July 2, 2013 by Sal Ientile of The Hockey Daily.
With the Stanley Cup awarded, NHL entry draft complete and free agency only a few days away, there is plenty to talk about in the world of hockey. Over the next week we could witness some major moves by teams looking to shed salary, and others hoping to acquire players. For twenty-nine NHL teams, last season wasn’t quite good enough, meaning, transactions will be made.
The Vincent Lecavalier Saga Continues.
The recent availability of Vinny Lecavalier has created a minor lightning storm of rumours. Some thought the face of the franchise in Tampa would be bought out, but it was never really known if that was truly a realistic possibility until it became official last week. So, where is he going? That is still to be determined, however, it is speculated by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that Vinny will make his decision very soon, possibly over the next 24 hours.
“Possible_not definite_ that Vincent Lecavalier picks his team over the next 24 hours.”
Lebrun also tweeted the following concerning Lecavalier’s preferred destinations:
“Yes, playing East is a factor for Lecavalier, but not the only factor. Dallas is still in the mix.”
A great article by Greg Wyshnyski of Puck Daddy breaks down the odds of Vinny signing with the teams that have showed interest in him. Check out the full article here.
Wyshnyski’s article declares the possible front runners for Lecavalier are the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks, in that order.
The 13 teams mentioned by Wyshnyski does not include another destination speculated in the Lecavalier sweepstakes. Pierre LeBrun Tweeted over the weekend that “A long list of teams have inquired on Lecavalier and San Jose is among teams that will keep tabs on that situation.”
It’s still unclear where Vincent Lecavalier will ultimately sign a new deal, as well as, how much that deal will be worth. If you’d like to stay updated your best bet is to follow ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun on Twitter – @Real_ESPNLeBrun
Anything Possible On The Sabres Front.
The Buffalo Sabres are in an interesting predicament. They have some bad contracts on the books, and every small market team’s dream owner. It’s reasonable to believe they want to move some of the contracts that have not worked out for them, however, they have cap space, so they aren’t under the gun to unload contracts.
David Pagnotta, the Editor-in-Chief of Hockey’s lifestyle magazine, The Fourth Period, Tweeted out some insights on the Buffalo Sabres intentions at the moment.
“Sabres GM Darcy Regier says the trade market is “forming a little more” (league-wide) now that the draft is over.”
“On Miller/Vanek: ‘It would be fair to characterize that I’m actively finding out what the marketplace is like (on them & others)’ – Regier”
Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek will both become Unrestricted Free Agents at the end of next season if they are not signed before then.
The Sabres also have Ville Leino, Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff signed to hefty long-term contracts moving forward. The trio has struggled recently, resulting in the Sabres finishing bottom in the Northeast Division last season.
What Will The Maple Leafs Do Next?
It’s been a busy off-season thus far for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ GM Dave Nonis. The Leafs have made trades on back-to-back Sundays, as they try to fix some of the weaknesses that saw them eliminated in the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After acquiring Bolland, Nonis told the media, “We think there are some more things we hope to do………….Whether we can accomplish that between now and September remains to be seen. But we’re going to try and remain to be active.”
The Leafs have been linked to many different UFA’s as usual. In order to sign one or more of the established names in the free agent pool they will have to unload some salary, and not resign C Tyler Bozak, who according to Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, “Bozak contract talks expected to resume today with Leafs. Proposal on the table believed to be 8 years at less than $5 mil per.”
Once the Leafs figure out contract agreements with C Nazem Kadri, D Cody Franson and G Jonathan Bernier, they won’t have a lot of cap space left to fill out their roster for next season. The Leafs currently sit at just over $15 mil under the cap with only 13 players signed for next season. View the Leafs current cap situation at capgeek.com
According to The Fourth Period’s list of the top 30 free agents available, the Maple Leafs have been linked to several names, including, C Vincent Lecavalier, RW Nathan Horton, C Stephen Weiss, RW David Clarkson, C Mike Ribeiro, and LW Ryane Clowe.