Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Rumblings: Olympic deadline and trade talk
By Pierre LeBrun
IIHF President Rene Fasel stood firm during an IIHF council meeting Tuesday in Zurich that the Dec. 31 Olympic roster deadline would not be altered, a source told ESPN.com.
Top European countries such as Russia, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic have been pushing to change the rule to allow only a partial roster to be named by Dec. 31 and the rest of the players to be named closer to the Olympics.
I’m sure it’s not the last we’ve heard of this, but Fasel indicated to all the countries in Tuesday’s meeting that the rule won’t be changed. The IIHF meeting continues Wednesday, so perhaps this isn’t quite over yet.
The United States was given an exception to announce its roster at the Winter Classic on Jan. 1.
CAROLINA TRADE TALK
The Carolina Hurricanes are working the phones diligently, with the likes of defenseman Tim Gleason and forward Tuomo Ruutu being discussed with other teams.
Sources around the league suggest Gleason is getting more traction at this point.
Both players have no-movement clauses and have two more years on their respective contracts past this season, Ruutu for $4.75 million a year and Gleason for $4 million per season.
One source suggested that, if the Hurricanes move Gleason, they’d be perhaps willing to take on John-Michael Liles from the Leafs in return for Ruutu. But another source pointed to Ruutu’s cap hit being too much for Toronto to take on.
PACIORETTY TRADE TALK
TSN's Bob McKenzie dropped a real interesting nugget Tuesday evening, reporting that Montreal Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty's name has been mentioned in trade talks.
A Habs source forcibly told ESPN.com that Pacioretty is not being shopped, but that obviously the team can’t prevent other clubs from calling. And teams have.
Pacioretty, a Team USA Olympic hopeful, recently fired his agent, which raised eyebrows given that he’s in the first year of a six-year deal paying him on average $4.5 million a year. That might have been the impetus for other teams calling Montreal.
ERAT ASKS FOR TRADE
Martin Erat wants out of Washington. The veteran Czech winger never really found his niche with the Capitals after coming over last April 5 in the deal that sent prospect Filip Forsberg to Nashville.
Erat, in fact, asked Caps GM George McPhee for a trade in the first week of this season, both McPhee and Erat’s camp confirmed to ESPN.com; then Erat asked McPhee once again for a trade late last week.
So the Caps are trying to accommodate him. The Vancouver Canucks are among the teams that have shown mild interest so far, one source said Tuesday.
With no goals in 23 games, he’s hardly a hot asset, but the belief with some teams is that he’ll be a motivated player who has a track record of performing in Nashville.
His contract is also alluring for some teams; while his cap hit is $4.5 million, his actual salary is $3.75 million this season and lowers again to $2.25 million next year.
PHANEUF CONTRACT TALKS
Dion Phaneuf's representation from Newport Spots made the opening presentation in contract talks (ballpark offer) about two weeks ago, and word is the Leafs will counter in the next week. While term may be a sticking point, I’m guessing the dollar amount in the end will actually be the biggest obstacle. The next three to four weeks in this negotiation are going to be important. I don’t think Phaneuf wants this negotiation to drag on all season long.
BACKLUND ON MARKET
The Calgary Flames are listening to offers for 24-year-old center Mikael Backlund, a former first-round pick (24th overall in 2007) who hasn’t found his stride.
The Flames already turned down an offer, a source told ESPN.com, and won’t move him for the sake of it.
Backlund has one more year on his deal at $1.5 million.
The original plan was to have Pekka Rinne undergo an MRI this week, but that’s now been pushed back to Dec. 5. Nothing to read into it, a team source said, just a scheduling thing.
What doesn’t change is how important that MRI will be. If it’s good news and his recovery is on target, I don’t think the Preds need to trade for a netminder. But if it’s horrible news, that might change things.
Having said that, rookie Marek Mazanec -- he’s 3-1-0 with a 1.61 GAA in his past four starts -- is certainly doing his best to suggest the answer lies within.
As I’ve reported before, the Ducks and Predators have talked, but Viktor Fasth's injury makes it unlikely anything will happen for the time being. The plan in Anaheim now would be to hold tight to Jonas Hiller until further notice.
CANADIAN TV DEAL
The NHL’s new Canadian TV deal with Rogers will help raise the salary cap.
The 12-year deal, announced Tuesday morning, is worth $436 million per year for the league and its 30 teams.
Divided by the 30 clubs, that’s an average of $175 million over 12 years per team ($14.5 million per year), although not every team will get the same share, a source said. The seven Canadian NHL teams will get a bigger share of the TV pie due to "invasion fees."
Invasion fees are designed to compensate the Canadian teams for the local inventory lost to the national TV deals.