First off, let’s congratulate the Los Angeles Kings for winning the Stanley Cup (I do it begrudgingly because they knocked the Chicago Blackhawks out in the Western Conference Final). The rest of us will pat the New York Rangers and our own teams on the back and say “We’ll get ’em next year”.
With the Final done, everyone’s focus is turned to three things: the upcoming schedule that’ll be released on June 22nd, the draft on the 27th and free agency on July 1st. It’s already begun, with two teams saying that they’ll each be releasing a guy from their roster. Those two early moves are just the tip of the iceberg, because the rumor mill is already cranking out some gems. Let’s look at some of them…
- Shawn Thornton was told that he won’t be coming back to the Boston Bruins, and it drove a knife into a lot of hearts (including Emma’s). It’s reminiscent of last summer, when Andrew Ference was let go. Like Ferry, Thorty has roots in Boston and stays there all year. From what I gather, he’ll still do that wherever he lands next.
- That’s the true part of what the Bruins are doing. The “pants on fire” item involves the rumor that Brad Marchand is being shopped. It got to the point that GM Peter Chiarelli, who admits that he doesn’t answer social media chatter, had to come out and dispel the talk. Alas, this probably won’t satisfy a certain beat reporter we like to call Man Who Searches Own Name.
- Truth: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has said that they won’t be retaining Michal Handzus. He’s UFA anyway, and other guys reeeeeeally need to be signed ahead of him (cough Ben Smith and Antti Raanta cough). The sad part is that when contacted by the Chicago Tribune, Handzus didn’t know what was going on. Either his agent didn’t relay the message, or the organization didn’t tell him/his agent. WHOOPS.
- A fun rumor that leans toward true is that Martin Brodeur could be leaving the New Jersey Devils seeking a change of scenery and one more shot at a Cup. Ol’ Marty has one more year left in him, so a Teemu Selanne-like farewell tour could be in store. But who out there needs a goalie? And would Marty be all right with being a backup? Stay tuned to that story.
- Ryan Kesler‘s name has been floating around since last season. with Trevor Linden now at the helm of the Vancouver Canucks, it may be time to clean house in a “shop some players” sense. Will Kesler be one of them, and where would he fit?
- Word is that Brian Campbell wants to leave the Florida Panthers. He was kinda good while he was there, even winning a Lady Byng. As tempting as it may be for teams hurting for defensemen, his contract ($7 million/year for two more years) might make him less tempting.
- The annual rumor that Patrick Kane could part with the Blackhawks and play for the Buffalo Sabres is back. Now that you’ve stopped laughing at the sheer absurdity of that, let me say that they’ll have Zenon Konopka‘s beloved bunny Hoppy playing with the Sabres before Kane does. He’s signing an extension with the Hawks, don’t worry.
- Oh, and the Winnipeg Jets filed for arbitration regarding potentially re-signing Michael Frolik. I’ll bet they’re lowballing him horribly and are mad because he won’t cave. This is what happens when you overpay your starting goalie.
There will be more of this as we get closer to Free Agency Frenzy Day. As always, these next three weeks will be ulcer-creating, stomach-churning, heart attack-inducing fun.