Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Countdown to July 1: Are Flyers targeting Stamkos? What's next for Sullivan?
By Pierre LeBrun
The Tampa Bay Lightning will continue their efforts to re-sign star sniper Steven Stamkos all week, but should he remain unsigned when the market opens Friday, Stamkos could indeed be a target for an offer sheet.
One team to keep an eye on is the Philadelphia Flyers. Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News offered up that possibility Tuesday.
Having jettisoned the big contracts of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards and cleared the decks with a few more minors moves, a source confirmed to ESPN.com Tuesday that the Flyers internally are debating the merits of slapping an offer sheet on Stamkos come Friday.
That doesn't mean it's going to happen -- repeat, it may not happen -- but we can at least say the Flyers are thinking about the possibility. So what's a 21-year-old center who has 96 goals in the past two seasons worth?
The Lightning, of course, can match any offer sheet that comes the way of their prized restricted free agent. The pressure is on Tampa to avoid this scenario and get Stamkos signed before Friday. Tampa GM Steve Yzerman was slated to talk to veteran agent Don Meehan of Newport Sports on Tuesday, and you can expect that dialogue to be ongoing until Friday unless there's a deal before that point.
Preds won't re-sign SullivanSteve Sullivan was informed last week by Predators GM David Poile that his services won't be retained in Nashville. But it's an amicable split.
"It's time to move on," Sullivan told ESPN.com Tuesday. "It'll be interesting to see what happens once the market opens."
Sullivan, who turns 37 on July 6, had 22 points (10-22) in 44 games last season. The Timmins Tornado professes to feel 100 percent healthy.
"Absolutely," Sullivan said. "The injuries I had this year -- sports hernia and an MCL -- they're injuries a 25-year-old could have easily had as well. They're not chronic injuries, they're just part of the game. Those have healed very well. I'm back to 100 percent. And I haven't had a single issue with my back since I came back."
Sullivan missed close to two calendar years with a career-threatening back injury but made a terrific comeback during the 2008-09 season and hasn't had a back issue since.
He's worth a look for an NHL team needing a power-play boost.
Ehrhoff's futureSo what now for Christian Ehrhoff?
With Kevin Bieksa returning to the Canucks' fold, agreeing Monday to a $23 million, five-year deal, contract talks continue between Vancouver and the Ehrhoff camp. The German defender can become an unrestricted free agent Friday.
A source told ESPN.com there has been an offer and counteroffer between the Canucks and veteran agent Rick Curran.
The general ballpark for Ehrhoff is somewhere between Bieksa's new deal and the one signed by Dan Hamhuis last July 1 (six years, $4.5 million per season). But don't look for Ehrhoff to take less than either player.
Does it get done before Friday? It might. Then again, the Detroit Red Wings are sitting there with money to spend and a need for a top-four defenseman ...
Laich's new dealA few eyebrows were raised at the $27 million the Washington Capitals shelled out Tuesday for Brooks Laich. The most common compliant on Twitter was that it was a lot of money for a guy with only one 25-goal season.
Well, it's the price of business. David Legwand signed the exact same deal in Nashville three years ago -- $4.5 million over six years -- and that was the comparable the Caps used in talks with Laich. Tough to tell Laich to take less money than a comparable player in Legwand just three years later.