Tag:NHL Free Agency
Posted on: June 22, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 3:14 pm

Flyers deny reports of deal with Bryzgalov

For a little while on Tuesday, it looked like the Flyers had their goalie locked up. Those were the reports circling the Internet, including from Hockeycentral's Nick Kypreos. Then came Flyers GM Paul Holmgren.

"We are continuing to try and reach an agreement with Ilya, but it is safe to say that we are not close to achieving this.”

So put the party on hold for the time being. Nobody doubts a deal will get reached, but the Flyers say it hasn't happened yet. When it does, the numbers that continue to be thrown out are in the $7 million per year range, which we met with a bit of an Excuse Me?!? in the Morning Skate today.

If that ends up being the number, Philly can't announce a deal yet anyway. They have to first be able to squeeze him in under the salary cap, which just jumped to $64 million. Perhaps that's the source of denials, Holmgren is busy number-crunching and seeing how much of the rest of his roster he wants to sacrifice to ink Bryzgalov.

Bryzgalov's rights were acquired by the Flyers earlier this month for a third-round pick, Matt Clackson and future considerations. The Flyers wouldn't have given that up if they didn't fully expect to keep Bryzgalov in town.

Last season for the Coyotes, Bryzgalov was 36-20-10 with a 2.48 GAA and .921 save percentage. In the playoffs, he and the Coyotes struggled to the tune of a sweeping exit to Detroit in the first round.

-- Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL

Posted on: June 19, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:34 pm

Bryzgalov says deal with Flyers could be set soon

Last week, Ilya Bryzgalov and his wife visited Philadelphia as contract negotiations between he and the Flyers began. Apparently they covered a lot of ground.

The goaltender, whose exclusive negotiating rights were acquired by the Flyers from the Coyotes earlier this month, told Russian news outlet sports.ru that things are moving along well.

"Everything was constructive and we understood each other. However, detailed comments on the negotiation process is not ready to give."

Bryzgalov also said Tuesday or Wednesday -- his 31st birthday -- could be the day a deal is reached and "we are waiting for solutions," which would hint he is waiting to hear back from Philly. Or at least that's how I'm interpreting the google translation. My Russian isn't exactly polished.

"We have spoken with Ilya and his agent Ritch Winter about many different scenarios," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said on Friday. "As for now, we both know each other's position and have agreed to speak again next week. There will be no further comment at this time."

Bryzgalov has shared his desire to be one of, if not the top-paid goalie in the NHL. The one-time Vezina finalist is said to be looking for a deal in the $6 million-plus range, but in their current situation the Flyers couldn't sign him and be under the cap. So before they can actually ink Bryzgalov, they will have to make a move or two first. It will be a busy few weeks for Philly.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: June 18, 2011 4:23 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:34 pm

Report: Vokoun's agent: Goalie will hit market

As the July 1 date for the opening of free agency approaches, it's looking like there will be at least one upper-echelon goaltender available.

Tomas Vokoun has yet to sign an extension with the Florida Panthers, and seems certain to test the waters. His agent, Michael C. Deutsch, told ESPN.com on Saturday that, "at this point it looks like he'll hit the open market ... [Vokoun]'s keeping all his options open, including going back to Florida."

Panthers GM Dale Tallon is non-committal at this point as to which direction the team is going to go with Vokoun. The goaltender situation in Florida has Scott Clemmensen as Vokoun's backup and very promising Swede Jacob Markstrom among other prospects in the system. With a team undergoing a youth movement, the veteran and expensive Vokoun might not be the best fit.

Vokoun was quoted in a Czech newspaper as being interested in going to Colorado, which has an opening in net right now, but Deutsch denied Vokoun ever said a thing to the paper. That still doesn't mean the Avs wouldn't be in play.

Before the Flyers traded for the rights to Ilya Bryzgalov, the big question was which of the two goalies would they chase in free agency. At this point, Philly hasn't reached a deal with Bryzgalov, so it's still possible that if things don't work out between the two, Vokoun and Philadelphia could come together.

Vokoun has played the last four seasons in Florida after spending eight years in Nashville. Playing in front of a poor team, Vokoun had a 22-28-5 record for the Panthers last season while posting a very respectable .922 save percentage and 2.55 goals against average.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: June 18, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:34 pm

Predators file for arbitration with Weber

The Nashville Predators have filed for arbitration with star defenseman Shea Weber.

General manager David Poile said that the goal of the Predators is to sign the team captain to a long-term contract, but a deal hasn't been struck yet for multiple reasons.

Weber was set to become a restricted free agent come July 1, but the filing likely keeps him in Nashville as the two sides will have extended time to negotiate a new deal before other teams can give Weber offer sheets. The arbitrations is merely the team protecting itself if the current negotiations drag on too long and stops others from trying to swoop in.

While the unrestricted free-agent market isn't a strong one, there were some enticing names on the restricted list, Weber certainly included. Yesterday, the Devils made the same move as the Predators, filing for arbitration with one of their young Stars, Zach Parise. The biggest name of all of them is Steven Stamkos, who still has nothing set in stone with Tampa Bay.

Keeping Weber in town was at the top of the priority list for Nashville this offseason. Nominated for the Norris Trophy this season as the league's top defenseman, Weber has been a key part of the team's recent playoff visits. Known for having a rifle of a shot off his stick, Weber is an offensive asset too, scoring 16 goals with 32 assists this past season for the Preds.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: June 16, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:35 pm

Jagr's agent reportedly contacts Red Wings

After the World Championships, we talked about the possibility of Jaromir Jagr returning to the NHL and listed some potential suitors. Well we missed on one: the Detroit Red Wings.

According to the Detroit News, Jagr's agent Petr Svoboda got in touch with the Wings to expresses Jagr's interest in signing there when free agency opens on July 1.

Jagr, 39, has been playing in the Kontinental Hockey League the last three seasons but is said to want to finish his career back in the NHL. Financial issues with his Avangard Omsk team also hasten a return to North America.

In addition to Detroit, old teams in the Penguins and Rangers as well as the Canadiens are also said to be on the short list.

At this point in his career, Jagr won't command a big salary, so it could be a nice risk/reward signing for some team. He did score 19 goals with 31 assists in 49 games in the KHL last season. Throw him onto a veteran team like Detroit and he might fit in nicely and be a missing piece of sorts.

Either way, it now looks like a sure thing Jagr will be back in the NHL. Now we'll just have to wait to find where along with the rest of the unrestricted free agents.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: June 15, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:37 pm

Sharks D Wallin signs contract with Swedish team

Niclas Wallin won’t be returning to the Sharks next season, nor even the NHL.

The defenseman has signed with Lulea of the Swedish league to become their top defenseman and captain next season. The 36-year-old played for Lulea during the lockout in 2004-05 and now returns to his native Sweden.

Courtesy of the team’s website with a huge thanks to Google translator (I love how these things come out some times):

”I have over the years have had a good dialogue and contact with Luleå Hockey and therefore it also feels natural to be a part of the club's future development and the quest for success,” Wallin said in a statement.

”There is a huge honor to the club sees me as a future captain, a role that so many great players have had over the years in Lulea Hockey and that would be a new challenge in my future playing career.

”After many good years over here that's been very interesting and rewarding for the whole family, so now feels the time is ripe to move back home. And home for us has always been Norrbotten.”

The threat has been increasing in recent years of players defecting to the KHL, but you haven’t heard much about other leagues in Europe, although it’s not unheard of. Markus Naslund and Peter Forsberg also made returns to Sweden near the end of their careers.

"For a coach is the addition of a player by Niclas Wallin's caliber is extremely helpful. There is perhaps no player who will appear at the top of the NHL season but a tough and genuine players who will be hugely important for giving us the conditions needed to achieve success," said Jonas Rönnqvist, coach of Lulea Hockey.

Wallin spent 10 seasons in the NHL, most all of which spent with the Carolina Hurricanes. Last season in San Jose, Wallin had three goals and five assists. In the postseason, Wallin had a goal and three assists, averaging 16:35 of ice time.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: June 9, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:37 pm

Report: Rangers to buy out Drury's final season

The Rangers are planning to buy out the final season of team captain Chris Drury's contract, according to a report in the New York Daily News. The source of the report was rather succinct in his/her words: "He's gone."

Beginning next Wednesday is the NHL's timeframe for contract buyouts leading up to free agency on July 1. New York owes Drury one more season on his five-year, $35.25 million deal. What shedding his contract from the books would do is save the Blueshirts $3.3 million against next season's salary cap, which is expected to go up a couple million dollars as it is, and will hit the following season's cap by $1.6 million.

The Rangers captain's production went way down last season, playing in 24 games because of injury and being held to only one goal and four assists.

New York has a few decisions to make on the restricted free-agent scene with seven guys on the roster, including up-and-comers Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky. Then attention will turn to the open market, where they are certain to chase Brad Richards.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: June 8, 2011 3:25 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 1:38 pm

Richards: 'I'd definitely be interested' in Tampa

This much we know: Brad Richards will not be back in Dallas next season. Now we know this as well: Richards would be interested in returning to the Lightning, his former team.

That's because he told the Tampa Tribune as much.

"I don't know what they're thinking as an organization," Richards said. "If they're going to talk to me, I'd definitely be interested.

"I can't speak for them and what they want to do in the offseason. There are rumors, but what do they really mean? At the end of the day, it's what they say if you get the chance to sit down with them."

Of course, Richards played his first 6 1/2 seasons in the NHL with the Lightning, winning a Stanley Cup with the team in 2004. Richards took home the Conn Smythe Trophy for his work in the postseason that year. He was traded just before the deadline in the 2007-08 season to Dallas.

"I certainly wasn't looking to leave at that time -- and I don't think it ever had to happen the way it did -- but I enjoyed Dallas," Richards said.

Richards just played out the final year of his contract that he signed with the Bolts in 2006 and Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk said last week they wouldn't re-sign him and were interested in trading his negotiating rights.

It's interesting to note that Richards, who still trains in the Tampa Bay area, was back in town and attended a playoff game at St. Pete Times Forum. He hasn't quite distanced himself from the Lightning yet. Just check out this line:

"If you get the right owner, a general manager like Steve Yzerman, people who know how to do things, it's great. I think we just needed the right kind of owner to come in here. Um, maybe I shouldn't say 'we,' right?"

There will surely be other suitors begging for a chance to sign Richards. But if they can make the numbers work in Tampa, it seems like Richards has a favorite in mind.

-- Brian Stubits

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com