By Michael Russo
I’ve been sitting on this for a couple days for a variety of reasons, but it’s starting to get out there now and not in an accurate way.
As I reported here Sept. 4, the Wild was interested in signing Petr Sykora. After back and forth negotiations last week, Sykora said no. Now Sykora will indeed fly to Minnesota on Tuesday.
But if he passes his physical, he’ll be placed on a pro tryout like unsigned free agent Andy Hilbert. He is not signed, and GM Chuck Fletcher made it very clear to me just now that there is no guarantee to sign him.
He’s got to make the team. Of course, the assumption is that if Sykora is still Sykora (one of three active NHLers to score 20 or more goals for 10 straight seasons), he’ll eventually be signed.
The Wild, with $2.4 million of cap space, last week offered him a contract of $1 million. It upped its offer about $250,000, but Sykora wasn’t giving in because he had an offer from Russia around $3 million tax-free. But the reality is Sykora’s Sykora. He wants to play in the NHL, and you know what, those Russian offers will always be there for him.
Originally, Sykora said no. Now he’s had a change of heart and is willing to give it a try. But at this point, for a lot of reasons, the Wild wants to see him in camp on a tryout rather than signing him.
Eventually, I’m betting he will be signed. But he IS NOT signed yet and HAS NOT agreed to terms.
But he will be in Minnesota tomorrow, and if he signs, this changes camp for a number of forwards, including second-year Colton Gillies and Hilbert. It’ll be a lot harder for them to make the team.
By the way, if you didn’t read the below post, read it. I didn’t write all that hockey 101 mumbo jumbo for nothing, haha.