Rumor Mill Heating Up
NHL GM’s have convened in Pittsburgh for the annual GM meetings, trade winds and free agent talk is starting to heat up. Here’s the latest.
Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell has his most important off-season ahead for him as his star forward Ilya Kovalchuk is entering the final year of his contract.
Word is Waddell will be aggressive in free agency and will make a strong run at the Sedin twins with Waddell prepared to make long-term offers to both players worth as much as $6 million per season.
*Another player on the Thrashers radar is San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau according to a league source. The asking price is steep.
*The Atlanta Thrashers have approached forward Colby Armstrong about a long-term extension in the range of $3.1 million per season. Armstrong set a career high with 22 goals during the regular season.
* The Sedin twins will also be at the top of Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke radar but Burke won’t go above $5.5 million to land them.
*The Boston Bruins are shopping forward Marco Sturm. The Bruins have also begun discussions with Phil Kessel . Mark Recchi has approached the Bruins about returning.
*Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has reached out to Ron Salcer the agent for Marian Gaborik. The two sides will meet next week to discuss Gaborik and the direction of the team going forward.
*Tough break for the Florida Panthers who missed out on Chuck Fletcher. Fletcher worked in the Panthers organization from 1993-2002 and if Jacques Martin leaves Florida three weeks ago, Florida gets the opportunity to make a run at Fletcher.
*The Washington Capitals could have an extra $6.5 million in cap space with Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov expected to bolt for Russia. That number could rise to $11.3 million if the Capitals get their wish and Michael Nylander leaves for the KHL.
The extra cap space puts them in play for top tier defensemen Jay Bouwmeester, Mike Komisarek via free agency and Chris Pronger via trade.
*Speaking of Bouwmeester, he has a close relationship with Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin and Montreal is now in play for Bouwmeester.
* Discussions have continued between the LA Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning regarding star center Vincent Lecavalier.
*One scenario gaining some steam is the Kings sending Jack Johnson to Tampa Bay as apart of a three to four player package to land Lecavalier.
With Johnson not interested in playing for Tampa Bay, the Lightning would then turn to Pittsburgh and look to land Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal with Jack Johnson as their bargaining chip.
Tampa Bay aggressively pursued Staal at the trade deadline. Jack Johnson and Sidney Crosby remain best friends and Johnson wants to play for Pittsburgh.
* The Lightning down want to move Ryan Malone but Malone approached GM Brian Lawton about exploring trade options during the trade deadline and Lawton is listening to offers leading up to the draft.
Lawton who is Malone’s former agent, has a close relationship with Malone and appears willing to grant Malone’s wish and atleast look around and see what’s out there.
Tampa Bay held discussions with Pittsburgh, Minnesota and the New York Rangers prior to the trade deadline.
*League rules prevent the Detroit Red Wings from signing Marian Hossa before July 1. Any talk of the team being close to announcing an extension are false.
Technically Hossa will become a free agent. The Red Wings remain hopeful the two sides will agree to the frame work of an 8 year deal worth $40 million which was discussed prior to the Franzen signing.
More Penguins Rumors
*For the Penguins, two deals expected to finalized before July 1 are deals for
defensemen Sergei Gonchar and winger Ruslan Fedotenko. An announcement on Gonchar will not be made until July 1 but the framework of a deal is good as done.
Pittsburgh has also targeted Ruslan Fedotenko as a priority. They will not go above $2.5 million but in talking to a source close to Allan Walsh, the two sides could have a deal done before the draft, believed to be a three year deal worth $2.2-$2.4 million per season.
The Penguins have not held any discussions with Bill Guerin to this point. Ray Shero will meet with Guerin will following the season.
We’re hearing Guerin will make a decision on his future with the Penguins by the draft. Same scenario as Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi and Marian Hossa have done in the past.
As we mentioned earlier this week, Miroslav Satan and Petr Sykora are candidates to play in the KHL.
Dan Bylsma wants Philippe Boucher to return next season as a veteran presence in the locker room and work in as the teams 6th or 7th defenseman. Will have to be at a significant lower price.
Impending free agent Hal Gill has moved out of his leased prop in Shadyside.
Rob Scuderi is at the top of the Islanders, Wild’s, Rangers and Lightning’s wishlist. Scuderi’s market value is nearing $2.5 million.