2010 NHL Free Agency: Updates on restricted free agents Ryan, Neal and Grossman

Thumbnail image for jamesneal.jpgLet’s take a look at three restricted free agent contract talks in limbo at this point.

According to his agent, Mark Guy of Newport Sports Management, the sides haven’t had any recent discussions. But don’t read that as an invitation to spring an offer sheet on the power forward.

“Bobby wants to remain in Anaheim and they want him there,” Guy told Sporting News.

According to the Orange County Register, the Ducks have offered Ryan a five-year deal worth $25 million, but Ryan would prefer a shorter deal.

And the reality is, the Ducks would likely match any offer sheet given to Ryan. One GM in a similar position joked that he’d send a thank-you note to the team that negotiated a deal with his restricted free agent because it saved him the work. The Ducks are likely in that position, considering they have plenty of cap space ($15.5 million, according to capgeek.com).

I’ll be more specific about which team(s) should still target Ryan on Saturday, but I’m surprised that no one is sniffing around the talented American forward.

  • The Dallas Stars have two restricted free agents in similar situations, with rock-solid defenseman Nicklas Grossman and budding power forward James Neal (in the photo above) both hoping for new deals. Stars beat writer Mike Heika reports that “there isn’t much to talk about” between Neal and Dallas – possibly because they’re aching for a comparable contract – but there has been a lot more progress in the Grossman negotiations.

Stars assistant GM Frank Provenzano and Meehan have been talking quite a bit about Grossman, but they had to take a break this week while the Stars prepared for the Fabian Brunnstrom arbitration case (which will be heard today in Toronto). Meehan said he fully expects to get back into talks next week.

I believe the Stars are shooting for about $2 million a year on Grossman.

Personally, I think that would be a great value for the blueline-challenged Stars. We’ll keep you up to date on the conversations about each of those three RFAs, as well as the other players looking for a team (old or new) this summer.

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    Commodore rips into Babcock on social media

    Mike Commodore
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    Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.

    Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.

    As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being embarrassed in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.

    Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.

    “3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”

    Commodore wasn’t done there:

    And there was much, much more.

    To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.




    Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

    Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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    Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

    Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

    Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

    The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

    “When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

    Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

    The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

    “It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”