NHL notes: CBA talks could start this week

NHLPA head Don Fehr. (REUTERS)

NHLPA head Don Fehr. (REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

The 2012-13 NHL season could start without a new collective bargain agreement in place, NHLPA head Don Fehr said Monday.

Fehr, who is in Chicago for three days of meetings with the NHLPA's executive board, believes the season could start on time as long as negotiations are ongoing.

"There's nothing magic about Sept. 15 (when the CBA expires)," Fehr told reporters. "The law is that if you don't have a new agreement, and as long as both sides are willing to keep negotiating, you can continue to play under the terms of the old one until you reach an agreement. All I know is that in baseball, there were any number of occasions in which we played while the parties were continuing to negotiate."

The last time the CBA expired, the NHL cancelled the 2004-05 season when the two sides couldn't come to terms on a new deal, with a hard salary cap being the biggest bone of contention. But Fehr, the head of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1983 to 2009, doesn't agree with the cynics who think a work stoppage is inevitable.

"None of that (work stoppage talk) is coming from our side," he said. "We have not made a proposal. We haven't heard an owners' proposal."

Talks could start as soon as this week, after the NHLPA's executive board meetings wrap up, Fehr said.

The main issue appears to be revenue sharing -- the league wants to cut the players' share from 57%, something that won't happen without a fight -- but the inclusion of NHL players in the Olympics will also be on the table. The union already forced the NHL to scrap realignment plans because it wasn't consulted.

AVS LOCK UP WILSON

The Colorado Avalanche signed impending free agent defenceman Ryan Wilson Monday to a three-year contract worth a reported $6.75 million.

"Ryan brings an element that complements our defence," Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman said in a press release. "We are pleased to sign him to a multi-year deal and look forward to seeing him at camp."

Wilson, who was acquired from Calgary in 2009, had one goal and a career-best 20 assists in 59 games with the Avs last season.

The Avalanche also announced the signing of forwards Patrick Bordeleau and David Van Der Gulik to one-year contracts.

According to the Denver Post, the Avs didn't extend qualifying offers to RFAs Kevin Porter and Peter Mueller. Both will become UFAs on July 1.

TOOTOO WILL BE FREE-FREE

Shift-disturbing forward Jordin Tootoo appears headed to free agency.

Tootoo's agent, Kevin Epp, told News 1130 in Vancouver that his client won't be getting a contract extension from the Nashville Predators and will instead become an unrestricted free agent.

"I think it's pretty accurate," Epp later told The Tennessean. "We talked to Nashville prior to the draft and it sounded like it wasn't going to be a fit. Jordin would have loved to stay there and play, but I don't think the opportunity was going to be there for him."

Tootoo, who has spent his eight-year NHL career with with the Predators and is coming off a two-year deal that paid him $1.25 million annually, had six goals and a career-high 24 assists last season. But he played just three times in the post-season and wound up venting his frustration in the media.

"I'm (ticked) off because I'm not able to do what I love to do and that's playing the game," he told the Tennessean.

ESPO DONE IN BIG D?

Former first-round draft pick Angelo Esposito was one of four Dallas Stars to not receive qualifying offers Monday.

Esposito, picked 20th overall in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, will become a restricted free agent on July 1. Had he received a qualifying offer from the Stars, they would have been entitled to right of first refusal or draft-pick compensation if he was signed to an offer sheet by another team.

Mikhail Stefanovic, Michael Neal and Jake Hauswirth also didn't receive qualifying offers.

The Stars did qualify forward Tom Wandell. Dallas previously gave Richard Bachman, Jamie Benn, Jordie Benn, Mark Fistric, Ryan Garbutt, Luke Gazdic, Philip Larsen and Colton Sceviour qualifying offers.

BRIEFLY

The agent for forward Benoit Pouliot, acquired by the Tampa Bay Lightning from Boston on Saturday, says he is confident his agent will sign with his new team. The Lightning did not give Pouliot a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent ... Free-agent defenceman Aaron Rome won't be offered a contract by the Vancouver Canucks, according to his agent, Kevin Epp. Rome played in just 43 regular-season games and just once in the playoffs ... Jeff Blashill has been hired to coach the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL, the Detroit Red Wings' minor-league affiliate. Blashill, 38, was an assistant coach with the Red Wings last season ... New Jersey Devils defenceman Mark Fayne might miss the start of the 2012013 season after having a bone in his wrist surgically repaired last week. Fayne is expected to need 3-4 months of recovery time ... The L.A. Kings finally got around to announcing Jarret Stoll's three-year, $9.275 million contract extension. The deal was reported last week.


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