Joe Yerdon

Detroit’s free agency shopping list is center-heavy

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Detroit is set to head into this offseason with some cap space and a hole to fill up the middle. Their potential shopping list of centermen gives Red Wings fans a reason to pay attention when free agency kicks off on Friday.

Ansar Khan of Mlive.com reports the team has a host of pivots they’re looking at to replace free agent-to-be Valtteri Filppula. Among them are some reasonably big names.

Stephen Weiss (Florida), Mike Ribeiro (Washington), Derek Roy (Vancouver), Tyler Bozak (Toronto), and Matt Cullen (Minnesota). New Jersey’s Patrik Elias is also on their short-list, but he’s close to re-signing with the Devils. While Vincent Lecavalier would seem like a logical fit here, Khan says his demands may be a bit too pricey for what GM Ken Holland is looking for.

Meanwhile, the team is still working on re-signing Damien Brunner and Danny Cleary to new deals. Should that not pan out, there are a host of veteran options on the market for wingers including Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Jaromir Jagr, and Michael Ryder (amongst others).

Report: Leafs have eight-year offer from Bozak

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Toronto might have Tyler Bozak to kick around for quite a few years.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Bozak made an eight-year offer to the Maple Leafs for his services.

A deal like that would have him check in with a lower cap hit than Mikhail Grabovski, Phil Kessel, and Joffrey Lupul amongst forwards and leave Toronto with limited room to fill out the roster. To get around that, Dreger says there’s a possibility the team buys out Grabovski with his $5.5 million cap hit over the next four seasons to make it fit better.

Last season, Bozak had 12 goals and 16 assists in 46 games for the Leafs. Bozak has been a dependable, but not great, player through his career to this point. Committing to him for a maximum-length contract would be curious to say the least, but perhaps the team comes back with something far more reasonable.

Today’s waivers: Zanon, Hunwick, Gill, and Russell

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The waiver wire picked up a little bit today and the Colorado Avalanche figured heavily into that.

The Avs placed defensemen Greg Zanon and Matt Hunwick on regular waivers. Both players played heavy minutes for Colorado last season and, eerily enough, both finished the year with no goals and six assists.

With these two going on waivers it makes Colorado’s decision to draft Nathan MacKinnon over Seth Jones a bit more intriguing. In truth, Colorado is likely clearing room for youngsters Stefan Elliott and Tyson Barrie to play more next season.

Elsewhere, Nashville placed 6’7″ defenseman Hal Gill on waivers while St. Louis did the same with Kris Russell. Predators GM David Poile said that by drafting Seth Jones they didn’t have room for Gill next season. Russell, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent so any team could grab his rights to sign him to a new deal.

Regier says Grigorenko will stay in Buffalo next season

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Mikhail Grigorenko’s rookie season in Buffalo wasn’t exactly one to write home about.

While he came in with big expectations, he found himself buried on the Sabres’ lines and eventually sent back to junior hockey. Next year, things won’t be like that.

GM Darcy Regier told reporters today that Grigorenko will stay with the Sabres all season and will not be sent back to junior hockey. He is ineligible to play in the AHL as he’s 19 years-old.

Last season, Grigorenko had a goal and four assists in 25 games. That’s not impressive at all, but even less so was his average ice time of 10:14 per game. That kind of inaction is no way to properly develop a young player. Coach Ron Rolston will have to make sure to give him the proper linemates (not John Scott for instance) and ice time to help him better use his offensive abilities.

Bergeron won’t need surgery, dishes on playoff pain

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No one will ever question Patrice Bergeron’s toughness after this year’s playoffs. The litany of issues he played through is the type of thing that turns a player into a folk hero. 

Bergeron spoke about his injuries today and said he won’t need surgery for any of them. His separated shoulder apparently just needs to heal and his ribs and cartilage just need to not get abused by defenders to be repaired. He also says he should be ready for the start of training camp in September. 

Are we sure he’s not made of titanium?

As for the criticism he faced for playing while injured, he said it was the sort of thing any player would’ve done.

“You obviously don’t want to put your health in danger… No regrets on my part, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

As for how he got through Game 6? He took nerve blockers both before and during the game to stop the pain. That sounds like the kind of thing that will keep you from knowing you have a hole in your lung.