Local investors to buy Predators: group of Nashville area investors will sign a letter of intent today to buy the Predators from owner Craig Leipold, according to The Tennessean.
A source told the paper an announcement will be made in the afternoon, and the bid is believed to be about $180M — far short of the reported $220M previously offered by Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie. The group, headed by Nashville entrepreneur David Freeman, will get a period of exclusive negotiation, according to The Tennessean. But the all-important next step, a binding agreement that includes a significant non-refundable deposit as a show of commitment, would be expected by mid-August. Source: The Tennessean

Sean Avery awarded 1.9 million: New York Rangers forward, Sean Avery has been awarded 1.9 million for the 07-08 season. The Rangers have 48 hours to match

Coyotes in talks with defenseman Keith Ballard: According to the Arizona Replublic, Restricted free-agent defenseman Keith Ballard and the Coyotes appear far apart in contract talks. The Arizona Republic said financial terms are still being hammered out and one of the snags is the length of the deal.

Kevin Constantine to replace Jacque Lemaire?The St. Paul Pioneer Press calls it a good bet that former Sharks, Penguins and Devils coach Kevin Constantine eventually replaces Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire. Constantine, a Minnesota native, will begin his first season as head coach of the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Houston this season after four seasons coaching junior club Everett in the Western Hockey League. Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press

Red Wings interested in Petr Forsberg: According to the Detroit Free Press, Red Wings GM Ken Holland has told C Peter Forsberg’s agent, Don Baizley, that the club is interested in signing the often-injured superstar as a free agent. Forsberg is expected back by late November at the latest.