Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cap Crunchers

Rumours are hitting me this morning that a few of the NHLs top teams are looking to make trades, despite their success.

Montreal and Detroit are both in the top half of their respective conferences, but both are also looking ahead to next season. Both Montreal and Detroit are up against the cap, with key UFAs this summer. Both teams understand that they will not be able to keep all their current players beyond next season, and would like to fix this problem before it becomes a real problem.

In Detroit, they are currently as close to the cap as you can possibly be. This summer, Zetterberg, Hossa, Samuellson, Franzen and Conklin all become free agents.

Jimmy Howard will likely take over for Conklin at the same salary, so that will even out. Zetterberg will likely get a similar contract to Hossa's, so that evens out. However, Samuellson will be looking for a raise, as he only makes 1.2 million a season, as will franzen, who will expect a large raise above his current 1.15 million dollars.

Rumours this afternoon suggest the Wings may be shopping Cleary, Draper and Holmstrom. Cleary is struggling, only registering 7 points with a -2 in 15 games with the Wings this year. Holmstrom could also be doing better, with 13 points in 17games, though his plus 8 and his presence in front of the net would be something a lot of teams would be interested in. As for Kris Draper, he is having the worst season of his career, with just 2 points in 23 games, while posting a horrible -8.

The Wings would love to get Ville Leino into the lineup, and this seems to be the path to do it. They feel Leino would be more productivce than any of the three players I mentioned, which is why they can afford to take back stricky picks and prospects for the above players. Darren Helm has been back and forth between Grand Rapids and Detroit as well, and they'd like to have room to keep him up for good.

In Montreal, they face a similar problem. With just two million to spare right now, and apparent interest in Mats Sundin (which will be addressed in the next paragraph), the Habs are heading into Cap Hell for next season. Tanguay, Koivu, Kovalev, Lang, Begin, Kostopolous, Bouillion, Komisarek, Brisebois and Dandenault are all unrestricted free agents come July 1st.

Forget Brisebois, Begin, Kostopolous and Dandenault because they can either be re-signed or replaced for the same amount they are costing the Habs now.

Alex Tanguay has been explosive for the Habs this year, big credit to him for their success this season. He currently makes 5.35 million, he's worth more. Look for him to get at least $7 million somewhere.

Saku Koivu is someone I'm not 100% concerned with. He's their captain, he loves Montreal, and he's currently making just under $5 million. I don't see him demanding much of a raise, and I don't see him in a rush to leave. With that said, some are saying he is interested in playing with his brother, who will be looking for a new teammate with the expected departure of Gaborik. Koivu is having a breakout offensive year with the club, leading all Habs with 19 points.

Robert Lang, who many expected to not do a thing for the Habs, quietly has been a great player for them. With that said, he's still not worth four million dollars, and will likely be replaced.

Alex Kovalev has 16 points in 23 games, and has been a key component to the Habs success over the last 3 seasons. At 4.5 million, I think Kovalev will be looking for somewhere around 6 million. While it's only 1.5 million, it's also that same amount that the Habs don't have to spend.

Then there is Mike Komisarek. They've lost a big defenseman every July for the past two years, and they don't want to make this a three-peat. Komisarek has a cap hit of 1.7 this season, and will be offered more than 4 million by rival teams. This kid is one of the top defensive defensemen in the game, and easily Montreal's #2 defenseman.

To make matters worse, Montreal has two of their best young players as RFAs. Plekanek and Higgins, their 6th and 7th top scorers, are both in for big raises. At just under two million dollars per year each, both can expect to be making at least double that when the 09-10 season opens.

So what does Montreal do? Whispers have them shopping Lang, Kovalev, and Higgins. Lang is unlikely going anywhere, as his four million is too much for rival clubs to pick up. Kovalev has been such a key for Montreal, but with Tanguay and Koivu's amazing play, Kovalev is suddenly available. Look for a Minnesota or a Vancouver to make a play for him between now and the deadline. Finally, Higgins has been shopped by Montreal for a year now. He was offered in a package to Atlanta for Hossa, he was offered in a package to Toronto for Sundin, he was offered in a package recently to Minnesota for Gaborik (before he got hurt). For whatever reason, Montreal has fallen out of love with Higgins, and I've been told that Higgins will be gone from Montreal 100% by the trade deadline.

Detroit and Montreal, two teams that would love to have Mats Sundin, are not alone. Chicago GM Dale Tallonmet with Sundin a few days ago, and are considered serious players in this game. The Calgary Flames, for reasons I will discuss in a second, are also serious players in this Sundin game. Vancouver is back in it, while do not count out Ottawa, who need Sundin more than anyone else.

As for Calgary, they are shopping one of my favourite players, Mike Cammalleri. He'll be a UFA at the end of the season. Calgary was hoping Cammy would play a stronger physical game, but he hasn't and they've had enough of him. Ottawa is big on this guy, as is Washington.

Nylander to Chicago is not dead, but Chicago really needs to find a taker for Khabibulin before this goes anywhere. Nylander is really unhappy in Washington and would gladly waive his NTC.

Finally, with the LA Kings very close to a playoff spot, management is starting to believe that this is the time to make a move. The team is full of young talent, and should only get better from here. I am hearing they have interest in Toronto's Kaberle, Kubina, and Toskala. Burke is on the fence about Toskala, unsure if he's the guy to build his team around. He would also love to move one of his two extremely valuable defenseman. With that said, talks are not ongoing, and are not expected to get aggresive until the new year.

In afternoon action, the Panthers blanked the Rangers (who are falling quite fast...) 4-0. Atlanta currently leads St. Louis 2-1 in the second period. Game of the night tonight? Edmonton and Dallas...why you ask? Nobody in my opinion had a better playoff rivalry in the late 90s than these two teams. Let's see if an old rivalry can spark some good hockey from to struggling teams.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Burke Deal Done, Belak Dealt To Preds

Brian Burke has officially signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Six year deal, around $3 million per season. Burke will be in Toronto on Saturday to
officially announce the deal.

The Preds have traded Nick Tarnasky to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Wade Belak

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wacky Wednesday

The Brian Burke saga is almost over. Talking to sources yesterday, the Burke deal will be announced on Saturday. Six years, including the balance of this one, and Burke will make about $3 million a season. The deal will be announced in Toronto Saturday afternoon, and will be featured for primetime on Hockey Night in Canada. Many speculated that Burke's first move would be waiving Jason Blake, but a concussion on Blake's end may delay that process.

The Panthers are amping up trade efforts on the Bouwmeister front. Toronto, Ottawa, Chicago, Vancouver and Washington are all teams I've heard that have interest. He will be dealt by the deadline, that is for sure.

As for Kovalchuk, would a Gaborik for Kovalchuk trade really be so wacky? yes, it would, ignore those rumours.

What about Claude Lemieux! I hope he makes it back into the NHL, what a story that would be.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Leafs trade Colaiacovo and Steen To Blues

For Lee Stempniak. More to follow, check for the latest

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Grey Cup?

Today, the Grey Cup will be played in Canada? Does anyone watch the CFL anymore? Sadly, i'm more interested in the Titans-Jets game today, where my beloved, unbeaten Titans are currently down 10-3 to Brett Favres Jets....

In the hockey world, there is INCREASED speculation that Burke, Nonis and Sundin could all be Leafs this week. I have been told that Nonis comes with Burke right away, no matter where he goes. While originally I was told Burke would be a Leaf by tomorrow, it may be delayed till later in the week. Either way, this will get done.

As for Sundin, he has spent much of the last week talking to other teams. He met with Gainey first, Melnyk next. I am told he has also had several phone conversations with Gillis as well. It looks as though Sundin will play for a Canadien team, but which one? I believe it will be Toronto, but only time will tell. If Burke becomes the GM of the Leafs, I just don't see Sundin going anywhere else. Burke will want to win now, and Sundin is the best player available.

What about Shanahan? The Devils and Flyers are the two teams to watch, however, I've been told a third team has entered the mix. That team you ask? Carolina.

The Bruins now sit a-top the Eastern Conference. How long can they keep this up?

Vancouver could be in a world of trouble if Luongo is out for any length of time. First Brodeur, now Luongo. Nabokov, who is the third best goalie in the NHL, appears to be next.

Khabibulin is doing anything but hurt his value. It's only a matter of time before someone wakes up and realises this guy could be their missing piece. My vote goes to Ottawa, but I'm hearing Khabibulin won't be moved until Sundin signs somewhere. Three teams interested in Sundin, like Khabibulin: Ottawa, Tampa Bay, and Philly.

What's up with Gaborik? He may be one of the best wingers in the game, yet we're not hearing anything on his injury status...He's killing me in my hockey pool.

For all the latest, check out

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Burke Watch

While the original thought was that Burke would take his time signing with Toronto, I am hearing more and more that he will be the Leafs GM by the end of next week.

Already there are a ton of rumours about what Burke would do, and according to sources, he'd do plenty. Bringing in an enforecer, getting rid of a couple of smaller-sized players like Steen, Blake and Tlusty, and securing a few more draft picks are apparently things Burke has his eye on in Toronto. Is there a chance Burke won't end up in Toronto? Yes, but at this point it's small.

The Blackhawks and Caps are talking about a deal that would send Barker to the Caps in exchange for Nylander. There is more than those two players involved. Nylander is apparently not pleased with his current role on the Caps. On a related note, is there a better player in the league right now than Semin?

Ottawa is looking for some blueline help, and they are really trying to pry Ohlund out of Vancouver. The Canucks are still hopeful they can get him resigned, but if they finally give up, the Sens will be first in line. The Canucks and Sens have been trying to make a deal with each other since last deadline.

On the Sundin watch, I've been told Toronto and Vancouver are the two teams to watch. Sundin has been surprised by both teams play thus far, and feels he could help both teams easily make the playoffs.

The first team to trade for a goalie may be Dallas. They'd really like someone to put the pressure on Turco, who has been awful thus far.

A coaching change isn't all the change that will happen in Tampa. I've been told to watch for another big hammer to drop if things don't improve in a hurry. That hammer could be St. Louis.

Tonight is a great night for sports, I suggest sitting in front of a tv all night! I myself am off to Boston Pizza to catch the leafs game, followed by a great UFC card.

Stay tuned to for the latest, including some great content from Versus next week. If all goes to plan, I will be speaking with former 22nd overall draft pick, and current Versus broadcaster, Brian Engblom next Thursday. They've also given us a great interview with Jonathan Toews that I will post on this site in the next few days.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Brian Burke Out As Anaheim GM

Just got word that Brian Burke is no longer the GM of the Anaheim Ducks. Bob Murray will be taking over. No word on if Burke was fired or has stepped down. Stay tuned to for all the latest.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sick Of Sundin

Before I go on, I want you to know that Sundin likely will sign with one of the teams I am about to mention. How, or why, I don't know, but there is a lot of sillyness going on when it comes to Sundin right now.

First, lets get things straight. He's going to sign for at least $7 million within the next month.

The Ducks are at the cap, so how are they expected to add seven million dollars? Several reporters will tell you they will make a trade to pave the way for Sundin, but who?

Niedermayer and Pronger are making just under seven million, but I don't expect either to be dealt. Todd Marchant is a likely trade piece, but his 2.5 million salary wont even get half the job done. Sure, you could add Getzlaf, Perry or Kunitz to the deal to clear the seven million, but why would you trade a player that will be good on your team for five more seasons to add a guy who will play half of this season, and maybe won't happen, the Ducks are not getting Sundin.

The Rangers are another team who apparently will make room for Sundin should he want to come. The Rangers have just under 2 million in cap space, so their challenge is a little easier. They are not trading Gomez or Drury, so scratch that idea. Naslund, Redden and Rozsival are also not being dealt, so there goes that as well. After them, nobody is making over 2.1 million, meaning Sundin to Broadway just isnt possible.

Then there are the Sens. First, Sundin would never play for the Leafs arch rival, it just wouldn't be right. The sens have four million in cap space, so they could clear an extra three if they had to. Chris Neil and Vermette would have to go, but they could go anyways and the team wouldnt really miss them. Statistically Sundin could go to Ottawa, but I'd bet against it.

Montreal is no longer interested, and the Leafs like they're chemistry where it is. If I had to take a guess, I'd say he goes to Vancouver. They have the cap, he cna be the richest NHLer on the Ice, and with Luongo in net, he'd have a chance to win everynight.

Teams like Anaheim, Ottawa and NYR can dream big, but in the end they just don;t have the ability to bring the big Swede in.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Shakeups Coming

As we hit the 1/8th point of the season, there are a handfull of teams already looking to shake things up.

One is Columbus, who had huge expectations coming off of a busy offseason. This team is in their eigth season, with no playoff berths to show for it. Some are wondering how long this franchise can continue to operate without the success that is necessary.

From what I am hearing, the Blue Jackets would love to add a #1 centre, and some goaltending insurance. Mike Comrie is a player the Jackets do have interest in, while Peter Prucha's name has come up a lot. While niether of these players are #1's, they are a start. Look for the Blue Jackets to pull the trigger within two weeks if their record does not improve.

The Stars are another team looking to make a move. They'd like to add some more scoring up front, and are apparently willing to move some defense to get a deal done. I have heard rumours of a Trevor Daley for Vermette deal with Ottawa, while Matt Niskanen is another player teams woud love to get their hands on.

Early season surprises that I am excited to watch over the next month, to see if they can keep it up:

Minnesota (3rd in the West)
Nashville (5th in the West)
Buffalo (4th in the East)
Toronto (8th in the East)

All four of these teams are having monster starts as far as I'm concerned.

One game is underway right now. Hemsky's first goal of the season has the Oilers up 2-1 over the Flyers.

Game of the night:


both these teams are red hot after getting off to slow starts.

Leafs @ Hurricanes should be good too, both these teams are playing great hockey right now. They both played last night, it will be interesting to see how they react to a 5 pm game time.

For all the latest check out