Despite signing Andy Sutton yesterday, other events indicate that the Anaheim Ducks are being very tight with their wallets. That’s bad news for their negotiations with budding power forward in the making Bobby Ryan.
Here’s the latest update from Eric Stephens from the Orange County Register.
Bobby Ryan’s agent, Don Meehan, says there’s “no discussions” going on between the Ducks and his client. Looks like it’s still an impasse.
In case you aren’t aware of the situation, the main disagreement is about the length of the possible contract extension rather than the amount of money. The Ducks would prefer a five-year deal because that would allow the team to avoid Ryan’s unrestricted free agent status for two years. Ryan wants a three-year deal so he can cash in on the UFA market immediately. That three-year deal would be especially toxic to Anaheim because their other power forwards Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will become UFAs that summer, too.
As the two sides continue their staring contest, I’m still not sure why a team won’t at least throw an offer sheet his way.
While it will cost them money, a few draft picks and some awkwardness among other GMs, why wouldn’t the Kings think about sending Ryan an offer that would make things tough for Anaheim? If I were Kings GM Dean Lombardi, I’d send a tough-to-match three-year offer sheet to Bobby Ryan. If the Ducks match it, they’ll have to deal with that aforementioned bottleneck. If they didn’t match it, though, the Kings would steal a young, talented power forward from a division rival. A forward group including Ryan, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Ryan Smyth and a (hopefully healthy) Justin Williams would be very difficult to deal with.
Sure, the Kings will have their own restricted free agents to deal with, but the NHL’s true contenders occasionally make big moves to make “the jump” from a solid playoff team to legitimate Stanley Cup threats.
Either way, it seems like talks are at a standstill. We’ll keep you up to date as the contract negotiations drag on.
From the NHL:
Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.
Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.
PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.
Now he knows.
“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”
The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.
More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.
It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”
Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.
“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”
Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.
RTV Slovenia has the story here.
The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.
The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.
Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.
Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win
PITTSBURGH — Matt Nieto is healthy, and ready to go.
But it doesn’t look like he’ll go tonight.
The San Jose Sharks are unlikely to make any lineup changes for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh — at Monday’s optional morning skate, Nieto stayed out late with the extras while the guy he’d (presumably) replace in the lineup, Dainius Zubrus, told NHL.com he was in.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t reveal any lineup decisions during his morning media availability, instead talking up both Nieto (for his speed) and Zubrus (for his “heavy” game), adding he liked the versatility the two give the club on a night-by-night basis.
Nieto suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of the Nashville series, and missed all of the Western Conference Final.
Prior to getting hurt, he had three points in 11 games — this after a regular season in which he scored eight goals and 17 points in 67 games.