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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    Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal

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    By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

    He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

    You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

    Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

    Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

    Here’s the Jurco goal:

    Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:

    Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.

    Coach Q thinks Anisimov will be back by playoffs for Blackhawks

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    The bad news is that Artem Anisimov seems likely to miss all – or at least most – of the regular season for the Chicago Blackhawks with his lower-body injury.

    The good? Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville believes that Anisimov will be ready once the playoffs swing into motion, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.

    Anisimov was hurt when he got tangled up with Canadiens forward Alex Radulov on March 14:

    The Blackhawks have been filling Anisimov’s typical spot alongside Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin with Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz lately. There have been flashes of brilliance with Schmaltz, but Chicago would probably feel most confident with Anisimov back in his familiar place.

    Chicago’s Central lead is pretty secure over the Minnesota Wild at the moment, which likely reduces motivation to rush Anisimov back before he’s truly ready. The Blackhawks close out their regular season on April 8, so there’s still time for him to heal up.

    Ducks demote Enroth, so Gibson’s close to a return

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    The Anaheim Ducks are flying high – er, waddling with some swagger? – right now thanks to Jonathan Bernier‘s somewhat shocking turnaround, but the pending return of John Gibson is promising.

    (Especially since the Ducks will likely want him to shake off some rust before the playoffs begin.)

    While it’s not clear if he’s exactly 100 percent healthy just yet, the Ducks sending Jhonas Enroth back to the AHL is a strong sign that Gibson is close.

    Enroth actually never got a shot to start for the Ducks, as his last NHL appearance came on Nov. 30, closing off his ill-fated run with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Considering that Enroth was once a fairly hot commodity as at least a promising backup, it will be interesting to see how his 2017-18 season pans out. Will he get more or less of a chance than he received this season?

    Bernier, meanwhile, is richly rewarding the Ducks for sticking with him.

    He’s provided them with a Vezina-caliber March: 9-1-1, 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage with one shutout. You almost wonder if there’s at least some potential for a goalie controversy if Gibson stumbles whenever he gets back into action … but hey, having two good goalies to choose from is better than none.

    (Which was the scenario that must have scared the Ducks when Gibson got hurt in the first place.)

    WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning almost certainly haven’t faced the Chicago Blackhawks in a game this important since the two teams were vying for a Stanley Cup.

    While the Blackhawks have already punched their ticket to the postseason and are merely trying to pad their lead in the Central Division, the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives. At the moment, they rank three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final spot in the East. With a game in hand, they can make up a lot of ground tonight.

    With all of that in mind, it should be an entertaining contest. You can check it out on NBCSN, watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

    Click here for the livestream.