Tag Archive | "Atlanta Thrashers"

Dudley signs Bergfors, picks up UFA Dawes

The Atlanta Thrashers were busy securing a few more pieces to their roster this week by signing restricted free agent forward Niclas Bergfors then inking a deal with UFA forward Nigel Dawes. Dawes joins several members of last year’s Stanley Cup Chicago Blackhawks team, Fredrik Modin and goalie Chris Mason who all signed earlier deals with the club.

Thrashers GM Rick Dudley has possibly been the most active GM in the NHL this summer, pulling off a few blockbuster deals early and following up with a handful of others like the two mentioned above.

 The 23-year-old Bergfors was named to the 2009-10 NHL All-Rookie Team after having a solid inaugural season scoring 21 goals and 23 assist for 44 points in 81 games with the New Jersey Devils and Thrashers last season. He registered nine power play goals and six game-winning goals, which ranked him 10th in the NHL.

Bergfors, a Swedish native, was an important signing since he was the main player acquired in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade, coming to Atlanta along with defenseman Johnny Oduya, forward Patrice Cormier and a first round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for Kovalchuk and defenseman Anssi Salmela.

Also joining the Thrashers is left winger Dawes, 25 years old, who posted 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists) in 66 games, with the Calgary Flames last season.  The 5-8, 190-pound Winnipeg, Manitoba native’s career numbers include (39g, 44a, 83 pts) in 199 career games over four seasons with the New York Rangers, Phoenix and Calgary.

Dawes had his coming out season last year, scoring a career-high 32 points with the Flames while tying his season-high in goals (14). He has also played in 11 career playoff games, all with the Rangers (2006-07, 207-08), posting four points (two goals, two assists).

One thing for certain this season in Atlanta is, fans attending games will need a roster sheet to keep up with all the new faces Dudley has added and should expect to see a new style of hockey as well. With more size and more balanced scoring, the new GM is definitely bringing a new brand of hockey to the Philips Arena.

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N.Y. Rangers trade for Thrashers’ Todd White

The New York Rangers traded two American-born players this morning moving enforcer Donald Brashear and his contract along with Patrick Rissmiller to the Atlanta Thrashers for forward Todd White.

The Rangers add the 35-year-old White after he recorded 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) in 65 games last season. In all, White has collected 136 points (43 goals, 93 assists) in 221 games with Atlanta since being signed as a free agent on July 1, 2007.

Overall, the Kanata, Ontario native’s NHL career numbers include 140 goals and 239 assists for 379 points in 635 games with Chicago, Philadelphia, Ottawa, Minnesota and Atlanta.

Rissmiller, (20g, 27a, 47 pts.) in 69 AHL games last season with Grand Rapids and Hartford, also appeared in two NHL games with the Rangers. The Belmont, Mass., native was originally signed by the Sharks as a free agent on Sept. 23, 2002.

Overall, the 6-4, 215-pound left wing has tallied 45 points (18 goals, 27assists) in 182 career NHL games with San Jose and the Rangers.  He has appeared in 30 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Sharks, posting seven points (three goals, four assists).  Rissmiller’s best season was the 2006-07 campaign when he recorded a career-high 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 79 games with the Sharks. 

One of the league’s most feared enforcers, Brashear, 38, appeared in 36 games with the Rangers last season, recording one assist and 73 penalty minutes. The Thrashers placed Brashear on waivers right away and expect to buy out the remainder of his contract if no other team picks him up. Imagine that, Brashear was teammates for a day with Eric Boulton, pictured here fighting Brashear.

The 6-3, 240-pound left wing has posted 205 points (85 goals, 120 assists) and 2,634 penalty minutes in 1,025 career NHL games with Montreal, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Washington and the Rangers.  He has nine points (three goals, six assists) and 121 penalty minutes in 60 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

The Bedford, Indiana, native was originally signed by Montreal as a free agent on July 28, 1992.

Exclusive Interview with Eric Boulton – Sports Climax

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Blackhawks’ Niemi goes to arbitration, Ladd signs

There were expected to be two high-profile NHL arbitration cases on Thursday but one of those players signed a deal shortly before his meeting.

While the Atlanta Thrashers were inking forward Andrew Ladd, the Chicago Blackhawks weren’t as fortunate and will be biting their nails to the bone while they await an answer that will come on Saturday concerning how large a salary bump goaltender Antti Niemi will be awarded.

Niemi, who led the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup championship in 49 years, and the team sat through an arbitration hearing Thursday morning, a hearing that is expected to cause Chicago GM Stan Bowman more salary cap headaches.

Chicago GM Stan Bowman said after Saturday’s ruling comes down, his team will have 48 hours to accept the increased salary figure, trade the goalie with the new salary number or just let Niemi go entirely as a free agent.

After winning the cup, Niemi is expected to walk away with a contract near or over the $2 miilion mark after making just $800,000 last season.

“To be simplistic it’s going to depend on what the number is,” Bowman said. “Basically, our cap situation is tight, as is probably well documented. That will drive the boat. We have plans mapped out, strategies based on how to go, but it’s hard to speculate on any of that.”

While Chicago anticipates the outcome of their situation with Niemi, the Thrashers can relax after re-signing their restricted free agent forward Ladd to a one-year deal to avoid the arbitration sit-down.

Ladd, 24, appeared in all 82 games for the Chicago Blackhawks last season, posting 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists).  He registered a career-high in goals (17), ranked third on the club in even-strength goals and was eighth in points.  Ladd earned his first career NHL hat trick on March 7 vs. Detroit and added six points (three goals, three assists) in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games, while helping the Blackhawks capture the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship.

The 6-2, 200-pound left wing has registered 149 points (63 goals, 86 assists) in 321 career games with Chicago and Carolina and brings 53 games of experience to the Thrashers young roster. In those 53 playoff games, Ladd has tallied 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) and been on two championship teams, the 2006 Hurricanes and last year’s Blackhawks.

Ladd was originally selected by Carolina in the first round, fourth overall, of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

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Ben Eager signs one-year deal with Atlanta

Another NHL arbitration was avoided when the Atlanta Thrashers agreed to a contract with restricted free agent forward Ben Eager.

Eager, 26, appeared in 60 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, earning 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) and a team-leading 120 penalty minutes and added one goal and two assists in 18 Stanley Cup Playoff games in Chicago’s journey to win the championship.

The Ottawa, Ontario native has carrers numbers that include (27 goals, 25 assists, 52 points) and 621 penalty minutes in 255 career NHL games with Chicago and Philadelphia.  Eager has also posted five points (two goals, three assists) in 37 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Blackhawks and Flyers. 

The 6-2, 230-pound left wing tallied 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) and 509 penalty minutes in 123 career AHL games with the Philadelphia Phantoms from 2003 to 2007.  He collected three points (one goal, two assists) in 19 AHL playoff games and helped the Phantoms capture the 2005 Calder Cup Championship.

Prior to his professional career, Eager recorded 139 points (59 goals, 80 assists) in 243 career Ontario Hockey League games with the Oshawa Generals from 2000 to 2004.  He also tallied four points (one goal, three assists) for Team Canada at the 2002 Under-18 World Junior Championship.

Eager was originally selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round, 23rd overall, of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

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Thrashers re-sign RFA goaltender Ondrej Pavelec

The Atlanta Thrashers released the following statement to the media regarding signing free agent goaltender Ondrej Pavelec to a deal:

The Thrashers have re-signed restricted free agent goaltender Ondrej Pavelec to a multiple-year contract, according to General Manager Rick Dudley.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Pavelec, 22, appeared in 42 games during his first full NHL season, posting a 14-18-7 record with two shutouts, a 3.29 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.  The 6-3, 220-pound goaltender made a career-high 50 saves in a 3-1 victory on Oct. 31 at Ottawa and  recorded his first career shutout, with a 38-save performance, on Nov. 13 vs. Los Angeles.  Pavelec was also a member of the Czech Republic team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Kladno, Czech Republic, native has earned a 20-28-7 record with two shutouts, a 3.33 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage in 61 career NHL games over three seasons with the Thrashers from 2007 to 2010.  Pavelec posted a 51-36-5 record with five shutouts, a 2.69 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage in 92 career games with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League from 2007 to 2009. 

He also appeared in 24 post-season contests with the Wolves, registering a 16-8 record with two shutouts, a 2.34 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage, while helping Chicago capture the 2008 Calder Cup Championship.

Prior to his professional career, Pavelec earned 55-29-0 record with four shutouts, a 2.52 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage in 90 games with Cape Breton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2005 to 2007.  He also spent two seasons with the Kladno organization in the Czech Republic from 2003 to 2005. 

Pavelec has represented his native Czech Republic in International Competition four times, including the Winter Olympics (2010), World Championships (2010), World Junior Championships (2007) and World Under-18 Championships (2005).

Pavelec was originally selected by the Thrashers in the second round, 41st overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

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Kovalchuk signs with New Jersey Devils

After weeks of negotiating and a melodramatic roller-coaster ride that traveled coast-to-coast, Ilya Kovalchuk will remain with the New Jersey Devils.

Kovy was this summer’s hottest NHL unrestricted free agent after tallying 40 or more goals over the last six seasons, most of those with the Atlanta Thrashers. There was heavy speculation that Kovalchuk would be signing with the L.A. Kings with some of that chatter still going on yesterday.

News first broke that Kovy would be signing when Kovy’s agent, Jay Grossman Tweeted on his Twitter account that an announcement and decision was definitely coming today. Shortly after that message, the Devils announced they had signed the star left winger.

“Ilya is excited to be continuing his career with New Jersey and knows first-hand the team’s dedication and commitment to winning,” Grossman said.

“We all know that, even looking at him on another team, that he’s an exceptional talent,” said Devils coach John MacLean. “As I’ve stated before, I have not heard from anybody throughout the organization a bad word about him. He’s a tremendous teammate and addition. He’ll have no issues playing for the team. He signed here for a reason — to try to win a championship. This organization has a good history of that, so you know he wants to be part of the team. That’s what I’m excited about.”

After skating in Atlanta and only experiencing the playoffs one time throughout his entire career and playing in a series where his team was swept 4 games to 0 by the New York Rangers, Kovy will be lacing them up for an organization with a strong recent winning history.

Kovalchuk had 27 points in 27 games wearing a Devils jersey last year and totaled 41 goals and 85 points for the season. In the trade for the Russian skater, the Devils sent solid rookie forward, Niclas Bergfors and defenseman Johnny Oduya as well as a few other pieces. For New Jersey to come up empty-handed would have looked like a real boneheaded move so they stayed in the mix throught the past several weeks before finally landing the player.

No details of the contract were announced, but you have to assume the Devils will have to shuffle some players to stay under their $59.4 million salary cap before the start of the season.

NOTE: While playing with the Thrashers, the former No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Draft scored 328 goals and added 287 assists for 615 points in 594 games.

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Thrashers name John Torchetti associate coach

ATLANTA, GA. – The Atlanta Thrashers have named John Torchetti as the team’s associate coach, according to General Manager Rick Dudley and Head Coach Craig Ramsay.

Torchetti, 45, joins the Thrashers with more than 26 years of professional hockey experience as a player, coach and manager. His NHL coaching resume includes stops in Tampa Bay (1999-00 to 2000-01), Florida (2002-03 to 2003-04), Los Angeles (2005-06) and Chicago (2007-08 to 2009-10). The Thrashers will mark the fourth NHL team which Torchetti and Dudley have worked together.

“I’ve known John for several years and he is a highly-talented and extremely knowledgeable individual,” said Dudley. “He is an excellent coach who will strengthen Craig’s staff and we’re fortunate to have him as part of our organization.”

Most recently Torchetti served as an assistant coach for the Chicago Blackhawks, a position he held since the start of the 2007-08 season. During his time in Chicago, Torchetti helped the team improve in wins and points each season, reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2008-09 and capturing the 2010 Stanley Cup.

“John is a dedicated individual who will be an invaluable resource to me and a significant asset for our players,” said Ramsay. “His strengths compliment mine and match up well with what we will be striving to accomplish.”

The Boston, Mass., native has served as an interim head coach in the NHL on two occasions; with the Florida Panthers in 2003-04, where he posted a 10-12-4-1 record in 27 games, and with the Los Angeles Kings in 2005-06, earning a 5-7-0 record in the final 12 games of the season.

Torchetti served as head coach for the San Antonio Iguanas of the Central Hockey League (1994-95 to 1995-96), the Fort Wayne Komets of the International Hockey League (1996-97 to 1997-98), the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League (2002-03) and the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (2006-07). He was twice named Coach of the Year, first with San Antonio in 1994-95, then with Fort Wayne in 1997-98.

Torchetti also spent time as assistant general manager with the San Antonio Dragons (IHL) during the 1996-97 season and as general manager of the Detroit Vipers (IHL) in 1998-99, succeeding Dudley in that position. During his tenure in Detroit, the Vipers posted a 50-12-11 record and captured the IHL’s Eastern Conference Championship.

His professional playing career spanned seven seasons in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League, the All-American Hockey League, the ECHL and the AHL. In total, Torchetti earned 532 points (258 goals, 274 assists) in 359 career games with the Carolina Thunderbirds (ACHL, AAHL, ECHL), Virginia Lancers (ACHL), Binghamton Whalers (AHL) and Winston-Salem Thunderbirds (ECHL) from 1984-85 to 1990-91. Prior to his professional career, Torchetti had a brief stint with the Plattsburgh Pioneers of the QMJHL during the 1984-85 season, posting five points (two goals, three assists) in eight games.

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Enforcer Eric Boulton re-signs with Thrashers

The Atlanta Thrashers have announced they have re-signed forward Eric Boulton and although team policy is to not announce terms of deals, reports indicate the rugged enforcer will be making in the area of $650,000 this upcoming season.

There was speculation Boulton could possibly be moving on after new GM Rick Dudley acquired a few other tough players that could have possibly filled the role Boulton had held in the past.

More known for his aggressive style of play than putting points on the board, Boulton, 33, recorded 2g,6a-8pts in 62 games last season while spending 113 minutes in the penalty box. During that stretch, he became the franchise’s all-time leader in penalty minutes with 552 when he skated to the box on March 20 vs. Philadelphia.

In his career, the 6-1, 225-pound left wing has appeared in 480 regular-season NHL games with Atlanta and Buffalo, tallying 63 points, 21g,42a and 1,063 penalty minutes.

The native of Halifax, Nova Scotia was signed as a free agent by Atlanta on Aug. 8, 2005 and was originally drafted by the New York Rangers in the ninth round, 234th overall, of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.

Prior to making his NHL debut in 2000-01, Boulton recorded 131 points (65 goals, 66 assists) in 319 career minor-league games with Charlotte (ECHL), Binghamton (AHL), Fort Wayne (IHL), Kentucky (AHL), Rochester (AHL) and Columbia (ECHL).

Used with permission of the author.

Jay Donetelli is a freelance sportswriter and contributor to Sports Climax. With an opinion sometimes sharper than an Ovechkin skate blade with the sting of an Ali jab, Donetelli has a loyal following of supporters who have found a way to love him.

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Thrashers sign UFA goaltender Chris Mason

The Atlanta Thrashers have signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Chris Mason to a multi-year contract. The deal follows the recent acquisition of Chicago Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien but is the first UFA signing for new General Manager Rick Dudley. 

The move solidifies a position the team needed to enhance since former first-round pick Kari Lehtonen had been moved at the trade deadline last season.

Dudley released a statement to the media regarding the Mason pick-up. “Chris has proven himself as an elite-level goaltender and we have the utmost confidence in his capabilities. We are pleased to add him to our organization are excited to follow his lead into the playoffs.”

Mason, 34, posted a 30-22-8 record with two shutouts, a 2.53 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage in 61 games with the St. Louis Blues last season, while ranking 13th in the league in wins and goals-against average. The 6-0, 200-pound goaltender earned five-straight victories from Feb. 9 to March 4, posting one shutout, a 1.74 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage during that stretch.

The Red Deer, Alberta, native has appeared in 253 career NHL games with Nashville and St. Louis, earning a 115-86-27 record with 20 shutouts, a 2.54 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage.

Mason has posted a 1-8 record with a 2.93 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in nine career Stanley Cup Playoff games. He has also represented Canada at the World Championships in 2009 and 2010.

Mason played in 146 career American Hockey Leagues from 1997 to 2004, registering a 56-58-20 record with three shutouts, a 2.79 goals-against average anda .914 save percentage with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, Milwaukee Admirals andSan Antonio Rampage. He earned a 52-47-19 record with eight shutouts, a 2.68 goals-against average anda .910 save percentage in 124 career games withMilwaukee of the now-defunct IHL from 1998 to 2001. Mason appeared in 20 games with Valerengen IF Oslo in Norway during the 2004-05 season.

Prior to his professional career, Mason appeared in 158 Western Hockey League games with Victoria and Prince George from 1993 to 1997, posting a 44-95-6 record with four shutouts, a 4.34 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage.

Mason was originally selected by the New Jersey Devils in the fifth round, 122nd overall, of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.

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NHL Free Agent Updates

The end of June means the start of the NHL free agent period. Here are some of the top stories creating the most buzz around the league.

Kovalchuk to the Kings?

Could this be the final piece in a championship run for L.A.’s “other” team. Even before the whisperings of New Jersey Devils Ilya Kovalchuk to the Kings, I thought Los Angeles might be the team of the future.

Already at 20-years-old you won’t find many defensemen as poised and as smooth as Drew Doughty, and it just seems like the Kings encompass every component of a winning hockey team.

Need physical play? Look no further than Dustin Brown, who with 24 goals last year, is begging to be a threat not only to those in the corner but to goaltenders as well.

Every team needs veteran scorers and leaders which the Kings have in Ryan Smyth and Michal Handzus, who does a great job clogging the lane on defense, but a team also needs someone with youthful energy.

For the type of player who doesn’t know the meaning of stop. Enter 22-year-old Wayne Simmonds, who responded to higher playing time after Ryan Smyth went down, with a streak in which he recorded 8 points in 6 games, scoring 4 goals.   

The Kings also have the type of natural scorer that every team needs in creative center Anze Kopitar, who like Simmonds and Doughty, is under 23. To say the future for hockey is bright in Los Angeles is about as obvious as saying that it’s a pretty decent place to find a plastic surgeon.

And if the rumors are true and Los Angeles is indeed at the front runner of signing Ilya Kovalchuk and there’s speculation the signing could occur as soon as early Thursday.

If the Kings win the Kovy sweepstakes, they will also dress their biggest superstar since Wayne Gretzky took the ice in the late 80’s. Since everyone wants to attach themselves to a winner, especially if you are as obsessed with relevance as the Hollywood set, might we soon be seeing Jack at Kings’ games? 

Does Savard get traded?

Bruins management has already shown their hand and said they are not looking to shore up the team with any free agent signings. Instead the B’s will try to cut salary from the books as they look to dump goaltender Tim Thomas ($5 million annual cap hit) and potentially center Marc Savard. ($4.083).

While most talk has centered on Savard possibly moving on to play in Toronto, a number of other teams badly need depth at the center position including the Washington Capitals.

Don’t be surprised if they aggressively become involved, however, a 7-year, $28.05 million contract might dissuade some teams.

Saku Koivu is still very much in demand. But why?

The center position has gotten a lot of attention in this brief pre-free agency period, and for good reason. The last four teams that made the Stanley Cup had elite depth at the center position with not one, but two guys who could play at the highest level. (Chicago: 1C- Kane.  2C- Sharp. Philadelphia: 1C- Briere. 2C- Richards. Pittsburgh: 1C-Crosby. 2C- Malkin. Detroit: 1C- Zetterberg 2C- Datsyuk).

Having one guy who can play but no second line center who can proficiently run an offense is no longer an option for teams that want to win at the highest level. This is a lesson that the Washington Capitals, with the great Nicklas Backstrom, but no one else who could significantly guide the offense at center, learned the hard way.

Because of that fact, even outside of the Savard trade talk, expect a lot of chatter over free agents like Coyotes center Matthew Lombardi, who plays a very complete game, as well as rising New York Rangers center Chris Higgins.

Like Higgins and even Lombardi, 35-year-old free agent Saku Koivu may not be considered a great option as a No. 1 center. Nevertheless with depth at center now a necessity and not a luxury item in the NHL, look at a lot of competition for him as the veteran center showed last season that he still has a little something in the tank with 52 points.

Scarcity of supply versus demand should have something to do with it. When Matt Cullen is your best center free agent option after Koivu, Higgins and Lombardi are eliminated, you know you are looking at a market for centers that isn’t exactly deep.

Finally, teams could also roll the dice and take a stab at Flames center Olli Jokinen, but at only 31, it appears his best years are well behind him.

The best of the rest free agent options.

The deepest position in the free agent market is at defense so we’ll start with that.

Anton Volchenkov, Defenseman, Ottawa Senators- I’ll straight up call you a liar if you tell me your team somehow does not need the man nicknamed the “Russian Bear.” A physical force; a puck moving defenseman and a man who averages 2.4 hits and 2.7 blocks per game. For the ladies enjoying this column, I’m also told he enjoys long walks on the beach and the poetry of Robert Frost.

Teams that may be actively looking for an upgrade at defense:

Buffalo, (if Henrik Tallander or Toni Lydman leave), Carolina, Colorado, Detroit, Edmonton, Long Island, (the Islanders have plenty of cap space,) Minnesota, (if the Wild lose Marek Zidlicky,) Philadlphia, (especially after trading the rights to Dan Hamhuis to Pittsburgh for a 3rd round draft pick) Ottawa, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, and Vancouver.

Other prized defensive options

Sergei Gonchar, Pittsburgh– It appears that the Penguins are ready to give Gonchar his walking papers. Gonchar at 36 is still one of the best offensive minded forwards in the league, but unlike many of his offensive minded cohorts, (cough, cough, errr. Mike Green) he doesn’t typically make a lot of mistakes getting back into position or coughing the puck up.

Paul Martin, New Jersey- Martin’s game is no thrills in a good way. He rarely makes a mistake in his own end, and with the puck he may not go down the ice, guns ablaze, but Martin’s controlled style was perfect for the Devils power play. Martin finished the year with two goals and 16 assists on the power play, as his 18 power play points tied for the team lead.

The Highest Sought Free Agent Goaltender

Evgeni Nabokov, Goaltender, San Jose Sharks- Even though it always seems to come apart for him eventually in the playoffs, you can’t deny Nabokov’s considerable talent. You also cannot deny the fact that he is the only who has posted three consecutive 40+ win seasons in the past three years.

Teams that may be in the market for a goaltender

Atlanta, Buffalo, (backup to Ryan Miller) Calgary, Edmonton, Long Island, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, San Jose, (if they decide not to resign Nabokov,) Toronto and Washington.

The next best option after Nabokov

Chris Mason, St. Louis- With the Blues trading for Jaroslav Halak, it appears Mason has a one-way ticket out of the “show me” State. For everyone in search of a starting goaltender, Mason could be a relative bargain as he will likely receive less money than free agents Nabokov and Dallas goaltender Marty Turco, despite posting a solid 2.47 GAA in his two years with the Blues.

Best Bargain

Jay McKee, Defenseman, Pittsburgh Penguins- The perfect 3-5 defenseman on most any team. Jay “The Key” McKee is not the type of player that will ever have a slick New York marketing company touting his rugged individuality, but he is a player who is consistently steady, having only been a minus player in 3 of his 14 seasons in the league. McKee just plays the position and the man he is defending well, nothing more nothing less. McKee also averaged 2.21 blocks a game, having blocked 137 shots in 62 games. Not to shabby for a guy who makes $800,000, a year and next season might command even less.

Re-printed with permission of the author.

Based in Washington, D.C. Michael Hoffman has covered D.C. sports for numerous publications and is the Washington Capitals columnist for Examiner.com. Hoffman is also an NHL contributor to Sports Climax.  

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