One writer feels that Modano won't become a Red Wing

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You didn’t think that Ilya Kovalchuk and Simon Gagne would steal all of the headlines today, did you? Silly human. George Malik of passes along word from the Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan that he fully expects Mike Modano to pass on joining the Detroit Red Wings.

Several people have asked me if Mike Modano is going to sign with the Red Wings.

At the beginning of this dance, I felt that he would not, and I still feel that way.

I get the sense, reading between the lines of Modano’s comments, that returning home — he’s originally from Westland — isn’t a big deal to him, especially at this point in his career. It might have been at some point, but not anymore.

Apparently Ted Kulfan wanted to be a contrarian with Wings head coach Mike Babcock who said the other day that he believes Modano will sign in Detroit. Hoo boy. Yeah, it’s just one man’s opinion and hell, this is perhaps the next most interesting side story to this summer now that Kovalchuk is on his way back to New Jersey.
As for the whole dance going on between Detroit, Minnesota, and San Jose it’s pretty clear that the negotiation stage has moved on into full public eye mode for this dance. The Red Wings went out of their way to show how interested they are/were in Modano by taking him to a Tigers game in Detroit. Meanwhile, we’ve yet to hear stories about how the Sharks took Modano Silicon Valley or the Wild bringing Modano to check out the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota. If you can’t sell a guy on Spam, I don’t know what works.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.