There are six teams interested in the services of Willie Mitchell. All signs point to him taking a salary of around $2 million, probably less. I do not know what to make of the rumour that he apparently has a short list of four teams. It could be false, or it could be that more teams are interested so he can increase that list.
There are about seven or eight teams that are interested in Antti Niemi. There was a rumour going around that his agent expected this, but I don't know if it is true. If there are that many teams involved they are probably willing to pay more than the $2.75 million he was owed in arbitration. Chicago may have wasted a great opportunity to embark on a sign and trade.
Speaking of Niemi, even with all the attention he gets in the NHL, he is seriously considering in the KHL as well. This could mean that the KHL is starting to become a legitimate threat to the NHL.
A lot of the players in free agency, like Bill Guerin and Lee Stempniak, have lots of interested teams. The problem is, as Brian Burke stated, teams that have cap space don't have the money, and teams that have the money, have no cap space. So the main reason these players are not yet signed (like Raffi Torres, Stempniak etc.) is that they are still looking for a reasonably large contract.
They need to lower their asking price.
Paul Kariya and the Anaheim Ducks are almost done negotiating their deal. Expect him to be a Duck very soon.
Vesa Toskala has signed a contract to play for Färjestad of the Swedish Elite League. I feel so bad for the Swedish Elite League as they lose Gustavsson and gain Vesa Toskala.
The Ilya Kovalchuk decision is set to be made tomorrow. Most sources say they are going to allow the contract between Kovalchuk and the New Jersey Devils. I find that hard to believe because there is plenty of evidence to show that the Kovalchuk deal must be cancelled.
Lou Lamoriello actually said that the contract may not be fair, but that it is allowed according to the CBA. That is practically an admission that Kovalchuk will retire well before his contract expires. In the past Gary Bettman has said there is not enough evidence to overturn these contracts, but this is good evidence. Bettman should win. If he does not I will be very disappointed in the NHL.
About a week or two ago the Toronto Maple Leafs had four offers for Kaberle, or as Burke liked to call them, "three offers and an insult." Just last week two more offers trickled in that were much better than the previous four. Now in the last few days another solid offer has come in.
I think the last three offers were so good that they make us actually want to trade Kaberle. Brian Burke is just waiting to see if a better offer will come along.
So let us count the teams I think are involved:
The original four teams, plus the latest two offers according to various sources are new teams.
That makes six teams in the hunt for Tomas Kaberle. I am not sure if the latest team is one of the older teams or not. So there are six or seven teams in the hunt for Kaberle; maybe five or six given that Burke has considered one of those offers to be "an insult," and is probably no longer negotiating with them.
Speaking of all these teams interested in Kaberle I think I can put my finger on the teams that are probably making the best offers: the New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings. It's rumoured that Burke has said that the Ilya Kovalchuk fiasco is holding up the Tomas Kaberle trade, and realistically, the only teams capable of signing Kovalchuk are the Kings and the Devils.
All this points to the indisputable facts that within one week, we will probably see a Tomas Kaberle trade. So keep your fingers crossed as we know everyone has been waiting for this since the entry draft.
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