Friday, July 31, 2009

Stabbed In The Back!

1) Stabbed in the back is exactly how Dale Tallon must have felt when he was relieved of duties last month. As we wrote then when the dismissal occurred, we stated that it was not a surprise. That most saw this coming from a mile away. However, we at FR2 have learned from sources in the know that ownership and team president John McDonough have wanted to replace Tallon for almost a year, but couldn't because of the team's, and by extension Tallon's success.

2) The first step was to hire Scotty Bowman. Once this took place, as this source told us, "Tallon was in essence a Dead man Walking" with regard to his future as GM. "He was toast as soon as Bowman was hired". Scotty took the job with the assurance that his son Stan Bowman, who had been with the team for almost 10 years, were to be promoted to the position. The first salvo we were told was the removal of Denis Savard just four games into the season. This wasn't Tallon's decision, but came from McDonough. In reality it was done at the behest of the elder Bowman, who had been lobbying the team to hire Quenville.

3) When the team had such success this past season it became even more difficult for management to up and fire the apparent architect of the turn around. They needed an easy excuse. Thus the Qualifying offer-gate issue surfaced. What many in the media already know but seem to be under reporting is the fact that it is the asst GM's duty to send out the QO. Guess who that is? Yes, Stan Bowman! So in essence Tallon was fired because his successor screwed up? Well yes, kind of. You see Bowman didn't 'screw up' we are told, but it was orchestrated to make Tallon look unqualified and thus give the team an easy out to fire Tallon. To prevent any further PR problems Tallon was retained within the organization so as to keep him quiet. However friends who know the very proud former NHL-er was profoundly hurt by the decision. Moral of the story, if Scotty Bowman is ever hired to be a consultant, don't take your eyes off him for a second! Tallon may not have been the best GM in pro sports, but he certainly didn't 'earn' a dismissal! Stabbed in the back indeed

Monday, July 20, 2009

Eklund Pucks Up?

1) As many of our long time readers may know we here at Fauxrumors have had an interesting relationship with the well known rumour whore known as Eklund.

2) We intended to do an all inclusive piece on him in the upcoming weeks, but another writer has apparently done a better job at that than we ever could, so we would ask our readers to peruse this site to learn all you'll ever need to know about this entity known as Eklund. At that very excellently written site, the best part in our opinion is a very telling stat. The writer compiled a full list of al known Eklund rumours from January 2008 through June 1, 2009. During that time there were 473 separate rumours of various types. Of these he got 457 wrong, and 15 correct! Yes, that's a whopping 3.1 % accuracy rating. Or more correctly Inaccuracy rating! Anyone going to his site looking for credible information is fooling themselves. Its not unlike the old psychic hot lines. His site should be required to run a disclaimer of "For Entertainment Purposes Only!

3) We would actually take that 3.1 % to task as he mentions so many potential teams involved/available player that its almost inconceivable that its not higher than 3.1 %. His now known tactic of announcing 'done deals', or other rumours as his own when they are in the media BEFORE HockeyBuzz had a recent example. He stated that his site called the Tallon firing. In fact a local Chicago station broke the story a 1/2 hour earlier. Apparently one of Ek's 'sources' has a television! LOL However, the doozy that really got back to Eklund was the Tanguay to Florida nonsense from a week ago. He actually went out on a huge limb (unusual for Eklund) and called it a done deal(An E5 in Eklundese) Unfortunately the deal was NOT a done. Far from it from what our Fauxrumor sources tell us. " It was never beyond the polite discussions phase" is what a respected source told us. " He went on to say, "I think someone wanted to screw around with this guy and put him in his place". To that we say, Its about time! LOL

4) In an attempt to try to deflect the immense criticism that resulted from this big miss and the possible loss of revenue generating customers Ek recently resorted to the sympathy card. He made up a story that his long time dog, Burt passed away. Sorry Ek, we weren't distracted by the Faux loss and the continued Tanguay, etc rumours that continued in the wake of your major screw-up. Again we say, if going to that site is simply for amusement, enjoy. If you're going there for legit inside information then you're being fooled by a total fraud! In our eyes Eklund as a credible source is dead and buried!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tallon Axed!

1) In a move that really should surprise no one the Chicago Black Hawks fired their GM Dale Tallon and replaced him with long time asst GM Stan Bowman. If you recognize that last name its for good reason. Stan is the son of Hall of Fame coach and Black Hawks senior advisor Scotty Bowman. Nepotism? Nah. LOL

2) As Fauxrumors outlined just last week Tallon was guilty of gross incompetence revolving around the sending out Qualifying offers late to retain his RFA's. Resulting in some getting considerably more than they otherwise would have expected to make, and plunging the team into a possible salary cap nightmare if not this, then certainly next season. The incident was an embarrassing one for the club and the NHLPA filed a grievance with the league. Some are saying that it was not a major factor in the change, but there is little doubt that it had an effect. As one scout told us this morning, "If Dale doesn't screw up the QF's(qualifying offers) he's still GM today!"

3) As for Tallon this ends a long tenure with the team as player, broadcaster and in various roles in the organization. Tallon became GM in 2005 and helped the club draft players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Towes. With a crop of solid young talent, the Black Hawks showed steady improvement over the past few years. Last season, Chicago made the playoffs for the first time since 2002. The young and skilled lineup made it all the way to Western Conference final, but lost to the Detroit Red Wings in five games. In our opinion he did a good enough job to not lose his job for this recent transgression. Hey Don Waddell stil has a job, right? (but the writing had to be on the wall when Scotty joined his son within the organization.) This started the purge that started last fall with the ousting of Savard as coach and replaced with a coach that Bowman had personally brought into the organization (Joel Quenneville). The younger Bowman takes over a team many see as Cup contenders. Not a bad gig to step into to.

Monday, July 13, 2009

99 In It For The Money?$?

1) A bizarre twist in the Phoenix Coyotes sale/bankruptcy proceedings. Apparently a lawyer representing Wayne Gretzky(the teams head coach and minority owner) wants to keep his clients private financial details out of the public arena and out of the current process unfolding in a Glendale Arizona court room. Responding to a motion by the city of Glendale to review Gretzky's income tax returns, Gretzky's attorneys argue that he is a California resident and is entitled to that state's privacy protections. They also say his personal finances aren't relevant to the complicated legal battle over the team's sale.

2) They aren't? Of course they are. He's an (part) owner, his finances ARE relevant. We're not attorney's here at Fauxrumors (Thank the Lord!), but we can see a clear connection when we see one. The Great One is taking in an enormous 7 million/season to coach a team for which he has NEVER won a thing! He is BY FAR the highest paid NHL coach. If he had a few Stanley Cups under his belt we PERHAPS could better understand that figure. As it is a coach like Mike Babcock who has won, and is considered one of the best in the business is believed to average around $1.5 million a season. Anyone see a problem with Wayne getting paid so handsomely, not producing results AND to top it all off the franchise is under water (hard to do in the desert!)

3) So we have to ask, (why isn't anyone else?) is Wayne in it for the $$ or the love of the game? Would his personal fiances perhaps show that Janet (Mrs Gretzky) has misappropriated a good deal of the Gretzky fortune gambling in Vegas while her husband is busy/on the road all season? Its likely Wayne just want to be paid off for the sale and be left alone without anyone knowing his business. Probably, but sorry 99, when you became part owner, and were paid well above the going rate for a mediocre NHL head coach, you opened yourself up to this kind of scrutiny. We won't get into the other aspects of this situation(right now) but suffice to say, things are getting quite interesting, and Mr. Bettman and others are not used to having their dirty laundry out there for all the world to see. We at Fauxrumors, couldn't be happier! WE always advocate for transparency!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


1) Incompetence is the only word we can find for two recent instances where NHL clubs have bungled a strait forward CBA rule to their possible detriments. One in Chicago and one in Philadelphia in the past week could cost their respective teams millions. First in Chicago GM Dale Tallon apparently screwed up big time when he was lax in his sending out 'Qualifying offers to his RFA's. This is usually a formality. It allows teams to retain players they intend to either re-sign or trade. It allows teams to minimally be compensated should one of those players be signed to an offer sheet by an enemy club. Failing to send a Qualifying offer automatically makes the player become an UFA, free to sign elsewhere without compensation.

2) Chicago thought it had tendered qualifying offers to several key players lasts week, including Kris Versteeg, Cam Barker, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Aaron Johnson and Troy Brouwer, however an investigation was underway to see if the qualifying offers were filed correctly. A source says the players involved didn't receive the necessary notification of the offers. According to Chicago general manager Dale Tallon the qualifying offers were mailed to the players in time, on June 29th, but says because of the July 1 holiday (Canada day), some of the players didn't receive them in time. Other sources tell us that 'qualifying offers are not supposed to be mailed'. Most teams send them via fax and well before the deadline.We were told that some of the qualifying offers were not faxed to the agents. A big no-no!

3) From there things got very murky. The NHLPA, as is their job, filed a grievance on the behalf of the players and the NHL/Chicago didn't attempt to fight them. However, not but a few days later and before the issue ever gained any traction all the players involved signed contracts. Seems odd, as they could potentially have been deemed UFA and in line for big pay days? However, some of the deals were for nice pay increases. Some might even say for more than what most would have expected in the current cap flat lining situation and with Chicago already up against the cap max. Perhaps the league/NHLPA didn't feel this situation was one they wanted to create a huge issue. The players/their agents also must have signed off on this and the situation has evaporated, but certainly the BlackHawk upper brass/owners can't be happy with how cavalierly Tallon handled the qualifying offer situation! You can be sure he's been put on notice for this apparent incompetence!

4) Meanwhile the other possible instance of GM incompetence is in Philadelphia. The Flyers and Paul Holmgren made the big splash at the entry draft when they acquired Chris Pronger from the Anaheim Ducks. The former Norris Trophy winner didn't come cheaply so it was in the Flyers best interest to try to lock up Pronger beyond the one year 6.5 million left on his current deal. So it was met with great fan fair when signed he signed a seven-year contract extension with the team worth $35 million. The contract includes a no-movement clause, meaning Pronger, 34, is likely to wrap up his time in the NHL as a member of the Flyers. The contract was for 7 years, but the bulk of the money is on the first 4 years. with the additional years basically to make the cap hit more palatable

5) The potential problem might arise with the fact that Pronger's contract will amount to an "over 35" deal. meaning that regardless of performance, retirement, etc, he will have to count against the salary cap until the deal is completed. Could Holmgren not known this. Sure Pronger is 34 right now, but Pronger turns 35 this fall and the deal kicks in next summer. The spirit of the provision is that it governs contracts that kick in when a player turns 35, not when it is signed. So it would seem the Flyers and Holmgren might have been too cute by half by signing Pronger to such a long term deal. So the Flyers could be stuck with a 5 million dollar cap hit for a player not in their lineup? A long-term injury exception, then would be the only way for Pronger to still retire and not impact the Flyers' ability to spend. (Think Mogilny in Jersey)Philadelphia would be able to claim a long-term injury exemption for his salary, keep it on the books, and then spend over the cap to fill out the roster, etc. Still we can't imagine that's what they were thinking about when they signed this deal. Again, like in Chicago, upper management can't be too happy with Mr. Holmgren right now. Incompetence, for sure!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One Year of No Nutz

1) Firstly apologies to FR. They originally asked us to NOT commemorate our blog victory over the delusional moron known as Hockeynutz. However, being that today is the one year anniversary that that imbecile finally gave up his insane/ perverse fascination with this blog we simply couldn't allow it to go by without mention.

2) For those who have become readers in the past year and are unaware of what occurred not long after this blog started almost 3 years ago until last July, an individual(s) located in the Calgary Alberta region (determined by IP address) quickly became amazingly obsessed with everything that we wrote here. He'd comment on almost every post we'd make with accusations of plagiarism, etc. He even started to make up several blog names to additionally comment here. The pinnacle of his audacity occurred in February of 2007 when employing the help of a computer hacker (or himself?) he stole our original blog. We hesitate to publish what it became, but to illustrate what kind of a sicko this guy is, we will.

3)As you can see even after he stopped his blog he briefly continued the ruse of mirroring this blog on the old site. FR's new approach of comment moderation coupled with alerting everyone of his tactics must have made his job near impossible and he slowly has lost interest. (Perhaps his parents took his computer away? LOL) We still occasionally see him pop up and use the Fauxrumors name on other sites to try to discredit the blog. Thankfully never to success. We have long since moved on and continue to grow. As we come close to our 3rd anniversary of doing this, we want to thank everyone who has assisted us in this endeavour!
As always, keep it here for all the latest!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oh, Dany Boy!

1) The Dany Heatley saga doesn't seem to want to end. Almost a full month+ since Heatley and Ottawa went public saying that there were irreconcilable differences between the team and their super star forward we still remain at a impasse. Twice we are told trades that were agreed upon by Edmonton and Ottawa were nixed by Dany boy. Now, for the record, as much as we dislike Bryan Murray, we have to come down on the side of Ottawa management on this one.

2) Once Heatley came out and publicly stated he wanted to be dealt he and his agent should have known that they already placed Ottawa into a poor position relative to getting back a good return on a trade. Teams knew that Murray was in a bind, and weren't going to offer top dollar in a trade. Therefore Heatley, after requesting a trade should have also said he wouldn't also exercise his 'No Trade Clause' and nix any potential deals. In our opinion you shouldn't have it both ways. If you didn't want to play in Edmonton you should have bit the bullet and shut the hell up and play for the Senators next season, case closed.

3) The negative response in Canada therefore should be expected. Not only has Heatley spurned one Canadian franchise, but now, in rejecting Edmonton, two! Who would have thought that Alexei Yashin would look good compared to Dany Boy!?! After all Yashin only quit on one team, not two, and to boot wasn't directly responsible for the death of anyone. Many may have forgotten how Heatley requested a trade from Atlanta after his "accident" that killed Dan Snyder The Thrashers accommodated their star who wanted a fresh start. Additionally Heatley only 2 years ago signed a very lucrative deal with the Senators. One that pays him a cap hit 7.5 million BUT the kicker is that the Sens actually paid him 14 million this past year in salary and bonuses so they have already paid out a considerable sum. So at the very least Heatley should agree to go where ever he was traded!

4) When last asked Murray said he doesn't have many options right now, which makes sense, and since the Sens had to recently pay out the 4 million dollar bonus he expects to get back even more than before that pay out. Murray is unlikely to get any GM to give him more than the rumoured Edmonton trade would have. Perhaps he could get the team to sweeten the deal with a draft pick or two, but with few teams with the cap space to absorb the Heatley contract, Murray and Heatley may have to try to mend fences? "Not gonna happen" is what one agent (Not Heatley's) told us. "No way Heatley plays another game in Ottawa!"

5) When we called around we found out what we were were told appeared to be accurate with a trade still MORE likely than not, despite what folks are saying publicly. Right now we are told that several teams are/were making offers. The Stars, Capitals, Sharks, LA and yes, even Edmonton are still very much in the hunt. In fact Edmonton is still the leading candidate. The Oilers are trying everything they can to convince Dany to change his mind. Also someone very close to the situation said the Columbus talk was all bullshit made up by Eklund. There was NEVER any discussions by those 2 teams We are told theSens "are making some headway" and a move could be announced before the week is out. For Dany Boy's sake he better agree to any move that Ottawa comes up with at this point! He's public Enemy #1 now, it could get even uglier if he doesn't relent, and soon!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


1) That one word is all we could come up with to describe some of the bizarre moves we saw made yesterday. Fauxrumors tells us that they will do a 'winners/losers' post in the upcoming days, but we wanted to first do a post to relay what we believe are some mentally unstable moves made by teams(GM's) the past 48 hours. That's all we could come up with as an explanation. They can't be stable, right? After all, doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, no?
2) Here are some of the moves made yesterday that show possible mental illness in our opinion.
  • The Canadiens taking on the Scott Gomez contract! What was Gainey thinking? Gomez at 4 million would be a stretch, but to now be forced to pay a guy a 7.35 cap hit for another 5 years is nuts, to put it mildly! To boot the Habs gave up one of their top prospects in the deal. 'Gomer' is NOT a true #1 center, but is paid like he is an elite player. Glen Sather must have creamed in his pants when Gainey agreed to take on the Gomez salary cap anchor.
  • The Gaborik contract: Of course Sather's next move was to use this new found space(plus a bit more) to take on an injury prone forward who has yet to win anything in his career. To give the guy 2-3 seasons was bad enough, but Sather had to give the guy 5! Nuts! Of course Gainey will probably take him next summer!
  • The Gionta contract: Again, the GM we believe is most in need of counseling, Bob Gainey gave a 5 year contract to a guy 4 years removed from his last top productive season. Sure, he had a decent year last season, but he's 30 and you give him a 5 year deal at 1st line money?
  • Not to be out done Brian Burke in Toronto also made a few moves that had us scratching our heads. Signing Colton Orr to a 4 year contract? Sure its only for 1 million, but why the extra years? Its not like he's an irreplaceable piece that you don't want to get away! Then he signs Mike Komisarek to a 5 year deal at what most expected at 4.5 million, but for a stay at home non flashy type coming off a less than stellar year it seems quite steep. perhaps not an insane deal, but still not the best move in our opinion
  • The Bouwmeester contract- Right before the UFA period was set to commence the Flames signed Jay to a 5 year, 6.7 mil cap hit deal. Now we think Bouwmeester is a nice player who may yet improve more, but is he an elite defensemen? No. We believe very shortly the Flames will find out what Panther fans have seen; He's NOT the go to guy that this contract appears make Jay. If he falters (see Wade Redden) fans and management will be all over the poor guy who is a self described introvert. In other words, it could get ugly, fast!

3) Other curious, yet not quite insane moves:

  • Giving a 36 year old goalie a 4 year contract(Khabibulin). yes, it wasn't for the absurd 6.75 he got from his last deal, but its length is what got our attention
  • Paying an old fighter(Brashear) 2 years at 1.4 mil. Seems a lot to pay a 4th line designated fighter.
  • Six years for Marty Havlat. The cap hit is reasonable(5 million) IF he stays healthy for the duration. The problem is Marty other than last season, doesn't stay healthy for long stretches.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Free Agency Bonanza!

1) Its July 1st. Freedom day for a multitude of NHL players who become Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA's) as of today. Free to negotiate and sign where ever they want with out any compensation due to their previous teams. With the 2004 CBA that age dropped considerably. What once was relegated to the older 32+ year olds, now can be attained as young/early as 25 if the players' career commences at 18 and he puts in 7 years of service. Therefore players just coming into their primes many times are available, where as before you had a player getting long in the tooth and with few productive seasons remaining.

2) What is different now is that with the salary cap teams can't just throw big $$ to any or every player. Thought is required (or should be Mr. Sather) before a big contract is signed as the ramifications of a bad signing in a salary capped league can be detrimental. With that in mind here is our abridged list of players who can be had as of today. We will list the player, his former team and what we are hearing with regard to possible destinations and what it will take to get him signed. Going from Goalies, defensemen, then finally forwards.

3) Goalies:

  • Nikolai KHABIBULIN: Probably the cream of the UFA goalie crop, was initially trade bait for the hawks going into the season, but outplayed new goalie Huet to reclaim the top spot in net. Won't be back in Chicago, and will have to take a pay cut fro the absurd 6.25 mil he made under his previous bloated deal. The Avalanche, and Maple Leafs have shown interest in his services and it would probably take a 3 year 15 million commitment to get the Bulin wall signed

  • Craig ANDERSON: Had a very solid season backing up Vokoun in Florida. Would be a relatively affordable starter, but has yet to play an entire season as the #1 guy. Edmonton might be the destination if they can't convince Roloson to sign for less than what he got last season. Other interested teams include the NY Islanders and Blues. Craig looking for a multi year deal at 2+ million

  • Martin BIRON: With the Ray Emery signing the Biron era in Philly ended. He had a decent playoff last year, but this this past seaosn was a disapointment. Will find a taker at a 2.5 mil 2 year deal. If the leafs fail to get Khabibulin they would turn to Biron as 'plan B.' Also. see above Edmonton)

  • Dwayne ROLOSON: First choice is Edmonton, but his demands of a multi year deal at similar money that he made this season could be a deal breaker. Could be headed to TO or Colorado if that happens.

  • Brent JOHNSON: Our sources tell us that although Brent would have preferred to stay in DC another season or two, he's not in their plans. His second choice would be to play for his grandfather's team (Sid Abel) in Detroit as a possible replacement for Ty Conklin.

  • Ty CONKLIN: (See above) Had a decent season as a backup in Detroit, but showed once again why he isn't considered a #1, but a good back up type. As such Ty won't get any multi year offers and under 900K. However there won't be a shortage of suitors for his services

  • Scott CLEMMENSEN: Earned a contract when he played nearly 1/2 the season as NJ's top goalie. No one expected he'd steal the spot from Weekes when Brodeur got injured, but Scott carried the team. Lou Lamarello would like to have Scott be the backup next year, but it'll cost him at least a mil/year a bit more than he'd like, but Lou is loyal to the players who go the extra mile for his team. expect Scott to sign a multi year deal and stay in NJ

  • Martin GERBER: The 34 year old Swiss goalie may have trouble finding a top job after getting waived by Ottawa late last season and not impressing Toronto late in the year. A return to Europe may be in store for the 'bad' Marty'.

4) Next defensemen. This year's crop is far superior to what was available last season.

  • Scott NIEDERMAYER: Forced by the Ducks to make a decision early this time around, his decision was seen as why the Ducks dealt Chris Pronger last week. Although there are rumours that Scott could sign elsewhere, its not going to happen. He'd prefer that his brother and fellow UFA Rob also be signed by the Ducks. Look for both to get one year perhaps with a player option for a second season, with Scott offered about 6 million

  • Jay BOUWMEESTER: His rights were traded by Florida at the draft to Calgary for a 3rd rounder. They and Edmonton have been the favourites to get his services. Our only advice is 'buyer beware'. As one scout put it, " jay is talented, but not a go to guy". His isn't worth 6-7 million. He'll probably get it from one of the Alberta teams, but there will be buyers remorse this time next year!

  • Rob BLAKE: Coming off a solid rebound type season in SJ, but another post season tumble tarnished the year for all players in the Silicon valley. That said the sharks want Blake back BUT only with a one year commitment for the 39 year old and probably for about 4 million

  • Mike KOMISAREK: Let the rumours of his impending signing by the Islanders commence. After all that's where Mike is from, and the isles have the cap space, so it seems like a natural fit, right? Sorry Isles fans we don't see it. With the Witt resigning and already having Sutton, there is no need for another stay at home defender. Mike is most likely staying put in Montreal at 5 mil for 5 years

  • Derek MORRIS:Almost a guarantee Morris won't be returning to the Rangers. In fact its unlikely Derek will opt to stay in the eastern Conference, but he'll have to realize the days of making close to 4 million/season are over. The Canucks, Senators and Kings have shown interest.

  • Francios BEAUCHEMIN: Naturally the Habs are rumoured to be interested. He's French, so of course! LOL That said, the Ducks are most likely going to retain his services. he'll have to be more realistic if he believes he's gonna get 4+ million anywhere. 3.5 for 3-4 years is more realistic and the Ducks already have such a deal on the table waiting for him.

  • Matt OHLUND: Looks like Mat wants to stay out West. He'd prefer to stay in Vancouver but that is looking more doubtful by the day. LA has might be interested but failing that the Hawks also have expressed interest in the solid, yet unflashy veteran Swede defender.

  • Matt SCHNEIDER: The 40 year old NY,NY native had a solid season and will return for his 21st NHL season. Where is the question. If he's willing to take a pay cut to around 3 million for a one year deal the Habs would gladly have him back. Don't rule out a return to NY, either, more likely in his native Manhattan than out on the island, although that's also possible.

  • John ODUYA: Who? Exactly! John quietly enjoyed a second straight solid season in NJ, with almost 30 points and an impressive +21. He is solid in his own zone and as one source told us 'could be a real steal for a contender in need of defensive help.' Of course Lamarello knows this well too, but its gonna take much more than the 600K the Devils paid the 27 year old Swede. Probably a four-year deal in the $3-4 mil range

  • Nick BOYNTON: The 30 year old who is already completing his 9th NHL season had a solid, if unspectacular season in Florida. He was sent home in late February when the team wasn't pleased with some of his efforts so its unlikely Nick sticks with the Panthers. The Penguins, Rangers, LA or Dallas are in the running

  • Jaroslav SPACEK: The Sabres would like to have him back, but are they willing to acquiesce to his demands of a multi year deal? He had a solid season at both ends of the ice and would be missed in Buffalo is he leaves. You can bet more than one team would be wiling to give Jaroslav a 3 year 12 million deal, so will the Sabres step up? Probably not. The Habs might look to replace Komarsarek with this guy? LA also has interest

5) Finally forwards. Quite a few top notch forwards are available, but as with the other positions players may be in for a rude awakening when the offers are smaller than in previous summers.

  • Henrik/Daniel SEDIN: (See double-trouble) Want absurd money/years. Some sap will give it to them.

  • Marian GABORIK: Yes, when he is healthy he can be one of the more exciting offensive players i the game. Unfortunately, he has been hurt more often than not on and off throughout his career. he was foolish to turn down a mega million/year deal with the wild last fall. Sure, he'll get a nice contract somewhere for 6 or so mil, but NOT anywhere near the 8+ he was asking last summer. In our opinion we'd pass, and use the 6 mil to sign 2 solid 2nd line forwards

  • Marian HOSSA: If the rumor of an offer of 1 year 4 million to return to Detroit are true, it doesn't bode well for other big name UFA forwards. That's a steep decline from the 7.45 he made this past year. Marian had an excellent season in Mo-town. He could undoubtedly get bigger offers elsewhere, but does he want to finally play on the Cup winner and not the runner up, again? Our guess he ends up where he can make a bigger contract this time around

  • Mike CAMMALLERI: With the other high priced players on the team one likely casualty will be Cammalleri. He had a career season at just the right time, and he'll likely command in excess of 5 million per season. Too many teams to list who are interested, but an Eastern Conference team is likely, and don't be shocked to see the usual Toronto rumours pan out in this instance

  • Martin HAVLAT: Much like Gaborik, when healthy is a dynamically gifted forward. problem is, its not often enough. He manged to stay injury free in his contract year. Coincidence? We'd be wary of making him a big offer. The BlackHawks would like to retain the wing, but at a somewhat discounted salary from he 6 million he made this past year. If they fail to reach an accord the Habs, Oilers and the Islanders are ready to make multi year offers.

  • Alex KOVALEV: Another potential Hab UFA to leave the city this summer? It might be time for Kovalev to move on from Montreal and see if a change of scenery would reignite his career after a disappointing 08-09. He may have to lower his salary expectations from the 4.5 mil he made this season. Might Alex be headed out West? We believe that's where he might end up if Pittsburgh doesn't make an offer.

  • Mats SUNDIN: Anyone give a crap where he ends up? We sure don't after reading about this guy for a better part of a year+ before signing and not helping the Canucks this past season. We're sure he'll get interest, but any G who believes he will be the missing piece should have their heads examined/given a drug test!

  • Nik ANTROPOV: The epitome of the word 'enigma'. Has size and a great skill set, but seldomly uses both on a regular basis. For that reason its unlikely the Rangers will try to re-up the forward at his asking price of 4+ million. That said, he will likely get close to that on the open market

  • Alex TANGUAY:Essentially a lost season for the Hab's other Alex. Tanguay missed 30+ games with injuries and never seemed to fit in. as such his numbers were down and no where near earned his hefty 5.4 million price tag. Its probably a safe bet he'll have to take a modest pay cut this time around, but he'll be sure to get plenty of offers.

  • Brian GIONTA: Amazingly he is now four seasons removed from his career high 48-goal season, but Gionta enjoyed a solid season in NJ picking up 60 points. Its unlikely the Devils will/can match the 4 million he made this past season so unless he's willing to give a huge home town discount, don't expect Brian to remain a dev.

  • Saku KOIVU:Our sources tell us that the Habs would love to have Saku back. After all he has been the Habs captain and emotional leader for nearly a decade. When he was in the lineup he was productive enough to earn another contract in the 4 million range

  • Chris NEIL: Is there any doubt he's going to the leafs? Its a perfect fit. Brian Burke loves these kinds of players and the leafs are desperate for some muscle.

6) Note(s) to readers, this post was written over the past 48 hours. Since then several signings/trades have taken place. Johnny Oduya was signed for about what we expected. The Flames were able to secure Bowmeester for an absurd 6.8 million, and most amazingly stupid, the Habs traded for Scott Gomez and his 7 million cap hit for Chris Higgins and several top prospects. We'll get into the 'winners/losers of draft/free agency in the next couple of weeks but suffice to say Bob Gainey has taken a giant leap towards 'loser'!

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