NHL Free Agency News: Updates on Svatos, Kennedy, more

Around the NHL
*One of the more intriguing wingers left on the free agent market is 28 year old forward Marek Svatos, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche.
The 5-10, 185-pound right winger scored 32 goals in 2005-2006 and added 26 goals in 2007-2008.
Svatos though has regressed tremendously in the past two years at both ends of the ice after suffering a torn ACL in 2008.
Svatos scored just 7 goals and 11 points last season, playing a fourth line role late in the season. He was also a minus-13 in 09-10 and has a combined minus-20 plus/minus rating since the 2008-2009 season.
With free agency now into day 35, Svatos is finding it extremely to difficult to land a one-way contract.
“Nothing firm yet, ” Rich Evans the agent for Svatos told Inside Pittsburgh Sports this afternoon when asked if Svatos was mulling any one-way offers.
Like many European players, Svatos has drawn legitimate interest from the KHL but for the time being, is looking to stay in the NHL.
Finding the right situation and fit is pivotal to Svatos as he looks to resurrect his NHL career. As training camps near, Svatos could emerge as an intriguing player for a team looking to add a winger at a low price who has goal scoring ability.
Some inside the industry see the Pittsburgh Penguins as a perfect fit. Those inside the organization ruled out any chance of the Penguins offering a Svatos a one-way contract but a team source says Svatos name has come up in scouting meetings this summer.
The Penguins showing a willingness to offer a two-way contract or training camp invite can’t be ruled out but nothing is imminent at this time nor have they expressed interest yet.
*The Blackhawks continued their cap-mandated dis assembly this week, letting go of playoff goaltender Antti Niemi and bringing in veteran Marty Turco. Niemi’s 2.75m arbitration settlement made things tough for the Blackhawks, who had let go of their cup-winning netminder to bring in Turco at 1.3m for one year. Turco is a lifetime 2.31/.911 goaltender with a 262-154-26 lifetime record. The stick in Chicago’s gears remains backup goaltender Cristobal Huet and his 5.625m cap hit.
Huet will be demoted to the AHL or loaned to a European team in the coming weeks.
In other news, the Blackhawks today announced that the team has signed forwards Evan Brophey, Nathan Davis and Hugh Jessiman, defenceman Jassen Cullimore, and goaltender Hannu Toivonen.
*Future hall of famer Mike Modano signed with hometown Detroit yesterday. Modano signed a one year deal and will center Detroit’s third line.
*Second overall pick Tyler Seguin signed a three-year entry level deal with the Boston Bruins that is in the ballpark of first-overall Taylor Hall’s deal (900,000 annually, incentives up to 3.75m total). Seguin is the product of the Phil Kessel-to-Toronto deal.
*24 year old forward Tim Kennedy has drawn immediate interest league wide since being waived outright by the Buffalo Sabres and is likely to sign by next week.

*Looking to bolster their toughness, the Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Andy Sutton to a two year, 4.25m deal this week. The 35 year-old d-man helps fill holes on the Anaheim blueline, which has seen the departure of Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer, James Wisniewski and Ryan Whitney in recent years.
*In the Atlantic, the New York Islanders re-upped winger Jon Sim for another year. Sim had 13 goals and 9 assists in 77 games last year.
Sim had previously split time between the Islanders and their AHL affiliate.
Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger had minor knee surgery last week. Specifics weren’t released but team officials insist the procedure was minor and that the minute-eating defenseman will be ready for training camp. Chances are good the procedure was as minor as Flyers officials are letting on, but a 35 year-old defenseman who logs over twenty minutes a game is worth keeping an eye on.
Meanwhile, the New York Rangers acquired two-way centerman Todd White this week, passing on free agent centerman Brendan Morrison who the team had held talks with.
*No new word on the Ilya Kovalchuk situation as the arbitration hearing is under-way today in Boston. The hearing is expected to last two days.
The two sides will be placed under review, though early word is the NHL is unlikely to come out on top. In light of other cap-circumventing deals signed by the likes of Hossa, Zetterberg, it seems unlikely the Kovalchuk ruling will stand. The NHL’s review officials were taken to task with headshots and other problems this season, showing little ability to react to problems in a timely manner. The Kovalchuk ruling seems set to become another case of the league being two steps behind its own game.
*The Los Angeles Kings have been kicking the tires on Jay McKee a source tells Inside Pittsburgh Sports. McKee continues to review his options and is willing to wait it out. His agent Pat Morris is optimistic McKee will be off the market by mid-August.
*Will DePaoli and James Conley contributed to this report*

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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