NHL Free Agency and Trade Rumors: The Latest Free Agent News and Rumors

Jason Sapunka@moreSapunkaCorrespondent IIJuly 3, 2012

NHL Free Agency and Trade Rumors: The Latest Free Agent News and Rumors

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    Now that the NHL's free-agency period is open, a plethora of deals are underway with a myriad of rumors surfacing for every notable player.

    Tons of signings have already taken place, including some major pickups. Most of the signings are minor moves, but even some of these acquisitions can have a major change on the outlook of a team. Ottawa and Buffalo, for example, are heading in opposite directions in terms of their team toughness.

    Of course, there are still plenty of updates on Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan, in addition to talk regarding what will happen with top free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Latest Big Trade Rumors

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    On Saturday afternoon, talk picked up that the Philadelphia Flyers joined in with the Rick Nash sweepstakes, according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly.

    Some speculation led to the belief that the Flyers were doing this just to raise the asking price for their rival New York Rangers, who could also be after Nash.

    Larry Brooks of the New York Post said the Rangers will not deal Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider or Ryan McDonagh in a trade for Nash.

    Brooks also said Philadelphia isn’t on Nash’s trade list. Aaron Portzlilne of the Columbus Dispatch later said they “most definitely” are.

    Toronto is not on Nash’s list, according to Elliot Friedman of HNIC.

    The Senators are also out of the running for Nash, according to comments by GM Bryan Murray to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.

    Bobby Ryan of Anaheim is another trade target, with the Flyers a prominently-discussed destination. The Flyers may have to give up Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier in a package for Ryan. The team acquired those two high-upside young players before this past season. 

Big-Time Free Agents

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    The first big story was that Justin Schultz, a former second-round draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks who never signed with them, would be starting his career with the Edmonton Oilers.

    Some initially shocking Zach Parise news indicated the summer’s top free-agent forward wanted a $24 million signing bonus. (Nick Kypreos, Sportsnet)

    Some interesting developments regarding Parise came at 12:25 PM, when Darren Dreger of TSN reported that the Winnipeg Jets were in the hunt, despite almost never being mentioned in the widespread speculation.

    The Minnesota Wild announced at 12:30 PM that they offered contracts to Parise in addition to Ryan Suter, the best available free-agent defenseman.

    Panaccio reported that the Flyers offered Parise and Suter 12-year deals worth more than $80 million. That’s at least a $6.6 million cap hit, but that was expected. The Flyers' offer is apparently the most aggressive financially, according to TSN insiders.

    If those players turn down Philadelphia, it will be because of preference, not money. That would get them a pleasant reception on Broad Street next year.

    Pierre LeBrun of ESPN later reported that, in addition to Minnesota and Philadelphia, the Detroit Red Wings offered contracts to Parise and Suter.

    The Penguins are also in the mix for both players.

    Kypreos said on Sunday night that Suter may have picked Detroit, though there are no further details.

    We do know that Carolina is out of the running for Suter, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

    Parise announced Monday evening that he had not yet made a decision.

Notable Free-Agent Signings and Trades

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    Amidst the free-agency news, the Senators traded Nick Foglino to Columbus for Marc Methot.

    The Dallas Stars picked up Derek Roy from the Buffalo Sabres for Steve Ott and Adam Pardy, according to The Democrat and Chronicle. Both Roy and Ott were the subject of trade speculation leading up to this summer.

    The Avalanche signed P.A. Parenteau, who totaled 67 points last season.

    Jason Garrison, one of the top available free-agent defenseman, signed with the Vancouver Canucks, according to NHL.com.

    Detroit’s Jiri Hudler left for Calgary, ESPN reports. This is the Flames' second notable addition after adding Dennis Wideman from Washington.

    Calgary’s Olli Jokinen wrote on Twitter last night that he has left for Winnipeg.

    The Florida Panthers signed defenseman Filip Kuba of the Ottawa Senators.

    Dustin Penner re-signed with the Los Angeles Kings for one year, above $3 million.

    Alexander Radulov is going back to the KHL after a short return to the NHL.

    Defensemen Bryan Allen and Sheldon Souray are going to Anaheim.

    Colby Armstrong signed with Montreal. He was bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs last week.

    Mikael Samuelson signed with Detroit, via news from The Detroit Free Press this morning.

More Free Agents: Veteran Forward News and Rumors

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    The Oilers re-signed Ryan Smyth to a two-year contract worth $2.25 million per year, a cap hit $4 million lower than his previous deal.

    Ray Whitney signed with the Dallas Stars.

    The Phoenix Coyotes are capable of re-signing captain Shane Doan, though he is waiting for a decision on the ownership of the team (Sarah McLellan, Arizona Republic).

    Dallas is one of the teams interested, but Doan may not decide until July 9 (via LeBrun). Whitney going to Dallas could have an effect on his former teammate’s decision.

    The Flyers had a rumored interest in Mike Knuble, who played with Philadelphia in the past (Sam Carchidi, Philadelphia Inquirer). Knuble could fill in the veteran winger role if Jaromir Jagr signs elsewhere.

    Petr Svoboda, Jagr’s agent, told Panaccio that Jagr received 21 offers, which would mean only nine NHL teams did not offer a contract.

    He also said Montreal told him they were not interested in Jagr.

Goalie Movement and Re-Signings

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    The Chicago Blackhawks approached Martin Brodeur (LeBrun), but he eventually re-signed in New Jersey for two years. The Devils also re-signed backup Johan Hedberg.

    The Flyers re-signed Michael Leighton, likely as a backup to Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flyers traded their former backup, Sergei Bobrovsky, to the Columbus Blue Jackets before the NHL draft.

    The Florida Panthers re-signed backup goalie Scott Clemmensen.

    The Detroit Red Wings signed Jonas Gustavsson to back up Jimmy Howard.

    Chris Mason turned down a two-year deal with Winnipeg to be the backup in Nashville instead (Andy Strickland, St. Louis radio host).

    The Canadiens re-signed restricted free agent Carey Price.

Tough Guys Trading Places

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    Zenon Konopka, a lower-line energy player with high penalty-minute totals and effective faceoff abilities, will be going to Minnesota. Adding Konopka to a team with Matt Kassian gives Minnesota one of the league’s toughest fighter combinations.

    Konopka had a very interesting comment regarding his role, saying (via Chris Nichols), “If [Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley] want to sit down at center ice and read the paper, they should be able to do that without anyone touching them.”

    Konopka is leaving Ottawa with a lack of toughness, which became exponentially greater when heavyweight Matt Carkner signed with the New York Islanders.

    The Colorado Avalanche’s Twitter feed actually announced that their team signed Carkner before this, but he had not agreed to a contract, as noted by Sean Leahy of Puck Daddy.

    Carkner provides the presence of a heavyweight enforcer the team had lacked since Trevor Gillies spent last season in the AHL. Gillies signed a contract to play for the KHL’s Vityaz Chekov.

    Gillies said on his Facebook account that he knew the Islanders were interested in Carkner, which contributed to his decision to leave North America.

    Another Northeast Division team that lost toughness was the Montreal Canadiens, when Brad Staubitz signed with the Anaheim Ducks.

    The Canadiens immediately replaced that toughness by signing Brandon Prust, who was previously with the Rangers.

    The Rangers were quick to fill in Prust’s role by signing Arron Asham of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Micheal Haley of the Islanders. Asham has already played for the other four Atlantic Division teams: Islanders, Devils, Flyers and Penguins.

    Pittsburgh signed Tanner Glass, replacing the toughness lost in the Asham signing.

    George Parros announced that he would be playing with Florida, so Anaheim loses their heavyweight after signing the smaller Staubitz.

    Brian McGrattan, the best fighter in the NHL, re-signed with the Predators. Or as he put it, he is “back in smashville!”

    John Scott, another mammoth fighter, signed with the Buffalo Sabres, according to a team release. Buffalo had a clear need for an enforcer after Milan Lucic and Jordin Tootoo proved someone could run over Ryan Miller without repercussions.

    Tootoo signed with the Red Wings. He could lead the team in fights next season. He had five in 2011-12; Detroit totaled 15.

     

    Jason Sapunka covers the NHL and is available on Twitter for day-to-day updates, analysis and commentary.

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