Friday, June 26, 2009

Kaberle Out Of Toronto?

One of the big pieces of the rumour mill on Thursday was that Tomas Kaberle was the target of a massive deal, but speculation as to what the deal was or with who were very faint. Friday morning, TSN heard on the vine that the deal was likely with Boston. Toronto would send Kaberle and their 7th overall pick to Boston for Phil Kessel, who becomes a restricted free agent in July.

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Toronto PosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Phil Kessel F 21 70 60 RFA

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Boston PosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Tomas Kaberle D 31 57 31 2 years/$4.25 million
2009 1st Round Pick (7th Overall)

Since the Bruins are running into some cap troubles, they will want to move this RFA in Kessel, because of his likely cap hit, which should be in excess of $4-5 million in the coming years. The Maple Leafs are still toiling with the idea that they need to revamp the whole roster, not leaving any sign of a previous generation of players. The deal does look a little steep, especially when the Leafs have to throw in their 7th overall pick, because that could be a good impact player on top of an excellent top end defender. Kessel is a quick & talented forward, but he isn't terribly big & tough, something that Brian Burke would be looking for. I think this deal might not have the legs to carry it through on Friday night, unless Boston sweetens the pot, just a little.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Drury for Heatley?

An interesting rumour posted last night sees Chris Drury in a package from the Rangers heading to the Senators for Dany Heatley. This trade rumour might have a little bit of meat to it, as the Rangers are a team that likes to take on big salary players and they also have some assets that may be underperforming on their team that could use a change of scenary. On the outside, this idea looks like a pretty good fit.

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To New YorkPosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Dany Heatley F 28 82 72 5 years/$7.5 million

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Ottawa PosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Chris Drury F 32 81 56 3 years/$7.05 million

When you look at the table above for the straight-across swap, it does lean in favour of the Rangers, despite the extra half million in salary going the other way. The Senators will also likely be looking for some more help in this deal, especially since they are trading away a ton of goals and getting half in return in Drury. The Senators would be wise to try and sneak a defenseman out of the Big Apple in this deal, maybe a Dan Girardi, if the Sens were to throw in a pick of reasonable value. There are a number of combinations that could be done here, but from where we stand here, it has some legs.

If Drury was to arrive in Ottawa, he would do well to take some pressure off the other three centres (Jason Spezza, Mike Fisher & Chris Kelly), but there isn't an increase in scoring that Heatley leaves behind. The Sens would have to be looking to swing another deal to try and snag a scoring winger, either in a trade or via free agency this summer to fill that void.

For the Rangers, they hardly have anyone signed, so they can definitely build around this move. You would have to imagine that Scott Gomez would likely get first crack at playing with Heatley, which potentially makes for a good top line, no matter who the third player is.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chelios Out of Detroit

The fate of Chris Chelios sort of lies in limbo at the moment, as he has been informed that the Red Wings will not be offering him a contract to remain with the team for another season. The 47-year old rearguard has been with Detroit for the past ten seasons and his ice-time and production have diminished with it. In 2009, Chelios only played in 28 games, not registering a point in the regular season. He did manage to play in six games during the playoffs, still not registering a point. His fantasy value has been diminished severely.

I have been reading some interesting tidbits here and there. One of the rumours that has been circulating around is that the Blackhawks may be interested in bringing him back for some veteran leadership. I couldn't see Chelios getting much ice-time with the Hawks, as they have a great core of players who already man the blueline, but a cheap Chelios could be a good seventh or eighth man for a season. The Blackhawks have a lot of money tied up already, so he could be a reasonable solution.

He is a marvel of physical fitness, but I'm sure there are a number of people who wouldn't mind seeing Chelios hang 'em up this summer. It is time for a younger direction.

Will Lecavalier Get Dealt?

There are stories circulating around the league that there is a philosophy struggle in Tampa Bay, in regards to their maverick ownership. Click here, here & here for stories. This is proving to be rather interesting, because it really does revolve around the future of Vincent Lecavalier and his marketability going forward. The struggle also seems to have a lot to do with the team's budget and how much the owners would like to spend in these tough economic times.

Lecavalier has a NTC (no-trade clause) that comes into effect on July 1st, where he'll have his own say in the matter when it comes to any dealings, so the Lightning ownership will have to resolve their problems before then to know how they can approach free agency.

If Lecavalier gets moved, there is an understanding that they have pared down their budget and will likely lay low for another season, before making a huge move. If Lecavalier stays, it gives the idea that they will be in it to win it this year and they will likely try and spend close to the ceiling to do so. It's a very interesting situation there in Tampa Bay. Both sides of the table have some merit, but really, in the end it's still pro sports, where you want to win every year. I would find it hard to believe that it isn't the case that way.

Leafs Trying to Trade Up

There is a lot of buzz surrounding Brian Burke and his Maple Leafs, trying to move up in the Draft, in order to secure one of the top picks in 2009. John Tavares, Victor Hedman and Matt Duchene are all top quality talent in this Draft and it is still unclear as to who is going to go number one to the Islanders, if they so decide to keep their pick.

Burke has not pulled any punches in saying that his main target is Tavares and he is going to work hard to try and call his name at the podium on Friday night. Of course, from the outside looking in, we don't know if he will be able to do that from the second pick, which the Lightning hold, or not. There is plenty of speculation that says that the Islanders could go with any one of the three top prospects, but the Islanders are holding their cards close to their chest and we can only guess as to what happens.

The Leafs are not coming to the table with a great deal of assets to move on Friday night, so I think this could be a main drawback in dealing with the Leafs. When the Leafs are talking about moving up to the top three picks in the Draft, or even number five for Brayden Schenn, the Leafs are not looking like a viable trading team. Possible marketable assets would include Justin Pogge, Pavel Kubina and Tomas Kaberle, but it seems like a rather long shot at pulling that all off.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bouwmeester Sweeps!

panthersCertainly, one of the prized free agents on the market this summer is going to be Jay Bouwmeester, if he can actually make it to free agency that is. His value is so high, that it's almost expected that teams are going to make a run for his signing rights at the entry draft in a week, in order to get the drop on him signing a deal. In all fairness, I don't think this is a bad idea at all, especially for the talent that you're going to get when you pick this defender up.

Philadelphia, Montreal, Calgary, among others, have all been circling the rumour mill for Bouwmeester and for good reason. Philly and Calgary have been rumoured to throw in some pretty good names to go the other way, so it will be the Panthers decision on what direction they want to take in the era without Jay.

Just saw on Twitter that there is some breaking news coming out of Florida... fingers crossed for something good.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sedins Asking Too Much?

canucksAccording to a news site in Sweden, found by, cites that Henrik and Daniel Sedin are now looking for contracts that are similar to Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings. Zetterberg currently has a 12-year deal worth $73 million, but the Sedins would be looking for something in the neighbourhood of $63 million, which is a fair shake less, but still it works out to be $5.25 million per season each.

At $10.5 million against the cap each year, the twins will take up a significant portion of the salary cap space for any team, if the Canucks do not choose to go ahead with this deal. The deal will also be in force until the brothers are both 40-years old, which is something else that the deal that Zetterberg has in common.

If the deal was signed today, the Canucks would be sitting with 15 players signed on for next season at an annual cap hit of $46.4 million (approximately), which would leave them under $10 million for the remaining eight players that they have to fill the roster with. It would certainly limit the amount given to the remaining free agents or money given to new free agent signings.

At a point-per-game average, they are certainly well within their market value to say $5.25 million is their desired salary, but there is concerns that they do come as a package, so when the cost doubles, it's a bitter pill to swallow.

I'm beginning to wonder what part of this deal is the worst, really. Is it the length, as 12 years is a very long time for any contract to be signed for or is it the uncertainty of the cap going forward. If the league recovers well from this economic situation, the money doesn't look too bad, as they could find room for Roberto Luongo (UFA in 2010) and Ryan Kesler (RFA in 2010). I think it's more the cap room, as the twins are good players and the years don't really bother me too much.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Where Does Gustavsson Sign?

Free Agent goalie, Jonas GustavssonAnother free agent from Sweden is sweeping through the NHL cities to find a good match. Jonas Gustavsson is doing the same kind of tour that Fabian Brunnstrom did last summer, in order to choose an NHL team best suited to his own tastes.

Gustavsson, 24, had a pretty big year in Sweden and there are a number of GMs in the NHL who think that he can translate those skills into a successful pro career in North America. Toronto, Dallas, Colorado and San Jose have all expressed interest in the netminder and he has returned their interest by including them in his tour of negotiations.

The Maple Leafs have Vesa Toskala in tow for at least another season, which could make a good transitition situation for the Gustavsson, who might not be ready for the rigors of being a number one just yet. The Leafs also have plenty of space under the cap to win a small bidding war for his services as well.

The Stars have been running a lot of seasons with Marty Turco, but you have to question whether or not Tobias Stephan is a worthy back-up for the time being. Turco also has a year left on his deal and they also have a number of Swedes on the team, including Brunnstrom, who could ease his entry into the league.

The Avalanche need a number one goalie this summer. If Gustavsson feels he needs to play a lot now, then the Avs will likely give him every opportunity in net, as both Andrew Raycroft and Peter Budaj were not capable of handling the duties.

The Sharks are a curious decision, more on the team's part, rather than the player's. Evgeni Nabokov has been a machine in the regular season, winning more than his fair share of games. He'll start the season at 34 years old, with one year left on his current deal, so I wonder if they are looking to someone who may be a little cheaper, in order to get more up front in 2010.

Personally, the Avalanche have the most playing time and could give the young netminder a chance to grow with a young team, where expectations may be a little bit lower to start. The Leafs will provide a good place to grow as well, learning as an understudy, but with the belief that he'll make that jump as soon as next season. I would have to think it's between those two clubs, from a career standpoint, but I really didn't think Brunnstrom was going to sign in Dallas last summer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Koivu Signing in Anaheim?

canadiensI like this idea, personally. This is one that is significantly unsubstantiated in the whole scheme of things, since the unrestricted free agents in the NHL won't be able to negotiate or have any contact with other teams until July 1st, but there was some suggestion that the Anaheim Ducks would be very interested in talking to Saku Koivu of the Canadiens.

The Ducks are not a team in salary cap trouble, sitting with only 13 players signed at a cap hit of $36.2 million, leaving an average of over $2 million for the remaining players of their 23-man roster. That should provide ample room for a reasonable signing cost for Koivu.

Koivu could also be in a position to be a little less of a cap hit than his $4.75 million that he was in his last deal in Montreal. His offensive production and overall health has diminished a bit over the past two seasons, which could make the pay cut a little more feasible, plus a good negotiation around the sagging economy may help a little as well.

The long-time captain of the Habs also has a guy like Teemu Selanne, a fellow Finn, who he could potentially centre a line with.

Heatley For Phaneuf?

Well, once Dany Heatley mentioned that he wanted a trade, it was somewhat indicated that he would want to go Western Canada and it came as no surprise to me to see a suggestion, seeing Heatley being dealt to Calgary for Dion Phaneuf. Hell, I had it in my first piece on this new blog.

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Calgary PosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Dany Heatley F 28 82 72 5 years/$7.5 million

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Ottawa PosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Dion Phaneuf D 24 80 47 5 years/$6.5 million

In the straight-across sense, this doesn't look like a bad deal for either side, although the Flames would walk away with a little bit more of a cap hit, which they don't need, for a little bit of offense, that they'll lose when Mike Cammalleri finally hits the UFA market. With Phaneuf, the Senators will save $1 million per year over the next five seasons against the cap, which shouldn't be an issue with the team and they will get a franchise defender again, lifting that responsibility from Filip Kuba, who couldn't really carry it.

To me, this deal really isn't finished with a straight swap, as the Flames would likely have to give up another player to really make this work for them, especially in the cap world. The Senators would be looking for at least another roster player, of good calibre and reasonable cost, to come along with Phaneuf, in order for both teams to benefit. I would look at a guy like Dustin Boyd, who is going to be an RFA this summer, his rights could go a long ways into making the deal a little more feasible.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pronger to the Kings?

ducksWell, this was a pretty good rumour that I saw today and it might be for the wrong reasons. The Kings would be looking to acquire Chris Pronger from the Ducks for Jack Johnson and the 5th overall pick in the Entry Draft. This would be one hell of a blockbuster if it was actually dropped on the NHL world, as there is some pretty good skill to be picked up in the draft this year, especially from the five slot (see mock draft).

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Los Angeles PosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Chris Pronger D 34 82 48 $6.25 million

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To AnaheimPosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Jack Johnson D 22 41 11 RFA
2009 1st Round Draft Pick (5th overall)

In Pronger, the Kings would absorb a large salary cap hit, which they could do well to afford and get themselves an All-Star defender to help out their club going forward. At 34 years old, Pronger still hasn't past his life expectancy in the NHL and should be able to help school the other young Kings defenders coming up the ranks. There are plenty of positives, when you look past his rough & tumble reputation.

For the Ducks, they would pick up the oft-injured Johnson, who hasn't fared well statistically in his first couple full seasons in the league. He has a significant amount of potential strapped to his name, but has yet to come close to fulfilling it. As a 3rd overall pick in 2005, he has already been traded once to the Kings from the Hurricanes and it wouldn't come as a terrible surprise to see him move again. Anaheim could be a good fit for him, especially if Scott Niedermayer is to remain with the team.

The real kicker in this deal is the fifth overall pick, which has all sorts of unlimited potential right now, two weeks before the draft is to actually happen. If anything, I would have picked the Kings to be big players in flipping the pick into something higher, so they could have a possible franchise player, like Matt Duchene or Victor Hedman.

The trade does have a little bit of merit in possibility, since Pronger is a highly valued player in the NHL. The Kings would have to think that he is worth a first rounder going forward to make this work, which I would think some teams would be thinking as well. The cap room is what makes this deal somewhat intriguing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Heatley Wants Out of Ottawa

senatorsWell, how is that for a hard time in Ottawa? Dany Heatley has informed the Senators that he wants to play hockey elsewhere. This does have a rattling effect on the summer's activities, especially since Heatley is a high-value commodity at $7.5 million over the next five seasons and he carries a No-Movement Clause in his contract, which should actually allow him to decide where he wants to go.

This situation just breeds more questions than it does answers. Where would he prefer to play? Do the teams he'd play for have enough assets to make a move for a 50-goal scorer like Heatley? Does this happen before the Entry Draft?

There is some thought that Heatley would like to make a move to Western Canada, but that only leaves three teams. Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Vancouver has room to move, but they also are still looking at signing the Sedin twins this summer and want to look at Roberto Luongo again soon. Calgary may have assets to move in Dion Phaneuf, picks or prospects, but the numbers are still very high going forward for the Flames. The Oilers have plenty of young assets, but that is really selling the farm to get somewhere with Heatley.

If I was Bryan Murray, GM of the Sens, I wouldn't be afraid to throw Heatley's name out via the fax machine and say, "what do you have that I want for him?" Now that everyone knows that the rumours have been made factual, Murray does have some lean, gambling on that Heatley will still play near-100% come the beginning of the regular season in October. It would be in Heatley's best interest to play his best if he isn't dealt by training camp, as his stock as a stand-up guy takes a bit of a hit and then character issues come into play.

I would also wager that if a first round pick is going to be involved, the Sens will want to be talking about this deal right away, since this isn't a bad draft class to be picking through, especially in the first round.