Roberto Luongo hires new agents, updates on the contract statuses of Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel and Jared Cowen, and the Saddledome will be ready in time for the Calgary Flames season.
VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo has dumped longtime agent Gilles Lupien, replacing him with the powerhouse duo of J.P. Barry and Pat Brisson of CAA Sports. Barry said he’d leave it to Luongo to explain the change, adding agents do more than simply negotiate contracts for their clients. It’s been speculated Luongo was unhappy it was Corey Schneider, not himself, who was traded.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some are speculating Luongo’s change in agents is a sign of his continued unhappiness with his current situation. You can read more in today’s “Rumors” section.
TSN.CA: Nazem Kadri is optimistic he’ll be under a new contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in time for training camp. It remains to be seen if he receives a lucrative, long-term contract or a short-term “bridge” deal. Teammate Phil Kessel, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, told reporters he hasn’t thought about contract negotiations yet.
TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs signed defenseman Paul Ranger to a one-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri is coming off his entry level contract and lacks arbitration rights, so if the Leafs opt to sign him to a shorter bridge contract, he’ll have little leverage (apart from staging a holdout) to force a longer term deal. I expect he’ll get a two-three year deal.
As for Kessel, there’s no rush to open contract talks now, but I wonder if the Leafs have tried? If they have, the Kessel camp could prefer to wait, gambling another strong season will increase his value and net him a lucrative long-term contract, either from the Leafs or via the UFA market. I believe it’ll cost between $7-$8 million per season for the Leafs to re-sign him.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Gord Holder reports Rick Valette, the agent for Senators RFA defenseman Jared Cowen, expects contract talks with the Senators will pick up soon. Cowen is coming off his entry-level deal and lacks arbitration rights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Kadri, I expect Cowen will have to accept a short-term “bridge” contract.
CALGARY SUN: Flames president and CEO Ken King said the Saddledome, which was damaged by flood waters in June, will be ready for the club in time for the preseason.