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E.J. Hradek's Analysis

Hradek: Kings GM confident about Doughty deal

Friday, 07.29.2011 / 9:59 AM / E.J. Hradek's Analysis

EJ Hradek - Analyst

If you're a Los Angeles Kings fan worried about the slow-moving contract negotiations between dynamic young defenseman Drew Doughty and the team, GM Dean Lombardi has a message for you.
"This isn't a standoff like we've been seeing in Washington," Lombardi said, joking about the current federal government gridlock as a way to find perspective for his efforts to re-sign Doughty. "I'm fairly confident that we'll be able to get this done."
The Kings boss and Doughty's representatives (Don Meehan and Mark Guy of Newport Sports Management) have been in communication during the past few days in an effort to move the conversation toward a resolution.

EJ Mailbag: Jets, Flyers, Isles face big questions

Tuesday, 07.26.2011 / 9:53 AM / E.J. Hradek's Analysis

EJ Hradek - Analyst

I don't know if there's ever a time during the calendar year where hockey fans don't have something nagging at them about their particular team -- or the game itself.
That feeling was hammered home again Monday when I tweeted out a call for questions for the first mailbag session at my new digs. You guys and gals definitely didn't disappoint. I got hundreds of questions, literally. For that, I thank you!
While I could only get to a handful, I will continue to respond on Twitter (you can follow me at: @ejhradek_nhl). And, each week, I'll offer more detailed answers in this space. Here's the first shot

Hradek: Wings face two tough core signings

Friday, 07.22.2011 / 9:33 AM / E.J. Hradek's Analysis

EJ Hradek - Analyst

"If you look at our recent history, we signed Pav (Pavel Datsyuk) late in the season back in '07 and we got Z (Henrik Zetterberg) and (Johan) Franzen done in the second half of the '08-09 season. It's a process." -- Ken Holland

With Brian Rafalski already gone and 41-year-old Nicklas Lidstrom inching ever so slowly toward the door, Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland knows he has two very important contract negotiations he'll have to tackle during the next several months.
Top-four defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart each come into the 2011-12 season in the final year of their respective contracts. Can you imagine the Detroit blue line without those players in the fall of 2012?

Neither can Holland.
"We'll probably start conversations with their agents in training camp," Holland said. "It will probably take some time from there."

Revived Semin rumors unlikely to bear fruit

Tuesday, 07.19.2011 / 10:48 AM / E.J. Hradek's Analysis

EJ Hradek - Analyst

Some hockey rumors are evergreen, meaning they can surface at any time. Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is … well (with apologies to James Taylor), surf the web.
Among my favorites in recent years involves the Capitals' seemingly endless quest to trade sharpshooter Alexander Semin to someone, anyone.
Based on the amount of "rumors" that I've heard or read concerning Semin over the past few years, Caps GM George McPhee must have little time for anything else but dialing the daylights out of rival managers about what he could get in return for the talented but somewhat mysterious Russian forward.
When these Semin stories start to percolate, I usually seek out McPhee for a comment. So, after receiving a few different tweets from fans asking about a possible Semin deal, I figured it was that time again.

Why Stamkos, Doughty aren't receiving offers

Friday, 07.15.2011 / 10:56 AM / E.J. Hradek's Analysis

EJ Hradek - Analyst

Are you surprised that young mega-stars Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty have been on the restricted free agent market for 15 days (and counting) without either getting a single offer sheet from another club?

Well, you shouldn't be. It hasn't happened yet and it isn't going to.

Despite all the odd rumors, these two won't be relocating in the fall. Eventually, Stamkos will ink a new deal with Tampa and Doughty will do likewise in LA.

Why am I so confident? Why am I so certain? Why, you ask, wouldn't a team -- any team -- come forward with an astronomical bid (within CBA guidelines) for one of these wildly talented 21-year-olds?

Why Carolina traded Corvo; Varly = Avs' chances

Tuesday, 07.12.2011 / 5:30 PM / E.J. Hradek's Analysis

EJ Hradek - Analyst

If you were wondering – like I was – why Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford didn't wait a little longer before shipping D Joe Corvo to the Bruins in a July 5th deal that netted him just a fourth-round pick in return, the answer is a familiar one: money.
When you're managing a budget-conscious club like the Canes, you worry about real dollars. In fact, you worry about every real dollar. In the coming season, Corvo will earn $2.5M (his cap hit is $2.25M). After signing free agent D Tomas Kaberle to a three-year, $12.75M deal earlier last Tuesday, Rutherford quickly moved Corvo's cash off the Canes' books.
"We couldn't have kept both guys on our team moving forward," says Rutherford, speaking to why he didn't opt to shop Corvo in search of a better offer. "Through his representative, he (Corvo) already had requested to be traded, so we had something in motion and we thought it best to act on it. There's no guarantee we'd have been able to move him when we needed to before the season started."
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