By Michael Russo
OK, I’m finally getting some breathing room here and I know this blog is as messy and unorganized as one of my kindergarten drawings, so I’m about to start a new post in a few minutes. I’ll try to give you some fresh stuff and analysis.
Wild has signed right wing Craig Weller as a depth move.
Risebrough says he’s been talking to Rolston and he’s going to have to make a choice. I’m hearing Devils now. And it’s official. Rolston to Jersey at four years, $20 million! Bobby Holik back to Jersey, too. Man, Holik, Rolston. How about Scott Stevens? Jacques Lemaire, maybe?
Risebrough indicates the Wild is not done. There’s no doubt the Wild is in on a couple of other deals. Risebrough admitted to talking to two players — who have not yet signed — directly to let them know “what the Wild is all about.”
Risebrough said something else big could happen, but if it doesn’t, “I wouldn’t describe today as not being big.”
By the way, neither team has reached Zidlicky today.
Chicago signed Brian Campbell to an eight-year, $56.8 million deal, beating out Atlanta. Nicklas Lidstrom should ask for a raise now.
Just an update: Wild is working right now. We’re getting Risebrough at 5, and then he’s going back to work.
I know the Wild has talked with Michael Ryder’s reps and Kristian Huselius’ reps today, and there’s clearly other issues. Wild has made another offer to Rolston. He also has offers, I believe, from New Jersey, Pittsburgh, the Rangers and Detroit. He turned down a three-year, $13.5 million deal from Tampa Bay, by the way.
I know Rolston’s camp has talked with the Wild. If the Red Wings are legit, it’ll be tough for Rolston to leave that on the table.
I have not gotten to calling centerman agents yet today.
STAR TRIBUNE REPORTING
WILD HAS OFFICIALLY SIGNED ANDREW BRUNETTE TO A THREE-YEAR, $7 MILLION DEAL AND HAS ACQUIRED DEFENSEMAN MAREK ZIDLICKY, A QUALITY OFFENSIVE DEFENSEMAN, FOR RYAN JONES AND A 2009 SECOND-ROUND PICK.
Wild is definitely not done, I’m hearing. Whether that results in something, who knows? But I’ve been informed it’s “far from over.” Don’t let that freak you out, but it means they’re working.
Todd Fedoruk has signed in Phoenix. Mats Sundin apparently has been offered a two-year, $20 million deal by Vancouver. Brian Campbell’s got Chicago and Atlanta all over him. ADam Hall to Tampa Bay. Rangers sign Aaron Voros. Vancouver signs David Backes to an offer sheet!
Tucker to Colorado…Trust me, this will be your new Matt Cooke and Alex Burrows. Get ready to boo.
Here’s the link to watch Andrew Brunette’s winner against Colorado in Game 7 of the ’03 quarters.
Zidlicky has two more years left on his deal at $3.5 million each with a cap hit of $3.35 million.
I’ll be in and out of here for awhile as I make calls. Obviously, you know I’ll keep you up to date on the Wild and be back later on for a complete wrap-up of the day.
I can tell you, if you’re trying to make sense of Zidlicky, this is basically what I predicted a few blogs ago. The Wild seemed to be concerned about giving a five- or six-year deal at $4 or $5 or even more million a year for a defenseman it did not consider to be star-studded.
You can read what I wrote a few blogs ago, but I started to get an indication that they much rather trade for a solid defenseman with only a couple of years left on his contract.
Couple interesting things: Ryan Jones has been in town most this summer working out at the X trying to get prepared for this season. Also, Zidlicky’s no-trade clause expired … this morning.
Here is a blog item on Zidlicky from a few days ago from my pal, John Glennon, of the Tennessean.
From the Zidlicky press release: “Marek is a top offensive puck-moving defenseman who will add tempo to our lineup,” Wild GM Doug Risebrough said. “He will complement a defense that is becoming more mobile and skilled, which we anticipate will make our team as a whole more offensive.”
This doesn’t necessarily mean the Wild is done for the day obviously. This is just the stuff I know now.
As for Bruno, he’s back and excited. Brunette ranks third in Wild history with 26 power-play goals and 110 assists and fifth with 164 points, and Wild General Manager Doug Risebrough has said routinely in the past few years that he erred in not re-signing Brunette after the lockout.
He’s the NHL’s current Iron Man leader at 453 straight games played. His contract is for $2.5 million, $2.5 million and $2 million.
I hear Chicago is also hot after Campbell
Check out this link for your amusement (thanks to Fiona Quick for emailing this link)
I was asked via email to post blog updates on top rather than bottom. I aim to please:
Joni Pitkanen to Carolina for Erik Cole. Edmonton is going to be much better next season.
Radim Vrbata got $9 million from Tampa Bay for three years.
A player just told me Atlanta offered Brian Campbell a contract worth $60 million. Not sure of years, but I think EIGHT…sorry I put seven originally….
OK, I’m back, caffeinated and ready to go. Make sure you refresh this all day because I’ll have updates.
I learned today how many NHL types and players read this blog. Lots of emails wishing me luck when I go under the knife. None from the Star Tribune readership, I might add.
But I forgive you. You’re consumed with more critical things, like the free-agent frenzy.
I don’t know how this will go, lots of signings early or a calm before the storm. Remember, it took three hours last year before Todd White became the first NHL free agent to sign in Atlanta. That got the ball rolling.
I have a feeling this will be quicker. There is clear tampering going on. I just read one blog with a coach quoted at 10 a.m. ET saying he was in a nerve center and people were pounding out phone calls. The coach was openly talking about his team, we’ll say Tampa Bay, and how it was going hard after Radim Vrbata, which I believe I’ve reported here the last few days.
Brian Rolston promises to keep me informed today. He’s hoping for Detroit but hasn’t ruled out Tampa Bay, who offered him a sick deal. By the way, the Wild was miffed by a report in another publication that said the Wild’s best offer to Rolston was around $3.5 million.
Assistant GM Tom Lynn said that was “way low,” and Rolston also indicated to me that the Wild offered him a very quality contract. He just felt this was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
NHL Network is reporting Brad Stuart has re-signed in Detroit, Pascal Dupuis has re-signed in Pittsburgh and Jay Pandolfo re-signed in New Jersey. Rene Bourque was traded from Chicago to Calgary for a pick.
I do have to say about this frenzy, as exciting as this time is for you and me, it is quite absurd. I was talking to a team exec the other day about this.
Isn’t it stupid that the NHL allows this feeding frenzy? Why is there no negotiating period for a week like the NBA? This way, instead of people inflating the market and trying to outbid a million teams, players can actually visit teams and scout markets for themselves — like a Brian Rolston going and checking out Tampa and a half-dozen other teams.
It would also negate the rampant tampering in this league, which is disgraceful.
1 p.m. If you have NHL Network, Game 1 of Wild-Avalanche 2008 series is being replayed. I predict Joe Sakic wins it in OT.