With the NHL's free agency period just days away from opening, teams are making decisions on how to build their rosters for next season. Check out today's rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat, and follow TSN.ca each day until July 5 for all the updates.
Be sure to tune in to TSN2 and visit TSN.ca on July 5 for Free Agent Frenzy, starting at Noon et/9am pt.
For Ottawa's hockey fans it is downright unfathomable to consider Daniel Alfredsson wearing any other jersey than the Senators', but Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli isn't letting that get in the way of trying to make it a reality.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun of ESPN reported today that Chiarelli – a former Senators executive himself – reached out to Alfredsson's camp and spoke with them “at great length” in hopes of luring the pending free agent to Boston for the coming season.
Chiarelli was believed to be interested in acquiring Alfredsson at the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline, but the Senators – still in the playoff hunt at the time – did not opt to move their franchise face.
The 2012-13 season marked the final one for the 40-year-old Alfredsson on a four-year deal he signed prior to 2009-10 worth an annual average value of $4.875 million. His 2012-13 salary was $1 million.
The Nathan Horton Tour
According to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun on Twitter, unrestricted free agent forward Nathan Horton is already visiting an NHL team in its respective city today. No one with the Jackets nor with his camp will confirm it, but LeBrun believes he was in Columbus. LeBrun believes he'll end up in a quieter, 'non-traditional' hockey market.
With Vincent Lecavalier off the market, some of the focus will now be on unrestricted free agent Daniel Briere.
The Canadiens, having lost out on Lecavalier, made contact with Briere's camp Tuesday night, a source confirmed to Pierre LeBrun. Sources also indicated that the New Jersey Devils and Nashville Predators are among the teams to show solid interest in Briere and have already spoken to the Briere camp, which is led by agent Pat Brisson. Other teams were expected to contact Briere's camp Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Briere is apparently no longer considering the New York Islanders, but the New Jersey Devils are one of the finalists, according to Newsday's Arthur Staple. Briere told the Buffalo News earlier Wednesday he was down to eight teams, including his former team the Sabres.
Other notes from Pierre LeBrun:
- Rob Scuderi's agent, Steve Bartlett, said he began to hear from other teams Wednesday regarding his client, but the Los Angeles Kings remain very much in the mix for the unrestricted free agent.
- Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins are close to agreeing to an extension that LeBrun believes will pay him between $52-54 million.
- Three teams have reached out to Bill Zito, the agent for Tim Thomas, on Wednesday morning to express their interest in signing the veteran netminder.
Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is headed into his first free agent season in the NHL and he already knows what he'll be looking for once the bell rings on July 5.
Kekalainen told the Columbus Dispatch that a scoring forward is definitely on his shopping list, but that they're more interested in skill over size.
“If you ask anybody, they'd take a 6-5 guy who scores 30 goals over a 5-8 guy who scores 30 goals,” Kekalainen told Aaron Portzline of the Dispatch. “But me personally, I prefer the small guys who play with big heart to the big guys who are less passionate.”
The biggest names available are blends of size and skill, players like David Clarkson and Nathan Horton. However, if Kekalainen is true to his word it could open the door for the Jackets to grab a talent like Danny Briere, Valtteri Filppula or Clarke MacArthur.
The open market has lit up the phone lines for Los Angeles Kings defenceman Rob Scuderi.
While the Kings are still very much in the mix, LeBrun confirmed that there remains interest from other teams on the 34-year-old.
Scuderi just completed a four-year, $13.6 million deal he signed with the Kings prior to 2009-10.
Off The Table
As tweeted by TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger on Wednesday, the Canucks' buyout of defenceman Keith Ballard means that Alexander Edler is off the market.