Although some rumormongers continue to float speculation the Anaheim Ducks will trade Bobby Ryan if his contract standoff continues, it’s not an option the winger wants to consider.
Ryan recently insisted he wants to remain a Duck and isn’t seeking a move. He told the Orange County Register the sticking point in his contract negotiations is the length of the contract. The Ducks are offering a five-year deal worth $5 million annually, but Ryan, an RFA, would prefer a three-year deal as he feels his value will be higher in three years time.
A contract holdout is a remote possibility and is a tactic rarely seen since the imposition of the salary cap five years ago. Ryan doesn’t have much leverage in this case.
NHL NIXES ANOTHER KOVALCHUK CONTRACT
Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract status with the New Jersey Devils seemed to come into focus earlier this week when it was reported Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek, GM Lou Lamoriello and Kovalchuk’s agent Jay Grossman met with NHL officials in New York to discuss the framework of a new deal that would be acceptable to the league.
It appeared the two sides were well on their way to laying the groundwork for a new pact, but a subsequent report in Wednesday’s New York Post claimed the league rejected the proposed framework. This lead the newspaper to suggest the league may end up inadvertently pushing Kovalchuk to play in Russia if a contract with the Devils cannot be worked out.
The only certainty in all this is the Devils have a limited amount of time to get Kovalchuk under contract before training camp opens next month, meaning his summer-long saga will likely carry on for a few more weeks.
The Post also reported Lamoriello was working on trading defenseman Bryce Salvador to free up the cap space required to absorb Kovalchuk’s figures, suggesting the Dallas Stars as a possible destination.
Salvador will earn $2.9 million this season and lacks a no-trade clause. The Stars, however, were rumored to be in the market for a veteran puckmoving defenseman, which Salvador is not. Given the uncertainty surrounding efforts to sell the Stars, GM Joe Nieuwendyk remains under a tight budget and will be hard-pressed to make a move at this time.
HUET OFF TO SWITZERLAND?
It appears Cristobal Huet won’t be returning with the Chicago Blackhawks this season.
It’s been expected the cap-strapped team would either demote Huet to the minors or loan him to a European club in order to clear his $5.625 million ever since he lost the starter’s job.
Earlier this week a report out of Switzerland stated Huet’s agent, Stephen Barlett, was working on a deal that would see his client play with Fribough-Gotteron of Switzerland’s National League.
While Bartlett cautioned the deal was still being worked out, it appears Huet will be tending goal in Switzerland, where he played several seasons prior to beginning his NHL career.
Huet’s NHL future beyond this season remains uncertain – his deal with Chicago runs through 2011-12 – but his tenure with the Blackhawks is over.
BIEKSA STAYING IN VANCOUVER?
Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa has been a fixture in the rumor mill throughout the summer, but it looks as though he’ll still be a Canuck when the season begins in October.
Recent reports suggest the Canucks will retain Bieksa due in part to an Achilles tendon injury sustained by veteran blueliner Sami Salo.
The Canucks also signed free agent left winger Raffi Torres to a one-year, $1-million contract, adding the depth and grit to their forward crew many suspected would come via peddling Bieksa.
Adding Torres pushes the Canucks to $3.6 million over the salary cap and Bieksa is set to earn $3.75 million this season. However, with Salo expected to be sidelined until at least Christmas, the Canucks will be allowed to sit over the cap by the equivalent of Salo’s $3.5 million salary, meaning there’s no need to move Bieksa at this time.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays and Thursdays 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 Magazine.