ďThe TrapĒ is back and with tons to report. All of the latest free agent updates and trade rumors you need to know are here. The junior report has the low-down on Nicklas Backstrom and Peter Mueller, plus the 15 players to watch for in the development league this season.
If Brodeur dosent land in Jacksonville, retirement isnít completely out of the question for the 35-year old netminder. He is clearly a victim of the CBA and has told teams he is only willing to come back at an increased rate.
The Vikings were making a push to get Brodeur under contract, but instead signed Olaf Kolzig to a 3-year $12 million dollar deal. Kolzig is rejuvenated and could be in for a strong season with his return to Sweden.
Some other top players could very well be traded before the season starts too. The Spartans are rumored to be shopping star winger Martin St. Louis while long time Storm member Jerome Iginla might be a possibility.
Various sources say that Josh Land is strongly considering pulling the trigger on a deal that would send Chris Drury out of Stockholm.
Attack GM Steve Sippert has made it no secret that the plan is to re-build, dealing away defenseman Philippe Boucher earlier in the off-season to the Nashville Battalion. Saku Koivuís game is starting to deteriorate and Curtis Joseph isnít getting any younger, so one would assume both players are fair game.
After an overhaul of their blueline, Winnipeg may be forced to move Erik Johnson. They are looking to acquire a top line center or right wing and have mentioned parting ways with Seidenberg, Tollefsen, and Dan Fritsche. However, Johnson will likely have to be moved if they want a big return.
The Rams are still in the hunt for a top line center. If they cannot find a player to complement Kovalev and Kovalchuk on the top line, could they once again be the last team eliminated from the playoffs?
As free agents go, Alexei Yashin remains the top skater left on the free agent market. It appears Yashin favors a return to the Vipers but the sides remain far off in talks.
The Zurich trio of Keith Tkachuk, Tony Amonte, and Bryan Smolinski are among those still unsigned. With a new shift in management it isnít out of the question for at least one to return to the Piranhas.
Bobby Holik appears to be the top defensive forward on the market but could head into the season without a contract.
Former Spartan starter Fred Brathwaite appears to be seeking a million dollar contract and a shot at heavy playing time. Copenhagen is rumored to be among those interested.
The Spartans, Storm, and Skyleafs are among those contenders that stuck out in free agency on account of frugality.
The Reno Riptide are still dealing in the aftermath of a successful free agency. They are reportedly looking for an experienced winger to play on the right side and are said to be shopping some young defenseman in exchange. There are also rumors of Marian Gaborik possibly being shopped around.
Having found no one trading a third line forward, the Icebats are beginning to entertain the idea of moving Jan Hrdina and Jussi Jokinen for a better second line winger. Antwerp is also considering moving Brett Clark (or the man who would replace him in the line-up, David Hale) and David Aebischer or Chris Osgood look expendable, as Peter Budaj should be ready to play for the big club next season.
Rumors are swirling as to who will make the 4th line in Antwerp, with Justin Abdelkader and Viktor Oreskovich fighting for a spot alongside Kaigorodov and Skorykh (assuming Skorykh doesn't move before the season starts). That may leave Petr Kanko and Darren Haydar out of luck. One thing is clear, Ommen can't use up much more cap space if he expects to sign next season's crop of free agents and the two first round draftees that will spend the next season in the juniors.
The Crunch are looking at the trade market for future players to develop in the farm. A deal between the Crunch and Brahmas involving defenseman Matthew Carle and winger Andrei Kostisyn was being rumored, but has now been taken off the table. Reports did not reveal which GM was un-willing to move his young star.
The Prowlers shelled out the most cash this off-season handing Paul Kariya and Joe Sakic 4-year deals worth 9.3 and 8.2 per, respectively. Olli Jokinen got 8.5 per season from the Justice, while Brian Gionta will receive 7.9 a year from Antwerp.
One of the top defenseman on the market, Lubomir Vinsnovsky kept his word and re-signed with the Reno Riptide, agreeing on a 3-year $16.5 million deal.
The Bison are looking competitive after signing Jeff OíNeill and Michal Handzus to long-term deals.
The Sabercats organization is starting to buzz after signing sniper Slava Kozlov and young netminder Jaroslav Halak, as well as acquiring Sergei Samsonov via trade.
The Crunch have eight newcomers on the pro team as well as eight new comers on the farm. GM Alex Smith is still looking to wheel and deal, so donít count on them being done just yet.
The Phantoms were able to sign a pair of holdouts from last season, Eric Fehr and Hugh Jessiman to new contracts.
The Brahmas, Blaze, Piranhas, and Bandits all introduced new GMs this off-season. Look for each of those teams to depict a new and improved image.
Montreal Chevaliers GM James Wallace will be restricted for the time being with computer problems.