Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

July 3, 2014

Deals slow to trickle on Day 2 of NHL free agency

Sabres general manager Tim Murray joked that he has run out of spending money two days into NHL free agency.

Most of his fellow executives appeared to be in the same boat Wednesday.

The frenzy of high-priced signings and big-name trades that took place to open the league's annual summer signing period Tuesday, slowed to a trickle a day later.

"I'm not surprised," Murray said, a day after he committed $46.38 million in salaries to sign four free agents. "Nobody's in a rush today because they're taking stock of what happened yesterday."

There were a few notable signings that took place on Wednesday.

The New York Islanders made the biggest splash by signing forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to four-year contracts. Grabovski's deal is worth $20 million, while Kulemin will make $16.75 million.

The Nashville Predators, who failed in a bid to land center Jason Spezza in a trade with Ottawa, made an addition by signing veteran center Olli Jokinen to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.

"There's no doubt that the second day is a lot different than the first day," Nashville general manager David Poile said. "There were certainly, with all due respect to other teams out there, there were really no bargains (on the first day). I participated in that last year. You pay a lot to participate in the first day."

The Vancouver Canucks signed right wing Radim Vrbata to a two-year, $10 million deal. The 33-year-old Vrbata had 20 goals and 31 assists in 80 games last season for Arizona.

Forward Chris Bourque is back in the NHL after agreeing to a deal with the New York Rangers. The son of Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, split last season playing in Russia and Switzerland.

And the New Jersey Devils re-signed fourth-line linemates, forwards Steve Bernier and Stephen Gionta.

Just as notable was the list of players — many of them aging veterans — still on the market.

It's a group that included goalie Martin Brodeur, the league's career victory leader, forwards Dany Heatley, Mike Ribeiro, David Legwand, Ville Leino and Steve Ott.

Murray had considered bringing back Ott, Buffalo's former captain, who was traded to St. Louis in February. But Murray's interest waned after addressing the Sabres' leadership needs by signing former Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, and acquiring defenseman Josh Gorges in a trade with Montreal.

"I don't know if he's a possibility," said Murray, who spoke with Ott's agent on Tuesday night. "I said, 'There's still interest but I can't certainly tell you not to pursue other things.'"

Saku Koivu also is available, but the forward's future is uncertain after Anaheim decided not to re-sign him.

"Saku has not made a decision about his plans for next season, and is considering his options to continue his NHL career," Koivu's agent, Jeffrey Kowall, wrote in an email.

The Islanders were the busiest team Wednesday, as they also signed forward Cory Conacher, who split last season between Ottawa and Buffalo.

The 30-year-old Grabovski is a dependable two-way forward who had 13 goals and 22 assists in 58 games with Washington last season. The 27-year-old Kulemin had spent the previous six seasons with Toronto, where he had 84 goals and 111 assists in 421 career games.

In Nashville, Jokinen fills an immediate need on a team that has lacked offensive punch.

The 35-year-old is a seven-time 20-goal-scorer, who had 18 goals and 25 assists in 82 games for the Winnipeg Jets last season.

"Olli Jokinen is a proven veteran center who will provide us with size, leadership and offensive ability in the tough Central Division and Western Conference," general manager David Poile said.

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed forward Steve Downie to a one-year, $1 million deal, a day after signing four players.

The Philadelphia Flyers signed defenseman Nick Schultz to a one-year deal. The 31-year-old had five assists in 69 games last season split between Edmonton and Columbus.

Dallas re-signed center Vernon Fiddler to a two-year contract.

Carolina signed former Toronto center Jay McClement to a one-year, $1 million deal.

And the San Jose Sharks added former Sabres enforcer John Scott, by signing the forward to a one-year contract.

In Buffalo, the Sabres focused their attention on formally welcoming Gionta, a day after he signed a three-year, $12.75 million deal. It's a homecoming for Gionta, who is from nearby Rochester. And he is part of a rebuilding plan in Buffalo (21-51-10), which is coming off a last-place finish.

"By no means am I going to come here and work miracles," the 35-year-old Gionta said. "The first step is trying to get to the playoffs. And I'm excited about being able to be part of that turnaround."

___

AP Hockey Writer Larry Lage contributed to this report.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yurcich ready for second season

    With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.

    July 28, 2014

  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Stocks