Author: Joe Yerdon

Darcy Regier

Sabres GM says Vanek/Miller trade talk has gone quiet


Sabres GM Darcy Regier could have an anxious summer next year with both Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek being unrestricted free agents. That also means this summer could be busy with trade talk, but that’s apparently not the case.

Regier spoke with media in Buffalo to update on how things are going. As Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News shares, all is quiet when it comes to potentially dealing two of their cornerstone players.

“Talking to my counterparts around the league, that’s not unusual right now,” he said. “For whatever reason, there’s not a lot of activity on players that are going to become unrestricted in ’14.”

One reason there may not be a lot of chatter is due to the salary cap hits on both players.

Miller comes with a $6.25 million hit while Vanek’s is just north of $7 million. The other reason could be that the asking price to obtain either player is too high for teams to jump in on.

If Buffalo is out of the playoff hunt this season, the cost to obtain them at the deadline may not be quite so high. Buyer beware when dealing with Regier, however, as he’s proven to be excellent at getting a great return then. Just ask Nashville and Minnesota about that.

With Kovalchuk gone, Devils pursue Damien Brunner

Damien Brunner

Now that Ilya Kovalchuk is an ex-Devils forward, they need to find a way to replace all the offense lost. They may have found a way to start doing just that.

Nicola Berger of Swiss newspaper Neue Luzerner Zeitung reports the Devils are hot after free agent Damien Brunner and are close to signing the Swiss winger.

Berger says the Devils are “doing a lot of background work on him” which must translate into “finding out if he’ll suddenly retire to play in Switzerland at a moments notice.”

Brunner made his NHL debut last season with the Detroit Red Wings and was an instant success story as he scored 12 goals and finished with 26 points. He also made his mark in shootouts proving to be an effective scorer there as well. While Detroit wanted to keep him around, his asking price was a bit too high for their salary cap needs.

Report: Corvo signs with Ottawa — one year, $900k

Joe Corvo

Joe Corvo is apparently getting good about returning to teams he once played for.

Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun reports the 36 year-old defenseman has signed with the Ottawa Senators. No details are available on the term of the contract.

UPDATE: Bruce Garrioch of the Sun says it’s a one-year, $900,000 deal.

Corvo played for two seasons with the Sens back in the 2006-07 and 07-08 seasons before being dealt to Carolina. He played last season with the Hurricanes after spending a not-so memorable season in Boston. Now he heads back to Ottawa where he’ll likely be used as a sixth or seventh defenseman.

He’s more of an offensive defenseman as he had six goals and 11 assists for the Hurricanes last season. His not-so stellar defense earned him the nickname of “Uh-Oh Corvo” during his last spin in Ottawa. Awkward.

Minnesota columnist: ‘Cooke is a cheap-shot artist’

Matt Cooke

Wild fans are a bit restless these days.

Minnesota lost longtime forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard to the Islanders in free agency and shipped out Devin Setoguchi to Winnipeg, they’ve also added noted controversy lightning rod Matt Cooke to a three-year deal.

The latter move doesn’t exactly sit well with one Minnesota columnist.

Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune laced into the Wild for signing Cooke and comparing him to former goon Chris Simon. One excerpt from his column is particularly pointed.

Cooke is a cheap-shot artist. He is a dirty player. He’s a better player than Simon was, and he’s better than [Zenon] Konopka, and he might be better than the outgoing Cal Clutterbuck, but the acquisition hints of desperation. To quell fan backlash, Cooke will have to play well enough to allow Fletcher to quote the proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” which, translated into hockey talk, is “Crosschecking someone from Vancouver is better than crosschecking someone for Vancouver.”

So much for “Minnesota nice.”

For what it’s worth, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher defended the signing saying Cooke has “really evolved” having not been suspended for the past two seasons. That’s not doing much to calm down the fans who may have been hoping a different move was on the way.

Rangers sign McDonagh: six years, $28.2 million

Ryan McDonagh

Ryan McDonagh is about to get paid.

TSN’s Aaron Ward reports the restricted free agent defenseman and the New York Rangers are on the verge of signing a six-year agreement.

Steve Zipay of New York Newsday suspects the deal could be worth $5 million-$6 million per season.

Update (9:14 a.m. ET): Larry Brooks of the New York Post says the deal is worth $4.7 million per year, for an overall total of $28.2 million. Great deal.

McDonagh is one of the team’s high-priority guys to be taken care of this summer and locking him in helps keep the offer sheets away.

With him signed the Rangers still need to to take care of Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Mats Zuccarello, and newly acquired Justin Falk.

Jesse Spector of The Sporting News says teams could zero in on Stepan as an offer sheet candidate since the Rangers will be pushed closer to the salary cap.