I've received a couple of recent emails asking me if I have heard anything about Bret Hedican. Has he signed anywhere yet? Has he retired? Is he playing in Europe?
To the best of my knowledge, the answer is no, no, and no.
I have not seen a single thing about him signing with any team yet. He seems to have been sucked into the "Mats Sundin vacuum", as it appears that most NHL teams are waiting on Mats to make a decision before they go ahead and commit to spending money on other players.
The problem is, Sundin recently stated on Toronto radio that he hasn't made up his mind yet whether or not he even wants to play. That's a tough decision I'm sure, but how long will teams wait? Probably, awhile yet. That means that Hedican, and others like him, will probably be waiting right up until the last minute before training camp to see if they get offered a contract.
If he signs, the best bet still remains with the Kings, although if the Ducks trade Mathieu Schneider they may go for a veteran replacement. I doubt very much that he would ever sign to play in Europe since that would keep him away from Kristi and his daughters.
If he doesn't sign anywhere and also doesn't announce his retirement, he could always be picked up during the season by someone, for instance if a certain team's defense succumbs to the injury bug.
In other news, I dropped over at the Rec Zone before lunch to watch the "camp before camp". Quite a few players were on the ice. They were scrimmaging five on five, with four guys on each bench. Some old familar faces were there like Bates Battaglia, Shane Willis, Jesse Boulerice, Jeff O'Neill, and Andrew Ladd. Prospects included Casey Borer and Brett Carson.
The Carolina vets present were Rod Brind'Amour, Justin Williams, Ray Whitney, Scott Walker, Tim Gleason, Nic Wallin, Dennis Seidenberg, Patrick Eaves, Cam Ward, and Chad LaRose. (I may have missed a couple of players, I'm just working from memory).
The guys were having a lot of fun, as if they were playing some pond hockey.
One interesting note- Tim Gleason was sporting the number 6 on his helmet. I just checked the team's homepage, and sure enough, he will be wearing Hedican's old number this coming season.