Joe Yerdon

Fraser and Maple Leafs are far apart on salary

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Restricted free agent Mark Fraser and the Toronto Maple Leafs have differing opinions on what he should be paid next season.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Fraser is asking for $2 million while the Leafs are hoping to sign him for $855,000. If the two sides can’t agree on a deal, they’re set to go to arbitration on Tuesday.

So far this summer we haven’t seen any cases get that far, but the situation the Leafs are in could make things uncomfortable. If an arbitrator splits the difference, Fraser is looking around $1.4 million next season. An award like that would also mean the Leafs can’t walk away from it either.

While Toronto doesn’t have to worry about arbitration with Nazem Kadri, they do have to get him re-signed and will likely have to give him a raise to do that. Adding to that, if the team wanted to retain Cody Franson, something they may not do, it’s possible he could land a deal in the range of $3-$4 million per season. If that happens, then Toronto’s cap situation gets dicey fast.

Time for GM Dave Nonis to show why he was given a five-year extension.

Report: Red Wings talking to Predators about Tootoo

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Detroit’s Jordin Tootoo has only played for two teams in his NHL career and he might be headed back to where it all started.

According to Ansar Khan of Mlive.com, the Detroit Red Wings are in talks with the Nashville Predators about sending Tootoo back to Music City U.S.A. Khan says the Wings need to move a forward (or two) and sending Tootoo back to Nashville would be a comfortable move for him.

Ah, but there’s a catch. A couple of them actually.

The Predators also have an abundance of forwards after signing four of them this summer (Matt Cullen, Eric Nystrom, Matt Hendricks, and Viktor Stalberg). All told they’ve got 14 guys up front and just under $5 million in salary cap space. Tootoo and his $1.9 million cap hit the next two seasons might not make a great fit there.

Detroit is going to have to make a move at some point, but if it turns out to be Tootoo going back to Nashville there could be some Preds fans surprised to see him back.

Perron ‘had a bit of a gut feeling’ he’d be traded

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David Perron’s trade out of St. Louis to Edmonton has provided some choice sound bytes from both sides. Everyone in St. Louis as well as Perron have had some sometimes grumpy thoughts about why things went down.

As for Perron, he had a feeling he was going to be moved this summer as he tells Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun.

“You never know what it’s going to be like, once you’re traded,” said Perron. “I had a bit of a gut feeling over the summer that it might happen. When I heard Edmonton, my first thought was all the young guys here and the talent up front. I was a little bit surprised at first, but then you start thinking about playing with those guys and it’s pretty exciting.”

It’s tough not to be excited thinking about playing alongside the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Sam Gagner. That’s a lot of offensive firepower which means a lot of chances for Perron to become an offensive force himself.

Perron came up as a big-time scorer but thanks to injury and a change of systems in St. Louis when Ken Hitchcock arrived, he hasn’t evolved into that sort of player. Safe to say he’ll get a fair opportunity to do that in Edmonton.

Chicago’s Shaw admits he’s ‘not the best hockey player’

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Chicago’s Andrew Shaw showed up on the scene in a big way during the Blackhawks’ run to the Stanley Cup. Whether he was mixing it up with the opposing team or scoring a big goal, you couldn’t miss him.

During the Blackhawks’ convention in Chicago, Shaw tells Nina Falcone of CSNChicago.com being an underdog of sorts motivates him to be better.

“I pushed myself. I push myself to the limit and I never give up,” he said. “I work hard, every time I was on the ice I played every shift like it was my last. I just competed and did the best to my abilities every chance I got and every time I touched the ice, I was always working on something.

“I’ve got a lot to work on still, I’m not the best hockey player, I just have to keep working hard and every time I touch that ice I have to push myself as best I can.”

He may have found his stride in the playoffs as he went from having nine goals and 15 points in the regular season to five goals and nine points in the postseason. If that’s more like the guy we’ll see next season, Chicago will have yet another weapon at their disposal to frustrate and beat opponents.

Poile a big fan of Faulk’s game for Team USA

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Justin Faulk is just 21 years-old and has all of two NHL seasons under his belt, but don’t count him out of making the U.S. Olympic team.

Team USA GM David Poile is a big fan of Faulk’s game and as Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer hears it, the Carolina youngster has a great chance to go to Sochi.

“He certainly has his star rising,” Poile said. “There will be some tough decisions,” Poile said. “But we like Justin’s game.”

Faulk’s competition on the blue line will be tough. With guys like Ryan Suter and Ryan McDonagh likely already locking down a couple of starting spots, things open up a bit more for the other six openings on the team.

As long as you ignore Faulk’s plus-minus rating from his rookie season (and you should do that anyway) he’s played big, tough minutes for them and has been productive offensively. Seems like the kind of guy Team USA would want to have in the mix.