Weekend wrap: Ville Leino next for Flyers; Isles' plan in net; World Cup return?
With the ink barely dry on Jeff Carter's 11-year, $58 million deal, the Flyers' focus now shifts to Ville Leino, who is slated for unrestricted free agency July 1. Leino doesn't want to go anywhere, so expect contract talks to be held again as early as this week.
"I've talked to them a few times and I'm confident we'll get something done," agent Bill Zito told ESPN.com on Saturday.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is certainly taking care of business, eh? Claude Giroux signed a new deal ($11.25 million over three seasons) Monday, a deal anyone in the business will tell you is less than what he could have pushed for. But I'm told the kid wanted to play ball with the Flyers' cap issues and be a part of what he believes is a serious Cup contender.
2011-12: $6 million
2012-13: $6.25 million
2013-14: $6.5 million
2014-15: $6.75 million
2015-16: $7 million
2016-17: $7 million
2017-18: $6.5 million
2018-19: $5 million
2019-20: $3 million
2020-21: $2 million
2021-22: $2 million
With a $5.27 million cap hit for the next 11 seasons, Carter's deal is a bargain no matter how you slice it. He knows he could have received more elsewhere -- hello, center-desperate teams in Toronto and New York (Rangers)? But Carter made it clear to his agent and the Flyers that Philadelphia was where he wanted to stay.
Now, the Flyers have a nice core for years to come. Impressive.
As a side note, we checked with the league Saturday, and it has no issues with Carter's 11-year deal.
The Canucks and Ehrhoff
Christian Ehrhoff, a slick, puck-moving defenseman, will be in demand should the potential UFA hit the market July 1. The Canucks are trying to prevent that from happening.
In the midst of recent contract talks, I'm told the Canucks have made an offer to Ehrhoff's camp and agent Rick Curran responded with a counter-offer. Neither side has been able to bridge the gap, so both sides agreed to take a break and regroup, with the promise of talking again later this season.
"From a time standpoint, we both recognize there's no urgency and we'll continue to talk and try to close the gap of where our respective positions are," Curran told ESPN.com on Friday.
From a Canucks perspective, they know they can't match what Ehrhoff could make on the open market. What they've told him is they value him as a player, but need him to fit into a certain slot on their payroll so they can remain competitive. It's very similar to the pitch players receive in Detroit: Take a little less, but stay with a great team. But if Ehrhoff wants to cash in, no hurt feelings; that's his prerogative.
More contract talk updates
• Expect Predators GM David Poile to resume talks with Shea Weber's agent, Don Meehan, early this week when his team is in Toronto where Meehan is based.
• Interest in UFA winger Miroslav Satan suddenly picked up this week and several teams inquired about him. The 36-year-old waited until after the Winter Classic last season to sign with the Boston Bruins. While his nine goals in 38 regular-season games weren't that impressive, he posted 10 points (5-5) in 13 playoff games with the Bruins this past spring.
• Brent Seabrook is set to become a restricted free agent July 1 and will be Chicago's top priority at some point this season. But as of Saturday, I was told contract extension talks had not yet begun on that front.
• As I reported last week, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman met with Meehan, Steven Stamkos' agent, to begin contract talks. Know this: it's not going to happen overnight. Expect a long and lengthy negotiation. It's not every day the NHL's leading scorer needs a new deal.
• The Ottawa Senators have begun contract talks with the camp for Chris Phillips, slated for UFA July 1. "We have talked and have an idea where each party would like to be, nothing more," Sens GM Bryan Murray told ESPN.com via text message Saturday.
World Cup of Hockey to return?
Remember the World Cup of Hockey? You know, the on-again, off-again stepchild from those old Canada Cups?
Well, conversations recently took place once again to bring this baby back to life, two sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com on Saturday. The last World Cup was held in September 2004, when Shane Doan's winner put Canada past Finland at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto before the NHL lockout turned out the lights.
There are different ideas being floated around right now, including a plan to hold the next World Cup in September 2013, five months before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Crazy, you say? I say, why not? Instead of holding those Olympic "orientation" camps 5-6 months out, why not hold a real tournament as an exciting lead-up to the Olympics? Count me in.
Why not hold the next World Cup in September 2012, which traditionally would have been its slot two years out from the Olympics? There is concern September 2004 would repeat itself if the NHL and NHL Players' Association do not reach an agreement on a new CBA. It left fans sour in 2004 and it would leave them sour again.
Again, I will stress the September 2013 idea is conceptual at this point and far from any official proposition, but it's still interesting.
There are pitfalls with the idea, of course. First and foremost, the NHL and NHLPA have yet to commit to Sochi in 2014. If the NHL doesn't go to Sochi, you have to wonder how Russia would feel about playing in a World Cup of Hockey, not to mention the International Ice Hockey Federation, which has urged the NHL to commit to the Olympics once again.
Whatever the case may be, the return of the World Cup of Hockey can't be a "one-off," as one hockey executive told ESPN.com on Saturday. It needs a long-term commitment.
The Islanders and their goaltenders
Well-respected Islanders blogger Chris Botta suggested this week that perhaps the idea of Rick DiPietro going down to the AHL to find his game is a conversation the Islanders should have at some point in time, sooner rather than later.
I reached out to Isles GM Garth Snow on Saturday and asked him about DiPietro possibly being demoted. He said that wasn't in the cards.
Dwayne Roloson was slated to start his fifth straight game Saturday night in Los Angeles.
"There's been no conversation in that regard at all, neither internally or externally," Snow told ESPN.com. "Rollie is just playing well right now. We have two No. 1 goalies, but right now, Rollie is playing really well and we need wins."
DiPietro, who has barely played in two years, has a 4.21 goals-against average and .854 save percentage this season.
Katie Strang of Newsday also pointed out to me Saturday that the Isles' AHL team has three goalies on its roster right now, a point worth mentioning. Also worth mentioning? DiPietro's close relationship with Islanders owner Charles Wang.
Maple Leafs' top job
A radio report in Toronto this past week created quite a buzz, stating that Richard Peddie, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, would soon be on his way out.
First, let's explain the job for my American friends who I'm sure have better things to do than care about the inner-workings of MLSE, a company that controls the NHL's Maple Leafs, NBA's Raptors and MLS' Toronto FC, plus the Air Canada Centre, a brand-new condo building, a brand-new sports bar and, well, the world as we know it. It's a $2-billion business.
As for the radio report about his impending exit, Peddie said a succession plan has long been in the works.
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that at [age] 64 and 14 years on the job that there will come a time where it's time to retire," Peddie told ESPN.com. "This company, some people don't like it, but it has a lot of business discipline, and one of them is succession planning. I've really championed that. We've had a lot of dialogue over the years about the day I leave, and it's been very open, very mutual. So we have talked about it, but we have not finalized a date yet. It will occur when my successor does come in, but that's not immediate and I'm not quite sure when that will be."
Peddie was adamant that search has not yet begun. You can expect candidates will come from inside and outside the company.
One rumor has Leafs GM Brian Burke as a candidate and assistant GM Dave Nonis getting promoted if Burke becomes president and CEO. But from what I'm told, Burke would much rather Peddie stay on in his current role.
One strong candidate will for sure be current MLSE COO Tom Anselmi, who has tremendous respect in the industry. I'm told he's definitely interested in the top job.