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James O’Brien

  1. Ten most promising potential UFA forwards in 2011 (plus a complete list)

    Jul 3, 2010, 8:30 PM EDT

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    When a sports team (or group of fans) spouts the “Wait ’til next year” line, they usually mean that the next season could bring better things. Yet after a few days of the free agent frenzy, that saying might also apply to July 2011. It’s very early to look at future unrestricted free agents –…

  2. Should someone make a deal with Satan? (Miroslav, that is.)

    Jul 3, 2010, 7:00 PM EDT

    (Yes, I know that is the most obvious headline possible. Sorry.) Now that the first few days of unrestricted free agency are just about done, it’s time to start checking out the players who are on hockey’s version of the “clearance” aisle. One of the more interesting players is Miroslav Satan – even if his…

  3. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Penguins sign Brett Sterling to one-year, two-way contract

    Jul 3, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

    The Pittsburgh Penguins decided to go for expensive defense over pricey wingers this summer. While I’m not sure Paul Martin is really a $5 million per year blueliner, I think Penguins GM Ray Shero went in a wiser direction given the superior supply of D-men and the shallow pool of UFA forwards. That being said,…

  4. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Round-up of signings, including Ebbett, Winchester and Boogaard

    Jul 2, 2010, 5:45 PM EDT

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    There were a handful of low-level signings in the last couple hours. Let’s take them on one-by-one. The St. Louis Blues re-signed gritty forward Brad Winchester. To go along with enforcer Derek Boogaard, the New York Rangers bolstered the grit and knuckle-throwing abilities by re-signing Brandon Prust. The Phoenix Coyotes signed small center Andrew Ebbett…

  5. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Predators sign speedy Matt Lombardi to three-year, $10.5M deal

    Jul 2, 2010, 5:11 PM EDT

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    You know it’s a shallow pool of forwards when Matthew Lombardi is one of the most promising candidates, but that is the case this summer. The Nashville Predators signed Lombardi to deal for three years, $10.5 million according to Pierre LeBrun. Lombardi’s speed and two-way play have always been there, but last year seemed like…

  6. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Maple Leafs sign Nikolai Kulemin to two-year, $4.7M extension

    Jul 2, 2010, 4:30 PM EDT

    The Toronto Maple Leafs signed forward Nikolai Kulemin to a two-year, $4.7 million extension according to Darren Dreger. The 23-year-old Russian scored 36 points during the 09-10 season and 31 in 08-09. He’s a young player who has shown some solid potential. He also earned a considerable jump in time on ice from his rookie…

  7. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Islanders sign enforcer Konopka plus Jurcina, PA Parenteau

    Jul 2, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT

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    It’s been a day of team building for GM Garth Snow and the New York Islanders. Earlier, it was announced that he signed Mark Eaton to a two-year contract and now Alan Walsh reports that the team inked defenseman Milan Jurcina and forward PA Parenteau to one-year contracts. Jurcina is a big defenseman (6’4″, 236…

  8. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Islanders set to add Mark Eaton for two-years, $5M

    Jul 2, 2010, 2:30 PM EDT

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    The New York Islanders are reportedly on the verge of signing former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton to a two-year, $5 million contract according to Nick Kypreos. The 32-year-old defenseman produced his best career point output last season, scoring 16 in 79 games for the Penguins. He brings a decent mixture of defensive-minded play and…

  9. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Panthers sign Chris Higgins to one-year, $1.6M deal

    Jul 2, 2010, 2:00 PM EDT

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    New GM Dale Tallon continues to show that the Florida Panthers are looking to be an aggressive team in free agency, trades and the draft. While Chris Higgins is far from a big impact player, the three-time 20-plus goal scorer could come cheap. Kevin Allen of USA Today reports that the speedy, two-way winger will…

  10. Penguins rank high, Maple Leafs in the doghouse of ESPN's fan treatment polls

    Jul 2, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

    The Chicago Blackhawks may have won the Stanley Cup this year, but an ESPN The Magazine poll found that the Pittsburgh Penguins are the gold standard in fan relations – not just among NHL teams, but in all of sports. Here’s more from the team’s site. The Pittsburgh Penguins are ranked No. 1 in Fan…

  11. After failing to find trade partner, Oilers put Sheldon Souray on waivers

    Jul 2, 2010, 12:40 PM EDT

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    The Edmonton Oilers placed defenseman Sheldon Souray on waivers, reports TSN. The Edmonton Oilers are giving the NHL’s 29 other teams a chance at acquiring Sheldon Souray, as the team placed the veteran defenceman on waivers on Friday. Souray signed a five-year contract in 2007 that was supposed to see him in Edmonton through the…

  12. Flyers' arena undergoes name change from Wachovia to Wells Fargo Center

    Jul 2, 2010, 12:15 PM EDT

    The Wachovia Center – home to the Philadelphia Flyers and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers – will now be known as the Wells Fargo Center. This marks the fourth name given to the Flyers’ humble abode. Frank Seravalli provides the details. Wachovia, which owned the building’s naming rights, was bought out by Wells Fargo Corporation effective…

  13. Jason Spezza expected to stay in Ottawa … for now

    Jul 2, 2010, 11:40 AM EDT

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    A year after Dany Heatley forced a trade out of Ottawa – but only to the teams he wanted to play for – it looked like disgruntled center Jason Spezza might follow a similar path. After all, Senators fans booed the talented but defensively questionable forward during the team’s first round loss to the Pittsburgh…

  14. Lebron James, Ilya Kovalchuk make us wait, but Kovalchuk might want to change course

    Jul 2, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

    While July 1 was “Lebron James Day” for many sports fans, hockey-crazed people thought they’d finally get some answers about the NHL’s big free agent fish Ilya Kovalchuk. Thursday was supposed to be a day of closure regarding the two soon-to-be-huge-earners, but both basketball and hockey fans will have to wait to see the end…

  15. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Lightning bring back Pavel Kubina with two-year deal

    Jul 2, 2010, 10:11 AM EDT

    This is just the beginning of Steve Yzerman’s time as the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but so far, it seems like he’s introducing all kinds of new things to the franchise (like, say, “competence”). There are certainly some winds of change blowing through Tampa, but if Bolts fans were hoping for a…

  16. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Ducks, Bobby Ryan struggle to find common ground on extension

    Jul 1, 2010, 8:28 PM EDT

    For the most part, NHL teams and their players are allies. The one notable exception, though, is when a team goes into contract discussions with its players and their agents. It seems like the talks between restricted free agent Bobby Ryan and the Anaheim Ducks are getting a little contentious, as Eric Stephens of the…

  17. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Minnesota signs Eric Nystrom to three-year, $4.2M contract

    Jul 1, 2010, 8:03 PM EDT

    The Minnesota Wild signed former Calgary Flames forward Eric Nystrom to a three-year, $4.2 million contract according to Bob McKenzie. At age 27 with a career-high of 19 points last season, it’s hard to say that Nystrom justified the Flames’ decision to make him the 10th pick of the 2002 draft. He’s a gritty player,…

  18. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Blackhawks exodus continues as Oilers sign Colin Fraser

    Jul 1, 2010, 7:48 PM EDT

    NHL teams are raiding the lower depths of the Chicago Blackhawks’ roster like an alcoholic burns through a hotel mini-bar. The latest departure is marginal center Colin Fraser, whom the Edmonton Oilers signed to a two-year, $1.65 million contract. Fraser played in 70 games for Chicago during the 09-10 season, putting up seven goals and…

  19. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Minnesota hands Matt Cullen three-year, $10.5M deal

    Jul 1, 2010, 7:00 PM EDT

    To me, Matt Cullen evokes the old saying, “Jack of all trades, but a master of none.” Cullen seems like a good character guy, is an adequate defensive player, is well above average when it comes to face-offs and can put the puck in the net on occasion. Rarely would you say that he’s the…

  20. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Stars nab former Blackhawk Adam Burish

    Jul 1, 2010, 6:36 PM EDT

    The raid on the Chicago Blackhawks’ depth players continues as the Dallas Stars snagged fringe forward Adam Burish with a two-year, $2.3 million deal according to Nick Kypreos. While the Dallas Stars feature a nice collection of productive forwards, they could use a little more elbow grease. Adam Burish could flourish if he’s the “dirty…

  21. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Saku Koivu won't retire, signs two-year deal with Ducks

    Jul 1, 2010, 6:20 PM EDT

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    The Anaheim Ducks are now bating .500 with their aging, potentially-retiring players. While Scott Niedermayer decided to hang up his skates for good (well, allegedly … some people think he’ll “pull a Brett Favre”), Saku Koivu just signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the team. While it’s good news for the team to retain…

  22. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Devils sign Johan Hedberg to ease Martin Brodeur's burden

    Jul 1, 2010, 5:48 PM EDT

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    Johan Hedberg will (or at least should) always hold a special place in the hearts of Penguins fans as “The Moose” came out of nowhere to help the team make a deep playoff run during Mario Lemieux’s amazing comeback from retirement. Despite that Cinderella run, though, Hedberg has just been a borderline NHL goalie since…

  23. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Rangers in talks with the 'other' Russian winger Alex Frolov

    Jul 1, 2010, 5:23 PM EDT

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    While Ilya Kovalchuk gets all the attention as this summer’s high-profile goal scoring Russian left wing (that’s a mouthful), former Los Angeles Kings forward Alex Frolov mostly slips under the radar. He shares a lot in common with Kovalchuk although he’s certainly nowhere near as dynamic, consistent or productive. Mean folks might even call him…

  24. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Flames sign Olli Jokinen to two-year, $6M contract

    Jul 1, 2010, 4:56 PM EDT

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    Perhaps the most giggle-worthy rumor is now fact; the Calgary Flames signed erstwhile forward Olli Jokinen to a two-year, $6 million contract according to Darren Dreger. Should Jokinen be called the Prodigal Center? I’ve already discussed how silly the reunion really is, but to review, Jokinen spent a chunk of one unsuccessful season with the…

  25. 2010 NHL Free Agency: Devils lock up shot blocker Anton Volchenkov for six years

    Jul 1, 2010, 4:40 PM EDT

    The New Jersey Devils lost key defenseman Paul Martin today, but they’re trying to fill the void by committee with the additions of Henrik Tallinder and former Ottawa Senators defenseman Anton Volchenkov. Volchenkov’s agent Jay Grossman just Tweeted that the Devils are on the verge of signing the Russian shutdown D for a six year…

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