Need a bigger fantasy fix? Don't forget that we'll be releasing our Breakout Bible right at the end of August and our Fantasy Scouting Report: Preview & Projections is due to be released by September 7th.
You could pretty much see this coming but the Lightning finally signed Alex Tanguay to a contract. No terms yet, but Tanguay apparently picked the Bolts offer over a one year $1.5 million deal from the Wild. Tanguay's value gets a nice boost as he could be lining up with one or both of Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis. He does his best work when he's got a star to feed the puck to (like the 81 point season he picked up in 2006-07 with Iginla on his line) so make sure you keep him in mind on draft day.
The Bolts also re-signed RFA dman Matt Lashoff to a two year deal. Lashoff was a former 1st round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2005. He'll be battling out for the final spot on the blueline this upcoming season... he has 15 points in 58 NHL games.
The Canucks were busy on Friday. First they went out and picked Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich from the Sharks for two prospects (Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi). Ehrhoff has struggled a bit with defense (-12 last year) but he has the potential to pick up 40 points (he had 42 last year after 22 the season before). This deal isn't going to help Alex Edler's value.
Mike Gillis must have thought he would lose his cap dollars if he didn't spend them all. After the trade, they signed 40-year-old Mathieu Schneider to help out on their 16th ranked power play and take up $1.5 million in cap space. The Canucks now have eight d-men on their roster and are $1 million over the cap. Maybe they're counting on a Sami Salo injury soon? Schneider may be old and playing for his ninth NHL team but he can still pick up a few points (32 in 67 games with Montreal and Atlanta last year and 39 the year before). He's coming back from rotator cuff surgery and while he's expected to be healthy to start the year you have to expect him to miss some time. This isn't going to help Alex Edler's value either.
With the trade of Ehrhoff and Lukowich the Sharks shed about $4.66 million in cap dollars. Initially, it looks like the Sharks are clearing room for Dany Heatley but that's apparently not the case and reports are saying that the Sharks have given up on Heatley and are going in a new direction.
Here we go again. Peter Forsberg played a preseason game with Modo and said his foot felt fine afterwards. There will no doubt be lots of owners speculating about a Forsberg return to the NHL but we think there are better uses for your roster spots.
Follow the jump for lots more fantasy news (Babchuk, Karsums, Gagne, etc) and our Distractions (What cho' talking about Messier?, If Nickleback was a hockey team and the '84 Canada Cup)...
Unsigned RFA dman Anton Babchuk, he of the 16 goal & 35 point breakout season last year, has fired his agent and is still interested in finding an NHL team for this season. Carolina says they don't want him back due to his contract demands so they are looking to trade his rights but up until now we were assuming that he'd be playing in somewhere in the KHL. Keep Babs on your cheatsheet as it sounds like he could be back in the NHL this year and given the promise he showed at the end of last year (12+10=22 in his last 25 games) he'd be a nice late round dman to stash away on your bench.
The Leafs have given Jason Allison a training camp invite. He hasn't played in three seasons and has only logged one season in the last six years. He's only 34, so he's not over-the-hill yet, and the Leafs could probably use his offensive skills up-front but we'd put his chances of making the NHL roster at around the 'quite slim' level.
There were already rumours that Eric Brewer's back was still giving him issues (he had surgery on it twice last year and only played in 28 games) and now the Blues are saying that he hurt his knee while trying to rehab his back and had surgery on the knee recently. So dude's got a few challenges to overcome in order to make a healthy return this year. Brewer's only a fantasy option in deeper leagues but his absence could open up a spot for a young player like Alex Pietrangelo or Jonas Junland to stick with the team out of training camp.
From the "Not Really What You Want to Hear From Your New $5 Million Signing" file... Alex Kovalev hasn't even suited up for the Senators yet but he's already talking about returning to Montreal. Kovalev was going on and on about how great Montreal is and how disappointed he was that he had to leave and that it would be nice to retire there.... meanwhile, here are all the nice things he had to say about Ottawa:
"I'm going to go there and do the best I can and we'll see what happens"
Right, why do we get the feeling that this is going to end badly for the Senators? [more]
Patrick Kane plead guilty to roughing up that cab driver in Buffalo yesterday and his punishment is that he'll have to write an apology to the cabbie... so let me get this straight, Kane can speed-bag a cab driver over 20 cents and all he has to do is say, "Sorry Bro" and I get caught J-walking and they stick me with a $40 ticket? Yeah, sounds about right. We haven't heard a peep out of the league on this so I guess Kane is getting off easy and won't face a suspension... guess Gary has a few other things on his plate right now.
Mike Sillinger is hanging them up...what?... he didn't already? Sillinger played for 12 teams over a 17 year career that never saw him last in one city more than three seasons. His career accomplishments include being a career minus 191, he was a plus player in only three of his 17 seasons and he played on three teams that finished last overall. On the bright side, he did lead the league in shooting % in 1997-'98. You'll be missed Mike. His career should really serve as an inspiration to us all, whenever you feel like things aren't going your way and nobody wants you... just think of Mike Sillinger.
The IIHF hasn't approved Jiri Hudler's transfer to Moscow Dynamo yet, not sure what the snag is but he can't play in the KHL until this gets sorted out. We're not sure what comes out of this, probably nothing, but its interesting nonetheless. [more]
Continuing with the not-really-fantasy-news theme we got going, love this quote from Senators' Coach Cory Clouston on Dany Heatley's claim that he wants out of Ottawa because of his diminished role:
"As far as a diminished role, it was very slightly diminished and, in my opinion, it wasn't diminished,"
So in one sentence he says that that Heatley's role was slightly diminished and also wasn't diminished... thanks for clearing that up coach.
Tampa Bay re-signed RFA winger Martins Karsums to a one-year (one-way) deal. He's been productive in the AHL but didn't show much of anything in 24 NHL games last year (between Boston and TB). He has some talent and with a strong training camp he could land a spot among TB's top 6 forwards, as they currently don't have many other options (unless Alex Tanguay signs)... he could surprise a few people.
So we were wrong when we said no fantasy worthy news would come out of Canada's Olympic orientation camp... Simon Gagne has left the camp after suffering a groin injury, probably nothing major but a little concerning for a guy that's had a history of them and we're sure the Flyers will keep an eye on this as they don't want a repeat of what happened with Danny Briere's groin issues last year (he missed all but 29 games). Cam Ward is also not participating in the camp as he has a stiff back. Again, probably nothing serious but after his stellar finish to last season and the playoffs that he had, there will be some great expectations for Wardo this year and back injuries just scare us.
So Reinsdorf is out of the bidding for the Coyotes and the NHL has thrown their hat into the ring... since Gary Bettman has appeared all along to be the only person that wants to keep this team in Phoenix its rather fitting that he be the one that eventually owns them in Phoenix... and he (with the other owner's money) can be the one that shows us how to turn things around in the desert... good luck. Mirtle's got great coverage of this hot mess.
No real news to report from Monday but lots of August rumours floating around... Luongo wants to get his contract done before the season starts, Kovalchuk is negotiating with the Thrashers but won't sign anything yet, Seidenberg is talking to the Rangers and the Canucks are interested in adding Mathieu Schneider... we'll get into these if anything tangible actually happens but until then we'll kill time trying to come up with all the teams that the 40-year old Schneider has played for. Actually its easier just to come up with the teams he hasn't played for.
So the Canadian Olympic orientation camp opens Monday in Calgary but unlike Pierre McGuire (who, in addition to likely wetting his pants, gave this monster analysis) we can't say we're that interested as we don't anticipate anything fantasy worthy to come out of a couple of practices and one scrimmage. But I'm sure we'll be hearing all about it over the next few days as P-Mac has already said that the goaltending situation merits "major watching" during the camp and there's definitely going to be a few guys that were showing "major jam" at practice... please, this is nothing but a millionaire meet-and-greet, don't read anything into the media-heads who play this crap up.
San Jose signed free agent forward Benn Ferriero to an entry level deal. He was drafted by Phoenix but never signed so San Jose will give him a shot. He put up some good numbers at Boston College but tailed off a bit in his senior year (coincides with Nate Gerbe's departure). We wouldn't get too excited but given that the Sharks only have nine NHL established forwards signed right now, he could get a shot at making the team in training camp.
We're all about giving credit to other blogs when we borrow some of their content but we feel like we should be sending Puck Daddy a cheque for sharing this piece of gold with us.
...and just to add a cherry on top of an already awesome sundae. P Diddy even managed to ask Messier about it:
Q. There's been a picture of you floating around the Internet for the last 15 years posing with Gary Coleman of "Diff'rent Strokes" and I was wondering if you can elaborate on it?
MESSIER: Yeah, I've seen it many times, as you can imagine.
He was ... ah, "Diff'rent Strokes" was in the peak of their years. He was in Edmonton doing some kind of promotional event. We had just won a playoff round against somebody, and he came down to the dressing room to say hello to the team. And that's when that picture was taken.
By combining the worst band in the world with the worst hockey team in the NHL we thought that mankind may be doomed. But apparently we survived as this video of Chad Kroeger of Nickleback having a skate with the Islanders proves.
Now that Olympic camps are taking place we're starting to get fired up about some international hockey... perfect time to shed some light on our favourite (somewhat underrated) Team Canada moment... 1984 Canada Cup semi-finals, Canada vs USSR, all the usual suspects were at play: Viktor Tikhonov, Alan Eagleson, Canada as the underdog, bad blood between the teams (after this vicious Mark Messier elbow in a prelim game), Ron Reusch on the call, grainy betamax-preserved video footage... the game goes to overtime and then this happens...