Countdown to July 1: Ehrhoff's rights, Vokoun talks and where exactly is Mr. Jagr?

June, 29, 2011
6/29/11
11:31
PM ET

If this is how it's going to go until free agency opens at noon ET on Friday, there will be a passel of NHL GMs heading straight to the beach with their cell phones on mute.

We've heard the start of the free-agency period repeatedly referred to as "frenzy," yet we can think of nothing less frenzy-like than what is bound to happen Friday given how desperate most GMs are to get their work done before the bell opens.

Here's a recap from Wednesday:

Ehrhoff's rights

Former Vancouver defenseman Christian Ehrhoff will wake up in Germany on Thursday and belong to a different team for the second straight day. Ehrhoff's rights were first traded to the New York Islanders by Vancouver and then were dealt to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. In both cases, Ehrhoff's rights cost a 2012 fourth-round draft pick.

Ehrhoff's agent, Rick Curran, told ESPN.com Wednesday night that he has spoken with Buffalo GM Darcy Regier and Regier will get a chance to make his case with Ehrhoff on Thursday.

Having come from a Stanley Cup finalist in Vancouver and considered to be one of the top free-agent defensemen that could hit the market Friday, Ehrhoff can expect to be in considerable demand. Curran said the all-round defensive player is interested in being with a team that is a legitimate Cup contender.

It will be up to Regier to prove to Ehrhoff that the Sabres are indeed a different team under new owner Terry Pegula.

The Sabres already acquired veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr from Calgary at the draft this past weekend; and with former Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller in net, it's hard to imagine the addition of Ehrhoff wouldn't drive the Sabres' Stanley Cup stock up considerably.

That said, it's hard to believe the Detroit Red Wings, who have a hole along the blue line created by the retirement of Brian Rafalski and money to spend, won't be in the hunt for Ehrhoff if he makes it to Friday.

Where's Jaromir Jagr?

We know what Ehrhoff will be doing Thursday. As for five-time NHL scoring champ Jaromir Jagr? Not so sure.

Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero told ESPN.com on Wednesday night that there was no news on whether Jagr was prepared to sign a deal with the team with whom he had his greatest success.

Detroit GM Ken Holland also told ESPN.com that they had no update on the status of Jagr and his bid to return to the NHL. Even Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda, didn't seem to know where Jagr was as of Wednesday night.

What a shocker.

It's believed Montreal is another team still hoping to secure the 39-year-old's services.

Shero, meanwhile, signed Arron Asham to a one-year contract extension and said he was busy trying to keep Tyler Kennedy in the fold.

Panthers trying to keep Vokoun

After signing Tomas Kopecky to a big four-year deal worth $12 million and acquiring defenseman Brian Campbell at the draft, Panthers GM Dale Tallon is making a last-ditch effort to keep Tomas Vokoun in South Florida.

A source told ESPN.com on Wednesday that Tallon had made an offer to the veteran netminder, but had not heard back. No word on dollar or term.

If Vokoun hits the market Friday, look for the Colorado Avalanche, one of a handful of teams looking for goaltending help, to make a big push to bring Vokoun back to the Western Conference.

One goalie that won't be hitting the market is Dwayne Roloson.

Sources said he agreed to a one-year deal worth $3 million Wednesday that keeps him in Tampa. The deal had not been signed as of Wednesday night.

Roloson and the Bolts were a nice fit last season. The 41-year-old netminder was a catalyst to the Lightning's surprise march to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against Boston this past spring.

The blue-line market

James Wisniewski, acquired by Montreal from the New York Islanders early last season and a key contributor to the Habs' power play in the absence of Andrei Markov, saw his rights dealt to Columbus on Wednesday for a 2012 seventh-round pick and future considerations, although if the Blue Jackets do sign the man with the big shot, the pick upgrades to a fifth-round selection.

Will the Blue Jackets' recent makeover, which includes adding front-line center Jeff Carter, be enough to entice Wisniewski? Or will Wisniewski hope to catch the eye of Holland on July 1?

The blue-line corps available Friday may not be deep, but you can bet most will be hoping to get at least a look-see from Holland.

Here are a couple of other names to consider if you're Holland, or just about any other GM looking to shore up the blue line in a thin free-agent market.

Ian White is sometimes overlooked, yet played well in San Jose after being acquired from Carolina. He posted nine points in 17 postseason games for the Sharks. White didn't fit in after the acquisition of Brent Burns at the draft, but he's going to find suitors given his grit and ability to chip in on the power play.

And how about veteran defenseman and former Canadian Olympian Ed Jovanovski?

Although he suffered a grisly orbital bone injury this past season, he managed 14 points and was a plus-4 for the Coyotes. He is also terrific with young players (witness the emergence of Keith Yandle in Phoenix this season) and still has some gas left in the tank. Jovanovski is a Windsor, Ontario native, so there is a strong connection to the community if he signed in Detroit. There could also be a repatriation of the veteran to Florida; he was part of the Panthers' glory days in 1996, when they made their only run to a Stanley Cup finals.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?