Monday, September 21, 2009

Horton to Vancouver?

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Vancouver PosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Nathan Horton F 24 67 45 4 years/$4 million

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To FloridaPosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit

Top Prospect

Another interesting rumour floating around the boards and the tweets over the past 24 hours sees the Canucks going after Nathan Horton of the Panthers. There were no names suggested from Vancouver in the rumour, so what is listed above is how it looks.

From Florida's perspective, they are piecing together a defense corps that is getting somewhat respectable and would do well to add a little more stability to it. The Canucks, on the other hand, should be looking to shed more cap space than taking more on, especially the $4 million per season Horton will cost over the next four seasons.

If I was to wager a guess on this one, I would have to say it would be Kevin Bieksa and his $3.75 million being the defenseman going to Florida, along with a player like Michal Grabner or Jannik Hansen to complete the deal. There still isn't enough cap space moved out by the Canucks, but that is the only reasonable thought out of this supposed rumour.

An addition of Horton to the Canucks would give a lot more size to the middle of the ice and it would lessen the responsibility of Cody Hodgson's rookie season.

The Panthers would get a lot more grit for their blueline, if Bieksa was to go the other way. That would be something that they would need playing against some of the Southeast Division superstars in Alex Ovechkin, Vincent Lecavalier and Eric Staal.

Personally, I think if this deal goes down, the Canucks would have to pony up a little more and get a prospect back themselves to make things a bit more comfortable.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Frolov to Chicago?

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Chicago PosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Alexander Frolov F 27 77 59 1 year/$2.9 million
Unknown Defenseman Prospect

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Los AngelesPosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Kris Versteeg F 23 78 53 3 years/$3.1 million
Cam Barker D 23 68 40 3 years/$3.1 million

In another Eklund special, we find that Alexander Frolov is in yet another speculation or rumour. Frolov and what would likely be a rookie prospect defender being traded to the Blackhawks for both Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker.

According to the article, the defensive prospect is holding up the deal, but even still, that does seem to be a bit of a stretch. The Blackhawks are still in some cap trouble, but if there is a prospect coming back, there isn't a great deal of help being done here, just $3.3 million. This doesn't make a great deal of sense.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Predators In the Mix For Kessel?

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Nashville PosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Phil Kessel F 22 70 60 RFA

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To BostonPosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Alexander Radulov F 23 0 0 RFA
2010 1st Round Pick
Top Defensive Prospect

The rumour mill kept on churning some interesting thoughts on Thursday, as the Predators have been dropped as a big suitor in the Phil Kessel sweepstakes. I would have to think, looking at the rumoured deal above, that there would have to be a conditional pick added if Alexander Radulov wasn't going to sign with the Bruins, but otherwise, this does look like a reasonable proposal. This might have a little bit more appeal to the Bruins, as the Predators are so incredibly deep in defensive prospects.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kessel For Picks?

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Toronto PosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Phil Kessel F 22 70 60 RFA

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To BostonPosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
2010 1st Round Pick
2011 1st Round Pick
2010 2nd Round Pick

With Phil Kessel still sitting on the shelf with a shoulder injury until November/December and without a contract, his situation does seem to be fairly cut and dry. Why pay the guy if he's not gonna play, right?

Well, even if the Bruins were to try and sign Kessel, there would be all sorts of cap issues, because today they sit in training camp with 19 players signed at an approximate cap cost of $53.8 million, leaving very little room to sign on the remaining players they would need for their 23-man roster, let alone a sniper like Kessel.

This is where the Leafs come in. They have 21 signed at a cap hit of $48.7 million, leaving plenty of room for a guy like Kessel. Even if they sign Kessel long-term, his cap hit will be lowered a bit right away because of the Long Term Injured Reserve. So, they are one of the teams that have plenty of room for him.

The deal above is now floating around the rumour mills online, suggesting that this one is on the table from the Leafs.

I've never been a big fan of Kessel, nor has Brian Burke, but he has proved that he is a goal scorer in the NHL and that you have to give him credit for. He did score 36 goals last season and that's pretty tough to do when you consider only 13 players scored 36 or better. That's the kind of player that the Leafs would do well with having in their line-up, but is the cost of three top end picks worth it?

If you consider the Maple Leafs' drafting history, they would do well with just throwing picks away for established talent. It may not help their youth system, but it would be an easier way to try and win right now, which is the goal for the new Leafs regime.

The Bruins would be wise to take this deal, as they actually do have a good scouting staff and no room on their current roster to put any sort of players that they may receive in exchange.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Three-Way Deal in the Works?

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

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To Los AngelesPosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Patrick Marleau F 30 76 71 1 year/$6.3 million

2008-2009 Statistics2010
To OttawaPosAgeGP/MINPointsCap Hit
Jarret Stoll F 27 74 41 3 years/$3.6 million
Alex Frolov F 27 77 59 1 year/$2.9 million

Well, isn't this a tasty morsel of information to play with? Reading the rumours this morning, I found this little whisper through the grapevine and I had to write it down. I'm not sure what the actual chances of this happening are, but it sounds like it's just pending the approval of Marleau and his no-trade clause.

There is plenty to consider in this deal, especially since it doesn't help the Sharks' cap woes at all, as they end up taking more cap filler on, which is counter-productive to their current situation. The Kings would be moving two key players to their upcoming season and gaining somewhat of an underperformer. The Sens would definitely be the happiest of the bunch, being able to move Heatley and picking up two quality players for less of a cap hit than the one player that they moved out.

All this deal would be is a means to an end of this whole Heatley saga, if any.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What Happens to Dubinsky?

Getting lost in all the Dany Heatley and Phil Kessel talk this summer is Brandon Dubinsky, who remains an unsigned RFA, still in the Rangers organization.

Dubinsky, 23, remains the only key free agent for the Rangers this summer, but with the salary cap concerns that the Rangers have already (17 players @ $50.5 million), Dubinsky is quickly finding himself to be the odd man out, since there are way too many spots to fill with so little space to do it in.

Last season, Dubinsky played in all 82 games, registering 41 points (13G, 28A) for an even scoring pace. There is also a lot of belief that he will be experiencing a breakout year, but that will be tough to sell for a larger price in any trade.

The top team on the block is the Maple Leafs, as they seem to have their fingers in a lot of pies, trying to figure out what the best one is to go forward with. There is an understanding that Dubinsky may be their second choice if the Bruins are not going let go of Kessel too easily.

I like Dubinsky and I think he'd be a great addition just about anywhere. As a restricted free agent, he could be signed to an offer sheet, but at what he'll cost, he'll still be rather costly when it comes to compensation for letting him go. The Rangers would be more likely to let him go for picks, as they are doing a good job filling up their youth rosters.

Much like Heatley and Kessel, I can see Dubinsky moving, as a victim of the salary cap era. Any team with space should be looking to pick him up for some depth scoring.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Luongo In, Schneider Out?

The Vancouver Canucks remain tight with the rumour mill on Thursday, as Cory Schneider has fully vested himself among all the whispers and nods about his possible fate, which seems to be popular after Roberto Luongo signed his 12-year deal on Wednesday.

Schneider is widely-considered to be one of the best goaltending prospects in the NHL, which should make him a very valuable blue chip to move for the Canucks. has Schneider ranked as the second best goalie prospect (behind Tukka Rask of the Bruins) and he should draw some interest from a number of clubs, who are lacking in the goaltending department at the moment.

The Canucks should be in cap space clearing mode at the moment, especially after the deals that brought Christian Ehrhoff and Mathieu Schneider to the team, as they have found themselves just over the cap ceiling number. Speculation around the team suggests that the young keeper could be packaged in a deal with a defenseman to help clear out that cap space and they would try and pick up either some prospects or a much-needed scoring forward in return.

The Canucks, if they were to just clear space by getting prospects in return, would likely put whatever extra money forward to help re-signing Mats Sundin before training camp.

If there was any question in my mind, it would be whether or not there are any desperate teams out there for a bluechip goaltending prospect, who may be able to jump into the NHL right away. You could look at a team like Colorado, who doesn't have much for goaltending at the moment, but they also don't have much to offer beyond their core players in return. The Red Wings have very little beyond the aging Chris Osgood, so does that put them into the picture? The Dallas Stars are wailing beyond Marty Turco. Do the Devils need an insurance plan for the future beyond Martin Brodeur? The Coyotes may need a real starter one of these days.

I would imagine that the Canucks will likely hold onto Schneider for the time being, worrying about clearing cap space through players who are actually on the roster. A package deal would likely come out of some team that has some room to give and a need for a goalie like Schneider.

What's With Sundin?

The biggest prize of the free agent frenzy didn't sign up with a team until midway through the season last year, as Mats Sundin just couldn't pull the trigger on a deal with the Canucks until the middle of December. Sundin only signed a 1-year deal with the club, which made him an unrestricted free agent again this summer and since then, we've heard very little from the 38-year old Swede, other than his wedding, which happened last weekend.

Now that we've hit September, the countdown to NHL training camps is on and it should be high-time for Sundin to make a decision to whether or not he'll return to the NHL for another season. With Sundin's sub-par performance in the regular season with the Canucks (28 points in 41 games), teams will definitely be hesitant to bring him on at a large pay scale, which his reputation may demand. Teams that would be able to pay Sundin in the upper levels in the salary ladder are not likely to be Cup contenders, rather rebuilding teams that are budgeting for a mediocre year. If Sundin wants to play for a contender, he'll have to swallow his pride and take a pretty big pay cut, since a lot of these teams are wondering how they're going to balance the remainder of their cap space.

With Dany Heatley still sitting on the trade block in Ottawa, Phil Kessel in Boston, Petr Sykora unsigned, as is Miroslav Satan, there could be a few names that are remaining on the market before anyone really drops Sundin's name into the fray. This likely won't help Sundin's chances of jumping onto a team before training camp, but if one of those pieces were to quickly move to a team, you just never know how it'll play out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thrashers To Add More Russians?

In reading this morning's post from Eklund, it appears that the Atlanta Thrashers are still alive and well in the free agent market. The Thrashers have 19 players signed on for next season for an estimated cap hit of $44.8 million, leaving themselves about $12 million, if they wanted to fill their cap space up for the remaining four players.

I think the most surprising name is Nikolai Zherdev, who had already has his name in the ring in Russia. Zherdev may have not actually fully committed to the KHL, like it was suggested in August, leaving the door open to return to the NHL for the coming season. Zherdev has since been quoted as saying that he would be more than willing to play with the Thrashers, especially since his fellow countryman, Ilya Kovalchuk, is playing there currently. I'm sure players like Nikolai Antropov, Slava Kozlov and Pavel Kubina doesn't hurt either.

Also tagging along in the new Red Army rumours is Max Afinogenov, another unrestricted free agent looking for new work. Afinogenov has been struggling over the past few seasons, seeing his production drop significantly. It would be rather interesting to see if the possibility of a new scene and some familiar teammates would lift Afinogenov back up to his previous sniper status. He should be able to come at a cheap premium for the coming year, so if he was interested in playing with Kovalchuk or the other Russians, why not take that chance?

The Thrashers are a bit of wild card this summer, making some improvements to be a better competitor in the tight Southeast Division. A couple more moves like these signings may have an interesting effect on how other teams approach them in the first half of the season. With the cap space that they have left, they could make this splash and see what happens. It likely won't make them worse off.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Where Does Kessel Go?

As we start winding down to the beginning of training camps around the league, its time to start intensifying some rumours, especially those about players who may be left unsigned heading into camp. The top player on this list is Phil Kessel of the Bruins, who is likely going to get shuffled out of Beantown because of salary cap concerns and the Bruins' choice to sign a few other key players and leave the 21-year old goal scorer out in the cold.

Of course, out in the cold does seem to be a little harsh, but the Bruins won't likely be able to match the demands of a young player who scored 36 goals in 2009 with the cap situation already being up at $53.9 million for 19 players. That could really limit the team's depth going forward.

According to Eklund at, three teams are in the race for Kessel's services and I thought I would have a look at those teams, just for shits and giggles.

The Kings are apparently in the mix, just like they have been for Dany Heatley, which seems to be a common theme for some teams in the league. If a team is out for a goal scorer, they were out for a 50-goal scorer in Heatley first and then would take on a cheaper 36-goal scorer in Kessel, if Plan A didn't work. Since Plan A isn't working for anyone at the moment, the shift could be on completely for Kessel, as a team should be able to give up less for him.

Nothing solid has come out of Kings' camp this summer, but names have been thrown around. Alexander Frolov continues to be a name tossed around the Mill this summer, but as it was pointed out in my comments from my last post, Frolov may be hard to unload this summer as well.

The Kings are deep in their prospect pool and it would be likely that the Bruins would want to tap into that for any move of Kessel to the West Coast. The Bruins don't need much for roster players right now, so a prospect move would seem more appropriate.

The Kings' cap situation: 19 players signed at an approximate cap rate of $47.5 million.

The Oilers' cap situation of having 22 players signed on for an approximate cap hit of $55.7 million changes the landscape of negotiations for the Bruins, if they are at all talking. The Bruins would not be looking for roster players, theoretically, for Kessel, as they are also tight to the cap ceiling as well, but the Oilers would be looking to offset that new contract with someone else's deal.

The Oilers were in the works for Heatley as well this summer, which would have been the perfect deal to consumate since the Senators were looking for roster players and the Oilers would have to part with them in order to bring in new contracts.

That all being said, any deal between Boston and Edmonton may have to be a little bit more mathematically challenging than just a straight-up swap. There would have to be another player moved out of Boston, while there would have to be a big name out of Edmonton and then a pile of prospects. The idea of this does seem to be a little far-fetched, unless both teams had a little bit more or a third team involved going in.

The last team that is knee-deep in the mix for Kessel is the Maple Leafs, which does seem quite odd, as Kessel isn't quite a Brian Burke player. That isn't to say that the Leafs couldn't take on a guy like Kessel, because with a lot of the youth that they have signed on over the past six month, they have plenty of space to use up underneath the cap ceiling.

Currently, the Leafs are sitting with 21 players on their roster for $48.7 million (plus $1.7 million in buyouts), which could easily take on Kessel's deal and also add some of their youth to the team, which they are counting on as well for their 23-man roster.

The Leafs prospect pool is not terribly deep, but it does have some prize players in there. It would seem to be an even longer shot to see the Leafs part with some of their key prospects for a player that isn't described as big or really all that tough. Sure, he'll put goals on the board, but that isn't what Brian Burke seems to be about, so I would be very weary of any rumour involving the Leafs.

I would have to believe that the Bruins are looking for more than any team is able to give at this point and they have no sense of desperation, especially since Kessel is a restricted free agent this summer.

It makes me wonder if the Bruins have a leg to stand on here, trying to get Kessel to sign a 1-year deal for a lot less, with promises that he'll be dealt during the year and he can show his stuff off to potential suitors.

The Bruins could be in pretty tough looking for the perfect deal for Kessel, as they only have a limited number of teams that would likely deal with them or actually can deal with them (cap-wise).