"My ESPNChicago colleague Jesse Rogers believes Patrick Sharp could be in play as well now and he's much more easily moveable... We'll see" "With Hawks deciding to match Hjalmarsson offer, source said today Brian Campbell being shopped. Have hard time seeing that contract moved" The Edmonton Oilers are apparently looking at picking up rugged forward Arron Asham? According to TSN's Ryan Rishaug. Pavel Demitra has two lucrative offers in KHL but is looking to join the New York Rangers and close friend Marian Gaborik. Pens GM says he'll take the weekend to assess trade possiblities. seeking vet with character, not a "high priced guy."
I am a big fan of Robert Esche and want to see him get back into the NHL. I still believe Esche has some game left, and I am not alone in this. Talking to scouts who have been monitoring him from afar, in Russia, Esche is playing at an NHL level. The Flyers attempted to bring him in last year when the goalies hit the fan, but could not due to NHL rules. Now, however, I am hearing Esche may get a serious look with the Flyers...
* More and more people are saying the Kings and Kovalchuk are dead. I have been around long enough to know to stay as "far away as humanly possible" from that conclusion at this point. It is intriguing to note the owners are feeling the pressure to make this happen more than Lombardi.
* With an increase in Season Tickets to justify...will the Kings go after Vinny Lecavalier? People who generally deny such things are notably silent. Gagne is also an option, as well as Marc Savard. I am of the belief Gagne will be a King either way.
* All this comes into play as a third team has entered the Kovalchuk Sweeps (or as one source has termed it as of today, "The Clusterchuk Sweeps"...The San Jose Sharks. They would have to move Thornton to make this happen...likely to a team out East who could afford him for one year and would benefit from his scoring and one year deal...
* Speaking of the Toronto Maple Leafs...I am hearing mixed reports regarding Kaberle..some saying Setoguchi, the other...Ryan Clowe. Pavelski is definitely not being moved right now. That is all that appears certain.
* The Canadiens meanwhile have looked into acquiring Nikita Filatov from the Blue Jackets. One source went so far as to say it was "down to the Habs, Penguins, and Canucks for Filatov...with Montreal having the best offer on the table..Other Hab possibles are Arron Asham, Marek Svatos and Willie Mitchell. Asham is a much better and far more veratile player most than people realize.
* The NY Islanders are also in on Asham, as well as showing interest in a pair of Hawks: Patrick Sharp, and Antti Niemi...
* The Buffalo Sabres are in on a potential big deal as well with the LA Kings or NJ Devils...They may play a big part in teams clearing space. I also could see them getting in on Filatov as well.
* Conspiracy Theory of the Day! The Sharks also may make a move for Niemi, especially if the Hawks are forced to walk away from an arbitration ruling...because the Hawks are out of money after matching the Sharks offer sheet...(hmmm..well played Mr. Wilson, well played indeed!)
*Obviously, the Sharks can only make one move, but it does appear that Doug Wilson (who is always great with contingency plans, had several ready to go and react to the situation)
* The Flames continue to kick tires with Savard in Boston and Semin in Washington. A source I talked to today added, "Kovalchuk has been discussed as well, but only if the Kovalchuk camp were to opt for "their plan B." I of course inquired about "plan B" and was told it would be the 3 year/$31M or 2 year/22M plan. This option would open up "if the Kings, Devils and (now Sharks) are unable to get a deal done. Although it is somewhat uncertain if the Sharks are more of a "plan B" team as well. Other Plan B teams include: The Rangers, Islanders, Capitals, Leafs, Canucks, Avalanche, and Wild...
* The Wild are one team who are rumored to be considering an offer sheet to Bobby Ryan. While the Ducks have made it clear they will not trade Ryan, as the Canadiens reportedly have looked into, rumors of offer sheets and trades abound...
* Wondering what Russian the Flyers may bring in to help with Zherdev?...I am told Slava Kozlov is a possibility.
* The Devils, my favorites to land Kovalchuk as of this hour, are also in on Kaberle, as well as Wild D-man Brent Burns.
Um Gottes Willen!!!! Mit ersterem könnte ich mich ja fast noch anfreunden, er soll wohl wirklich mehr als solide spielen und wäre billig, was für Philly ja mehr als wichtig wäre. Aber Kozlov???? Lappy, Shelley, Pronger, Timonen, O'Donnell- das sollte als Ü33 Core reichen... Zumal Zherdev mit dem alten Fedorov auch nicht klarkam und dieser als "Russenkumpel" nicht taugte, da er in einer anderen Welt lebte.
TSN.ca breaks down the best of the rest with a list of selected free agents still available on the market:
Maxim Afinogenov, F
The Russian forward had 24 goals and 37 assists for the Thrashers last season, equalling his career-high in points (61, a mark which he had previously set during the 2006-07 campaign). Last season was Afinogenov's first year with a team other than the Sabres, where he had spent nine seasons (he was drafted by Buffalo in 1997). At 30, Afinogenov seems poised to bring some added scoring to a team looking for a solid offensive force with lots left to offer.
Marc-Andre Bergeron, D
Bergeron had 13 goals and 21 assists in 60 games with the Habs last season but has not yet been locked up by any team. The 29-year-old Quebec native has seen his fair share of NHL squads over the years, having played for the Oilers, Islanders, Ducks, Wild and Canadiens. He has lots to offer, including a booming point shot, but it remains to be seen which defensive scheme he will fit into in 2010-11.
Alexander Frolov, F
The Russian forward had 19 goals and 32 assists for the Kings last season and, at age 28, still has lots to offer to a potential suitor, despite the fact that his numbers have decreased in each of his last three seasons (71 points in 2006-07, 67 points in 2007-08, 59 points in 2008-09 and a still-respectable 51 points last season). Frolov has spent all seven seasons of his NHL career with the Kings. He was drafted 20th overall by L.A. back in 2000.
Bill Guerin, F
On-ice skills and numbers are one thing, but a leadership presence in the dressing room is a huge factor as well. While the 39-year-old Guerin did register an impressive 45 points with the Pens last season, it's also his veteran know-how that is an attractive quality of this American-born forward. The fact that he's still putting up good stats as he heads towards 40 is a bonus.
Paul Kariya, F
Kariya, who will turn 36 in October, has been in the NHL since 1994-95 and brings a veteran presence to any team he plays for. With 43 points in 75 games for the Blues last season, Kariya's production is nothing to sneeze at for an older player; he can still bring a noticeable offensive presence to a team - if he can stay healthy, a big issue for potentially interested franchises.
Willie Mitchell, D
The Canucks' blueliner was out for the final two months of the regular season with a concussion, an unfortunate turn of events that also caused him to miss the playoffs. It seems fair to say that the main factor in his potential attractiveness to teams will be their trust in his ability to stay healthy. Mitchell had 12 points in 48 games for Vancouver last season. The 33-year-old has spent the last four seasons with the Canucks. He was drafted 199th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, F
The Pens acquired the 30-year-old Ukrainian from Toronto last season after he had spent eight-plus seasons in the blue and white, but he never really hit his stride in Pittsburgh. The 6'4 forward had 21 goals and 29 assists between the Leafs and Pens last year, and would likely be a welcome addition to many teams looking for a mid-level forward with some solid production. Poni's best season came in 2008-09, when he registered 23 goals and 38 assists for Toronto. His perceived inconsistency with that team was a frustrating point for fans, who saw Ponikarovsky put up as few as 28 points (in 2003-04) or as many as 61 (in '08-'09).
Teemu Selanne, F
Most people have their money on Selanne either returning for another year in Anaheim or calling it a career. The 40-year-old Finnish veteran had 27 goals and 21 assists in 54 games with the Ducks in '09-'10. He has spent the last five seasons with the team, which he originally played for from 1995-96 to 2000-01 before stints with the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche. At this point, it seems likely it is just be a matter of finding the right deal in California or, alternatively, just hanging up the skates. Selanne was originally taken 10th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.
Lee Stempniak, F
With 48 points last season combined between the Leafs and the Coyotes, the former Maple Leaf really excelled after leaving Toronto and heading to the desert. The 27-year-old native of West Seneca, New York set a career high with 28 goals during the 2009-10 campaign. Stempniak could be a nice piece of the puzzle for a team looking for a secondary scorer; he put up 52 points in 2006-07 with the Blues and has shown moments of brilliance in the years since. He was drafted 148th overall by St. Louis in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
Andy Sutton, D
Sutton had five goals and eight assists in 72 games last season, but it was the intangibles, not the stats, that made him valuable to the team. He gained a reputation as a player willing to get in the way of shots and throw the body around, and could be a valuable presence on both of those fronts with a new squad.
Jose Theodore, G
Theodore was 30-7-7 with a 2.81 GAA last season - extraordinarily strong numbers - but the Caps seem to be going in the direction of youth. Semyon Varlamov, 22, will be the No. 1 guy in Washington, while Michal Neuvirth, also 22, will be the backup. Despite Theodore's impressive performance in 2009-10, he's 33 years old and doesn't seem to be in the gameplan for the Capitals, so it will be intriguing to see which team will pick him up and look to ride last year's momentum through to another strong season in the blue paint.
Marty Turco, G
Respected NHL veteran Marty Turco, who will turn 35 in August, has spent the last nine seasons with the Dallas Stars, who drafted him back in 1994. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native was 22-20-11 with a 2.72 GAA for the Stars last season. It will likely be challenging for Turco to find a No. 1 position in the NHL, so where he ends up may depend on his willingness to take on a backup role.