Bolts sign Malone, Roberts

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

As the clock ticks toward the NHL's free-agent frenzy tomorrow, teams were already working fast and furious yesterday.

League sources told Sun Media that the Lightning has turned up its efforts to move defenceman Dan Boyle's five-year, $33.35-million (all terms US) contract after agreeing to terms on a seven-year, $31.5-million deal with former Penguins winger Ryan Malone late yesterday.

The Bolts, who traded a third-round pick in 2009 to Pittsburgh on Saturday for exclusive negotiating rights with Malone and winger Gary Roberts -- who will accept a one-year deal that could pay him up to $2 million -- would like to shed salary and despite their denials, the indications are they're trying to move Boyle in advance of tomorrow's free agency period.

"They want to move Boyle, but the length of his contract is going to scare a lot of teams," said an NHL executive.

While the Bolts would likely want defenceman Andrej Meszaros from the Senators if they were going to make a deal, Ottawa isn't ready to give up on the 22-year-old and it's believed GM Bryan Murray is focused trying to land San Jose blueliner Brian Campbell.

That wasn't the only talk making the rounds yesterday:

- Though Toronto captain Mats Sundin hasn't decided on his future and probably won't before noon tomorrow, the whisper among NHL executives is the Canadiens are ready to hand him a two-year deal in excess of $7.5 million a season. While the Leafs were hoping to sign Sundin to a one-year, $7-million deal, the word is Montreal GM Bob Gainey has done such a good sell job of the Canadiens on Sundin that he could lean toward accepting their offer.

- The Senators are interested in Chicago G Patrick Lalime, but Boston backup Alex Auld might be the apple of their eye. After being picked up by the Bruins from Phoenix, Auld had a 9-7-5 record in 23 appearances with Boston while sporting a 2.32 GAA and a .919 save percentage. Ottawa is also considering Pittsburgh's Ty Conklin as Martin Gerber's backup. Ideally, the Senators want to spend less than $1 million on a netminder. Auld made $600,000 last year.

- The Penguins are making a last-ditch effort to keep D Brooks Orpik from walking away. The club is well aware he's going to be a hot commodity on the free-agent market. There will be more discussions today.

- There might be a silver lining for the Senators now that the Bolts signed Malone and Roberts: It's one less option for W Cory Stillman. It's believed Tampa may have been willing to offer him a $3.5-million deal. The Senators would like to re-sign Stillman.

- Ottawa defenceman Wade Redden, who made $6.5 million last season, is going to get some attention from the Blackhawks and Sharks. Though both would prefer Campbell, he's expected to return to the Eastern Conference. The 'Hawks are going to try to convince Campbell that if he moves to the Windy City, he'll have a good chance to win with the young players in place.

In a deal that took place yesterday, the Flyers signed D Steve Eminger to a one-year contract.

Eminger was acquired from the Capitals at the draft in Ottawa.


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