Thursday, July 28, 2005

Eastern Conference Notes

I planned on getting a story from every team in the NHL tonight and putting it up in a giant post, but it's getting late here on the east and I'm tired. So here is a recap of what's going on in the Eastern Conference, and I will try to get to the Western Conference tomorrow afternoon.

Atlanta Thrashers: The Thrashers declined the option on Shawn McEachern.

Boston Bruins: The big question is, “What is going to happen with Joe Thornton?” The Bruins offered him a five year, $25 million contract and he has stated that he is unhappy with this. The conventional wisdom seems to be Joe will sign a one year qualifying offer with the Bruins and swing for the fences next year. I still don’t believe he will be able to get over $6 million on the open market next year. That is a ton of money in the new salary cap environment.

Buffalo Sabres: Miroslav Satan, a restricted free agent, will not be signed by the team for next season.

Carolina Hurricanes: Nothing is going on. Seriously.

Florida Panthers: It looks like the Panthers are going to go after some major free agents, as they plan spending $30 million this season. Big D-man Mathieu Biron was placed on waivers and will be bought out.

Montreal Canadiens: Jose Theodore was given a $4.6 million qualifying offer to stay in Montreal. He will not command that kind of money on the open market. The Habs were required to offer him that much and while it is a bit overpaying for Theodore’s skills, he has been very solid in net.

New Jersey Devils: Patrick Elias, Jeff Friesen and Scott Gomez were given qualifying offers. Devils fans think Friesen will excel without the red line. Elias is injured and will not ready in November, at the absolute earliest. He had this to say, “With my health issue, Lou [Lamoriello, Devils GM] could've waited," Elias told the Star-Ledger. "Lou didn't have to do that at all. I appreciate it.”

New York Islanders: The Isles have said they want to spend in the mid $30 million range, but their team looks to be very similar to the 2003-2004 team, and that is not a good thing. The Isles need to bring in a couple quick FA’s up front to be more competitive.

New York Rangers: The Rangers signed Michigan goaltender Al Montoya and he will probably split time in the AHL with Ranger prospect Henrik Lundqvist.

Ottawa Senators: It was originally reported that Dominik Hasek’s option was picked up for $2.28 million, but it is actually $1.52 million. That is a great deal for the Sens. Also, Hasek is due some major bonuses if the Senators win the Cup, but those bonuses will not count against the cap. These kind of bonuses (and not counting against the Cap) will not be possible in the future, but things have to be grandfathered in with the new CBA.

Philadelphia Flyers: Mike Modano has said he would be open to going to Philadelphia, since he loved playing under Ken Hitchcock. The Flyers have depth down the middle but no one is going to turn down Modano for the right price. He is a competitor, a solid center with one bad year last season, and did very well under Hitchcock.

Pittsburgh Penguins: The Pens have sold over 3,500 season ticket plans in the past week. I wonder who caused that?

Tampa Bay Lightning: Goalie prospect Gerald Coleman was signed to a three year deal.

Toronto Maple Leafs: It seemed Brian Leetch wanted to stay in Toronto, but now it looks like he will be heading out and possibly back to New York.

Washington Capitals: Time was running out for the Caps to sign 2003 first rounder Eric Fehr. So they signed him today to a three year deal.