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Countdown to July 1: Latest rumblings on Kaberle, Jagr, Stamkos, Bryzgalov, more

6/20/2011

There's no rest for the Stanley Cup champs, or at least for the architect of the NHL titleholders. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli took a break from meetings Monday to update ESPN.com on some of the decisions he has to make.

Chiarelli confirmed what Tomas Kaberle's veteran agent, Rick Curran, told us earlier in the day: the two sides plan to meet in Minnesota to discuss whether there's a fit moving forward for the pending unrestricted free agent.

"We want to have further discussions," Chiarelli told ESPN.com. "We're still in the planning stages. We haven't ruled anything out. I told Tomas we're still throwing it around, planning-wise. He brought something that we needed, so we'll see where it goes moving forward."

Likewise, pending UFA Michael Ryder is on Chiarelli's radar.

"Like Kaberle, I said to Mike that we continue to plan right now," the Bruins GM said. "I told him, 'You're a player that came to play every game in the playoffs.' I told him I'd speak with his agent this week or next."

(As an aside: Chiarelli is not getting nearly enough credit for his role in the Bruins' Cup championship. He made difficult and correct moves to make this team a winner. Let's give this guy a little more love.)

Jagr update

Jaromir Jagr and his agent, Petr Svoboda, were scheduled to meet in their native Czech Republic on Monday to discuss the next plan of action.

Svoboda told ESPN.com before the meeting that Detroit and Pittsburgh remained in the mix, plus a few other NHL teams. The KHL, of course, also remains an option for Jagr.

Another source told ESPN.com on Monday that Detroit had coach Mike Babcock speak with Jagr over the weekend.

Jagr, 39, is an unrestricted free agent. He can make more money staying in the KHL, but told ESPN.com last Friday that a return to the NHL is very appealing to him.

The work ahead for Yzerman

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is skipping the NHL awards in Las Vegas even though he is nominated for GM of the Year. Between the NHL's board of governors meeting in New York on Tuesday and the work that lies ahead at the draft this week in Minnesota, it didn't make any sense for him to try to squeeze that in.

His top priority is to get restricted free-agent center Steven Stamkos back under contract. Once July 1 rolls around, other NHL clubs can make him offers even though Tampa Bay would have the ability to match any proposals.

"We know that after July 1, he's open to offer sheets, we're fully aware of that," Yzerman told ESPN.com on Monday. "But we'd like to get a deal done, and we'd like to get a deal done before July 1. The deal, I understand, has to work for them, but it has to work for the team, too. We'll do everything we can to get a deal done."

In the meantime, another player of note is forward Sean Bergenheim, who revealed himself to be a clutch performer this past postseason. He earned $700,000 this past season and is obviously looking for a big raise.

"We've talked with Sean's agent a couple of times," Yzerman said. "He was pretty honest with me with what they're thinking. At this time, we see things differently."

Other UFAs for the Bolts include Eric Brewer, Dwayne Roloson, Adam Hall, Simon Gagne and Marc-Andre Bergeron.

The Flyers and Bryzgalov

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren continues in his bid to sign goalie Ilya Bryzgalov before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

"Right now, we are going to talk again tomorrow," Holmgren said Monday on a media conference call. "Like I said on Friday, we know where they're at and what they want to accomplish. I think they know where we're at. Obviously, to make a deal, there is going to have to be some sort of a compromise. It might take some time and we are going to keep looking at it."

Holmgren also expressed his desire to re-sign forward Ville Leino, also UFA. Contrary to widespread belief around the league, the Flyers GM insisted Monday he didn't need to hold a fire sale in order to sign Bryzgalov or Leino.

"There are things that we want to accomplish as we get closer to training camp, but that's a long time from now," Holmgren said. "There is no fire sale going on here. We are going to continue to try and sign Ilya, obviously, and continue to try and sign Ville; then we will see. It's not like we are caught between a rock and a hard place right now."

Translation: Holmgren believes he can clear up his cap issues during the course of the summer and doesn't feel the need to make a bad trade now in order to sign Bryzgalov or Leino.

Hurricanes' UFAs

The Carolina Hurricanes have some big decisions to make between now and July 1. They have several UFAs on their roster, including top defenseman Joni Pitkanen, as well as forwards Erik Cole, Jussi Jokinen, Chad LaRose and Cory Stillman.

I spoke with Canes GM Jim Rutherford on Monday, specifically regarding Pitkanen and Jokinen. The GM said: "We've agreed that they should look into going into July 1, but we haven't closed the door on either guy. We'll see how it plays out."

Cole is a priority for the Canes.

"He's a guy that we want to bring back," Rutherford said. "He's a part of our team. He's a guy that's made his home here. But there really hasn't been any movement on his contract talks."

Rutherford said he also wants to bring LaRose back, but like Cole, there has been no movement in talks. The GM said Stillman was still considering his options, which possibly includes retirement.

Other notes

• The agent for pending UFA blueliner Christian Ehrhoff, Rick Curran, told ESPN.com Monday he has had a conversation with the Vancouver Canucks since the Cup finals ended and the two sides plan on meeting in Minnesota this week to continue that conversation. Maybe it's just me, but with the Detroit Red Wings openly flaunting their intention to be aggressive July 1 on the blue-line front, I'd be keeping all my options open if I were Ehrhoff, even though he does love playing in Vancouver.

• Speaking of Curran, the veteran agent also represents Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp, who has one year remaining on his deal before becoming UFA next summer. The Hawks and Curran are slated to talk in Minnesota. "In casual conversations with different clubs, he's the one player that is most often talked about as far as his likely future," Curran told ESPN.com.

• A source told us that the four candidates for the head-coaching job in Winnipeg are Mike Haviland, Claude Noel, Craig MacTavish and Thrashers holdover Craig Ramsay.