Monday, July 1, 2002
By Lance Hornby
The bank opened at 12:01 this morning for a select group of National
Hockey League free agents. Here are some of the last-minute
Calgary Flames: Jarome Iginla is in good position to get the first
restricted free-agent offer sheet in a few years if some team has the
guts. The same goes for Jose Theodore in Montreal and Paul Kariya in
Anaheim, but big name unrestricteds will sign first.
Carolina Hurricanes: They signed defenceman Bret Hedican yesterday to
a six-year contract worth a reported $18 million US, taking one of
the most attractive free agents off the market.
Chicago Blackhawks: They picked up ex-Leaf Sergei Berezin as GM Mike
Smith welcomed another former Toronto employee with open arms. For
the price of a fourth-round draft pick, Chicago gave Berezin the
qualifying offer the Canadiens had held off on, making Berezin's
salary close to $3 million US. Smith hopes Berezin gets back into the
30-goal territory where he ventured as a Leaf.
Dallas Stars: The Stars, with hardly any scoring wingers, "will go
bonkers" today according to one club source, having set aside
something like $17 million US for free-agent shopping. At the top of
their list is believed to be Bill Guerin, followed by Bobby Holik,
Tony Amonte, Scott Young and Phillipe Boucher.
Detroit Red Wings: The Ed Belfour chatter out of Detroit is being
called a smokescreen by many observers, who insist their primary
target is Joseph. "The Wings have never gone after second tier
players," one source said. "Curtis is younger and has (less
NY Rangers: Glen Sather might like Joseph from their Edmonton days,
but is respectful of what Mike Richter has done for the franchise.
Rangers' insiders say Sather has no problems bringing Richter back,
but does not want to bid against himself. Richter was dealt to
Edmonton for futures.
New Jersey Devils: Holik told a New Jersey newspaper the Devils had
an edge but it is doubtful he will return.
Philadelphia Flyers: They let veteran centre Adam Oates slip away and
say they won't replace him but will look at help in goal for Roman
Cechmanek, possibly Richter.
Phoenix Coyotes: They are expected to put together a Theo Fleury
offer in the next few days.
San Jose Sharks: Teemu Selanne is free but there is movement in San
Jose to keep him.
St. Louis Blues: Once considered eager free agent shoppers, they
declared Brent Johnson their starting goalie, eliminating Joseph and
the others. Keith Tkachuk and Doug Weight have been unsuccessful
trying to talk Guerin into coming back west.
Vancouver Canucks: Did not qualify defenceman Jason Strudwick and
made ex-Leaf Todd Warriner a low-ball two-way minor-league contract
to discourage him from taking their qualifier.
Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Signed centre Adam Oates for a reported $7-
million over two years.