Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 22, 2011.

The latest from the Edmonton Journal, New York Post, and The Sporting News, plus updates on Andrew Ladd and Derek Meech.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile faces a difficult decision in determining how much to pay team captain Shea Weber, a restricted free agent on July 1st. Matheson suggested Poile might be using the contracts of Chicago’s Duncan Keith ($5.5 million per season) and Brent Seabrook ($5.8 million per) as templates, but Weber could be worth as much as Boston’s Zdeno Chara ($7.5 million per season), noting the similarities in playing style and ice time…Poile also has no idea if wayward Predators forward Alexander Radulov intends to return to the team next season or remain in the KHL…Matheson also believes the Columbus Blue Jackets “would be overjoyed” if they could get a third round pick for under-achieving winger Nikita Filatov, who’ll be running a hockey camp this summer in Moscow for amateur players…Oft-injured former Oilers forward Ethan Moreau, 35, could have a tough time finding another NHL team to sign with given his injury history…The Chicago Blackhawks could seek an affordable, younger backup, rather than bring back Marty Turco… The Hurricanes and Blue Jackets could also likely seek affordable backups, while the Colorado Avalanche need a number one goalie…Sources claim the Blackhawks would like to move Niklas Hjalmarsson’s four-year, $14 million contract…The Islanders will almost certainly move Evgeni Nabokov this summer, and if the Flyers come calling, GM Garth Snow shouldn’t move Nabokov unless he gets something of value (Kris Versteeg? Matt Carle?) in return…Joni Pitkanen would be a perfect fit with the Detroit Red Wings but they lack the cap space to sign him, leading Matheson to wonder if perhaps the Columbus Blue Jackets could afford him…Returning to Shea Weber, Matheson suggests there’s a possibility Weber might only sign a one-year extension, making him eligible for UFA status next summer, and wondered if the Red Wings would be in the running for him then…If the Oilers pursue a UFA this summer, it should be Washington’s Brooks Laich, to help mentor Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber could come in between $6.5 -$7 million. He’ll re-sign long-term with the Predators, but he won’t come cheap…It remains to be seen what Radulov will do, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he stays in Russia…Filatov has been a huge bust for the Blue Jackets, and if they don’t dump him this summer, expect them to make him trade bait during the season if he doesn’t pick up his play…Moreau could face retirement or playing in Europe next season…The Blackhawks signed Alexander Salak on Friday, making him their likely backup for Crawford…I expect the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets will dip into this summer’s UFA market for affordable, experienced backup goalies, of which there should be plenty available…If the Avalanche don’t pursue a starting goalie this summer, they won’t be taken seriously as a playoff contender…I’m still not convinced the Blackhawks will move Hjalmarsson only a year after matching the offer sheet from the Sharks…Nabokov will be dealt, but it remains to be seen if he’ll go to the Flyers, as the Avalanche could have serious interest…The Blue Jackets could certainly have interest in Pitkanen, but I doubt they’ll overpay for him…Weber’s not going to sign a one-year deal with the Predators, so forget about him  being available next summer…The Oilers appear content to rebuild with youth, and I don’t think the Capitals want to lose Laich.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks continues the call for the NY Rangers to sign Dallas Stars pending UFA center Brad Richards this summer, calling for GM Glen Sather to strike now by making a trade offer to the Stars, whose ownership situation remains in flux, in order to secure exclusive negotiating rights leading up to July 1st.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Rangers, or perhaps another team, could try to acquire Richards’ rights from the Stars, but I don’t see that happening until mid-June at the earliest, as the Stars management are probably hoping to get their ownership situation sorted out before then and attempt to re-sign Richards. Don’t be surprised however if the Stars retain Richards’ rights up to the July 1st deadline.

SPORTING NEWS: Craig Custance believes the playoff heroics of pending UFAs like Tampa Bay’s Sean Bergenheim and Dwayne Roloson, Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa, Nashville’s Joel Ward and San Jose’s Ian White could translate into big bucks for those players if they hit the open market, or if their current clubs re-sign them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams however must be careful not to overpay them. It wouldn’t be the first time a player like Bergenheim, Ward or White have one terrific playoff year, but fail to follow up on it. Roloson and Bieksa are proven performers so anyone signing them, be it their current teams or new ones, know what they’ll be getting. Bergenheim, Ward and White on the other hand could merely be flashes in the pan.

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports contract talks between the Atlanta Thrashers and team captain Andrew Ladd are now on hold given the uncertainty over the club’s future location. LeBrun cautions not to read into this as meaning Ladd, a restricted free agent, doesn’t want to play in Winnipeg if that’s where the team ends up, but rather the two sides simply haven’t yet been able to agree on a new contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hat tip to GJ Berg. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Ladd’s contract status if the Thrashers as expected are moved to Winnipeg.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: George Sipple reports Red Wings defenseman Derek Meech, who has spent the past four seasons bouncing between the Wings and their AHL affiliate, has decided to move on via free agency and explore other options, including playing overseas.


9 Comments

  1. OOOHHHHHH NO NOT MEECH! lol the dude stinks

  2. What is it with Brooks? His on-again off-again mancrush on Richards is getting real old. Last time Richards was a bum because he was concussed and Sather’s only option was to blow it up for Rick Nash… It’d be nice if his opinion wasn’t constantly contradictory and/or wrong.

  3. Good points about not overpsying to keep guys like Ward, White and Bergenheim. In the Preds case, Ward is a good player at under 2M, but if he wants more than that they would do better to use that money with whatever additional money they have to spend on a top tier offensive player. They have youngsters who can replace Ward, they don’t have anyone who can score much in their system.

    And I think Rads will stay right where he’s at in the KHL. He gets to be top dog over there, which appears to be the main concern with him. In the NHL he’s a 25-30 goal guy, not bad, but not MVP status either.

  4. Weber: long-term Pred (read: captain) $7mil
    Radulov: Wrong temperment to have success in nhl IF he came.
    Filatov: This guy is so not worthless yet, but he may be someone else’s project.
    Moreau: Well I was surprised he got a deal this year so you never know, maybe veterans will come back in fashion this summer. Is he ready for a 2-way?
    Turco: Sounds like this speculating journalist was being nice about it.
    Colorado: I think they want the other half of a 2 starter system. Elliot still might turn out, he needs icetime, but not to have to do it without help. But then again, who’s gonna be taking a shot at the middling tenders like Ellis, Pavelic, Lehtinen, Hedburg….etc, the good night bad night guys after this year? I think top tender’s value will be up, but i’m not sure that colorado is thinking of Elliot as pure backup.
    Hjalmarsson: I think sources would like to move this greedy piece so that they can get a player that they like more, but I’m not so sure that that reflects the feelings of Stan Bowman.
    Nabokov: Yeah yeah yeah, everyone wants a top cheese goalie for 500k…..but want kind of attitude is this guy bringing to camp? How hard will he want to work for that? Any team that goes for it better be sure that they’re a team he likes. I have a feeling we’ve seen the last of him.
    Pitkanen: This guy is a beauty. I have no idea why it isn’t assumed he’ll be in Carolina. The Wings certainly could afford him though, if Lidstrom retires, which i still think will happen this year.
    Laich: I agree with Spector that Washington wants this animal (assuming that they are not implementing my 5 part re-build, which doesn’t include Laich-like players), but you got to figure that the sweepstakes are on here……I’m thinking Burke might throw a big number out? You could list a dozen teams that are probably ready to throw at least 4 mil at him. Depends on those exit interviews i suppose.
    Richards: Signs a one year for 6 mil in Dallas. Yeah he loves Tortarella, and as a fan i’d be thrilled, but i am predicting a holding pattern.
    Bergenheim: Not a surprise as he was had picked by Yzerman (obviously leading in goals is a bit of a surprise), he will get $2mil per for 3yrs.
    Roloson: Will be back 1 year at same price, as will Smith.
    Bieksa: Front-loaded $26mil over 8 years with canucks.
    Ward: The goals were a plesant surprise but not the ruthless work-a-thon that produced them. Every team needs this guy. You hate to play him. I’m assuming he stays in Nash for 1.5.
    White: May have found a home here. They’d be pretty hard pressed to pay him any more or less than the 3 mil he makes now. F
    Atlanta/Winnipeg: This is a pretty tasty roster. With a good GM and coach. Obviously, captain Ladd remains pretty key.
    Go nucks.

  5. Ladd not signng likely has much more to do with the future owners wanting to negotiate the deal on their own. If Atlanta signs him to a deal, that’s just one more complication to deal with when trying to sell the team.

  6. I hope Ladd resigns and they move to Winnipeg.
    Although I am a Flames fan in all regards, I don’t want Winnipeg to come back as a whipping boy. Seeing this young Atlanta team in Winnipeg would be perfect for the city and the game.

    The contracts listed here were pretty interesting, and I fully agree with the playoff performers/contract issue. Although players like White make a decent 4 or 5, there is no need to pay the likes of him +3 million per season.

  7. yeah, White was arbitrated 3 per.

  8. Whites 3m was negotiated with Calgary, Moreau was still under the contract he signed in Edmonton.. Could see the wings looking at Pitkanen now that Rafi’s retiring, plenty of cap space.

  9. To assume Ladd won’t move to Winnipeg is sort of stupid. I’d rather take him at face value if and when he actually comes out and says he’s not interested (I don’t think this is the case). The announcement should come this week about the team and it makes sense that they put the signings on hold in order to sort that part of the ship out, given that it sort of is a major part. This is more LeBrun talking things up for ratings rather than any sort of truth.