NHL Free Agency Buzz: “Clock is Ticking” on Capitals, Brooks Laich

Latest on Brooks Laich, Andrei Markov, & Alexei Ponikarovsky
Capitals not moving fast to lock up Laich
Among potential free agents, who is the No. 2 rated forward behind Brad Richards? In league circles, Capitals forward Brooks Laich gets the nod.
Laich, 27, is Mr. versatile and could hit the open market widely believed as the most complete player in the free agent pool.
Laich who has the ability to play center and wing at a high level, had 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points, including a +14 rating for the Capitals in 2010-2011.
From 2007-2008 through 2009-2010, Laich posted three straight 20-goal seasons, collecting a career high 25 goals in 09-10.
Laich can help a team in several areas including the power play. He had 24 power play points in 08-09, including 9 goals and scored a career high 12 power play goals in 09-10.
It would seem to be a no brainer that Laich would be a top priority for the Washington Capitals.
The Capitals have approximately $13 million in cap space but are not moving fast to lock up Laich.
There has been no substantive talks between the two sides, agent Roland Thompson told Inside Pittsburgh Sports, late Friday night.
“Nothing set up, ” Thompson said when asked if any talks were established going into draft weekend. “Clock is ticking, ” Thompson added.
Laich who made $2.4 million in 2010-2011, appears headed to the open market.
Markov, Canadiens engaged in talks
Talks between the Montreal Canadiens and Don Meehan, the agent for defenseman Andrei Markov are on-going, Meehan confirmed on Friday.
There is said to be a strong mutual interest between the two sides but Markov comes with risk, due to injuries that have hampered him the past couple seasons.
He appeared in 45 games in 2009-2010 and just 7 last season, after having his knees taking out from him by Penguins winger Matt Cooke in the team’s second round series in the 2010 playoffs.
That injury basically put him on the shelf for an entire year.
There’s no denying when healthy, Markov’s a top pairing defenseman and one of hockey’s most under-rated offensive defenseman. Markov is also only 32 and if healthy has some good offensive years left in him.
Markov had a career high 64 points in 2008-2009 and had 34 points in 45 games during the 09-10 season.
Markov, 32, made $5.75 million in 2010-2011.
The Canadiens have over $21 million in cap space but have just four defenseman signed for next season. Look for a deal to eventually get done.
Kings remain intrigued about Alexei Ponikarovsky
Carrying a $3.2 million salary, Alexei Ponikarovsky collected just 5 goals in 61 games for the Los Angeles Kings last season.
In most cases, that would have one and done written all over it but that’s not the case.
The Kings remain intrigued about Ponikarovsky regaining his goal scoring ability and are engaged in discussions with Ponikarovsky’s agent Rick Curran.
Curran indicated “at the moment”, there is a “mutual interest” from both sides. Curran also wouldn’t rule out a deal getting done before July 1, but said nothing is imminent.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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