Hot Stove Time
Things are starting to heat up around the NHL as the draft quickly approaches.
Many are paying attention to who George McPhee chooses as his Head Coach to replace Dale Hunter.
Sources say the list has been trimmed with former Chicago assistant Mike Havelid and Norfolk’s Jon cooper both considered finalists.
I’m told current Capitals assistants have been given permission to look around as it appears whoever is brought in may bring in their own staff.
Copper would certainly be a good fit with the up and coming Edmonton Oilers as well.
Luongo to Where?
Where will Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo be playing hockey next season? Obviously he’ll need to be moved if the team wants to move forward with Cory Schneider. Tampa bay GM Steve Yzerman has denied interest but sources tell me they aren’t necessarily buying it. Many feel his quick denial is an attempt to deflate the market for the All-Star goaltender.
Multiple people tell me they don’t believe Canucks GM Mike Gillis has interest in moving Luongo to Toronto and seeing him playing on Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night. He wouldn’t want to have that thrown in his face every weekend especially if Luongo is having success. It’s much easier to hide him in a U.S. market.
We saw this years ago with Edmonton and Toronto before Chris Pronger was dealt to Anaheim. The offer then-Oilers GM Kevin Lowe received from Toronto was actually better than the one he accepted from Anaheim. Lowe apparently would rather accept less than move him to the Maple Leafs where the Chris Pronger show would air every Saturday night.
We’ve seen exceptions most recently with Calgary shipping Dion Phaneuf to Toronto.
Jokinen a Hot Commodity?
What does it say about the free agent market when center Olli Jokinen all of a sudden could be highly sought after? With centers Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell re-signing in Boston Jokinen moves up the food chain. There’s little to be desired at the center position.
Same could be said for defense….
The Panthers are trying to hang on to Jason Garisson although most expect him to test free agency. There could be 25 teams chasing eight D-men.
The Blues have a decision to make on veteran Barret Jackman and the limited market could work in Jackman’s favor. His first choice is to remain with the Blues and with limited options GM Doug Armstrong has to ask himself whether there’s a better player available in free agency. The better question is how much will it cost to replace him? I’m not sure the Blues will look to go longer than two years with Jackman and it’s safe to assume he could get a third and maybe even a fourth year in free agency. In my opinion if the Blues offer Jackman two years in the $3-$3.5 range I think he’ll stay. With the thin market he would be likely taking a pay cut at this number.
$4 million is usually the tipping point for a defensive D-man. Rarely does it work out when these types of players are paid more than $4 million per year.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Chicago were to show interest with the relationship Jackman has with head Coach Joel Quenneville and assistant Mike Kitchen. Would Jackman sign with the Blackhawks? His role would likely change when you factor in players like Hjalmarsson, Keith, Seabrook, Leddy, and Oduya already in place.
Devils D-man Bryce Salvador could also be an option for Chicago should New Jersey allow him to walk.
Chelios Pushing For Suter?
Word is longtime Blackhawk Chris Chelios is trying his best to sell Chicago to his good friend Gary Suter, the uncle of prized free agent D-man Ryan Suter.
The Blackhawks are still looking to fill out their coaching staff and LA Kings assistant Jamie Kompon’s name has been brought up. Kompon may stay put after the recent run to the Stanley Cup. Kompon worked under Quenneville for several years in St. Louis.
Souray says No!
Who would have thought Dallas D-man Sheldon Souray would be in the position to turn down a $3 million dollar contract? Sources say he recently rejected a one year, $3 million offer from Dallas.
Semin to Detroit?
Lots of signs point towards Alexander Semin headed to Detroit. The Red Wings will no doubt be looking to spend money this summer.
Contract Renewal Time?
The St. Louis Blues have a number of scouts and management people whose contracts expire at the end of the month. Two of those are Peoria GM Kevin McDonald and Amateur Scouting Director Bill Armstrong. Unless something unforeseen happens I would expect announcements on both of them returning sometime soon.
Coaching Staff Close….
The Blues are closing to finalizing contracts on their coaching staff. Things point towards former Columbus assistant Gary Agnew replacing Scott Mellanby although there’s been nothing official. Word is Agnew also had multiple options at both the junior and the AHL. I would expect this to be completed very soon.
Ramage to Return…
Word is University of Wisconsin Captain John Ramage will return for his senior season.
Sources say teammate Justin Schultz is considering three NHL teams with Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton possibilities. Leafs GM Brian Burke drafted Schultz when he was with Anaheim but the offensive D-man has elected not to sign with the Ducks. Schultz scored 34 goals the last two seasons with the Badgers.
Sharks to add coach?
There’s talk of San Jose looking to add a coach to their staff before the upcoming season.
Congrats to St. Louis AAA Blues D-man Clark Kuster who recently made Cedar Rapids USHL roster.
More to come,
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