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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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?