if he's willing to pay Heatley a $4M bonus if the Rangers can acquire him before July 1st for a lower asking price. [See why here]

9) On July 1st take a look at the top UFAs, to see what they are asking and determine who will fit best into the salary cap limitations that the Rangers have. Avoid making further mistakes by paying big bucks to players who are past their prime (examples: Redden & Naslund).
  • Call Francois Beauchemin's agent and see if he wants to leave Anaheim and what his asking price would be.Physical defenseman who is not over-priced (not yet anyways!)
  • Call Martin Havlat's agent and see how much the winger expects
  • Call Marian Gaborik's agent and see how much the winger expects - try and haggle him down emphaszing that Gaborik is a major injury risk and refuse to sign a long-term deal.
10) Continue trying to trade Redden, Drury, Gomez & Rozsival.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sean Avery on Jimmy Fallon

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Judge Rejects Sale of Coyotes

According to TSN:
The Phoenix Coyotes are staying put for now, Hamilton is still on the outside looking in, and the NHL has managed to turn away Jim Balsillie once again.

Arizona bankruptcy Judge Redfield T. Baum rejected the Canadian billionaire's bold bid for the insolvent team Monday, saying in a 21-page ruling that there wasn't enough time to deal with all the unresolved issues raised by the unprecedented case.

Balsillie had sought to buy the Coyotes out of Chapter 11 protection with a US$212.5 million offer that was conditional on being able to move the team to Hamilton. He had set a June 29 closing date for the sale in an attempt to speed through the process and have the club in place for the 2009-10 season.

But Baum wouldn't have it.

There were a myriad of legal issues to deal with, including how much the NHL would get as a relocation fee, and not much time to sort them out. There was also a tentative auction set for June 22 looming.

"Simply put, the court does not think there is sufficient time (14 days) for all of these issues to be fairly presented to the court given that deadline," Baum wrote.

The ruling is a victory for the NHL, which had argued that the bid was designed to skirt league rules on the transfer of ownership and relocation and should be rejected for that reason.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wolf Pack Sign Physical WHL Defenseman

Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today (Wednesday, June 10th) that the team has signed defenseman Mike Berube to an American Hockey League contract.

A 6-1, 215-pound native of Edmonton, Alberta, the 21-year-old Berube skated in 56 games this past season for the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants, notching four goals and 20 assists for 24 points and serving 55 minutes in penalties. He was also a +33 on the year. In 17 postseason contests for the Giants, Berube contributed one assist and had 16 PIM.

Berube totaled 317 career games over five WHL seasons, with Prince George, Red Deer and Vancouver. His career numbers include 15 goals and 63 assists for 78 points, along with 333 penalty minutes.

From the sound of things Berube likes to drop the gloves (always puts a player in my good books). I found a few videos on YouTube of Berube showing his pugilistic skills :)

Video 1 (strong finish in this one)

Video 2

Video 3 (didn't end as well for him here)

Best of NHL Playoffs - Video

Heatley To Be Traded Before July 1st ?

The whole Dany Heatley trade demand saga has taken an interesting turn. According to Bruce Garrioch of Sun Media:
if the high-scoring winger isn't dealt by July 1, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk will be on the hook to pay Heatley a whopping $4-million bonus (all terms US), even if he doesn't play for Ottawa next season.
It looks like the Senators hands are really tied on this one. By making the whole trade demand public, every GM in the league knows that the Senators are trying to trade Heatley. On top of that, other GMs now have the bargaining leverage knowing that the Senators are going to do their best to trade Heatley before July 1st, so that they don't have to pay that ridiculous bonus that Heatley is owed.

I have a major problem with this - usually I am very much in favor of the players having a significant amount of power to determine where they are traded if they have a "no trade clause" in their contract. But, in my opinion, Heatley is under contract with the Senators and it is his obligation to play out that contract. This whole idea of demanding a trade is absolute bull$shit! If he didn't want to stay in Ottawa, then he shouldn't have signed that massive contract extension (6yr/$45M) that he agreed to not even two years ago. On top of this all, he has the "no trade clause", so not only can he demand a trade from Ottawa, he can also dictate where he is traded to. In my opinion he forfeited his chance of getting that $4M contract bonus. The way NHL contracts are now structured, the player has all of the power to do and demand pretty much whatever he wants, whenever he wants it --- even if he is in the middle of a contract.

The NHL draft is June 26-27 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, we'll see if he's traded by then. Or, will Heatley stay in Ottawa until later this summer, cash that beautiful $4M bonus check that he'll receive and then play next season wherever he chooses. Sounds pretty fair, right??