Quick Hits Under The Shadow Of Free Agency


    Some quick rumour updates entering the final stretch before the free agent spending spree begins.

    From the grapevine:

    * Heatley to Edmonton said to be done (you knew that already).  NYR not as upset as some thought they would be.   Although he moved Gomez to clear space for Heatley, Sather was not going to pay the equivalent for Heatley that Ottawa did, and will focus on the FA market instead.  Immediate speculation is Gaborik.
    UPDATE: Heatley to Edmonton nixed … or on hold … or something.

    * LA is said to be very much in on Gaborik also, but Hossa is their top target.  Hossa said to be very close to completing a deal to stay in Detroit long term.   Questions remain over how much of a discount he is willing to take.  Look for LA to move in on him quickly if Detroit deal falls through. 
    Deal may indeed have fallen through.  Unconfirmed.

    * Lecavalier looks less and less likely to be moving anywhere.   Los Angeles has been kicking some tires over the past few weeks, but Lombardi has expressed concern over taking on his contract.   Been told to keep an eye on Tampa Bay, Kroules wants to cut costs and the team will have to get very creative if #4 remains in the fold.

    * Contrary to some reports, the Sedins are not a guarantee to sign in Toronto if they can’t reach a deal with the Canucks.  Simply put, they will not be signed by Toronto unless they agree to a much shorter term than has been speculated.   Burke is said to have no interest being tied down by the sorts of 8-12 year contracts that were in vogue last year.   Islanders are said to be a darkhorse as they are looking for linemates for Tavares and have the cap space to spare.

    * Hearing that Heatley moving and Lecavalier likely staying put are two huge dominoes, in terms of what happens to Tomas Kaberle.   Interest in Kabs is expected to spike, now that he appears to be the last of the top-tier trade candidates being actively shopped (JBo, Heatley, Lecavalier were the others).

    * Getting the sense that a star-studded splash in free agency by the Leafs should not necessarily be expected.   High profile players such as Cammalleri and Komisarek will get a look, but only to a certain price point and term.   The popular belief is that Burke wants, more than anything else, to rectify what he sees as the team’s biggest weakness: soft play.   Look for character guys who know how to cultivate a winning atmosphere, and guys who can play smash-mouth hockey.   Also look for young UFAs, who could turn into good players in the right environment, to draw some interest.

    * If I had to guess, I would say that players such as Travis Moen and Francois Beauchemin could see offers due to the Anaheim connection.   Guys like Dan Hinote, Manny Malholtra and Mike Grier would fit what Burke wants to do also.  Young UFAs such as Danny Fritsche, Steve Eminger and Anthony Stewart could be interesting reclamation projects and would come cheap.   Two intriguing names on the grapevine, which won’t go away, are Tyler Arnason and Colton Orr.

    This is about to get real interesting, real quick.