Signing season is upon us.
Plenty of the big names flew off the board within the first hour of free agency, but signings continue to trickle in. And don’t forget the possibility of trades. Remember, it was on Canada Day last year that the Toronto Maple Leafs sent Phil Kessel on his Stanley Cup–winning journey.
So keep it here for the latest NHL gossip. Big news day, hockey fans.
Luongo won’t start season?
Well, this might give a little insight into today’s James Reimer signing. The Sun Sentinel‘s Harvey Fialkov reports that Florida’s star goaltender, Roberto Luongo, may not be ready to start the season.
It should be noted that Reimer’s five-year deal with the Panthers does not include trade protection.
Writing on the wall for Bishop in Tampa?
In the last few days, the Tampa Bay Lightning have committed big dollars to extensions for Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman.
Friday they also extended backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for three years at an average of $3.5 million per season.
Starting goalie Ben Bishop, who has already been linked through trade rumours to the Dallas Stars, will be due a new contract next summer.
Re-signing his Vezina-candidate goaltender appears unlikely for Steve Yzerman.
Blues planning to keep Shattenkirk… for now
St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong told the NHL Network that he plans on starting the 2016-17 season with defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk on his roster.
That doesn’t mean he won’t be open to a trade for a forward, though.
Tons of leads trickling in now…
Maple Leafs looking at the shot block king
Kris Russell does two things better than any player we’ll talk about today: throw his body in front of pucks and anger the analytics community.
The former Dallas Stars defenceman logs a ton of minutes and will fetch multiple offers. The Toronto Maple Leafs are said to be in contention for his services, according to Sportsnet’s Mike Johnson.
The Canadiens have also inquired about Russell, reports Sportsnet’s Eric Engels.
A message from Russell’s agent:
Joe Haggerty of CSN is saying that Russell has already turned down a four-year, $17-million deal from the Leafs. The Bruins are also getting involved.
Oilers eager to make more trades
This may come as sour news to Edmonton fans still fuming over the sale of Taylor Hall. Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli appeared on Prime Time Sports Thursday evening and described the reaction to his Hall trade as an “uproar.”
Still, Chiarelli defended his move as paying the price to acquire an emerging workhorse D-man — a piece the Oilers desperately needed in their attempt to snuff out their playoff drought, which dates back to 2006.
The GM stated that he is still in the hunt, both in free agency and via the trade market, to add a forward and a defenceman.
“We’re in on three or four different things, both forward and D,” Chiarelli said. “If the right deal is there and the right player is there, we’ll certainly look to sign them, but they gotta choose us too.”
Two of those “three or four things” are Jason Demers and Lucic.
Kane on the trade block… again
Citing information he heard from an agent, former NHLer Georges Laraque told WGR radio in Buffalo Thursday that the Buffalo Sabres are trying to trade talented forward Evander Kane, who is the subject of a police investigation.
“It seems now they want to pull the plug on it,” Laroque said. “I don’t know if you could give that guy away with all his baggage.”
Shea Weber and Alexander Radulov reunite!
Alexander Radulov departed the KHL in effort to land another job in the NHL. The Detroit Red Wings were said to be the front-runner for his services, but the Russian forward signed with the Montreal Canadiens, where he will reunite with his former captain Shea Weber.
The Red Wings and Panthers were also taking a run at signing Radulov.
Keep an eye on the Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland couldn’t stop smiling after he rid himself of Pavel Datsyuk‘s $7.5-million salary cap hit and is expected to be a major player today. Frans Nielsen is a target.
Stamkos left money on the table
Steven Stamkos followed his heart in signing with the Tampa Bay Lightnign for eight years.
His agent, Don Meehan, told Prime Time Sports Thursday evening that the almost UFA indeed could have been paid higher elsewhere: