SUN Hockey Pool

No news not good news for Kings, Ducks

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:51 AM ET

Some of the biggest noise on the first day of free agency was supposed to come from Southern California, but Ilya Kovalchuk’s price tag was a King’s ransom that general manager Dean Lombardi won’t yet pay.

Having already turned down $101 million US for 12 years from Atlanta, which was one of the main reasons he filed for divorce from Dixie, Kovalchuk clearly wasn’t making headway with L.A., either. Still in the picture, though barely, is Kovalchuk’s most recent employer, the New Jersey Devils.

A few miles down the road from L.A., the Bobby Ryan talks with Anaheim seem to have hit a wall, once more raising the possibility the restricted free agent winger could be moved. After saying he did not expect to get any more money than the Ducks’ highest paid players — ’07 Stanley Cup winners Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry at $5.325 million a year each — Ryan reportedly rejected the Ducks’ five-year, $25-million offer.

GM Bob Murray told the L.A. Times the club is “done for a while” in terms of raising its offer to Ryan.

“Basically, the situation is nowhere,” Murray added.

It’s believed Ryan wants to stay, but if there is to be a trade, it should involve a defenceman in return since Scott Niedermayer has retired.

But before people start linking that to the Leafs and Tomas Kaberle, the Ducks already took measures to replace Niedermayer by signing ex-Sabre Toni Lydman on Thursday at $3 million a year.

Waiving Souray away

Three years ago, the return of Alberta native Sheldon Souray as a free agent was trumpeted as a huge step towards getting the Oilers back in the winner’s circle after their appearance in the 2006 final.

On Friday, the Oilers put the hard shooting defenceman on waivers after the second of two injury-shortened seasons and a full three years without a team playoff appearance. The 33-year-old Souray, who has asked for a trade, has two years to go on his contract at $4.5 million per season.

With No. 1 pick Taylor Hall coming in and Tom Renney taking over as head coach, the team is going for a major sweep of dressing room attitude. The Oilers, meanwhile, have re-signed defenceman Jason Strudwick, who is considered a strong influence on younger players.

Ice chips

The low-scoring Nashville Predators have made a move to juice their scoring by signing centre Matthew Lombardi for three years at $10.5 million US. Lombardi’s 53 points with Phoenix last year would have put him first on the Preds ... Christopher Higgins is the latest piece of Dale Tallon’s quick fix in Florida. He came aboard for one year at $1.6 million on Friday, tagged for the second line left wing spot behind David Booth. “Booth and Higgins on the left side, that’s pretty good,” Tallon said. “He’ll be a top-six forward on our team.” ... Higgins has been hamstrung since a big start to his career with Montreal, dipping to eight goals in 67 games with Calgary last year ... The Southeast Division will not miss Kovalchuk if he changes conferences. He has amassed 223 points against Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Washington since entering the league, 61 against the Hurricanes alone ... Second overall pick Tyler Seguin took No. 19 in Boston in tribute to his childhood idol, Steve Yzerman.

lance.hornby@sunmedia.ca


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