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McKenzie: Everything going on as July 1 nears

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Bob McKenzie
6/29/2010 4:41:23 PM
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With the NHL Free Agent Frenzy set to begin on Canada Day, NHL teams still have a few days to make some personnel moves via trades, waivers and buyouts. Some quick thoughts everything via Twitter on Tuesday:

- By the way, agents are now permitted to seek offer sheets on restricted free agents - as long as neither the player or the club have requested salary arbitration. So the best targets for offer sheets are RFAs with no arbitration rights - James Neal (DAL), Bobby Ryan (ANA) and Marc Staal (NYR) amongst others.

Ethan Moreau, Robert Nilsson and Patrick O'Sullivan were all placed on waivers by the Oilers on Tuesday, and are buyout eligible. Other players placed on waivers include the Ducks' Nathan Oystric, the Lightning's Todd Fedoruk and New York Rangers' Donald Brashear, Aaron Voros and Patrick Rissmiller. Jonathan Cheechoo, Petteri Nokelainen, Ales Kotalik, Jim Vandermeer and Ville Koistenen all cleared waivers today and are eligible to be bought out by their former clubs.

- I do not believe the Calgary Flames intend to buy out forward Ales Kotalik. It's more like, "we can now bury you in the minors, maybe you want to play in Europe instead?" Also, the Flames can't afford to use valuable cap space on a buyout. The aim is to find a spot for Kotalik, where he doesnt count against cap and someone else pays.

- The Toronto Maple Leafs may have some interest in Marc Savard (BOS) and Mike Ribeiro (DAL) but there is no sense of urgency whatsoever at the moment.   Most likely mid-July More likely mid-July depending on how things go in free agency.

- It's funny how the KHL could be the NHL team's best friend, now that there are contracted players they are trying to move to offset costs and open up cap room!

- Dialogue between the Penguins and Dan Hamhuis continues. Nothing is carved in stone by any means, but the odds favor Hamhuis going to market on July 1. That does not mean the Penguins would be out of it. Far from it - the player may just want to see everything on the table before making a decision.

- It appears as though the Toronto Maple Leafs and forward Nikolai Kulemin are making progress on a new deal.  Nothing is done yet, however the two sides appear to be closing the gap.  If it gets done, I'm guessing it would be around $2.5 million per year or somewhere a little south of that. Kulemin and his agent have reportedly been looking for a deal closer to the $3 million mark.

- While there may be sentimental reasons to envision Mike Modano back in Minnesota to finish off his career with the Wild, it wouldn't appear to be a good "hockey" fit at this time.

Stay with TSN.ca for updates from our Insiders as news happens throughout the next few days, and don't miss our free agent frenzy coverage on July 1 at Noon et/9am pt (on TSN2) and at 5pm et/2pm pt (on TSN).  You can also watch live streaming on TSN.ca and on the TSN iPhone App.

James Neal (Photo: Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
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