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PRINCE OF PUCKS: Gaborik seeks more green

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  • The Vancouver Province recently reported the are still in the market for a top-six forward. GM Brian Burke apparently has $2.5 million remaining in his budget to spend on a forward, an amount that could go as high as $3.5 million if he can move some salary should he decide to swing a trade. The paper suggested players who are up for salary arbitration, including Boston's , Phoenix's , Edmonton's and Washington's Michael Nylander could be available if their respective clubs reject their salary awards. Then there are Group II free agents, such as Buffalo's and Phoenix's , who have yet to sign new contracts with their respective teams. Finally, the Province noted Burke could also go the free-agent route, as notables such as , , , , , and are finding it difficult to find clubs willing to sign them. Thus, they might be willing to accept less money as the new season approaches. Given the changing economic landscape in the NHL this summer, it's quite possible the could indeed land one of these players. Look for speculation to increase in the coming weeks.
  • The trade watch continues, with the Detroit Free Press reporting GM Ken Holland held talks with several teams, including a few in the Western Conference. However, the same old sticking point remains the two years and $16 million remaining on Cujo's contract. The Free Press suggested the New York as "an obvious candidate" as a trade partner, naming center , who has a year remaining on his current contract, as a player the Wings might be interested in. However, as previously noted in this column, GM Glen Sather has shown no interest in Joseph. Remember, he stated over a month ago that he was happy with his goaltending unit, which includes starter , whose goals-against average and save percentage were better than Joseph's last season. The might look like an obvious candidate, but their lack of interest in Joseph seems to prove otherwise.
  • Finally, Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported the Minnesota could offer Group II free agent a $4 million-per-season deal, $2 mil per season less than the winger is supposedly seeking. Walters suggested the Detroit might make "a colossal offer" for Gaborik, although the have to right to match any offer. Sorry, Charley, but I don't think so. The last time a Group II free agent was made "a colossal offer" by another club was back in 1998, when the Carolina made a pitch for Detroit's . Since then, it's almost an unwritten rule that no one will forward offer sheets to an opponent's restricted free agents. Factor in concerns regarding the fallout of the next collective bargaining agreement, and the possibility of any Group II free agent getting an offer from another club becomes more remote. At home in Prince Edward Island, Canada, he's known as Lyle Richardson. But around these parts, he's known as Spector, FOXSports.com's Prince of Pucks. Check in with Spector for the latest NHL rumors from around the league and buy his book.
  • Tagged: Bruins, Sabres, Red Wings, Oilers, Hurricanes, Devils, Rangers, Blues, Canucks, Coyotes, Ducks, Wild, Brian Rolston, Miroslav Satan, Sergei Fedorov, Ryan Smyth, Joe Nieuwendyk, Petr Nedved, Curtis Joseph, Daymond Langkow, Mike Dunham, Marian Gaborik

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