2) As a very astute fellow hockey blogger pit it recently; The Awards ceremony was the unofficial end of the 2007-08 season, and the draft is the unofficial start of the 2008-09 NHL campaign. In reality its true.
- While players are by the letter of the law still under contract until 7/1/08, RFA can actually be in negotiations with prospective offer sheet minded GM's a week prior.
- Teams can buy out players with existing contracts for either 2/3 or 1/3(depending on the age of the player when the deal was signed) of the remaining value of the contract.
- Its a mere few days before the entry draft in Ottawa when many are expecting a few trades
3) With all of this in mind this is some of the topics we are hearing about here at Fauxrumors:
- Yashin back to the Island? When we first heard about this we nearly fell on the floor. If this were early April(fools) we could understand it. So we called around. Almost everyone said the same thing. Its probably Yashin's agent (Gandler) throwing up a trial balloon. Its doubtful he had any meaningful talks with Snow, but he threw out his name in hopes other GM's would recall his client and hope he can get a good offer. Yashin desperately wants out of the hell hole in Russia, but wants to save face with an offer that would at least equal what he would have made had the Isles retained his services. He will get attention, but he might find it difficult to get more than 2-3 mil from any team. The Isles were told are NOT interested. Perhaps they have heard of the saying: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
- Vinny to Montreal? Another rumor worthy of a good LOL! Does any one learn? Big name Francophone athletes do NOT want to play in Montreal if they have a choice. As one agent told us 2 years ago when the JP Dumont rumours were swirling ' Its a zoo in Quebec, the French players get no break year round playing there'. The rumor being promulgated basically stated that Vinny could make more with endorsements than salary if he played there. Perhaps, but they neglected to say that taxes are so high in Quebec that he'd see about 10% of that income! LOL
- Flyers to deal? Now this rumour has teeth. The Flyers have sent out feelers to the 29 other teams to see what interest they might have in players on their roster. The player they'd most like to unload is Joffrey Lupul who is due 2.9 mil next season. the Flyers as a whole have 48 mil tied to 14 players next year. Even an increase in the cap to 56 mil will leave them vulnerable to a RFA offer sheet for either RJ Umberger and or Jeff Carter. We're told its unlikely the Flyers will trade Carter, and most likely would match any offer made for him. Lupul will be a draft day deal we are told, and the Flyers probably won't get a huge return. However, even with Lupul gone they Flyers would still need to do more. Not to mention that they may need to shell out a few bucks to retain Vaclav Prospel. All this means that Paul Holmgren will be a busy man the next 2 weeks for sure!
- Malkin to be traded? We were probably the only blog that mentioned this as a possibility. Of course we were way out in front of that curve 2 years ago before Geno even played his first NHL game. Its not an easy answer. A player of his skill level is almost never compensated for properly in a trade. Ray Shero has to look toward next summer and see if the team will have the cap space to accommodate Malkin/Crosby/Staal/Fleury and still be able to have a competitive cast around those stars? With the cap probably close to 60 mil be NEXT summer, the Pens could afford Malkin IF he doesn't want an Ovechkin-like deal. If his agent asks for the cap max (next season that would mean upwards of 11/year) it could be a deal breaker. How can you pay him 11 and Crosby 8? Don't believe the reports that said he'd settle for less than Crosby! Meanwhile Hossa will want 8 million himself to saty in Steel town. (To say nothing of Staal who will be a RFA next summer too!)Fleury being taken to arbitration means he will be on the team come October, but it remains to be seen if its a one year deal, or a long term contract. One is for certain, it will be a very busy month or so for Shero!
- Maple Leafs to trim Payroll? Worst kept secret in a long time. If Fletcher had his druthers (what exactly is a druther?) he'd unload a whole host of vets, but its too expensive cap-wise/not allowed to buy out too many players all at once. Also most have no trade clauses. Most of those players invoked those clauses last spring, tying the hands of Fletcher. Which leads us to now. Will those same players relent for a trade now that they could move their families in an orderly manner? Probably. We're told the McCabe to the Islander rumours do have validity, but the Leafs shouldn't expect much in return. Some of our Islander fan readers believe the leafs should give THEM something to re-take on their former captain who has 3 years left on a deal that costs 5.75 to the cap. Darcy Tucker may also relent and accept a trade if the rumours we are hearing that LA has interest in the super pest. Could be another draft weekend deal. Meanwhile Fletcher is still pissed at Sundin for not accepting a trade this spring. This could hinder the possibility of the Swede staying in TO. The circus will continue in Canada's media hub! LOL
- Buy Outs? Lots of talk of who is going to get bought out. The biggest names are Boston's Glen Murray, and Ottawa's back up goalie, Ray Emery. What we are hearing is that both clubs are set to announce the buyouts, but are desperately trying to find a trade suitor first. In the case of Murray, good luck! The 35 year old is set to make 4.1 mil next season, and his production is no where near what it was prior to the stupid Joe Thornton trade 3 years ago. Emory could be another matter. There are virtually no quality goalies available i this year's crop of UFA's. Huet and Theodore hilite the top 2, but both are expected to stay with their current teams. That leaves Ray. He has 2 years at 3.1 mi. remaining. If a GM believes he can be a true #1 goalie, that price is reasonable. One would have to wonder who would want to take a chance after the shenanigans Emery pulled in Ottawa this past year. We wouldn't be shocked to see Emery dealt, but its a 70/30 chance against.
- Who's gonna move up/Down this weekend? There is consensus that this is a deep draft (actually no one really knows what the hell that means) but its also come down that there is a significant drop off in talent after the first 4-5 picks. After STEVEN STAMKOS, DREW DOUGHTY, ZACH BOGOSIAN, ALEX PIETRANGELO, and NIKITA FILATOV, the rest are no longer considered 'can't miss'. (How many can't miss have never played?-plenty!) That said the lure of obtaining one of the top 5 slots will be significant. We're told there is almost a zero % chance that Tampa will trade the chance to pick Stamkos. After that all bets are off. We hear the Kings who are full of young up and coming kids would entertain offers for the 2 slot. However it will cost that team significant assets in the form of a current roster player and probably that teams #1. The Thrashers, Blues and Islanders would also accept a deal to trade down if the right offer is placed, but those teams are less likely to deal than the Kings. One asst GM from the left coast tells us 'this draft will see more deals than in recent years' as teams are all over the map on whom they covet, and we may see one or two block busters go down before all is said and done.
4) Of course we at FAUXRUMORS will stay on top of all the latest news/gossip/rumors as the draft nears. We will offer our unique analysis and discuss all deals/contract signings/buyouts, etc as they occur. This is the best non-hockey time of year! As always, keep it hear for all the latest!