According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Keith Tkachuk was traded back to the Blues in order to…get this…make things EASIER for them to re-sign Tkachuk. You read that right. This trade was made so that, according to GM Don Waddell, the Thrashers can sign Tkachuk on July 1st. Had they not done this trade, they would have had to give the Blues a 1st round pick in what would be a deep draft next year. Now, it would only cost them a fourth.
Check out this DRAFT REVIEW that I wrote for the Forecaster. It can also be found at The Hockey News, the LA Times, etc…but the link is for the Toronto Star .
Eric Fehr's back injury was actually a hip injury…and it is not responding well to treatment. Buyer Beware on Eric Fehr (I'm a poet and I don't know it).
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The Blues made a decision with their goaltending situation Monday, electing to give Jason Bacashihua a contract for next season and declining to offer one to Curtis Sanford. Sanford will be a UFA (see my Pens thought, below. He would make an excellent backup for them)
Now the Pens apparently will not attempt to sign Nolan Schaefer to be their backup, as I had speculated. Looks like they will go the free agent route to fill that need.
Phoenix did not qualify Jeff Taffe. He is a UFA now.
The Preds have signed Pekka Rinne to a two year contract. The first year is two-way, the second year is one-way. So we know he will be a backup in one year at the latest. I think he is ready to back up Chris Mason right now, but we shall see in camp.
The Carolina Hurricanes have a deal in place, but Niclas Wallin will need to waive his no-trade clause to get it done. He will be on the move in exchange for another defenseman. It is rumored that Joni Pitkanen is coming to Carolina. You will hear about this deal officially, if and when Wallin waives his NTC.
Today's deadline to qualify players is at 5pm. Any that were not qualified by then are UFA's.
Juraj Kolnik and Alexei Semenov were not given qualifying offers and will be unrestricted free agents.
Here is a really funny article from a writer at ESPN. He is not a hockey fan, but he was flipping through the channels and stumbled upon the beginning of the draft. I particularly love his take on the interview with Alexei Cherepanov. Hilarious!
Very unexpected – the Caps received Jiri Novotny as part of their return for Dainius Zubrus, and they don't even qualify him! They also did not qualify Kris Beech. Expect the Caps to make a huge splash in the free agent market. I'm talking Sheldon Souray and either Scott Gomez or Mike Comrie (in that order). With those two additions, plus Backstrom, this team will contend for a playoff spot and Ovechkin will contend for an Art Ross. Novotny and Beech will be unrestricted free agents on July 1.
The Florida Panthe