Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:22 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 1:36 pm
By: Adam Gretz
On Monday the Tampa Bay Lightning signed Antti Miettinen, a forward that had started the season playing for Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL, to a two-year, $3 million contract in an effort to add some forward depth to their struggling team that, after Monday's 5-4 loss to New Jersey, sits near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
According to league rules, because Miettinen had started the season playing overseas he was forced to pass through waivers before he could officially report to the Lightning. And he's not going to get the chance to do that, as the Winnipeg Jets claimed him on waivers on Tuesday morning.
The Lightning did all of the work, and the Jets end up getting the player.
We saw this exact scenario play out multiple times last season. The St. Louis Blues lost players they had signed on two seperate occassions, one involving Marek Svatos and the other time with Kyle Wellwood. The Detroit Red Wings ran into an issue when they attempted to sign veteran goalie Evgeni Nabokov after he was left go by his KHL team only to have the New York Islanders, desperate for a veteran goalie due to an in-season trade and multiple injuries, snag him on the waiver wire. Nabokov then refused to report the team, sat out the remainder of the season, and then finally joined the Islanders this season.
I still find it amazing that the same general managers who refuse to make offer sheets to restricted free agents because of some unwritten, gentlemens agreement have no issue taking part in waiver claims like this. There's nothing wrong with it, of course, as it's how the system works and if you can add a player that you think can help your team, you should absolutely go for it.
After the signing was announced on Monday Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman acknowledged there was a possibility that Miettinen could be claimed by another team, telling Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times, "There's a possibility. We sat around here waiting for a week to see if anyone would sign him. We'll see what happens."
The 30-year-old Miettinen spent the previous three seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild after starting his career with the Dallas Stars. In 472 NHL games he's scored 89 goals, including at least 15 in each of the past four seasons.
During his brief stay with Ak Bars Kazan this season he scored two goals to go with six assists in 20 games before he was let out of his contract with the club.
For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: July 6, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 1:46 pm
By Brian Stubits
DOUGH FOR DOUGHNUTS: The most talked about RFA has been Steven Stamkos and it isn't close. But there's a certain young star defenseman in L.A. who is currently without a contract and is restricted, too. From the sounds of it, that won't be changing for some time. Kings GM Dean Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times that "this could take awhile" in regards to the negotiations to re-sign Drew Doughty. Now, it is unlikely -- winning the lottery unlikely -- Doughty will play anywhere but Tinseltown in the foreseeable future, but nobody likes these negotiations to drag on. The talks could get a serious spur when Shea Weber gets his new contract in Nashville.
THE L WORD: The last thing anybody in sports wants to hear, especially in hockey, is talk about another lockout. With the NFL and NBA currently in labor battles (although they haven't cost either league a game or anything truly substantial yet) the NHL is OK for next season. But after that, the CBA runs out, and we could have a whole new set of issues up for contention. Lyle Richardson at Spector's Hockey says the fight this time wouldn't be about leveling the playing field, but about saving the playing field (i.e. poorly managed/endangered franchises), something the other owners might not be willing to do.
AHL SHAKEUP: Not only did we see a carousel on the AHL affiliation circus this offseason with numerous teams taking on a new minor-league city, but the AHL announced it will have a new look to it, too. A realignment of divisions was released yesterday as well as a new playoff format. It will look very similar to the NHL's version, just with a first round being a best-of-5 series instead of seven. Check out the layout here.
RISKY BUSINESS: Martin Havlat, Brent Burns, Michal Handzus, Jim Vandermeer. That's who the Sharks have brought in while losing some of the bigger parts of their back-to-back Western Conference runnerups. Typically teams don't make such drastic changes after being so close. Although this team has been together with the same core for some time, and that's the most they have to show for it. But I digress. Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News says there is no denying GM Doug Wilson is undertaking one massive risk with all these moves.
BURKE BURN PART II: Yesterday we pointed out how Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke was angry with criticism he received from a Toronto Sun columnist for spending Canada Day -- which is also the opening of free agency -- in Afghanistan visiting the troops. Now, a fellow writer at the Sun is coming to his co-worker Steve Simmons' defense after a slew of negative responses, pointing out, rightfully, it was just the man's opinion.
ANTTI-NHL: OK, so he might not have anything against the NHL, but his name works so well! Former Minnesota Wild forward Antti Miettinen is apparently not coming back to North America next season, instead signing a contract with a team in the KHL, according to Andy Strickland.He was one of the better free agents still left, having scored 16 goals and 35 points last season (20-22=42 the season before).
Posted on: July 4, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 12:55 pm
NHL free agency is unilke any other sport's. Within the first few hours -- first day at the latest -- the majority of the free agents, let alone impact players, are off the market. But not all of them.
Atop the list of players still looking for work is Tomas Kaberle. A bit maligned in Boston for the team's power-play struggles, it's not as if Kaberle isn't still good at what he does. Last season for the he had four goals and 43 assists.
It is still no foregone conclusion that he won't be back in Beantown next year. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said before free agency opened that Kaberle would test the waters, but that they would continue negotiations.
Or perhaps he could be on the radar of the Rangers down the coast. New York still needs a little bit of help on the back end and Kaberle could be a nice fit. If he doesn't make sense cap wise (the Rangers have $15 million but multiple restricted free agents left to sign) then they could stick with Bryan McCabe at a cheaper rate.
Regardless, there is still some useful talent to be had. Here's a look at the best available.
Jason Arnott: He's a bit long in the tooth, but Arnott can be a solid veteran center for any team in the market. Scored 17 goals with 14 assists last season between New Jersey and Washington.
Jamie Langenbrunner: It will be interesting to see what role teams think Langenbrunner can fill at this point. Saw a drop of 19 points between 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Antti Miettinen: He has a little bit more youth than most of the players still up for grabs and he can provide some decent scoring. Last season with the Wild he had 16 goals, the season before he had a career-high 20. However, he could be KHL-bound.
Vaclav Prospal: Prospal played only 29 games last season due to injury, but was pretty darn productive in that time for the Rangers when the 36-year-old had nine goals and 14 assists.
Sergei Samsonov: Samsonov found a little spark after being traded to Florida at the end of last season, tallying three goals and 11 assists in 20 games for the Panthers. There is probably a home on a third line somewhere for him.
Teemu Selanne: The suspense here isn't where he will play, it is if he will play. Selanne will sign with the Ducks if he decides he'll play another season, if not it's off to the world of retirement. Still very productive with 31 goals and 49 assists last season.
Cory Stillman: Like many of the guys on the list, he is a veteran with plenty of experience but can still wield the stick a little. Stillman had 12 goals with 27 assists last season between Carolina and Florida.
Nikolai Zherdev: Zherdev has youth on his side compared to the rest here at just 26 years of age. Didn't have an incredibly productive year (and played just 56 games) with Philly last season, but with an increased role he could show more of the form that saw him score 23 and 26 goals the previous two seasons.
Scott Hannan: Hannan is a solid own-end defenseman who will find a home somewhere for teams looking to lock down in the back end. Because of his lack of offense (one goal, 10 assists last season) he should come at a pretty cheap price for whoever signs him.
Tomas Kaberle: After spending 11 seasons in Toronto, Kaberle could be joining his third team in three years if he doesn't return to Boston. He is still young enough (32) that he can get a pretty nice contract from some team.
Bryan McCabe: One of the better power-play captains a few years ago, McCabe still does a good job commanding the special teams. He won't command anywhere near the same contract he's coming off of and should be an affordable offensive option. Still very possible he could return to the Rangers.
Brent Sopel: Like Hannan, he's more of a defenseman's defenseman, a guy that will block shots and do his best to keep the puck out of the net. Teams interested in him won't be in the market for a top-four defenseman, but that doesn't mean he has no value, his plus-6 last season in 71 games for the Habs evidence.
Ray Emery: I thought Emery might be one of the goalies teams would target, but now he and the rest of the guys on this list are left in a tough spot as the goaltender market dried up pretty quickly and the need isn't big. But Emery should find a home.
Pascal Leclaire: Leclaire could be out of luck for NHL jobs, perhaps waiting until the middle of the year when some team is looking for depth. The concern with him is the injury history as he has struggled to stay healthy for his whole career.
Marty Turco: After years as the starter in Dallas, Turco has now been pretty much relegated to a backup, playing last season behind Corey Crawford in Chicago. Could be a midseason acquisition for teams searching for some depth and experience.
By Brian Stubits