Our summer of free agency started and still continues with the Ilya Kovalchuk saga, but in the meantime, for just this weekend, we’ve got the Tomas Kaberle saga and tomorrow could see things come to a head with he and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs have until midnight tomorrow to work a trade for the talented defenseman or else they’ll see his no-trade clause go back into effect for the rest of the season. So how are things shaping up on the trade front with just about a day left to get a deal done? They’re not really shaping up at all but people are talking about things nonetheless.
One team that has been rumored to be interested since the get-go this summer is Columbus and The Columbus Dispatch’s Tom Reed got caught up on what the Blue Jackets’ interest is at the moment.
Yes, Kaberle is a power-play quarterback, and the Leafs power play was awful. But look at that lineup. There’s a reason Burke is looking for impact forwards.
How much does a club in a non-traditional market, with scant playoff history, surrender for a player who has only one year remaining on his deal? It’s a tough question. I think Kaberle-to-Columbus remains a long shot, but it makes for an intriguing weekend.
So count the Blue Jackets in as long shots unless something completely out of left field happens and they knock Brian Burke over with an offer. As for what Brian Burke may or may not be doing, ESPN’s Scott Burnside tweeted something of note today about that.
Toronto GM Brian Burke tells us looking more likely that Tomas Kaberle will remain a Leaf. Could change before midnight Sun. Of course.
Just a game of chicken right now for Brian Burke. It’s clear that he’s gotten offers for Kaberle, the seriousness of which we just don’t know right now. Instead of tipping his hand as to what he’ll do, Burke will instead reiterate what he’s said from the beginning in that he doesn’t have to move Kaberle at all. While that’s true, the possibility of losing Kaberle at the end of the season and getting nothing but his salary off the books in return doesn’t really make for great consolation. If anything goes down at all between now and midnight tomorrow it’ll be fascinating to see how Brian Burke’s game of chicken turns out.
Kurtis Foster, who appeared in over 400 games during a 10-year NHL career, is hanging up his skates to enter the next phase of his hockey life — coaching.
Foster, 34, has rejoined his former junior team in OHL Peterborough as an assistant coach, per the Examiner. The decision comes after Foster spent the last three years playing overseas in the KHL and, most recently, in the German League.
The 40th overall pick in 2000, Foster is often remembered for a horrific leg break while playing for Minnesota during the 2007-08 campaign, in which his femur was shattered by Torrey Mitchell after Mitchell tried to prevent an icing call.
The severity of the collision and Foster’s injury — he underwent emergency surgery, nearly bled out and almost lost his leg — prompted an immediate rule tweak from the NHL, and has since been viewed as a catalyst for the league’s adoption of no-touch icing.
Impressively, Foster recovered from the broken femur to post a career-high 42 points in 74 games with the Lightning in ’09-10.
In addition to the Wild and Bolts, Foster spent time with the Thrashers, Oilers, Ducks, Devils and Flyers.
Trevor Moore, an undrafted junior out of the University of Denver, has opted to bypass his senior campaign by signing a three-year, entry-level deal with the Leafs, the club announced on Tuesday.
Here’s what Moore, 21, has accomplished over the last three years:
[Moore] skated in 40 games with the University of Denver (NCHC) this past season, collecting 44 points (11 goals, 33 assists) and eight penalty minutes. He finished tied for sixth in the conference scoring race with 35 points (nine goals, 26 assists) in 31 games.
In 121 career games at Denver, the Thousand Oaks, California native registered 120 points (47 goals, 73 assists). Moore was named to the NCHC First All-Star Team and was the conference’s forward of the year during the 2014-15 season. In 2013-14, Moore was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team.
Moore scored his ELC after performing well at Toronto’s prospects camp earlier this month, and looks to be on his way to the Marlies for next season.
If you’re wondering why Moore was passed over at the draft, do consider the Pioneers website lists him — perhaps generously — at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds.
Of course, Toronto does have a similarly diminutive player right near the top of the organizational prospect pool in Mitch Marner, currently listed at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds. It’s probably worth noting that Moore and Marner skated together at prospects camp.
Nashville has retained the services of depth defenseman Petter Granberg, inking him to a two-year, two-way, $1.225 million extension ahead of his Aug. 3 arbitration hearing, per CBC.
The contract will pay $575,000 at the NHL level in year one, and $650,000 in year two.
Claimed off waivers from Toronto in November, Granberg appeared in 27 games for the Preds last season, scoring two points while racking up 13 PIM.
He was a healthy scratch for all of Nashville’s playoff run.
Looking ahead, Granberg could be in line for a bigger role with the Preds next season. He only turns 24 in August, and the team did buy out the remainder of veteran Barret Jackman’s contract in late June.
That should open up some minutes on the back end, though Granberg will likely compete with free agent signings Yannick Weber and Matt Irwin for those depth spots.
There’s nothing too flashy about Danny DeKeyser‘s game.
“Basically,” he told reporters today, “my game, I just try to move the puck well, play solid defensively, chip in some points or goals here or there when I can, and just try to be a good team player and do things that help the team win.”
For that, the Red Wings gave the steady defenseman a six-year, $30 million contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing in the process. Yes, it’s a significant amount of money for a d-man that doesn’t contribute a ton of offense, but as we’ve already seen this offseason, players like DeKeyser have significant value. The Edmonton Oilers gave up Taylor Hall to get one.
Re-signing DeKeyser is not expected to stop GM Ken Holland from trying to add to his blue line. The Wings have a surplus of forwards, and Holland has said he’d “love to get a top-three defenseman” prior to the start of next season.
If Holland can’t swing a deal, Detroit’s pairings could look something like this:
DeKeyser — Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson — Niklas Kronwall
Brendan Smith — Alexey Marchenko
It’s not a particularly young group. Kronwall is 35, Ericsson is 32, and Green is 30. The Red Wings chose not to re-sign veteran Kyle Quincey, and so far he has not been replaced. In June, they drafted a defenseman in the first round, but Dennis Cholowski is a ways away from playing in the NHL; he’s off St. Cloud State in the fall. There are a few other young blue-liners in the system, like Joe Hicketts, Ryan Sproul and Robbie Russo, but they all still have some developing to do.
At the very least, Holland now has some cost certainty with DeKeyser. The next step will be getting Petr Mrazek‘s deal done, possibly with the aid of tomorrow’s arbitration hearing. After that, it’ll be working to get that defenseman he covets.
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