A lot of big rumours coming out this morning, you can tell free agent season is almost here.
First, while it has been speculated that the Leafs will receive picks and/or prospects from Montreal should they sign Sundin, I have been told that may not be the case. The Habs need cap room, and Chris Higgins could be on his way to Toronto. Higgins has a cap hit of just 1.7, but its a start for the Habs. Several other teams, Detroit and Colorado for sure, made offers to have Sundins rights, but Montreal obviously had the best offer, and if it is indeed Chris Higgins, Leaf fans should be hoping Mats signs with Montreal and fast...Gainey will be in Sweden this week to get something done.
Brian Campbell to Ottawa? It's a very hot rumour right now. Ottawa has seen it's blueline take a thrashing the last few years, and they are going to find a way to fit this guy into their cap. Brian Campbell is likely to sign in the East, with NYR, Buffalo and Chicago the rumoured cities.
Look for the Phoenix Coyotes to make a deal for some defense. Pavel Kubina could be headed down south, while they are also going to make a pitch for Wade Redden. Phoenix is looking to make a serious run...next year. They have the offense and goaltending now, but their defense is still among the weakest in the league, especially after this past weekend.
The Islanders are another team desperatly seeking some blueline help. Ted Nolan apparently will speak to Bryan McCabe sometime soon in hopes of convincing him to waive his NMC. The Islanders want this guy back bad.
Ray Emery will sign somewhere, the biggest question is where. LA is an obvious destination, though I'm hearing he's likely to stay in the East. Washington and Montreal are very possible I've been told, while San Jose and Detroit are apparently kicking tires at the situation.
Carolina is still working hard to get some defensive help, and all signs point to them dealing with Vancouver for Bieksa. They spent the weekend laying the groundwork for such a deal, but I promise you this, Vancouver will be a much different team by the start of the season. Gillis is planning to really shake things up.
The Panthers are quietly shopping Jay Bouwmeister. Apparently the two sides are having a tough time working out a deal. Martin may just wait for someone to sign him to an offer sheet, as the compensation picks are probably more than he'd get for him in a trade. Phoenix and Carolina are the two obvious teams to watch here.
The longer this Jeff Carter deal takes, the more dangerous it is for the Flyers. If Jeff Carter is an RFA by July 1st, the chances of him coming back to the Flyers are very thin. They can't afford to lose Jeff after dealing RJ Umberger for the 19th overall pick in this weekends draft ( Luca Sbisa). I can't believe RJ came so cheap...and don't even get me started on the Olli Jokinen deal...are you telling me that not one other team in the NHL could top that trade? If your the Leafs, you have to think your 2nd round pick, Strahlman and Kubina get that deal done...The Panthers should have gotten a 1st, a 2nd and a top prospect for Jokinen, instead they got a 2nd, a good defenseman and a past-his-prime defenseman.
I'm off to the Queens Plate in Toronto for my horse racing fix, enjoy your Sunday, it's going to be a crazy next 10-15 days :)