Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thrashers ink Williams

The Atlanta Thrashers have signed forward Jason Williams to a one deal, worth $2.2M/year. It was earlier reported that Williams had signed with the Senators.

Williams spent last season with Chicago. In 43 games with the Hawks, the 27 year-old Williams had 13 goals and 23 assists. The London, Ontario, native can play all three forward positions and also the point on the PP.

Radulov - A Fiasco That's Crossed the Line

Well, this is an another event that has blindsided the Predators organization and its fans. Most of us are quite upset for many obvious reasons. I'll try to look at this with some objectivity, but it's not easy because there is so much wrong with what Alexander Radulov has done.

I cannot blame him for jumping at the chance to make this kind of money so quickly into his budding hockey career. I understand that the lure of that much money would be most difficult for anyone to pass up and I also realize that there is so much we don't know about what has been said. We don't know what has happened behind closed doors.

What we do know however, is that this man broke his NHL contract and he broke his word. A signed SPC is in place until the end of the '08/'09 season, after which he will be an RFA. Outside of the lure of big tax-free bucks, it is said that he wants out of Nashville and out of the NHL, although I've not heard why. Naturally, one reason is that he knew that once this news came out that no one in this town would want him around, and therefore it makes it quite easy at that point to say that he doesn't want to be here. His presence would be malignant.

If he had honored the last year on his contract and then said "so long", that would have been a different story and acceptable to most fans. However, the underhanded way he has undertaken this move has generated an immense amount of ill will in Nashville. Even if he is somehow forced to stay in the NHL by a ruling from the Russian league, the KHL, we don't want him here. I don't need to list all the obvious reasons why he will no longer be welcome here, but locker room chemistry and a sulking attitude quickly come to mind.

If he's forced to stay in the NHL, then he needs to be traded for something - anything. He has only played two seasons in the league and the prospect of losing our 1st round pick (15th overall) from the 2004 draft doesn't sit too well. Will anyone want him? Absolutely, so that is an option that we might see, although I am beginning to think it's doubtful at this point.

Most fans that I've communicated with are quite upset, and that's putting it mildly. It is pretty much unanimous that we want him gone from this team - the sooner the better - even though we desperately need a player with his skating skills and offensive potential. (Note that I said potential - he's not a star yet, even though he thinks he is.)

My words to Alexander would be simple: "don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out". If you look at it dispassionately, there really is no other answer for us at this point - he has to go. Again, I just hope that we manage to get something in return, although I have no idea as to what that might be.

In closing, beware of more raids of this type and not just for Russian players. Unless fair, iron-clad transfer agreements are solidly in place soon, we will see more of this. The next one might be be for a Canadian or European player for whom an oil-sotted Russian oligarch might pay 5 times what that player could earn in the NHL.

Havlat is on His Way Back's update on Blackhawks winger Martin Havlat tells us that he is doing well in his recovery from yet another shoulder operation. Havlat has missed 73 games over the last two seasons, a total that is almost half of the maximum 164 games he could have played. In terms of fantasy hockey, he is a high risk and high reward middle round pick, producing well while almost always ending up on the IR at some point. As for his real team, the Blackhawks, a healthy Havlat along with young offensive talent like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews could make Chicago's offense quite potent in 2008-09.

KHL Says Right Back At You To The NHL

According to Bill Meltzer following the the whole Radulov to Russia situation the KHL has now asked the NHL to investigate the Columbus Blue Jackets signing of Russian, First round pick in 2008 Nikita Filatov. Filatov was signed by the Blue Jackets but still has a year left on his CSKA Moscow team contract.

My Take: This is weird in my opinion because I heard Filatov had given a notice to the CSKA Moscow team that he would go to North America regardless if it was the NHL or the OHL with the Sudbury Wolves who picked him 1st overall in the CHL import draft.

Who's left after 2 weeks (worth a look)

Mats Sundin
Pavol Demitra (signed with VAN)
Jason Williams (rumoured to have signed with ATL)
Ladislav Nagy
Teemu Selanne (should be back with ANA)
Joe Sakic (should be back with COL)
Peter Forsberg (midseason pickup?)
Sergei Fedorov (re-signed with WSH)
Brendan Shanahan
Bryan Smolinski
Jan Hlavac
Martin Gelinas
Chris Gratton (re-signed with TBY)
Yannic Perreault

Bryan Berard
Jason Smith (signed with OTT)
Jaroslav Modry
Aaron Miller
Marek Malik
Karel Rachunek (signed in Russia)
Sean Hill
Steve Montador (signed with ANA)
Chris Chelios (should return to DET)
Joe Dipenta

Ray Emery (signed in Russia)
Johan Holmqvist
Jocelyn Thibault

Vyborny, Vasicek, Straka, Yashin, Jagr and Dubielewicz all signed in Europe.
Brylin and Stumpel are rumoured to sign in Europe.

Minor signings roundup

Around the league:

- The Wild has signed forward Krys Kolanos to a contract. Kolanos played for the Flames' AHL affiliate last season. The 26 year-old was drafted 19th overall in 2000 by Pheonix.
- The Ducks have signed rearguard Brennan Evans to a two-year deal. The 26 year-old Evans played for the Sharks' AHL affiliate last season.
- The Penguins will announce tomorrow the signing of forward Bill Thomas. Thomas, who will be signed to a two-way deal, played for Phoenix last season. The Pittsburgh native played 7 games for the Yotes, recording no point.

Branisvlav Mezei heading to Europe

The Slovakian defenseman accepted an offer from Barys Astana of the Continental Hockey League. The 27 year-old blueliner played 57 games with the Florida Panthers last season, recording 4 pts and 64 PIM. Mezei was originally drafted 10th overall by the Islanders in 1999. The terms of the deal are still unknown.

Mezei's former teammate with the Panthers, forward Jozef Stumpel is rumoured to join him on the team after he was bought out by the Panthers last month. Stumpel played in 52 games with the Panthers last season, notching 7 goals and 20 points.

Wideman Likely To Sign

According the Boston Globe Dennis Wideman will likely sign a new 3 year contract with the
the Boston Bruins in the next few days, thus avoiding Salary Arbitration. The contract will put the Bruins over the salary cap and there are now rumors flying that forward Glen Murray will now be bought out by the bruins to get under the Salary Cap.






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