Thursday, July 1, 2010
Free agency: Turco, Modano on move
By Richard Durrett
The free agency period for the NHL starts today. So what should Stars fans be looking for today and going forward? Here are a few things:
* The biggest storyline for Stars fans the next few days will be where Marty Turco ends up and whether Mike Modano gets some offers. There's been some interest in Turco, but San Jose would sure seem like a logical spot and a good location for Turco. We'll see if the Sharks are quick to make an offer or not. Perhaps where Evgeni Nabokov goes allows some dominoes to fall.
ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun has his free agent goalies to watch, with Turco right behind Nabokov. Here's what LeBrun says about Turco:
Turco got the lowball treatment from the Flyers during draft weekend; he was offered $2 million per year and declined. That's not to say Turco wouldn't love to play in Philly, but you can't blame him for wanting to see his full market options. Turco posted a respectable .913 save percentage this past season despite playing for a Stars team full of holes on defense. He has plenty of hockey left in him and, from conversations with ESPN.com during the past month, sounds eager to prove as much.
But because of the overloaded goalie market, the low number of starting jobs and suitors that don't have a lot of cap space, Turco is also headed for a pay cut. His priority, he told us, is to play for a winning team. We love the San Jose Sharks as a fit, but they don't want to spend a lot of money in goal. We'll see whether there's a meeting of the minds Thursday and whether the Flyers come calling again. Like Nabokov, Turco is free of the 35-and-older rule.
BTW, the 35-and-older rule means that whatever contract is signed, it all counts toward the cap even if the player retires. Nabokov is 34, so he doesn't qualify for that rule, making him more appealing to teams from that perspective.
As for Modano, we'll see if some teams show interest right away or if he's the type of free agent that teams will turn their attention to later on to fill rosters. But I suspect Modano will get some offers. He can still play and help a team on the power play and he's willing to take a lesser role. It would have to be the right fit and the Modano must decide if he wants to go through the rigors of a season again. So we'll see. Could he end up in Minnesota (where it all began), Phoenix (with coach Dave Tippett) or St. Louis (former Stars GM Doug Armstrong is there)?
ESPN.com's Scott Burnside has a list of the top free agent forwards for ESPN.com and includes Modano.
* Don't expect the Stars to be major players in free agency. The team is working on an internal budget, and most of the remaining dollars have to be spent on re-signing some restricted free agents (James Neal heads that list, and he's due a raise).
* The Stars could make some minor moves should they shed some salary in the form of a trade. Mike Ribeiro's name is floated about, but the fact that he wasn't dealt at the draft makes me wonder if he'll be traded at all. It's more likely they don't do much and keep the team they have intact.
* We'll let you know what's going on with the Stars, and ESPN.com has the free agency stuff covered. Just click here for the NHL page and all the latest information.