2010 NHL Free Agency: What about … Slava Kozlov?

slavakozlov.jpgAt this point in free agency, the focus shifts from the gems to flawed guys who can still bring some skill to the table. So, going forward, we’ll spotlight individual players who are flying under the radar.

Today’s entry: Vyacheslav “Slava” Kozlov.

Name: Slava Kozlov
Height: 5-10 Weight: 190 lbs.
Position: LW
Strengths: Playmaking, goal scoring
Weaknesses: Strength, size, age, defense
09-10 totals: 55 GP, 8 G, 18 A, 26 P, -15, 33 PIM

The 2009-10 season was a disaster for the aging winger in Atlanta. After putting up big numbers running with Ilya Kovalchuk in 08-09 (76 points), his totals plummeted 50 points to 26 in an injury-plagued 09-10 season.

There are plenty of problems with Kozlov. As I listed in his weaknesses, he’s getting long in the tooth (he’s 38 years old). He won’t threaten the Pavel Datsyuks and Ryan Keslers of the world for the Selke Trophy and he’s small. Versatility is not one of Kozlov’s calling cards.

Still, if he’s willing to play at a discount on a short term contract, it’s possible that he might have enough juice to be a good depth forward. He struggled last season and in 07-08 (41 points), but he put up 76, 80 and 71 points in his other three seasons since the lockout. Since turning 30, Kozlov hit the 20+ goal mark five times.

You won’t find many sports writers calling Kozlov a “warrior” but he could be a useful (and hopefully cheap) option for teams seeking a veteran scoring winger. Would your team benefit from taking a small gamble on Kozlov?

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    Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

    Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

    The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

    The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

    The NHLPA released a similar statement.

    It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

    We’re starting to find out some details now:

    How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

    Stay tuned.

    Report: Ex-NHLer Aaron Ward arrested for ‘assault on a female’ (Updated)

    Brad May, Kevin Hodson, Jiri Fischer, Aaron Ward

    Aaron Ward, a 16-year NHL veteran that appeared in over 800 career games, has been arrested for “assault on a female,” per WNCN.

    Ward was arrested on Friday in Cary, North Carolina and also charged with interfering with emergency communication, according to the report.

    Currently working as an analyst for TSN, Ward spent five years of his career in Carolina, helping the ‘Canes capture the Stanley Cup in 2006.

    Update: Per WRAL, Ward’s wife called 9-1-1 after the two had a confrontation around 1 p.m. ET. Police confirmed Ward was arrested at his home in Cary.

    According to the warrant for his arrest, he took away his wife’s phone.

    Because of the nature of his charges, Ward will spend a mandatory 48 hours in the Wake County jail. Anyone arrested on a domestic violence charge is held for 48 hours before bail is set.

    And here’s a statement from TSN: