The first week of the NHL’s arbitration period has passed, with those players slated for hearings (Phoenix’s Lauri Korpikoski, Tampa Bay’s Teddy Purcell, Chicago’s Viktor Stalberg, Anaheim’s Andrew Cogliano, L.A.’s Brad Richardson, Colorado’s Ryan Wilson and Brandon Dubinsky of the Rangers) re-signing with their respective teams, in some cases well before their hearing dates.
Looking ahead to the week of July 25 to 29, there aren’t many players originally slated for hearings who haven’t already re-signed.
(Andrej Sekera (Buffalo ), Brian Boyle (Rangers), Kevin Porter (Colorado), Sergei Kostitsyn (Nashville), Alec Martinez (L.A.) and Derek Joslin (Carolina) have already agreed to new contracts.)
Still, there are three players who have yet to reach settlements: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges and Rangers right winger Ryan Callahan (July 28) and Vancouver Canucks left winger Jannik Hansen (July 29).
Given the current trend, don’t be surprised if all three settle with their teams, rather than risk the ego-bruising process of arbitration.
The same goes for Nashville’s Shea Weber, New Jersey’s Zach Parise and Mark Fraser and the Islanders’ Blake Comeau, whose hearings are scheduled for the first week in August.
Only one player, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Chris Campoli, went to arbitration, where he was awarded a one-year, $2.5-million contract.
That was, however, merely a formality, allowing the Blackhawks, who ended contract talks with Campoli last week, to use their “walk away” option, making him an unrestricted free agent.
NO MALONE TO TORONTO
If you can believe it, there has been a Tampa Bay Lightning forward linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs in even longer than the recently re-signed Steven Stamkos.
Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun recently observed rugged Lightning left winger Ryan Malone has been a popular target for Toronto rumormongers since 2009, but Koshan noted those rumors, like so many, don’t make sense.
Malone, 31, still has four years remaining on his contract at an average cap hit of $4.5 million per season, plus he also has a no-movement clause for the next two years.
Koshan pointed out his salary would be a lot of money for the Leafs to absorb, especially since, given Malone’s injury history, there’s no guarantees he’d be a first-line player.
Malone plays with the “truculence” Leafs GM Brian Burke values in his players, but Burke seems committed to more affordable fare on shorter terms.
Besides, Malone probably wouldn’t relish the transition of leaving a team that came within one game this spring of advancing to the Stanley Cup final for one that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004.
ISLANDERS LOOKING FOR DEFENSE?
Could the Islanders be gearing up for a possible trade?
Newsday’s Katie Strang suggested the Islanders, hoping to excite their fan base and generate support toward winning an upcoming local referendum on a new arena, should make a significant player move.
Strang pointed out Isles GM Garth Snow has suggested his team lacked a top-two defenseman to pair with Mark Streit. With the Islanders presently under the salary cap floor by roughly $9 million, Strang believes the team could “kill two birds with one stone” by acquiring a notable player whose salary can help push them close to the cap floor.
Her comments had Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank musing about whether or not Strang had knowledge the Isles might be working on a deal.
Snow certainly won’t find what he’s looking for in the UFA market, as that’s already been picked clean of notable talent.
He could try to tempt away RFA blueliner Drew Doughty from the Kings with an offer sheet, but the L.A. would surely quickly match.
Undoubtedly there will be some folks who’ll start dreaming up “Doughty to the Islanders” trade rumors, but that appears about as likely a prospect as signing him away with an offer sheet.
One rumor making the rounds of the blogosphere has the Islanders trading for Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek, but apart from the appeal that he’s a local boy, Komisarek’s performance in recent years hasn’t been top-two quality.
The only thing such a move would be guaranteed to accomplish is his $4.5-million cap hit would get the Isles considerably closer to the floor.
JETS NOT DONE YET
Having recently avoided salary arbitration with Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s top priority is re-signing RFA blueliner Zach Bogosian.
Cheveldayoff said contract talks with Bogosian’s agent were ongoing, but acknowledged it could take some time to get a deal in place. The Jets GM also said he would continue to sift through the UFA market as well as listen for opportunities to add more scoring punch.
An Internet-generated rumor claimed the Edmonton Oilers were in talks with the Jets about Bogosian, but if Cheveldayoff’s comments are anything to go by, the young blueliner won’t be leaving the ‘Peg anytime soon.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey News.