NHL Free Agent Rumors – Saturday, May 7, 2011.

The latest on Nicklas Lidstrom, Semyon Varlamov, Ilya Bryzgalov, Ian Laperriere and Radek Dvorak.

USA TODAY: Kevin Allen reported his reasons why he believed Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom won’t retire after this season, citing his family isn’t in a rush to leave Michigan, his close ties with the Red Wings organization, the salary (at least $6 million if he should return), his love of the game and he’s still playing at a high level, earning a Norris Trophy nomination at age 40.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All valid points, but ultimately it’ll come down to whether he feels he can handle the rigours of another NHL season. If yes, then of course he’ll return. If not, retirement beckons. Wouldn’t surprise me if he returns for another season, but the Wings must start preparing for the fast-approaching day when he finally does pack it in.

WASHINGTON POST: Slava Malamud reported Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov addressed rumors he might bolt for the KHL next season, saying his preference is to remain in the NHL and re-sign with Washington. Malamud suggested a decision could come down to monetary matters, where a KHL team could offer a better salary, complete with a lower tax rate, which could prove difficult to reject.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov does however sound like his preference is to remain in the NHL, so we shouldn’t be too hasty in assuming he’ll head to Russia this summer.

YAHOO! SPORTS’  Dmitry Chesnokov recently reported via Twitter the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg had started negotiations with Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. SKA signed Evgeni Nabokov last summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen if they’ll be successful. The Coyotes hope to re-sign him, and if he tests the market there could be considerable interest from other NHL clubs. This is likely something Bryzgalov will keep in his hip pocket should he be unable to land a substantial new contract with the Coyotes or another NHL club.

CANOE.CA: reported Philadelphia Flyers oft-injured forward Ian Laperriere admitted in a recent interview the vision in his injured eye hasn’t improved, leading him to suggest his playing career may be over.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If so that’s a tough break for a popular, gritty player, whose style of play which made him so valuable in the NHL ultimately could contribute to his retirement.

AJC.COM: Chris Vivlamore recently interested Radek Dvorak, who was acquired by the Atlanta Thrashers in late-February, on his off-season plans. Dvorak admitted he liked Atlanta and the Thrashers future, and hopes to re-sign with them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if there’s a place for Dvorak with the Thrashers. He would be an affordable re-signing but they might look at bringing in a younger player with more upside.


  1. I agree that Lidstrom returns for one more season. The reason that’s not being mentioned – the record books. Lidstrom needs 6 more playoff goals, 12 more playoff assists, and 15 more playoff points, to top the all time playoff lists, spots from which it will be near impossible to remove him. He may be able to do that this year if the Wings pull a comeback and make the finals, though I doubt it. But if he makes the playoff next season and advances beyond round 1, this would be possible.

    Topping Paul Coffey (and Ray Bourque on assists) on the alltime lists, btw, would also put him in the all-skaters playoff top 5 points and top 3 in assists. 9 more playoff power play points puts him 1st career overall, ahead of Brett Hull, Bossey, and Gretzky.

    So he’s still got something to play for :)

  2. i would love to see lidstrom come back for 1 more year
    We wont see a talent like that for a while


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