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Montreal trades Sergei Kostitsyn to Nashville for Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd

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The Nashville Predators and the Montreal Canadiens announced a
somewhat significant trade this afternoon, with three pending free
agents changing teams. Their new teams have a little under two days of
exclusive negotiations to try and sign the pending UFA’s.

Nashville
acquired forward Sergei Kostitsyn from the Canadiens, who is coming off
several tumultous seasons with the Habs and looks to be closer to being
separated from brother Andrei. After spending three seasons jumping
between the Canadiens and the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL, Sergei was
set to hit the open market as a free agent.

The return for
Montreal is what is intriguing. Dustin Boyd, if signed, could be a
definite boost for the Canadiens who
played so well defensively in the playoffs. Yet it’s Ellis that is the
focal point of this trade.

Dan Ellis, considered by many to be one the better and valuable
goaltenders set to be a free agent, could be exactly what the Habs need
in order to push Carey Price. While there’s certainly the possibility
that Ellis was looking to be a starter, those jobs are few and far
between this summer with a number of worthy goaltenders going on the
market. He also has the perfect temperament to deal with the insanity
that goes on in Montreal, and he won’t let the pressure get to him.

Dustin
Boyd, if signed, could be a definite boost for the Canadiens who played
so well defensively in the playoffs.

No one is a winner: Thoughts on today's Mike Modano news

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Modano7.jpgI’ve held off from commenting on this subject today, because I feel
that perhaps I’d be too emotionally vested in the story to be as
objective as possible.

That didn’t last very long, however, as I
have to share my thoughts on the subject. I’ll be as brief as I can, and
try not to let my emotions get in the way.

There’s no doubting that Mike Modano is the reason I became a
hockey fan. When hockey first came to North Texas, Modano was the face
of the franchise and the player used to sell the sport to the locals. He
was good looking, he was charismatic, and he was an incredible player.

I’m
not going to go into a Mike Modano career retrospective, but there are
countless moments throughout his moments that will always stick in my
mind.

After watching how the Dallas Stars fans gave Modano such a
great send-off at the end of the season, I internally hoped with all I
had that Modano would decide to retire. That it would be his decision,
that he would make the decision as quickly as he could, and that moment
at the AAC is what we all remember.

Instead, Modano took his time
making a decision and the Stars were forced to act. It wasn’t the most
desirable outcome, but one we all knew was coming. The sense coming from
the Stars at the end of the season and the past few months was that
Dallas would be moving on without Modano, and now that the day is here
it’s a tough, tough pill to swallow.

Fans are wont to blame Joe
Nieuwendyk or the ownership situation, but there’s plenty of
responsibility for this to go around — including with Mike Modano. He
certainly deserves the chance to make his own decision on whether to
return to playing hockey or not, but he put the team in a tough
situation by not making a decision over the past few months. With free
agency looming, Nieuwendyk was forced to make the hardest decision of
his short tenure and be the first to act.

We knew this was coming,
but today the Stars made it official — no matter what, Mike Modano
will not be with the Dallas Stars next season.

Talking
to ESPN Dallas
, Modano said that he’s disappointed in the decision
finally being made:

“I always thought there would be an outside
chance of something
happening here,” Modano told ESPN Dallas on Tuesday afternoon. “The
dialogue that Joe and I have had going on for about a month and a half
led me to believe I needed to prepare for things not happening. But when
it’s here and reality sets in, it’s disappointing. I didn’t think it
would happen. I was told some years ago that I’d be able to decide when I
wanted to stop playing. But that was verbally and things change.”

He would go on to say, that even now, he’s still unsure of
whether he wants to play next season. With the ownership situation in
flux and the team facing tough financial restrictions, Joe Nieuwendyk
had to be the first to act.

Brad
Gardner at Defending Big D
called it a “lose-lose” situation, and
there’s no other way to put it. The Stars at some point had to move
forward, even if Mike Modano is still a capable player. Nieuwendyk is
having to do some incredible spin-control with this, doing his best to
publicly praise Modano and invite him back. This is one of those cases
where it was purely a business decision, but one that felt entirely too
personal for every Stars fan out there.

Some fans were calling
today’s decision “classless” by the Stars, and that there was a better
way to go about it. The team put together an incredible tribute to
Modano at the end of the season and spearheaded perhaps the best final
game with a team a player has ever had. Short of launching a parade and
unveiling a Mike Modano statue in Frisco, there wasn’t going to be much
the team could do to make this look any better.

No matter how you
feel about, there is no doubting this: this is truly the end of an era
as Mike Modano, after 20 years with the team that drafted him, will no
longer be with the Dallas Stars as a player. As a hockey fan and a Dallas Stars fan, that thought makes me incredibly sad and emotional.

No more one-timers from the circle.

No more jerseys waving in the wind behind him.

No more of that customary smile we see when he scores, or the determination we see on his face when things get tough.

No more #9.

2010 NHL Free Agency: The Defensemen

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With the 2010 NHL Free Agency market set to open on Thursday, we’ll
be listing the top unrestricted free agents in all three positions throughout the day. This isn’t the
full list of free agents, but it’s a good chunk of them. The defensemen:

Player
Age
Team
09-10 cap hit
Pavel
Kubina
33
Atlanta
$5 million
Sergei
Gonchar
36
Pittsburgh
$5 million
Kim
Johnsson
34
Chicago
$4.85 million
Paul
Martin
29
New
Jersey
$3.8 million
Derek
Morris
31
Phoenix
$3.3 million
Ruslan
Sulei
35
Colorado
$3.02 million
Randy
Jones
28
Los
Angeles
$2.75 million
Joe
Corvo
33
Washington
$2.625 million
Anton
Volchenkov
28
Ottawa
$2.5 million
Brian
Pothier
33
Carolina
$2.5 million
Dan
Hamhuis
27
Pittsburgh
$2 million
Shaone
Morrison
27
Washington
$1.975 million
Jordan
Leopold
29
Pittsburgh
$1.75 million
Carlo
Colaiacovo
27
St.
Louis
$1.28 million
Zybnek
Michalek
27
Phoenix
$1.25 million
Marc-Andre
Bergeron
29
Montreal
$750,000
Lukas
Krajicek
27
Philadelphia
$700,000
Brett
Lebda
28
Detroit
$650,000
Kurtis
Foster
28
Tampa Bay
$600,00

Quick analysis:

Not exactly an elite group of
defensemen this season, as teams have done a good job of locking up
their elite soon-to-be free agents before they hit the open market on
Thursday.

What’s left is an okay group of good but not great
defensemen, highlighted by the impending free agency of Sergei Gonchar.
He’s one of the older defensemen in this group, yet still puts up a high
number of points. I doubt he’ll see another $5 million-a-year contract,
but he’s going to make some team happy should Pittsburgh fail, or
decide not to, keep him.

Paul Martin would certainly seem to be
the next best player available, followed by Dan Hamhuis, Anton
Volchenkov and perhaps Joe Corvo.

Two names to keep an eye on are
Kurtis Foster and Marc-Andre Bergeron. I know that MAB got a bad rap in
Montreal, but both he and Foster were the two of the most valuable
defensemen in the NHL last season in point production.

Brian Burke: Leafs not looking to trade for Marc Savard

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brianburke.jpgOh, how the trade rumors flew this past weekend in Los Angeles, with
Marc Savard’s name being mentioned the most. With Savard reportedly
naming Toronto and Ottawa as the two teams he’s waive his NTC for,
speculation began to fly as to what sort of deal the Maple Leafs could
be working up for the veteran center.

According to Brian Burke,
there is not going to be a trade involving the Toronto Maple Leafs and
Marc Savard.

Talking with Fan 590 in Toronto, per TSN, this is
what Burke had to say:

“The rumour – what I read anyway – is that Boston is looking to move
this player,” he said. “We have some options presented to us over the
weekend, trade wise, that do not involve this player (Savard) that we
are looking at.”

“Suffice it to say, the media are focused on one name,” Burke said.
“And we are looking at multiple names – not including Marc Savard.”

As far as Tomas Kaberle goes, Burke said that most of the offers for
the defenseman this past weekend involved a draft pick, and that the
Leafs were not looking get a first round pick for Kaberle — they want
immediate help at forward. Since he didn’t hear any offers that were
perfect for Toronto, they put things on hold regarding a Kaberle trade.

He hints that a Kaberle trade is not a 100% priority, and that
they’ll only move the defenseman if they the perfect deal for a forward.
Since he steadfastly refuses the Leafs are looking at Savard, I’m
guessing an aging center with a bloated contract isn’t exactly what the
Leafs are looking at in return.

“We’re hearing two more offers today, but I’m guessing that nothing’s
crystallized until July 1 when we se where free agent defencemen end
up.”

Oilers forward Ryan Potulny to become UFA

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Among others, the Edmonton Oilers gave qualifying offers to Andrew
Cogliano, Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk this afternoon. One player
not getting an offer, surprisingly, is forward Ryan Potulny.

Coming
off his first full season in the NHL (64 games in 2010-11), Potulny had
15 goals and 31 points and was one of the few bright spots with the
Oilers last season.

He’s a skilled forward that can bring
production to a team’s third or fourth line and with him now set to
become a free agent, he’ll be a great pick up for any team looking for
scoring depth for a good price. He’s been successful at the AHL level as
well, scoring 109 points in 128 AHL games between 2007 and 2009.