According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Keith Tkachuk was traded back to the Blues in order to...get this...make things EASIER for them to re-sign Tkachuk. You read that right. This trade was made so that, according to GM Don Waddell, the Thrashers can sign Tkachuk on July 1st. Had they not done this trade, they would have had to give the Blues a 1st round pick in what would be a deep draft next year. Now, it would only cost them a fourth.
Eric Fehr's back injury was actually a hip injury...and it is not responding well to treatment. Buyer Beware on Eric Fehr (I'm a poet and I don't know it).
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Blues made a decision with their goaltending situation Monday, electing to give Jason Bacashihua a contract for next season and declining to offer one to Curtis Sanford. Sanford will be a UFA (see my Pens thought, below. He would make an excellent backup for them)
Now the Pens apparently will not attempt to sign Nolan Schaefer to be their backup, as I had speculated. Looks like they will go the free agent route to fill that need.
Phoenix did not qualify Jeff Taffe. He is a UFA now.
The Preds have signed Pekka Rinne to a two year contract. The first year is two-way, the second year is one-way. So we know he will be a backup in one year at the latest. I think he is ready to back up Chris Mason right now, but we shall see in camp.
The Carolina Hurricanes have a deal in place, but Niclas Wallin will need to waive his no-trade clause to get it done. He will be on the move in exchange for another defenseman. It is rumored that Joni Pitkanen is coming to Carolina. You will hear about this deal officially, if and when Wallin waives his NTC.
Today's deadline to qualify players is at 5pm. Any that were not qualified by then are UFA's.
Juraj Kolnik and Alexei Semenov were not given qualifying offers and will be unrestricted free agents.
Here is a really funny article from a writer at ESPN. He is not a hockey fan, but he was flipping through the channels and stumbled upon the beginning of the draft. I particularly love his take on the interview with Alexei Cherepanov. Hilarious!
Very unexpected - the Caps received Jiri Novotny as part of their return for Dainius Zubrus, and they don't even qualify him! They also did not qualify Kris Beech. Expect the Caps to make a huge splash in the free agent market. I'm talking Sheldon Souray and either Scott Gomez or Mike Comrie (in that order). With those two additions, plus Backstrom, this team will contend for a playoff spot and Ovechkin will contend for an Art Ross. Novotny and Beech will be unrestricted free agents on July 1.
The Florida Panthers did not qualify Alex Auld. Interestingly enough, they signed Craig Anderson to a two-year deal. If you want a good No.3 goaltender to own who is cheap, it's Anderson. Tomas Vokoun is guaranteed to be injured for a quarter of the season. Anderson will start those games. See what I'm getting at?
The St. Louis Blues will be buying out Dallas Drake's contract.
The New York Rangers did not qualify Karel Rachunek. He performed well below expectations.
The Leafs have signed Jay Harrison to a one year deal and they have finally announced the signing of Simon Gamache, something that I announced over a week ago. Gamache's deal is for two years, so I think he'll get a real chance in Toronto. Dark horse.
It is looking more and more as if the Canucks still have their hands tied salary-wise and will not be bringing in a big free agent winger. The door has opened even wider for Ryan Shannon and Taylor Pyatt. If Pyatt gets 50 points this year, he will have done so at the same age that Bertuzzi did for the last time just prior to exploding for 80 and 90 point seasons. As for Shannon - I'm really high on his offensive skills, although his big explosion may also be a year in the waiting.
Complete shocker - Michel Ouellet has been turned loose by the Penguins! He was not offered a qualifying contract, so he will be an unrestricted free agent.
The Wild did not qualify Adam Hall and so he will be an unrestricted free agent.
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Summer special - $5.63 off. So this shirt costs a shade over 14 bucks. BUY NOW