Day 2 draft buzz: Teams calling Detroit about Hossa; latest on Sedin twins, Khabibulin

June, 27, 2009

MONTREAL -- The Detroit Red Wings got a query or two this weekend from teams looking to acquire the rights to pending unrestricted-free-agent forward Marian Hossa.

"Yeah, I have been approached about acquiring his rights," Wings GM Ken Holland told on Saturday as the NHL draft wrapped up.

But for now, the answer is no as Holland keeps trying to re-sign the star winger.

"But obviously if it appears that we can't get anything done in the next 48 hours, then … you'd rather get something than nothing," Holland said. "So right now, I'm just in a holding pattern."

The NHL's top GM is in a holding pattern because there's not much else to say. The Hossa camp, led by agent Rich Winter, knows what Detroit can afford.

"We've talked, he knows our cap challenges," Holland said. "They can probably do better on the open market than what we can do. There [are] teams out there with more cap space. I've tried to put our best foot forward. He's been talking to Marian, and they're going to decide whether they hit the open market or whether they're going to see if we can get something done."

When reached via e-mail Saturday, Winter declined to discuss the Hossa situation. Meanwhile, Winter also represents Wings forward Tomas Kopecky, also slated for UFA status come Wednesday.

"I talked to Rich Winter on Kopecky, and it appears he's going to hit the open market," Holland said. "I made an offer, but he's hoping to do a lot better than what we offered."

Another pending UFA is veteran forward Mikael Samuelsson, and there's still hope on that front.

"I talked to Samuelsson's agent a couple of days ago, and we're going to talk again by Monday," Holland said. "We'd like to keep Sammy. But again, it's all about the cap."

The Sedin twins
The clock keeps ticking toward Wednesday's start of free agency, and the Sedin twins remain unsigned by Vancouver. Canucks GM Mike Gillis and the agent for the twins, J.P. Barry, met late Friday night here in Montreal, but we are told "no progress" was made.

"We're still very optimistic" Gillis said after the draft wrapped up Saturday. "They're guys we clearly want on our team. We are working hard to put our best foot forward. They are guys we definitely want back, and we're going to try our hardest."

Ticktock, ticktock …

Hawks free agents
The Blackhawks continue to hammer away at pending UFAs Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Havlat as Wednesday approaches.

"Still talking," Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon said Saturday. "It's probably going to go down to the wire, so we'll see.

"We have to be concerned about our future. This year is fine, but it's the year after that we're concerned about as far as what the cap is going to be and what it's going to take to keep some key guys like [Jonathan] Toews, [Patrick] Kane and [Duncan] Keith [in the summer of 2010]."

The Hawks also have Dave Bolland, Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer and Cam Barker as restricted free agents this year. There's only so much money in the pie. I think the Hawks are willing to pay Havlat big money (in the $7 million range) for a one-year deal but don't want to go past that because of the Toews/Kane/Keith free-agent year.

One rumor that made the rounds this weekend: Havlat finding his way to the Canadiens come Wednesday. It's interesting to note that Havlat spends his offseasons in Montreal.

What about Koivu?
What will happen with Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu? He's slated for unrestricted free agency Wednesday. Habs GM Bob Gainey and Koivu's veteran agent Don Baizley are slated to speak Monday, a source told Could Saku be Minnesota-bound to play with his brother Mikko if the Habs can't re-sign him?

New Jersey's free-agent list is long
So much has been made of the 10 UFAs on Montreal's list, but what about New Jersey? The next few days will be quite busy for Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, who has nine potential UFAs come Wednesday, including Brian Gionta, Johnny Oduya, John Madden, Brendan Shanahan, Niclas Havelid and Scott Clemmensen, as well as restricted free agents Travis Zajac and Andy Greene.

"We really haven't had any major discussions," Lamoriello told on Saturday when asked about Gionta. "Because what we've done is that we're trying to see where our Group 2 [restricted] players are, seeing where we'll be with the numbers, and then we'll make a decision on what's available for the Group 3s [UFAs].

"Sometimes we have to make the decision to move on. We would love to keep Brian Gionta, but we have to be very careful [with the cap]. Johnny Oduya would be a priority because of his age; he's a 27-year-old defenseman who's getting better and better. Brian [Gionta] is by no means out of the picture. He's been a Devil his whole career, that's the toughest part of it. Same as John Madden. But these have to be organizational decisions."

Lamoriello also indicated he is interested in bringing back Shanahan, if possible. "We're going to talk to Brendan," he said.

Now he'll stay in Beantown?
Now that trade talks with Toronto about Phil Kessel have fizzled out, the Bruins have to resume negotiations with the young star winger, who is slated for restricted free agency Wednesday.

"I think both ourselves, the Bruins, and Phil are sifting our way through this new market, and we've had discussions and we'll continue to," Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told on Saturday. "I characterize it as grinding our way through these negotiations. We'll find a way, but there's no easy fix and I'm sure Phil feels the same way."

Other notes …
• I approached Senators owner Eugene Melnyk on Saturday, but he saw me coming from a mile away. "If it's anything about [Dany] Heatley, I won't say a word," Melnyk said. OK, then.

• We asked Flyers GM Paul Holmgren whether he had spoken this weekend with Martin Biron's new agent, Mark Witkin. "You're telling me right now who his new agent is; I didn't know," Holmgren said.

Sounds to me as if Biron is headed for free agency.

• A little residue from the Chris Pronger blockbuster Friday night. Sources indicate the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals were also in talks with Anaheim about acquiring the star blueliner. The Caps could not afford the asking price (which included either young goalies Simeon Varlamov or Michal Neuvirth); the Blues were a little more aggressive but also fell short of the package the Flyers came up with.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer




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