Agent: Marty Turco will have a home in the NHL this year


Thumbnail image for 1-turco.jpgIf you’ve been wondering what’s going on with free agent goalie Marty Turco you’re not alone. The quiet and mostly sad market for free agent goalies this season is one that’s chased Evgeni Nabokov back home to Russia, Jose Theodore into hiding and Antti Niemi off to an arbitration hearing that may end up making him expendable. Marty Turco’s agent Kurt Overhardt isn’t worried though. In fact, as the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika found out, Overhardt is downright excited about Turco’s future.

Kurt Overhardt chuckled when I asked if he is worried that Marty Turco might not end up with a place to sit in this free agent game of musical chairs.

“You’re the second guy to ask me that exact same question in that exact same manner,” said the agent for Turco. “The answer is no.”

Overhardt is confident that something will get done in the 7-10 days and that Turco, the all-time Stars win leader who was not offered a contract extension, will be on a contending team.

“He will be on a contender, he will be the starter and he will get a chance to show everbody the kind of goalie he has been throughout his career and will continue to be,” Overhardt said.

Overhardt is so confident that he even says that there’s three teams in play for the former Stars goalie. The questions now remain as to just who these contending teams are. One of them could be Philadelphia who, at the moment, appears set to run with the two-headed monster of Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton in goal testing the theory that you don’t need a big name goalie to win.

Another team that could be in play is Chicago depending on what happens with Antti Niemi’s arbitration case. If the Hawks are forced to either walk away from Niemi or deal him elsewhere because of his arbitration reward, it could be possible that the Blackhawks sign an experienced veteran goalie at a reduced rate to fill out their ranks.

Assuming that those are two of the possible destinations, what could the magic third team be? Just for the sake of thinking out loud here and basing these ideas on nothing else but idle speculation here’s my short list of possibilities: San Jose, Montreal, Ottawa, Nashville.

San Jose because a tandem of Antero Niittymaki and Thomas Greiss inspires little hope. Montreal as a fail safe option in case things with Carey Price get too ridiculous. Alex Auld is always expendable. Ottawa because Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliott run extremely hot and cold and Turco would provide stability. Nashville because Pekka Rinne is their only experienced goaltender and he did well in splitting time with Dan Ellis last year. Again, that’s just idle chatter from my own mind and is based on nothing at all logical. Feel free to share your thoughts of how much I don’t know in the comments.

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.