Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rumor: NHL Rejects Kovalchuk Contract

TSN is reporting:
The NHL has rejected Ilya Kovalchuk's 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils on the grounds that it circumvents the NHL's salary cap.
If this is true then it's completely unexpected. I'm by no means a Devils fan, but I have a serious problem with the league rejecting this trade but allowing the Islanders 15 year contract for DiPietro and the other major contracts that were clearly done to circumvent the cap - such as Hossa, Luongo, Franzen and Zetterberg. If this is rejected and the others passed the test then this seems VERY arbitrary.

Hard to believe that New Jersey would've held their big press conference today without some sort of confirmation by the NHL that the contract was going to be allowed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Details of the 17 Year Kovalchuk Contract

According to Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger it is in fact a 17 year deal for Kovalchuk. Here is the yearly breakdown of the contract, which is front loaded to result in a $6M cap hit over the duration of the contract.

2010-11: $6 million
2011-12: $6 million
2012-13: $11.5 million
2013-14: $11.5 million
2014-15: $11.5 million
2015-16: $11.5 million
2016-17: $11.5 million
2017-18: $10.5 million
2018-19: $8.5 million
2019-20: $6.5 million
2020-21: $3.5 Million
2021-22: $750,000
2022-23: $550,000
2023-24: $550,000
2024-25: $550,000
2025-26: $550,000
2026-27: $550,000

Something tells me that Kovalchuk won't be in the NHL after the 2020-21 season. 

Gagne Traded To Tampa

Gagne sent to Tampa for Matt Walker and a 4th round pick.

The Waiting Is Over, Kovalchuk Re-Signs With Devils

Finally, a team breaks their own news story!

This is from the NJ Devils Official Twitter feed just a few minutes ago
HE'S BACK: Ilya Kovalchuk signs with the Devils. Press conference scheduled for Tuesday at the Rock
No word yet on the terms of the deal but I'm sure that that will be available within the next couple of hours.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Penguins Sign Corey Potter

In an official press release today the Penguins announced that they had signed former Rangers defenseman Corey Potter.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Corey Potter to a one-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.

The deal is for the 2010-11 season and is a two-way contract that will pay Potter $500,000 at the NHL level.
At one point Potter was considered to be a solid prospect for the New York Rangers. However, he's not getting any younger (now 26) and there doesn't appear to be any chance of Potter cracking the Rangers lineup anytime soon. It was expected that he would sign elsewhere because he wanted to have a shot at making an NHL club. I don't know if he has any more chance of making the Penguins this season than he did of making the Rangers, but a fresh start somewhere might be what's needed for him.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Demitra Signs To Play In KHL

I wouldn't bother even putting this up on the blog but this does pertain to the Rangers because there were many rumors that either Demitra wanted to play in New York or that the Rangers were possibly interested in signing Demitra (mainly because of his friendship with Gaborik). Thankfully, this means he won't be coming to New York.

According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN:
Pavol Demitra has signed a one-year contract with Yaroslavl of the KHL, agent Matt Keator confirmed

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gagne Is Available, Rangers May Be Interested

It appears that Simon Gagne's days in Philadelphia are limited. It was rumored last week prior to the signing of Nik Zherdev that the Flyers had asked Gagne to waive his "No Trade" clause because of the cap issues that the team has. Gagne, who has one year left on his contract ($5.25M) initially denied that he had waived his "no trade" clause.

According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun:
Agent for Simon Gagne tells ESPN.com he's been given permission by Flyers to talk directly to teams but so far there's no deal
Last week Darren Dreger of TSN said that if the Flyers couldn't find a willing trade partner that it was possible that Gagne would be waived. It's highly unlikely that if Gagne were waived that he would clear waivers because he is a legitimate top-six NHL forward and he is in the final year of his contract.

Chuck Gormley, a Flyers beat writer, says:
The Kings, Maple Leafs and Rangers are believed to have expressed interest in Gagne, who has played his entire 10-year career in Philadelphia.
It shouldn't surprise you that the Kings and Rangers have expressed interest in Gagne. In fact, I'll be surprised if those are the only teams that have inquired about Gagne. The Kings are obviously in the hunt for a scoring left winger, evidenced by their leading role in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. If Kovalchuk doesn't sign in LA, then it's believed that the Kings may look to Gagne as a backup plan.

In my opinion, as a Rangers fan, Gagne could be a pickup. That is, if the price is right. Since the Flyers appear to have their backs against the wall, it shouldn't take too much to acquire Gagne, since it would probably be in Phily's interests to trade Gagne rather than waive him and get nothing in return. Then again, would the Flyers want to trade Gagne to an Atlantic Division rival?

There are several issues that would have to be addressed before considering Gagne in a blueshirt. First of all, is he healthy? Gagne has had several concussions in the past few seasons. That may be overlooked somewhat since the team that obtains Gagne is only on the hook for one year. If Gagne gets injured, doesn't play as well as expected or whatever the reason may be, the Rangers could always walk away from him next season when he becomes a UFA. The next major issue is whether the Rangers could fit him under the cap. Although $5.25M is a fair price for a forward with Gagne's potential, the Rangers are already close to the cap as it is.

Right now the number one priority still has to be getting Marc Staal re-signed. But, the Rangers also need significant help up front putting the puck in the net. Last season, Marain Gaborik was the only scoring threat for the majority of the season. So far this offseason, it doesn't appear that the Rangers have really resolved that issue. Gagne is an option at this point and if Sather can acquire him without giving up any high draft picks or substantial prospects, then maybe it could be worth it. It's a low risk move that could have a decent reward for an offensively starved Rangers offense.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Do The Rangers Really Plan On Waiving Redden?

All summer long the buzz has been that the Rangers plan on waiving Wade Redden prior to the start of the NHL season and burying sending him to Hartford. I for one said that I wouldn' t believe the hype until Glen Sather released a statement saying that Redden had been placed on waivers.

I still remain very skeptical that Sather will admit to this mega-mistake, the Redden contract which still has four years, including this one, left at a cap hit of $6.5M per season! However, as the summer has dragged on, I am starting to feel less skeptical of the hype. I still don't think it's likely but I do think it's more possible than at any other time so far in Redden's career as a NYR.

Under contract for the upcoming season the Rangers have the aforementioned Mr. Redden, along with Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Michal Rozsival, Matt Gilroy and the newly acquired Steve Eminger. Although he has yet to sign a contract, it's expected that Marc Staal, who is currently a RFA will be back logging major minutes on the blue line. On top of this , Ryan McDonagh who signed his first professional contract last week (a 3 year entry-level deal worth $1.3M per season) is in the running along with Russian prospect Pavel Valentenko.

I've been arguing all along that there's no way that the Rangers bury Redden in the minors because he has $25M left on his contract. But, the truth is, if he's going to be on the 3rd defensive pairing, does it really make sense to allow him to continue to eat up $6.5M of your team's cap? This isn't a Donald Brashear situation where Redden goes to Hartford and still counts against the Rangers' salary cap. Brashear's contract is different because it was a contract signed after he was 35 years old which places special limitations on what effect the contract has on the cap even if the player is no longer on the team. Here, Redden could be sent to Hartford and it would immediately clear $6.5M off the cap for this season.

I guess time will tell, keep your fingers crossed Rangers fans!

Image Courtesy of Canada.com

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kovalchuk LA Bound? ((Update:Kings Deny Deal Is Imminent)

According to Darren Dreger:
Lombardi tells TSN. "Ilya Kovalchuk is coming to Los Angeles for face to face discussions, just like any free agent would. We are a long way from agreeing on a contract."

According to Daren Millard of Sportsnet:
Kovy-gate comes 2 an end tomorrow. Kings win the process.. Don't want announcment 2 get overshadowed by WC.
 This is just the latest in the Kovalchuk saga that has gone on since July 1st. LA were rumored to be out of the running just a few days ago and then they were rumored to be back in the hunt. It was believed that the Kings were Kovalchuk's first choice heading into free agency but there was always the question of whether they would offer him the right amount of money.

We'll have to wait and see how this plays out, if it's true and if so, what are the terms of the contract. Don't expect it to be anywhere near the 17 year, $100M contract that was rumored yesterday.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Did The Devils Really Offer Kovalchuk A 17 Year Deal?

Larry Brooks is reporting that:
Devils' offer to Kovalchuk is 17 yrs, $100M+ with $100M front-loaded into 1st 10 years
I don't believe it to be honest. First of all, I think that Lou Lamoriello is probably the last GM in the league that would be giving 17 year contracts. Also, if this were true, how much over $100M is this contract offer for? The original rumor was that he was offered $102M, but if the deal is for 17 years and front loaded to give Kovalchuk $10M for the first ten years then the final seven years of the deal will leave him playing for less than the league minimum.

The NHL "investigated" the Marian Hossa 12-year deal last summer but this would be way worse. This is obvious salary cap circumvention. It looks like it falls within the rules of the CBA, but is this a loop hole that teams are going to continue to exploit? What's next? Why not just make it a 25 year deal, lower the cap it to less than $6M per year.

Is Lou trying to sucker Glen Sather into a bidding war?  I mean, supposedly Sather just gave Derek Boogaard $1.6M per season because the Oilers were also interested in Boogaard.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Rumor: Zherdev To Sign In Philly (Done Deal)

Zherdev coming back to the NHL, Philly in particular, was confirmed today. Zherdev will play in the orange and black after agreeing to a one year deal worth $2M. Remember, this is the same Nik Zherdev who the Rangers walked away from last summer after he was awarded $3.9M by an arbitrator.

When the Rangers refused to cave in and sign Zherdev at that hefty price, he became a UFA and didn't find any other teams in North America willing to pay him that kind of cash. So, he spent the year getting in fights with former teammates in the KHL.

This could be a great move by the Flyers, because despite the fact that I never thought Zherdev was worth the money he was awarded last summer, he is easily worth the $2M he signed for this time around. But, when he gets 25+ goals this year playing in Philly's top six, will he be back next summer demanding another obscene amount of money? This time next year he'll be a UFA. This time next year, after spending a season on a good Philly team, he might just get $4M or more.

The latest rumors indicate that Zherdev could be the Flyers replacement for Simon Gagne who the team is believed to be trying to trade because of his cap hit and their salary cap problems. Darren Dreger has even gone as far as saying:

Some NHL execs think Philly will place Gagne on waivers, if a trade isn't found very soon.

Originally posted July 8th:
This hasn't yet been confirmed but it's rumored that the Flyers have signed or are on the verge of signing ex-NYR Nik Zherdev.

Dmitry Chesnokov (a great source for all Russian hockey player news), from Puck Daddy first reported this yesterday and it's now being reported on Philly.com

Rangers Trade Voros To Ducks, Acquire Eminger

The Rangers completed a trade today with the Ducks. The Rangers sent left wingers Aaron Voros and Ryan Hillier to Anaheim in exchange for defenseman Steve Eminger. 

Hillier was a Rangers 2006 3rd round draft pick who hasn't been mentioned recently as having a shot at making the big club. He spent last year playing in the AHL and ECHL.

Aaron Voros improved drastically in the fight department since coming to New York. However, he's not a very good player, at least not good enough to play on the third line. He's fourth line material and with Prust and Boogaard in New York it was expected that Voros would either be traded or sent to Hartford.

Steve Eminger in the final year of his contract, is still pretty young at 26 years old and played 63 games last season for the Ducks. He'll likely step in for the Rangers as a 6th or 7th defenseman as the Rangers have stock piled quite a few defenseman for next season. Ranger fans have their fingers crossed that this is going to further solidify the theory of Wade Redden being waived prior to the 2010 regular season.

If you are looking for some information about Steve Eminger, here's the OC Register's take:
Eminger, 26, signed a two-year, $2.25-million contract just before training camp last season and the thought was that the former first-round pick would be a regular on the blue line and possibly work his way into a top-four role under coach Randy Carlyle, who once coached him while as an assistant in Washington.

While he often logged significant minutes, Eminger was one of the main reasons why the Ducks’ defense struggled mightily as a unit. He was demoted for all but one game over a month-long stretch from Dec. 3 to Jan. 2.

Eminger was scratched 18 times in all and finished with four goals and 12 assists in 63 games. The seven-year veteran had a plus-1 rating but that didn’t indicate the times he was often pushed around in his end and forced into making mistakes under pressure.
Basically, don't expect Eminger to be the savior. But, it doesn't look to be a horrible deal from a Rangers perspective in my opinion. In exchange for Voros, a player that likely wasn't in Tortorella's plans for next season, the Rangers will get a defenseman who can fill out the bottom pair. Not to mention, their salaries are pretty much a wash with Voros having a cap hit of $1M this season and Eminger counting for $1.125M against the cap.

Rangers Re-sign RFA Dan Girardi

The Rangers today announced that they have re-signed RFA defenseman Dan Girardi. Terms of the deal have not yet been released, it was rumored that Girardi wanted a four year deal worth around $3M per season. The signing allows the Rangers and Giardi to avoid arbitration, which Giardi was entitled to and opted to go that route earlier this week.
New York's next big move has to be to get fellow blueliner Marc Staal under contract before the new season gets underway.

UPDATE: It's a four year deal for a total of $13.3M. Sounds like a fair deal to me as long as there's no NTC included

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Senators Sign Corey Locke

The Ottawa Senators have signed Corey Locke to a 2 year two way deal. Locke played most of last season in Hartford and played 3 games for the Rangers.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rangers Re-Sign Vinny Prospal

The Rangers will be retaining the services of veteran Vinny Prospal for at least one more season. No confirmation on the numbers yet but it's a one year deal with bonuses.

According to Darren Dreger &; Larry Brooks

Update: According to Nick Kypreos
Prospol looking at around 1 year/ 1M base salary with Nyr. Bonus can get him near 2M
Surprised that Vinny didn't demand more considering he just saw the Rangers sign Derek Boogaard to a $1.65M/yr deal a few hours ago.

Rangers Sign Enforcer Derek Boogaard

As a result of the Flyers signing Jody Shelley a little earlier today, the Rangers have responded by signing Derek Boogaard who has spent his entire career in the Western Conference playing for the Minnesota Wild.

MacKenzie confirms that it's a 4 year deal at $1.65 per season. That's a lot of money, the Boogey man might just earn it having to fight Shelley and Orr as often as he will this year.

Jody Shelley Signs With Philly

According to Bob McKenzie:
Jody Shelley to PHI on a three year deal worth $1.1M per year.
I wanted Shelley back in New York as much as the next guy but I'm sorry, that contract is plain ridiculous for an over 35 contract. It was reported yesterday that the Rangers had offered Shelley a two year deal worth $825K per season, which I thought was more than fair.

The question is, who do the Rangers sign now? Earlier today it was reported that if Shelley didn't sign in New York they might go after the giant Derek Boogaard but just a little while ago rumors began to surface that he was close to signing and the deal wasn't with New York. Maybe Sather steps up his offer now that Shelley is officially off the market.

Rangers Re-Sign Erik Christensen

According to Nick Kypreos, it's a 2 year deal worth $925k per season

Rangers Sign Marty Biron

According to reports the Rangers signed Marty Biron right after the free agency window opened at noon this afternoon. It's being reported that it is a two year deal with Biron making an average of $875K per season.

Looks Like Rangers Are After Biron or Nittymaki

To follow up on last week's post about the Rangers seeking a solid backup for Henrik Lundqvist via free agency. With less than one hour until NHL Free Agency opens up, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN chimes in
"if I were a betting man I'd bet on Biron or Nittymaki being a Ranger today." 

Earlier today in the NY Post, Larry Brooks wrote about the Rangers interest in Hedberg, Biron or Nittymaki. If money weren't important then I would say that the Rangers would be interested in Hedberg. But, reports from Atlanta indicate that Hedberg who earned roughly $1.1M last season wants a pay raise. I don't think that Sather will be spending over $900K on a backup goalie for Lundqvist.

Update 11:25am ET : Darren Dreger has added to the speculation by saying "Look for Marty Biron to sign with the Rangers. Just a hunch..."

Update 12:01pm ET: Per Bob McKenzie "Marty Biron's deal with the Rangers is expected to be for two years at just less than $1 million per year"