THURSDAY’S NHL BUZZ — Cody Franson’s long wait on the free agent market has finally ended. Franson today signed a two year deal with the Buffalo Sabres that carries an AAV of $3.325 million. “Happy to get him. We feel we’ve got a top-4, top-5 guy who can play on our first power play,” Sabres GM Tim Murray told Buffalo reporters today. “He’s a skilled defenseman. Obviously a big body. He’s got some range, long reach, does take some space to get by him.” Franson has been an interesting case this summer. Right handed defensemen with skill are coveted by almost every team but no agent mis-calculated the market more than Franson’s agent Gerry Johannson did. The Franson camp went into the free agent negotiating period seeking a six year deal worth $40 million and were quite confident Franson was going be the Matt Niskanen of the 2015 free agentRead More »
WEDNESDAY’S LATEST NHL BUZZ — The Grand jury investigation into rape allegations against Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane has been delayed and may never happen, the Buffalo News reported on Tuesday. The paper reported financial settlement talks are on-going between attorneys for both Kane and the alleged victim. “They have been in settlement discussions and both say they want their day in court, but both have vacillated from time to time and also said: Let’s just resolve it,” a source told the paper. — Aside from Kane who even with a settlement being reached, could still face criminal charges, though, unlikely if the alleged victim doesn’t want to go forward, one of the biggest stories going into the NHL season is Steven Stamkos future in Tampa Bay. Stars like Stamkos don’t make it to the free agent market but this situation may go there as some feelings have been hurt.Read More »
Training camps open in 13 days and many quality NHL players still can’t find jobs. Marcel Goc and Max Lapierre, two players traded for each other last season, both signed in Europe this week. Scottie Upshall a solid bottom-6 player signed with the St. Louis Blues on a professional tryout on Tuesday. One veteran agent said the market has shaped up for established players to either accept an $800,000 offer or go to camp on a tryout. The Penguins have gone the tryout route twice already, signing Sergei Gonchar and Tim Sestito to professional tryout contracts in August. The Penguins brass, though, wouldn’t be doing their job if they weren’t looking to take advantage of the current market and exploring the possibility of bringing in another forward on a tryout. The past week there have been discussions with a few. In fact, four notable wingers the Penguins looked into priorRead More »
The Metropolitan Division is already shaping up as one of the most competitive divisions in hockey and this week it’s been the division of big moves. First with the Blue Jackets acquisition of Brandon Saad, to Pittsburgh trading for Phil Kessel, and the Capitals in a 24-hour span, took a big step towards bolstering their top-6. The Capitals last night signed Justin Williams to a 2 year deal worth just $6.5 million, an excellent bargain in getting Williams at just two years, and moments ago the Capitals acquired T.J. Oshie in a trade with St. Louis. The Blues receive forwards Troy Brouwer and Pheonix Copley and a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. “T.J. is an outstanding skater with a tremendous skill set,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “He is a powerful player and has consistent track record of production throughout his career in the NHL.Read More »
It took about a month to get done by Jim Rutherford nabbed his No. 1 target at the end of the day. “Very excited about what happened,” Rutherford said of the Penguins acquisition of Phil Kessel. “Worked on this deal with Toronto for about a month. Got a little bit of legs on draft night and heated up last night.” Rutherford noted that the Penguins “poked” around on other available wingers but Kessel was their main target from the get go. “Kessel was our main [No. 1] target,” Rutherford said. “Ideal player we were looking for.” Rutherford set out to add an impact scoring winger and he accomplished that goal. “When you can get a pure goal scorer…….that is going to help you win games,” Rutherford said. “We got the best player in the trade right now.” On the notion that Kessel is lazy and a bad teammate, “I don’tRead More »
We’ve talked about the Sergei Gonchar stuff for a few days and after meeting with Gonchar’s camp over the weekend, the Penguins remain open to the idea. Agent JP Barry confirming to Inside Pittsburgh Sports.com that he met with Penguins officials to “discuss Sergei” during the interview period, indicated today that the door is open to Gonchar signing with the Penguins but nothing is definite at this point. “We will see moving forward,” Barry said. Meanwhile, another former Penguin in Tyler Kennedy has very strong interest in returning to the Penguins but unlike the Penguins and Gonchar, it’s unclear whether the interest is mutual from the Penguins end. “From our side [Pittsburgh is] very attractive,” veteran agent Steve Bartlett said when asked of Kennedy having interest in Pittsburgh.