Tag:Adam Gretz
Posted on: August 6, 2011 1:14 pm

Daily Skate: Avery talks arrest

By: Adam Gretz

"IT'LL ALL WORK OUT AT SOME POINT" Those are the words of New York Rangers agitator Sean Avery when talking about his recent arrest. The New York Post caught up with Avery after he posted $20,000 bond on the battery charge and sounded confident everything would eventually work itself out. He was arrested on Thursday night after the police were called to his home during a party, where he allegedly called them "fat little pigs" and challenged them to a fight.

BIGGER ROLE FOR CLEARY? Since joining the Red Wings six years ago, Daniel Cleary was able to jumpstart his career. He had a career year last season, scoring 26 goals in just 68 games, finishing second on the team in goals, trailing only Johan Franzen. Can he not only repeat that success, but also build on it in 2011-12? That's what Helen St. James of the Detroit Free Press tried to answer. Cleary has proven to be a great find for the Red Wings, and after struggling to find a consistent role with Chicago, Edmonton and Phoenix early in his career, he's become a nice complementary piece in Detroit.

ANOTHER CHANCE FOR O'SULLIVAN Patrick O'Sullivan's career has been a disappointment to this point but the former second-round pick is getting another look this season, signing a one-year, two-way deal with the Phoenix Coyotes. Originally selected by Minnesota with the 56th overall pick in 2003, he's already played for four teams in five years, scoring 56 goals in 311 games. He managed to score two goals in 31 games last season, which he split between Minnesota and Carolina.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 5, 2011 8:22 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 9:06 pm

Latest on Doughty contract situation


By: Adam Gretz

The Los Angeles Kings and their young standout defenseman, Drew Doughty, have yet to reach an agreement on a new contract. Doughty, 21, is currently a restricted free agent, and because NHL teams are seemingly terrified of restricted free agents, there's almost no danger of him entertaining an offer sheet from another club. So it's not a matter of if the two sides come to an agreement, but simply a matter of when.

We're already into August, and with no new contract on the horizon it has to be getting at least a little frustrating for Kings fans to see their young franchise player remain unsigned. Especially now that there's some minor -- very minor -- rumblings of a possible holdout.

Deep in a profile about Jack Ferreira, the Kings special assistant to to the general manager, that appears in the Press-Enterprise is a quote from the long-time executive that brings up his previous experiences with Paul Kariya during his holdout with the Anaheim Ducks back in 1997, and how it relates to the current stalemate between the Kings and Dougty.

From Jim Alexander of the P-E:
And this is part of what veteran hockey men bring to the table: There is little that can happen that they haven't already seen. Today's Kings are still at a negotiating stalemate with defenseman Drew Doughty , a restricted free agent. That situation got no easier Wednesday when an arbitrator awarded Nashville's Shea Weber, a more experienced defenseman, $7.5 million for one year. "This year we were up in Toronto for the scouting combine and Dean had some meetings with Newport Sports (Doughty's agents)," Ferreira said. "He came back and they were discussing what went on, and I just looked at him and said, 'Dean, they don't want to make a deal. They're not ready to make a deal.' "That's gonna be a tough one. I would not be surprised if he was a holdout. I went through it with Paul Kariya, and Dean's been through it."
At this point we're still a long way from a holdout, as training camps are still over a month away, and the start of the regular season is still a month after that. No matter how far apart the gap may be right now, it can only take one phone call to change that and get the two sides on the path toward a deal. It's also worth pointing out that story -- Ferreira suggesting a holdout -- occurred during the NHL scouting combine -- which was over two months ago -- so it's also possible that something has changed since then.

Still, it's an intriguing quote and floats a possibility that hadn't really been discussed all that much. And it is more likely to happen than another team stepping up and throwing a huge offer sheet on the table, so it's probably the only way Doughty doesn't open the season in the starting lineup for the Kings, and even then it's a stretch.

Naturally, this week's arbitration ruling for Nashville's Shea Weber -- $7.5 million -- has sparked discussion as to what it means for Doughty and the Kings, and frankly, it shouldn't mean all that much. Weber is a better player and has been in the league for six years, compared to Doughty who is coming off just his third NHL season (and a season that saw his offensive numbers, which tend to be a big deal for a puck-moving defenseman, decrease from the previous year).

Earlier this summer Phoenix's Keith Yandle, who just completed his fourth full season in the NHL, signed a five-year deal worth over $5 million per season. Prior to last season Rangers defenseman Marc Staal signed a five-year deal coming off of his entry level contract that pays him $3.97 million per season.

It stands to reason that Doughty's inevitable contract will fall somewhere between the annual cap hit for Yandle and the one-year award that Weber received in arbitration. In other words: somewhere in the $6 million neighborhood seems fair. It's going to get done, it's just a matter of when.

H/T Surly & Scribe, via Puck Daddy

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 4, 2011 9:05 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 10:16 pm

Florida Panthers latest unique ticket promotion


By: Adam Gretz

Over the past couple of years the Florida Panthers have tried countless promotions to get people into the arena.

They've promised free tickets for non-playoff seasons, used NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus to "negotiate" lower prices, and even marketed ticket packages to fans of visiting teams, including the Montreal Canadiens, a group of people that needs no financial incentive to travel around North America to see their team play.

That last one makes their latest promotion seem a little ... odd.

Starting this season the Panthers will be offering tickets in "The Red Zone," a group of tickets from sections 105-114 that will start at $25 per game, must be purchased as part of a season ticket package (full, half or mini) and include one rather large statement: Visiting fans not welcome.

We're not quite sure how that will work, because even though the seats have to be sold as a season ticket package, what's stopping a season ticket holder in one of those sections from selling their seat for an individual game to a person that happens to be a Lightning fan or a Maple Leafs fan? Will he/she not be allowed into the section? What if a season ticket holder brings a friend that's a fan of the opposing team? (Because I was curious, I sent these questions of great importance to the Panthers and am currently waiting for a response).

UPDATE:  A Panthers rep tells us there's nothing specific they're doing to keep opposing fans out of that area but they are specifically targeting Panthers die-hards with the promotion. The rep also adds that because it's a season ticket the sheer bulk will deter an opposing fan from purchasing the ticket on their own because they could obviously purchase a single game seat elsewhere.

So there you go.

Here's what team president Michael Yormark had to say in a team press release:
“The Red Zone is a place for passionate and committed Florida Panthers fans – that may not already be season ticket holders – to be among their dedicated peers and set the tone for every Cats home game at the BankAtlantic Center,” said SSE president & COO Michael R. Yormark. “In addition, our great partners at South Florida Ford are giving fans an opportunity to ‘see red’ even more in a 2011 Ford Focus. The Red Zone is just the latest extension of our ‘We See Red’ campaign and the full-scale red conversion of our franchise including the new red home jerseys, red lower bowl seats, red paint and signage in the arena and the new blood that will be featured on the Panthers’ opening night roster.”
As always, I give the Panthers credit for trying something different. The Panthers are in the middle of the longest playoff drought in NHL history and playing in a "non-traditional" market. That combination can be a tough sell, and sometimes you have to be a little different, if not completely outrageous, to get people in the building.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Category: NHL
Posted on: August 4, 2011 6:26 pm

Owen Nolan gets a tryout with Vancouver

By: Adam Gretz

After spending the 2010-11 season playing professionally in Switzerland, Owen Nolan is taking another crack at the NHL -- and perhaps one more shot at a Stanley Cup --  having been signed to a tryout contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Joining him will be journeyman Todd Fedoruk, who last played for the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2009-10 season.

The big name here is the 39-year-old Nolan, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 Entry Draft. In 1,200 NHL games he's scored 422 goals with the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild, while also picking up over 1,793 penalty minutes.

Minnesota was his last home in the NHL where he scored 16 goals in 74 games back in '09-10. It's going to be a tough roster to crack, but with injuries to Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond that may keep them out for the start of the season, he may have a better shot to open the season if he still has something left. In 24 games with Zurich last season he scored seven goals to go with 19 assists.

Even though he was toward the end of his career with the Wild he still managed to flash some skill, like this coast-to-coast effort against Tampa Bay back in November of 2009.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 3, 2011 9:57 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2011 11:23 pm

Should the Predators consider trading Weber?


By: Adam Gretz

Now that the Nashville Predators know the salary Shea Weber will be making during the 2011-12 season the question of where they go from here has been the hot topic of the day. They can't officially sign him to a long-term extension until after Jan. 1, and he still has one more year of restricted free agency (and potentially arbitration) before he would be free to test the open market.

Dirk Hoag at On The Forecheck thinks the Predators and their captain need to have a frank discussion about whether or not he wants to stay in Nashville for the long haul, and if the answer to that question is no, general manager David Poile should spread the word that he's available in order to maximize the return.

Josh Cooper, beat writer for the Tennessean, brings up the potential issues for next offseason when Weber, barring a contract extension after Jan. 1, will be up for arbitration again, while fellow defenseman Ryan Suter and No. 1 goaltender Pekka Rinne will be unrestricted free agents. He also asks if the Predators can invest similar long-term deals into Suter and Weber and have such a large portion of their payroll going to just two players.

Now, for teams that have the ability to spend close to the salary cap (or all the way to the cap) that shouldn't be much of a concern (actually, I'd encourage teams to do it). But Nashville doesn't appear to be that type of team with the funds to play with, currently sitting closer to the cap floor than the ceiling.

That definitely changes the game, and could bring up an interesting (if not frustrating) dilemma for the Predators front office. After all, these three guys are home-grown Stars, drafted and developed by the Nashville organization. Those are the type of players you want to keep.

You win with impact players, and the more of them you have, the better chance you have to win. That's obvious. Also because it's almost impossible to get fair value back in a trade for a player like Weber, especially when you're talking about a 25-year-old franchise defenseman that can score. (Or in the case of Suter, a steadier hand in the defensive end of the ice with a little less offense.)

If it should get to that point and the Predators decide to move in that direction, they would be better off being proactive and do it sooner rather than later in order to maximize the value coming back. Weber still has another year after this season before he's eligible for unrestricted free agency and he'll bring a larger return now than he will, say, at the trade deadline in March of 2013.

If it were me, (and it's most certainly not), I would make every effort to keep Weber and Suter as my foundation and, if needed, part ways with Rinne for this reason: it's easier to find a solid goaltender at an affordable price than it is to find a No. 1 defenseman at an affordable price.

That plan, of course, assumes Weber is committed to staying in Nashville, which may not be the case. And if it's not, you're pretty much out of options and are forced to make a difficult decision: part ways with a homegrown star in the prime of his career.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 2, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 11:28 pm

Islanders, Blake Comeau avoid arbitration


By: Adam Gretz

On the same day Shea Weber and the Nashville Predators went through the arbitration process, another player was able to avoid it. The New York Islanders and forward Blake Comeau came to an agreement on a one-year deal on Tuesday night that is worth $2.5 million according to Newsday's Katie Strang.

Comeau was scheduled for arbitration on Aug. 4, which would have been the final hearing for this offseason. Once Weber's contract situation gets settled, every player that was scheduled for arbitration will be taken care of, with Weber's being the only one to actually go through the hearing.

The 25-year-old winger is coming off what was the best season of his brief career, scoring 24 goals in 77 games. He was one of five Islanders players to hit the 20-goal plateau last season, joining Michael Grabner, Matt Moulson, John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau. Along with that, he was also one of New York's top penalty killing options last season logging just over two minutes of shorthanded ice-time per game, and even managed to add a shorthanded goal.

With Comeau signed the Islanders currently have 23 players under contract for the upcoming season, taking up just over $45.9 million in cap space. They still have two remaining restricted free agents in Josh Bailey and Jesse Joenssu.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 2, 2011 8:21 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 8:51 pm

The Shea Weber arbitration numbers


By: Adam Gretz

After they were unable to work out a new contract the Nashville Predators and their captain, Shea Weber, went through the arbitration process on Tuesday morning. While we won't know the ruling until Thursday morning at the latest (the arbiter has 48 hours to decide), we do have an idea as to what numbers the two sides went in with.

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Weber requested a one-year salary of $8.5 million, while the Predators presented an offer of $4.75 million. The arbiter can choose any number between those two figures.

Weber, who turns 26 in a couple of weeks, is coming off his second consecutive 16-goal season from the blueline. He's managed to score at least 16 goals in four of the past five years, and only appeared in 54 games the one season he didn't reach that mark. He has a booming slap shot and pretty much every trait a team looks for in a franchise defenseman, and can still get better.

The salary figure he requested is a definitely significant one.

He earned $4.5 million last season in what was the final year of a three-year contract he signed in 2008. If by some chance he were to be rewarded $8.5 million -- and that is unlikely -- it would be the fourth largest cap hit in the league next season, traiiling only Alex Ovehckin, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. It would also be the largest cap hit among defenseman. As far as the base salary is concerned, it would be tied with Boston's Zdeno Chara as the eighth largest in the NHL, and tied for second among defenseman, trailing only the $10 million in base salary Buffalo's Christian Erhoff is set to make.

But that's if he gets that amount, and that's unlikely to happen. Just as it's unlikely that Nashville doesn't really feel its captain, best player, and one of the best players in the league at his position is only worth a slight raise over last year's salary. As Jeremy Gover at Section 303 pointed out, this is simply Nashville's way of keeping the 2011 salary at a more manageable figure since the arbiter typically picks a number between the two proposals. By shooting lower, it's likely the Predators, a team that doesn't exactly have a bottomless pit of funds at its disposal, can get a more atrractive deal for the upcoming season.

They know Weber is worth more than that -- and will get more than that -- just like Weber knows he's not going to walk away as one of the ten highest paid players in the NHL. At least not for another couple of years.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 2, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 7:24 pm

Ryan Kesler has hip surgery, could miss 12 weeks


By: Adam Gretz

On Tuesday the Vancouver Canucks announced center Ryan Kesler underwent successful hip surgery and could be sidelined for as long as 10-12 weeks.

Said general manager Mike Gillis, “After consultation with our team physicians following the playoffs, it was deemed that Ryan would require a procedure on his hip. We expect a full recovery and determined this procedure would best serve both Ryan and the team’s long term goals.”

Assuming the timeline of 10-12 weeks is how long it will take for a complete recovery, it will force him to miss all of training camp and the preseason, as well as the start of the regular season. Kesler is coming off a sensational 2010-11 season with the Canucks where he scored a career high 41 goals while also taking home the Selke Award, which is given to the NHL's best defensive forward. He had been a finalist the two previous seasons, having finished second in 2010 and third in 2009.

The 26-year-old Kesler, who was a first-round pick by the Canucks in 2003, has been one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL for a couple of years now, while also being able to chip in around 20 goals on the offensive end. This past season the goal numbers skyrocketed to the point where he finished fourth in the league, trailing only Corey Perry, Steven Stamkos and Jarome Iginla.

His teammate, Daniel Sedin, was tied with him for the fourth spot in the league and the top spot on the team.

He's one of Vancouver's best all-around players and missing him for any point of time is a large blow to the team.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com