Andrei Markov pushed the Habs a little bit further, getting them to pony up an additional three million to their final offer. He signed a four-year, $23 million dollar deal. Bye Sheldon!
The Anaheim Ducks signed big defenseman Richard Stehlik. The 22-year-old Nashville draftee, as near as I can tell, re-entered the draft last summer because he was not signed by the June 1 deadline. He went undrafted. He has long-term value in his penalty minutes.
Chris Kunitz had his soft cast removed, but he is still unable to grip a stick. If this series goes seven, it would not surprise me to see him back.
From the Boston Globe, an NHL scout says this about prospect Milan Lucic, ranked 259 on the Fantasy Prospects list: "He looks [bigger], maybe 6-3 or 6-4, and I'd say he projects as a high-end second-line winger in the NHL. I've seen him only three times, but I've liked him a lot. He's tough, makes big hits, and gets off a hard shot. I don't think he's going to be a big scorer at the NHL level, maybe 20-25 goals, because I don't think he has the hands of a true second-liner. But his elements of size and toughness move him up to a top six position."
The scout says this about Wacey Rabbit, ranked 273: "A checking-line guy, and in the NHL I think he's a third- or fourth-line guy who's going to run around out there and hit a lot of guys. And he's got an edge to him, too. Hey, with that last name he's going to have to play tough. I think both players will need a year in Providence, but Rabbit might get to the NHL faster because his skill set -- the game he plays -- translates at any level."
Provided they keep their priciest players, the Bruins will be among the spending-strapped likes of Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa, with New Jersey and Dallas also among the squeezed. Clubs with extra bucks, if they choose to spend: Washington, Florida, St. Louis, Columbus, and San Jose.
Sergei Zinovjev has reportedly signed a long-term deal with a Russian club. Boston GM Peter Chiarelli maintains that Zinovjev has an out clause. He has also stated that other NHL teams have inquired about Zinovjev.
It is starting to look as if Neil Smith has the inside track on the Columbus GM job.
Tampa Bay plans to only invite 26 players to training camp. That's 28 less players than last year. Apparently it is to cut costs and justify a $44 million payroll and it is also to send a message to under-achieving minor leaguers. I'd just like to add a reason to their list: it's because your prospects suck. Tampa's pipeline has to be the worst in the NHL by far.
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