NHL FREE AGENCY BUZZ
Stuart returning to Sharks
Defenseman Brad Stuart won’t have to wait until July 1 to return to the West Coast. The Detroit Red Wings today traded the rights of Stuart to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for center Andrew Murray.
Stuart, 32, is an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and said months ago that he wanted toÂ return to the West Coast as his family still lives in the San Jose area.
Stuart is expected to sign a multi-year deal with the Sharks who drafted him in the first round in 2003.
If the Sharks, as expected, do sign Stuart, Detroit also will receive a seventh-round pick in 2014. Stuart would fill a top-4 role for the Sharks and the Red Wings have now lost their top-2 defenseman from last season. The Red Wings are expected to heavily pursue the likes of Ryan Suter, Matt Carle and Bryce Salvador this summer, if any of the three hit the open market.
Stuart’s expected signing with the Sharks already weakens an expected weak free agent groupÂ on July 1.
That has GM’s around the league looking into the trade market as the best route to improve their hockey teams. The Penguins are among the teams who see that route as the best way to attack this off-season, sources say.
— Three NHL sources I spoke with this weekend said Capitals winger Alex Semin will be hard pressed to match or exceed his $6.7 million salary from last season but the consensus from all three is that Semin will receive NHL offers in excess of $5 million per season.
— Two more players not expected to make it to July 1 include Boston Bruins forwards Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported yesterday that the Bruins are in the process of finalizing deals for both players. Kelly, 31, is coming off a four year, $8.5 million deal. He made $2 million last season and Â had 20 goals and 39 points. Campbell, 28, is an effective role and had 8 goals and 16 points last season. Campbell made $1.1 million in 2011-2012 and was viewed as a possible target for the Penguins.
— David Jones four year, $16 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche sets the market this summer for mid tier wingers such as Islanders winger PA Parenteau.