The Ducks on Tuesday moved another step closer to solidifying the roster that will defend their Stanley Cup championship next season by re-signing unrestricted freeagent left wing Brad May to a two-year contract that will pay him $600,000 annually.
May, 35, had one assist and 13 penalty minutes in 14 regular-season games with the Ducks after arriving in a Feb. 27 trade with the Colorado Avalanche, and contributed an assist and 28 penalty minutes in 18 postseason games.
“He was a factor in virtually every round in the playoffs,” Ducks general manager Brian Burke said. “He’s a character guy and a leader, and he provides toughness and versatility.”
With the club’s top three lines seemingly set after Monday’s signing of unrestricted free-agent right wing Todd Bertuzzi, a close friend of May’s, May figures to return primarily to his fourth-line role alongside center Todd Marchant. May also stepped in on the second line at times last season, playing with center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry.
“I can promise I’m not coming back to Anaheim to be lazy,” May said. “I’m coming back to work hard in whatever is asked of me.”
While the Ducks continue to wait for superstar defenseman Scott Niedermayer and standout right wing Teemu Selanne to decide on possible retirement, another significant issue remaining this summer involves unsigned left wing Dustin Penner.
A restricted free agent whose 29 goals ranked second on the team last season, Penner does not have salary-arbitration rights and thus possesses little contract leverage. Like PPG Line partners Perry and Getzlaf, however, Penner is a key to the team’s future.
“Our goal with Dustin Penner and our other quality young players would be to put them into longer-term deals,” Burke said.
Having re-signed goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere to a four-year, $24 million contract last month, the Ducks also continue to entertain trade possibilities involving Ilya Bryzgalov. Swiss prospect Jonas Hiller is available to back up Giguere if Bryzgalov is dealt.
“We think Bryz has earned the right to start elsewhere,” Burke said.
“From a budget standpoint, it would make sense for him to go elsewhere, but we’re going to make a deal that makes sense. We don’t feel we have to move him now.”
OC Register July 5, 2007
Defenseman Maxim Kondratiev, a forgotten member of the organization who played last season in his native Russia, signed a one-year, $500,000 contract. SPORTS 3
Kondratiev signs contract with Ducks
If Niedermayer retires, the defenseman would have a good chance to make the team.
By DAN WOOD THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
An almost-forgotten member of the organization after having played last season in his native Russia, defenseman Maxim Kondratiev on Wednesday signed a one-year, $500,000 contract with the Ducks.
The Ducks acquired Kondratiev, 24, in a Jan. 8, 2006, trade that sent right wing Petr Sykora to the New York Rangers. After managing three points, including a goal, in 29 games for the Rangers in 2005-06, Kondratiev completed that season with Portland, Maine, of the American League, producing four goals and 17 points in 37 games. He added five goals and 14 points in 13 playoff games as the Pirates reached the Calder Cup semifinals.
Kondratiev had three goals, 20 points and 142 penalty minutes in 51 games for Togliatti of the Russian league in 2006-07.
The 6-foot-1, 194-pound Kondratiev figures to enter training camp with a strong opportunity to earn a roster spot with the Ducks, particularly if captain Scott Niedermayer retires. Niedermayer said Sunday he is leaning “strongly” toward retirement.
The club’s blue-line corps includes returning players Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin, Sean O’Donnell and Kent Huskins, and free-agent acquisition Mathieu Schneider. While the Ducks had expressed interest in retaining Joe DiPenta, neither he nor fellow unrestricted free agent Ric Jackman have been re-signed.
Originally a sixth-round selection by Toronto in the 2001 NHL entry draft, Kondratiev was scoreless in seven games with the Maple Leafs in 2003-04.
OC Register July 4, 2007
TOP OF THE SECOND
Bertuzzi brings skills, baggage
Let’s say you’re driving on the 405 and you cut off another motorist.
The other driver is so upset, he starts tailing you, even changing lanes frequently to tailgate you at high speeds. His car bumps yours from behind and ultimately it forces you off the road into a ditch.
Your car flips over and you wind up in the hospital with a broken neck.
The other driver, who is immediately remorseful, is charged, convicted and later sentenced for the ramifications of a few irrational moments of road rage.
Three years later, you’re still going to physical therapy but haven’t been able to go back to work. Doctors tell you they’re not sure you’ll ever be able to resume your career as a construction worker.
Meanwhile, the other driver resumes his life of luxury and public adulation.
It’s not difficult to take sides in this situation, is it?
In a circumlocutory way, this brings us to the case of Todd Bertuzzi, the free-agent power forward signed by the Ducks on Monday.
It’s not perfectly analogous to the hypothetical scenario above, because Bertuzzi didn’t drive anybody off the road, but he might have ended the career of another NHL player because of a calculated attack in a game three years ago that resulted in unanticipated serious injuries.
On March 8, 2004, with Colorado leading Vancouver, 8-2, midway through the third period of a game in Vancouver, an apparently vengeance-minded Bertuzzi, then an alternate captain for the Canucks, chased down Colorado’s Steve Moore and sent him crashing to the ice with sucker punch to the right side of the head.
After the Ducks signed Bertuzzi to a two-year $8 million contract that makes him the highestpaid forward on the team — think about that one — I located videotape footage of his attack on Moore at www.youtube.com to refresh my memory of the incident. And it was just as disgusting as the first time I saw it years ago.
As his linemates were leaving the ice on a line change, Bertuzzi stayed on to try to provoke Moore into fighting. Bertuzzi skated behind Moore, first shoving his stick between his opponent’s legs, then tugging on his left jersey sleeve, then turning back up ice with him and pulling on the back of Moore’s jersey to slow him down.
It was obvious Moore didn’t want to fight, but this did not deter Bertuzzi from his mission — to retaliate for Moore’s high hit on Vancouver star Markus Naslund in a previous game between the teams, a hit that went unpenalized but one the Canucks perceived as a cheap shot.
So Bertuzzi, still behind Moore on the ice, wound up and delivered a roundhouse right to the side of Moore’s head, toppling him face-first into the ice, his arms unable to break his fall, as Bertuzzi fell on top of Moore and delivered another punch.
Seconds later, it became a dogpile, as Colorado players leaped on top of Bertuzzi and Canucks players joined the melee.
But when the bodies were unpiled, Moore didn’t get up, because he was unconscious. He was removed from the scene on a stretcher and transported by ambulance to a hospital.
Doctors discovered three broken vertebrae in his neck, to go along with a severe concussion. More than three years later, Moore has not played another NHL game, and he is the plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit against Bertuzzi.
A remorseful Bertuzzi subsequently was suspended for the final 13 games of the regular season and the entire 2004 playoffs, but was reinstated a year later by Commissioner Gary Bettman after the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season.
Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who was the Vancouver GM when the incident occurred, said he believes Bertuzzi was punished sufficiently for what he termed “an error in judgment — an unfortunate one and a serious one.” Others wonder if it should have been a longer suspension because Moore has not been able to resume his career.
Burke said he does not condone what Bertuzzi did, but he understood why he went after Moore that night.
“He felt he was defending a teammate,” Burke said Tuesday from his vacation home in Vancouver. “In the NHL, there’s a code of honor. Teammates back each other up. …
“Yes, the guy made a mistake, and he paid a high price for it. It’s changed his career, and it’s turned fans against him everywhere. He’s booed in almost every arena he goes in now. But I know his character, and he can play for me wherever I am.”
It’s obvious Bertuzzi went too far that night in 2004. But did the NHL go far enough when it disciplined him?
“Punishment in the NHL was never tied to injuries — there has never been a correlation between the two,” Burke said.
Meanwhile, Steve Moore continues to undergo physical therapy, hoping doctors someday will clear him to return to the ice.
“I know how much I want to play,” Moore said this past March during an exclusive interview with CBC News in Toronto. “In a way, it was taken away. It’s hard to see somebody else go out and play.”
COMING SOON TO ANAHEIM: Ducks GM Brian Burke said Todd Bertuzzi, right, ‘paid a high price’ for attacking Steve Moore three years ago. ‘He can play for me wherever I am,’ Burke added.
LA Times July 4, 2007
Schneider wants Niedermayer back too
He was essentially signed to replace him, but Ducks newest defenseman says team will be better if Scott Niedermayer decides not to retire.
By Eric Stephens, Times Staff Writer
July 4, 2007
Mathieu Schneider knows the deal.
The 38-year-old New York City native says he knows he is in Anaheim to essentially replace a future Hall of Fame defenseman who may well retire before the season begins.
But that didn't stop Schneider, a fine defenseman in his own right, from taking his own stab at persuading Scott Niedermayer to put off retirement for another run at the Stanley Cup.
"I think if Scotty's there, we're a better team," Schneider said after signing a two-year, $11.25-million deal Sunday. "If he's not there, then it's going be a bigger role for me to fill.
"I hope he decides not to retire. If he does, more power to him. Either way, I'm just excited about the opportunity and the possibilities. I think we have a tremendous chance to defend the Stanley Cup."
If the sterling Niedermayer does end his accomplished career before training camp opens in early September, Schneider won't be a steep drop-off at the position, one on which the Ducks have placed a premium.
An 18-year veteran and two-time All-Star, Schneider only lasted an hour on the free-agent market before the Ducks added him to a blue line that already has former Norris Trophy winner Chris Pronger, young workhorse Francois Beauchemin and savvy stay-at-home veteran Sean O'Donnell.
And if Niedermayer starts leaning the other way, although that appears unlikely, the defending champions could lay claim to having one of the greatest defenses in NHL history.
"Our goal is to repeat and it was the best move that we could make," General Manager Brian Burke said.
Schneider isn't Niedermayer. But his resume holds up on its own.
A smooth skater and effective power-play performer, Schneider has used his wicked slap shot to total 200 goals and 663 points with six teams, including the Kings, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers.
The two-time U.S. Olympian spent the last three-plus seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and scored 48 goals in that stretch. He had a career-best 21 goals and 59 points in 2005-06 and has reached 50 points in four of the last six seasons.
Schneider credited his offensive output to playing alongside Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and to the NHL's rule changes that were put in place after the lockout and opened up the game.
"More than anything, it helped in me being able to jump up in the rush more than before," Schneider said. "In the '90s, it was so difficult. All a forward had to do was latch on to you and ride you all the way down the ice."
This is the third straight summer that Burke has been able to land an impact defenseman. He signed Niedermayer in 2005 and traded for Pronger last year.
While the Ducks await a final decision from Niedermayer and a similar announcement from Teemu Selanne, the biggest worry only appears to be from a financial standpoint.
After signing winger Todd Bertuzzi on Monday to a two-year, $8-million contract and Niedermayer's $6.75-million salary that is already budgeted, the Ducks have roughly $48.3 million committed to 21 players, which puts them well above the $44 million Burke anticipated he'd have for 2007-08.
Burke still has to sign restricted free agent Dustin Penner, though he has indicated he will match any offer sheet for the young 29-goal scorer if presented with one. And if Selanne does return, Burke would probably have to ask the high-scoring forward to sign a one-year incentive-laden deal at a low cap-friendly salary.
If Niedermayer retires, the Ducks would have the room to sign Selanne or pursue a lower-tier free agent if the Finnish star also hangs up his skates.
If Niedermayer comes back, the Ducks would have to hike their payroll though it appears they could fit all their stars under the newly established $50.3 million NHL cap.
Burke could try to shed payroll elsewhere. The Ducks are deep at center and checker Todd Marchant could be a casualty since he will be paid $2.52 million this season, although Burke might not be able to find a taker.
"I called my boss and explained the situation," Burke said of Sunday's deal, referring to Chief Executive Mike Schulman. "He said, 'If you think that's what we have to do, go ahead and do it.' We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
There are other issues. Burke must decide what he will do with goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who may be the odd man out with Jean-Sebastien Giguere signed to a long-term extension and Swiss netminder Jonas Hiller pegged as a potential backup.
The 27-year-old Bryzgalov, who can be unrestricted next July 1, was dangled about at the recent draft but teams were unwilling to part with a first- or second-round pick which the Ducks covet. St. Louis and Phoenix are believed to have the most interest.
Burke said he'd prefer to trade Bryzgalov but would readily keep him if the right deal doesn't come along. Hiller would probably start at the club's minor-league affiliate in Portland, Maine.
"I think Bryz has earned the right to go somewhere and start," Burke said. "He's been terrific for us. If something can't be done, we'll start the season with three goalies."
The Ducks still have to fill out their fourth line but they addressed that Tuesday in re-signing wing Brad May.
Burke said overtures have been made to bring back defenseman Joe DiPenta, but the Ducks are believed to be pursuing free agents Shane Hnidy of Atlanta and Jamie Heward of the Kings.
LA Times July 4, 2007
Eric Stephens; Lonnie White; Larry Stewart, From Times Staff and Wire Reports
July 4, 2007
Ducks re-sign May to a two-year deal
The Ducks re-signed left wing Brad May to a two-year, $1.2 million contract. May, 35, had one assist in 18 playoff games, but his physical play on the fourth line impressed club officials.
The Ducks are also looking to upgrade their depth on defense and, according to a league source, are believed to be pursuing Atlanta's Shane Hnidy and the Kings' Jamie Heward, both unrestricted free agents.
— Eric Stephens
The Kings signed Calgary free-agent defenseman Brad Stuart, 27, to a one-year, $3.5-million contract, gave goaltender Jason LaBarbera, 27, a two-year, $1.65-million extension and watched goaltender Mathieu Garon, 29, an unrestricted free agent, sign a two-year deal with Edmonton.
— Lonnie White
The Edmonton Oilers complained to the NHL that they had an agreement with free-agent center Michael Nylander before he signed a four-year, $19.5-million deal with the Washington Capitals…. The Nashville Predators signed goalie Chris Mason, 31, to a $6-million, two-year contract extension…. The New Jersey Devils signed forward Dainius Zubrus, 29, two days after losing Scott Gomez to the New York Rangers.
LA Times July 5, 2007
From Times Staff and Wire Reports
July 5, 2007
to retire after 18 years
Jeremy Roenick is retiring, a newspaper reported, after an 18-year NHL career in which he became the third-leading American goal-scorer in league history.
Roenick, 37, a nine-time All-Star who played with four teams, sent a text message to a reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer reading, "I'm retiring; is that still news?" The story was posted on the paper's website Wednesday.
Roenick played in 70 games last season for Phoenix, his second stint with the Coyotes, and had said late in the season he was considering retirement. He became a free agent on Sunday.
The Ducks added to their defensive corps by signing Maxim Kondratiev to a one-year contract. Kondratiev, 24, has a one-way deal that will earn him $500,000 whether he makes the team out of training camp, which club officials are expecting him to do, or is sent to the minor leagues.
Kondratiev was originally acquired from the New York Rangers on Jan. 8, 2006 for Petr Sykora but opted to play in his native Russia last season. He had three goals and 17 assists in 51 games for HC Lada Togliatti of the Russian Super League.
— Eric Stephens
The Atlanta Thrashers re-signed forward Slava Kozlov to an $11-million, three-year contract. The Thrashers needed to retain the high-scoring Kozlov after losing Keith Tkachuk, who was traded back to the St. Louis Blues. Kozlov had 80 points in 81 games last season — 28 goals and 52 assists
Defenseman Teppo Numminen will return for a 19th NHL season after re-signing with the Buffalo Sabres. He reportedly received a one-year contract worth $2.6 million, the same as last season. The 39-year-old Numminen had a plus-17 rating last season, his second with the Sabres.
The Montreal Canadiens signed forward Tom Kostopoulos to a $1.8-million, two-year deal. Kostopoulos had seven goals and 15 assists in 76 games last season with the Kings.
USA Today July 5, 2007
Some stars staying home for long haul instead of opting for bigger bucks
By Kevin Allen
Two years into the NHL's salary cap, teams now value long-term security as much as players.
When Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla signed a five-year, $35 million extension Wednesday, all eight 2007 Western Conference playoff teams have the face of the franchise, or a crucial player, tied up for at least three years.
"The grass isn't always greener," said Iginla, who's also making $7 million in the final year of his contract. "We have talked to some guys who have moved, and they say how good one city is, but some say they don't wish they moved. So when you do have a good situation and you believe what the team is trying to do, I think there is loyalty from players."
Unrestricted free agency is available for some players at 27, but teams have persuaded their stars to give it up by giving them longer-term deals.
San Jose Sharks star Joe Thornton signed through 2011. The Detroit Red Wings gave Pavel Datsyuk a seven-year deal. Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow got a six-year extension. In all cases, the players took a bit less than they probably could have earned on the market.
"You have to take care of your best customers — your season ticketholders and sponsors," said Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke, who gave goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere a four-year, $24 million deal. "You don't want to have musical chairs and want your fans to know that key guys are going to stick around."
Iginla probably would have gotten more next summer. Scott Gomez got $51.5 million over seven years from the New York Rangers. While a top offensive player, he can't match Iginla's physical play.
"I don't know what the numbers would have been," Iginla said about his value on the open market. "But the big thing is getting a chance to be with a team that could win, and I believe we can do that in Calgary."
Stars are being mindful of the cap number because they want to be surrounded by talent. Iginla knew the Flames wanted to sign Robyn Regehr and goalie Miikka Kiprusoff to long-term deals. Regehr agreed to a five-year, $20 million contract.
"We want to be paid as a player, but you want to be part of a great team," Iginla said. "(Regehr might be the) best shut-down defenseman in the league, and Kipper is the same as a goalie."
Most teams probably will attempt to give longer deals to their stars, particularly after watching the Buffalo Sabres lose offensive stars Chris Drury and Daniel Briere.
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby will be a restricted free agent after next season, but general manager Ray Shero said this week that he wanted to get an extension done sooner rather than later.
"One fact that doesn't change in a cap system is that you need players and you need continuity to sell tickets," Burke said. "But the bigger question is the excessive length of the deals — eight, 15 years. Is it time for term limits in the next (collective bargaining agreement)? … I don't have an answer, but it needs to be watched."
The Sporting News July 2, 2007
Edmonton Journal July 4, 2007
Winners, losers in NHL spending frenzy
‘The only way to out-compete teams for players is maybe to give more money up front’—Rangers GM Glen Sather
EDMONTON—There was a full moon on June 30 and on Canada Day—so has sheer lunacy actually taken over the NHL’s free-agent marketplace in the last few days?
Team owners reportedly spent about $365 million US signing unrestricted free agents on July 1, opening day of the annual frenzy. Obviously, the NHL is pretty healthy, even if you can barely find it on an American television network during the regular season and playoffs. After Day 2, the spending figure jumped to about $500 million.
It sounds like teams are trying to buy a winner—with a caveat. There’s a team salary cap of $50 million US in place, so the huge disparity that existed half a dozen years ago is gone. That’s when the New York Rangers, for example, would spend $80 million on players while the Nashville Predators would have, say, $25 million to play with. Teams are still overpaying on players, but they have some restrictions because of the team cap.
“We’re not back to where we were before the lockout because there is a cap and there’s a 20-per-cent cap on individual players you sign,” said Anaheim Ducks general manager Brian Burke. “And if the money for players can’t be sustained by the industry, we’ll all get a rebate.”
Burke got all-star defenceman and recent Conn Smythe Trophy winner Scott Niedermayer two years ago from the New Jersey Devils, paying him $6.75 million a season for four years. He also signed Detroit Red Wings Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi to two-year contracts over the long weekend.
“It’s not even close to the apocalypse that we faced when we shut down this business a couple of years ago,” Burke said. “I’d say no, no, no and scream it from the highest peak in British Columbia. We’ve got regulators on contracts now. The regulator is the cap.”
Nevertheless, former Buffalo Sabres centre Daniel Briere signed an eight-year, $52-million deal, including $10 million this upcoming season, with the Philadelphia Flyers.
He’s a good, exciting player, but with Briere getting that kind of money, we can presume the Pittsburgh Penguins have absolutely no choice but to put the same figure on the long-term deal they’ll be giving Sidney Crosby, the best player in the world, any day now.
What about the seven-year deal the Rangers gave centre Scott Gomez? He will now earn an average salary of $7.35 million a season over the term, which is more than Joe Thornton just got in a three-year extension with the San Jose Sharks.
Gomez will also be paid more than Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who finished second in the NHL scoring race last season.
Rangers GM Glen Sather, who got Gomez from the Devils and Chris Drury from the Sabres, paid some big bucks to lure some big fish.
“We all operate under the same cap system,” said Sather. “And the only way to out-compete teams for players is maybe to give more money up front to get the guy (and the term).
“But you still have to work under your team cap and sooner or later, you’re going to have six or seven players making most of the money on a team. Also, eventually, it’s going to be more difficult to sign your own players (to comparable salaries).
“If you go after free agents, you have to tie them up long term and the younger guys are getting longer contracts (Gomez, Briere).
“At the end, maybe they aren’t as good (skill-wise), but you can buy players out and the cap figure is reduced,” said Sather.
The Flyers front-end loaded Briere’s contract, giving him a $5-million signing bonus and a $5-million salary for this upcoming season. But by the last two years of the deal, he’ll be getting only $5 million a season. His average salary, which goes against the team cap, is $6.5 million. But it’s still eight years.
The lower age of free agents (Gomez is only 27, Briere 28) makes the longer term more palatable to teams, but Burke is still wary of it.
“The term of the deals is troubling and might have to be looked at in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, but it isn’t new this summer. Look at Rick DiPietro’s deal (15 years, $67 million US with the New York Islanders), look at (Alexei) Yashin’s deal (10 years, $87 million) in the past.
“The beauty of July 1 is you’re adding to your team without expending assets,” said Burke.
“As a GM, we have players under contract and you can trade them, we have whatever draft picks remaining and you have cash. If there are no assets going out in a deal but cash, you have to try and do that.
“From our standpoint, we got Chris Pronger from Edmonton, which cost us a fortune in a trade, but I’d do it again tomorrow. We got Scott Niedermayer as a free agent and it was just like finding a wallet.”
BUFFALO SABRES: The window for winning a Stanley Cup may have slammed shut in Buffalo when they lost centres Daniel Briere and Chris Drury—their best two players. They made token efforts to sign both guys, and have to find a centre somewhere else. But what’s left on the free-agent shelves isn’t too appealing.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS: The losses of centre Scott Gomez and defenceman Brian Rafalski (who signed with Detroit) leave gaping holes offensively. They did sign Dainius Zubrus, but he’s more at home on the wing than at centre. They say Zach Parise can step up and maybe fill Gomez’s spot as No. 1 centre, but do they have a puck-distributor close to Rafalski on the back end?
NEW YORK ISLANDERS: Last one leaving, turn out the lights. Scurrying away were forwards Ryan Smyth, Jason Blake, Richard Zednik and Viktor Kozlov and defenceman Tom Poti. Blake and Smyth were their top guns up front and Poti played 26 minutes a game on defence.
EDMONTON OILERS: Free agents are only flirting with the Oilers, which must be driving GM Kevin Lowe crazy because he has about $18 million to spend to bring players to Edmonton. Word is Michael Nylander was offered $23 million, but took less to play in Washington.
NEW YORK RANGERS: Dug deep to pay centre Chris Drury (five years, $35.25 million US) more per year than Tampa Bay Lightning veteran Vincent Lecavalier, who was close to being the NHL’s MVP last year, and centre Scott Gomez (seven years, $51.5 million).
But, Gomez is an upgrade over Michael Nylander and will send some sweet passes to Jaromir Jagr, who may put off returning to the Czech Republic. Drury can work with Brendan Shanahan, when he re-signs.
COLORADO AVALANCHE: Centre Joe Sakic will have former Edmonton Oilers veteran Ryan Smyth on the left wing, and Scott Hannan will give Colorado’s defence a dose of grit to go with puck-movers John-Michael Liles and Jordan Leopold, if the latter can ever get healthy. The Avs targeted two guys and got both, a nice bit of work by GM Francois Giguere, but he had Sakic as a volunteer salesman, which didn’t hurt.
ANAHEIM DUCKS: Mathieu Schneider isn’t Scott Niedermayer, but he’s a nice pickup as a No. 3 defenceman behind Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin if Niedermayer retires. If he’s ever to regain his form, forward Todd Bertuzzi will do it playing for his biggest booster, Ducks GM Brian Burke.
LOS ANGELES KINGS: Still haven’t addressed a glaring weakness in goal, but Michal Handzus gives the Kings another huge centre. Ladislav Nagy is a solid second-line winger and Tom Preissing, who had ties with GM Dean Lombardi in San Jose, will work nicely with Lubomir Visnovsky as a puck-mover on the back-end. Jury’s definitely out on forward Kyle Calder, though, after a miserable year in Philly and limited minutes for Detroit in the playoffs.
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: Daniel Briere gives them the No. 1 centre they needed, and a nice complement to their best scorer, left-wing Simon Gagne. They also signed Kimmo Timonen to anchor their defence and Scott Hartnell to be a top six forward.
MONTREAL CANADIENS: Defenceman Roman Hamrlik was found wanting in Edmonton in 2000 and shipped off to the New York Islanders. He was pretty good the past two years with the Calgary Flames and seems to have found his comfort zone. He can’t shoot like Sheldon Souray, but he’s a dependable, big-minutes guy on the back end, and he can play power play, too.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Were woefully weak offensively other than left-wing Alexander Ovechkin and left-wing Alexander Semin last year, but Michael Nylander gives them a first-line centre and mentor for Swedish rookie Nicklas Backstrom. Defenceman Tom Poti, while he has detractors because of his shortcomings in his own end, can move the puck.
SITTING ON THE FENCE
DETROIT RED WINGS: They lost defenceman Mathieu Schneider, another guy who seems to have defied the clock at age 37, but picked up Brian Rafalski, who’s three years younger, to be their No. 2 defenceman behind Nicklas Lidstrom.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS: Jason Blake had 40 goals last year, but was it an aberration? He doesn’t have a track record as a high point-producer and he turns 34 before training camp starts.
ST. LOUIS BLUES: They got winger Paul Kariya for three years at $6 million per, maybe overpaying a tad. Bringing back centre Keith Tkachuk makes sense at $4 million a season, too, but only if he’s motivated.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: Winger Petr Sykora was a winner in New Jersey, but his foot speed is suspect. Darryl Sydor will help mentor some of the Penguins’ young defencemen and he’s won two Stanley Cups. Nice pickup.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: They got centre Robert Lang to fill an obvious hole in the middle, but $4 million a year is a bit of a gulp. His foot speed has dropped off and he wasn’t one of coach Mike Babcock’s go-to guys in Detroit. That said, he can pass the puck to fellow Czech Martin Havlat all night long. Yanic Perreault will help on faceoffs, too.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS: Getting Radek Bonk gives them a shutdown third-line centre and Greg de Vries can be a solid No. 4 defenceman on an offensively gifted back-end, but they still lost captain Kimmo Timonen, Paul Kariya and Scott Hartnell because their team payroll is only going to be about $35 million this year. Sad story for one of the NHL’s better teams.
CALGARY FLAMES: They added Cory Sarich to the blue-line, paying him about what Roman Hamrlik was making before he left, even though he doesn’t have Hamrlik’s offensive ability. The jury’s out on forward Owen Nolan, although coach Darryl Sutter knows him from San Jose and has always liked him.
ON THE SIDELINES
DALLAS STARS: Looking hard at a winger who can score, like Slava Kozlov, but they’ve been unusually silent because they don’t have a lot of cap room.
SAN JOSE SHARKS: Lost Scott Hannan, one of their top three defencemen, and haven’t filled that hole, but GM Doug Wilson is looking.
TSN.ca July 5, 2007
Ducks ink Kondratiev to one-year deal
The Anaheim Ducks announced today that they signed restricted free agent defenseman Maxim Kondratiev to a one-year contract. Per club policy, financial terms were not disclosed.
The 24-year old was acquired by Anaheim from the New York Rangers in exchange for Petr Sykora and a 2007 fourth round draft pick on Jan. 8, 2006. He has played in 36 NHL games, scoring three points.
The 6-1, 194-pound defenseman played in 51 games with Togliatti in Russia last season, scoring 3-17=20 points. Kondratiev also played for Team Russia at the 2007 World Championships, going scoreless with a +4 rating.
A native of Togliatti, Russia, Kondratiev was drafted by Toronto in the sixth round (168th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He played in his first seven NHL games with the Maple Leafs in 2003-2004, going scoreless.
Kondratiev was acquired by the Rangers from Toronto with Jarkko Immonen, a 2004 first round draft pick and a 2005 second round pick in exchange for Brian Leetch and a fourth round draft pick on Mar. 3, 2004. In 2005-2006, he played in 29 NHL games with the Rangers, scoring three points.
LA Daily News July 4, 2007
NHL notes: Ducks re-sign May
Forward Brad May decided to stay with the Stanley Cup champion Ducks.
May, acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in February, signed a two-year, $1.2 million contract with the Ducks on Tuesday.
"There were a lot of reasons I wanted to stay in Anaheim," May said. "I love playing here. I turned down more money from other teams."
The 35-year-old May had three assists in 10 games with Colorado and four assists in 14 games after being traded to the Ducks on Feb. 27.He missed the first 53 games with a shoulder injury, playing his first game Feb. 8. He had one assist in 18 playoff games for Anaheim.
Garon leaves Kings: Edmonton signed unrestricted free-agent goaltender Mathieu Garon to a two-year contract.
Garon was 13-10-6 with the Kings last season, with a 2.66goals-against average and .907 save percentage.
Oilers say they had agreement with Nylander: The Edmonton Oilers complained to the NHL that they had an agreement with free agent center Michael Nylander before he signed with the Washington Capitals.
The Oilers said in a statement Nylander had reached an agreement with them Sunday, only to then sign a $19.5-million, four-year contract with the Capitals the next day.
The Oilers say they held off going after other potential free agents because they thought they had Nylander. The 34-year-old Swede was one of the top catches on the free-agent market, setting career highs in goals (26), assists (57) and points (83) with the New York Rangers last season.
A lawyer for the Oilers could not provide contract details on the Edmonton deal.
The NHL did not have an immediate response and call to Capitals general manager George McPhee was also not returned.
More signings: Nashville signed goaltender Chris Mason to a $6 million, two-year contract extension. Mason will be paid $3 million for two seasons starting in 2008-09, vice president and general manager David Poile said. New Jersey signed forward Dainius Zubrus and defenseman Karel Rachunek. Minnesota re-signed center Wes Welz to a one-year deal and also added veteran center Eric Belanger and goaltender Nolan Schaefer. Vancouver signed free agent goalie Curtis Sanford and goalie Cory Schneider, their 2004 first-round draft pick. The Canucks also added free agent forwards Byron Ritchie and Brad Isbister, and re-signed defenseman Lukas Krajicek.
Riverside Press Enterprise July 4, 2007
Brad May remains Duck; Kings sign defenseman Stuart
From News Services
Forward Brad May has decided to stay with the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks.
May, acquired from Colorado Feb. 27, signed a two-year, $1.2 million contract with the Ducks Tuesday.
"I love playing here," May said. "I turned down more money from other teams."
May, 35, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury, had four assists in 14 games for the Ducks, plus one playoff assist.
Stuart Comes; Goalie Goes
The Kings added experience to their defensive corps, signing Brad Stuart to a one-year deal.
Stuart, 27, played for Boston and Calgary last season, scoring seven goals and 15 assists. He was runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors in 2000.
The Kings also signed Jason LaBarbera, selected the American Hockey League's top goalie, to a two-year deal on the same day Mathieu Garon left for Edmonton.
Garon, who had a 13-10-6 record and a 2.66 goals-against average for the Kings, got a two-year deal.
LaBarbera had a 2.21 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage for Manchester.
Devils Nab Zubrus
The New Jersey Devils signed forward Dainius Zubrus two days after losing star Scott Gomez in free agency to the New York Rangers.
Primarily a right wing, Zubrus, 29, had a career-high 24 goals for Washington and Buffalo last season.
The Devils also signed free agent defenseman Karel Rachunek (26 points for the Rangers).
More NHL Notes
Predators: Nashville signed goaltender Chris Mason, 31, to a $6 million, two-year contract extension. He will take over starting duties this season with the trade of Tomas Vokoun to Florida. He has a career record of 41-21-6.
More Oilers: Edmonton complained to the NHL that it had an agreement with free agent center Michael Nylander before he signed with the Washington Capitals. The Oilers said they held off on other deals.