While it's been quiet this week here concerning the Canes, the rest of the NHL world has been a buzz. Let's take a quick look at what's going on roundabout. First of all the new "Nashville" Predators owner, Jim Balsillie has dropped the facade about keeping the Preds in Nashville. The target for his new franchise is Hamilton, Ontario and starting tomorrow Hamilton residents can put money down on future season tickets if they wish! The NHL office is keeping mum about this right now, but things don't look good for Nashville hockey fans or those trying to keep the Preds from moving over at "Save the Preds.com". Good luck Preds fans, looks like you will need it!
There have been some signings by teams the past couple of days. Old man, Chris Chelios has re-upped for another year at Detroit. Mats Sundin signed a one year deal with the Leafs. In a real head-scratcher, Bryan Allen was given a 5 year, 14.5 million dollar deal by the Panthers! Wow, whatever Jacques Martin is smoking, I want some! Here's a player who has really accomplished very little so far, just had a career high of 27 points last year, and he'll be earning just south of 3 million per year, more than any Hurricanes defenseman. Let's compare him with Hurricane's Mike Commodore who has played in 2 Stanley Cup Finals, won the Cup, finished with a career high of 29 points last year, and could be considered by some as being a one man marketing machine. Commie's salary this coming year will be 1.3 million, less than half of what Allen will make. And some people give Rutherford a hard time? Maybe it's a good thing the Canes won't be testing the free agency market for defensemen this year. The prices are likely to be too inflated if this is any indication of what contracts will be on July 1st!
In other Panther's news, they traded center Chris Gratton to Tampa Bay for a draft pick. Gratton is a steady, 3rd line center who will make 1.5 million next year. He'll give the Lightning more depth up the middle at a reasonable cost. Dom Hasek will reportedly sign another year with the Wings. Terms have not been released. The rumor of the day? "Iron Mike" Keenan is reportedly being signed as coach of the Calgary Flames! Take heart Flames fans, it could be worse! At least he isn't your GM as well!! I wonder how long before he starts to tinker with their lineup and bring in his over-the hill crew to "save" the franchise. Could golfing buddies Eddie the Eagle and Gary Roberts be far behind?
As promised, tomorrow I'll have my selections of who the Canes should be looking at to replace Scott Walker, if indeed he needs to be replaced. My number one target? I'll give you a hint. He's a right winger who scored 36 goals in the regular season last year, but could probably be signed for less than 3 million. Any ideas?
Don't forget to catch the NHL Awards show tonight on Versus. Will Rod Brind'Amour win another Selke?