Let the Frenzy Begin…

Posted on July 1st, 2009 – 10:45 AM
By Michael Russo

4:30 p.m. update: Sportsnet is reporting Mike Cammalleri has signed a five-year, $6 million deal with the Canadiens. If true, Marian Gaborik and Martin Havlat are the two best forwards left on the board, followed by the next wrung of Alexei Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, Brian Gionta, Saku Koivu and Nik Antropov.

Is I’ve alluded to the past week, I’ve long suspected Martin Havlat would be the guy the Wild would target. Now of the upper-echelon guys, he’s the only one left other than Gaborik.

Plenty of Dmen still available, including Francois Beauchemin, Rob Scuderi and Mike Komisarek.

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Ladies and gents, patience, patience. This is how it works. Very few agents sign their guy to the first team that calls (minus Mattias Ohlund, apparently). Agents build a list, accept offers, go to their clients, go over the offers, go over the pros and cons of each team, where the player fits and then goes back to the teams and usually works one against each other.

They create bidding wars. This takes time, especially when the pool is so thin and the same teams are going after the same players.

There’s a reason why Marian Hossa is the only one of the elite forwards to sign so far.

Just because the Wild hasn’t signed anybody yet doesn’t mean they won’t the rest of the day or in subsequent days (Wild signed Johnsson, Parrish and Carney at about 8 p.m. on July 1, 2006). Last year’s news was early because I got wind very early that the Wild traded for Marek Zidlicky.

But as for free agents, usually in the afternoons of July 1, it’s hard to get a ton of info because both sides — the agent and the team — are busy chatting with each other. So that’s why it’s so quiet. That’s why I tried to do as much reporting as possible before July 1. In today’s paper, I informed you of the players I either know or think the Wild’s pursuing. I know on Havlat, Fedotenko, Saku Koivu and Scuderi.

We’ll see if they get any of those guys done.

Also, just an fyi, I’m not convinced Koivu will decide on his team today. Mikko made it sound to me like Saku will take his offers and go over them very carefully with his family.

Also, on Gaborik, I hear the Rangers are very interested but don’t want to pull the trigger with Heatley still up in the air. That’s surprising, however, because why give up a bunch of assets when you can simply sign Gaborik?

Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Rob Rossi hears Minnesota, Dallas and the Rangers are on Rob Scuderi’s list. I heard yesterday Wild was “high” on the list.

TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting Marian Hossa is close to signing in Chicago. If true, Hawks may need to hire some mathematicians from MIT to get Kane and Toews done next summer. Unless he’s signing another one-year deal.

TSN’s reporting Hossa to Chicago is done. If Marian Hossa gets a $5.2 million cap hit, good luck Gaborik.

Edmonton’s lost Dwayne Roloson. They’ve almost definitely got to sign Nikolai Khabibulin or go back to the Wild and trade for Josh Harding. Oilers still very interested in Harding, a source says, but still looking at free-agent route with Scott Clemmensen.

Free agency starts at 11. A half-hour before, TSN reported that Daniel and Henrik Sedin agreed to duplicate five-year, $6.1 million deals with the Canucks.

This makes a thin free-agent pool thinner.

Vancouver still has the salary-cap room to go after Marian Gaborik perhaps, although the Canucks are aiming to sign Roberto Luongo to an $8 million-a-year extension that would go on the books starting in 2010-11. With the cap coming down, it would seem Gaborik would have to look elsewhere.

The teams that could be looking at him today are Montreal, the Rangers and Los Angeles.

Martin Havlat and Ruslan Fedotenko — two players the Wild’s expected to pursue — to the free-agent market, their agent says.

Team Canada to make Olympic camp roster announcement on July 2.

Seven years for Mattias Ohlund in Tampa Bay. Oh my. Guess teams are giving term.

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