An update on Mikhail Grabovski, the latest on the Oilers and Red Wings, and a list of the top available unrestricted free agents.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Jason Brough cited a tweet from Yahoo! Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov claiming former Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski wants to sign with an NHL team, having rejected the one offer he received from a KHL club. Brough suggested Winnipeg might be a good destination, as they could use depth at center following the departure of Alexander Burmistrov to the KHL.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That shouldn’t be surprising. Grabovski gave no indication the KHL was an option. One reason he hasn’t landed a contract yet is he was on his honeymoon, as the Leafs bought him out the day before his wedding, which coincidentally was July 5, when this year’s UFA market began. The Jets could be interested, but it’ll depend on what Grabovski’s asking price. He won’t get over $5 million per season. Indeed, because of his buyout, he might have to accept half that.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples reports a recent poll of Oilers fans (71 percent) feel new GM Craig MacTavish hasn’t done enough to improve the club. Staples notes questions linger at every position, as well as the endless trade speculation about Ales Hemsky. Jim Matheson, meanwhile, believes the Oilers bringing back Denis Grebeshkov could make Corey Potter trade bait.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Staples pointed out, MacTavish has tried to move Hemsky this summer but so far hasn’t found any takers. Trading Hemsky isn’t impossible, but given his $5 million salary for next season, his lengthy injury history, the declining salary cap and the glut of second-tier talent remaining in the UFA market, moving him remains difficult. They could have an easier time moving Potter.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis reports the Detroit Red Wings have an excess of forwards and would like to move one. Willis believes veterans Todd Bertuzzi, Mikael Samuelsson and Jordin Tootoo could be available, as could perhaps Patrick Eaves. He also wondered if a rival club could convince the Wings to part with one of their young forwards, like Justin Abdelkader, Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, and Joakim Andersson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings won’t part with those four younger forwards. Indeed, GM Ken Holland recently said he’d have Nyquist and Andersson re-signed before the start of training camp.
TORONTO SUN: Lists Grabovski, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jaromir Jagr, Brenden Morrow, Damien Brunner, Mason Raymond, Simon Gagne, Vinny Prospal, Teemu Selanne and Rick DiPietro as the top remaining UFAs.