New York Islanders forward Thomas Vanek confirmed Tuesday that he turned down a lucrative contract extension from the team.
Newsday reported that Vanek had rejected a seven-year, $50 million extension from the club, a decision that means the Islanders now will look to trade Vanek prior to the March 5 trade deadline rather than risk losing him to unrestricted free agency in July.
"I'm sure people will look at it and say, 'Wow, that's crazy by him,' or whatever," Vanek told Newsday. "As I've told Garth (Snow, general manager) before ... it's like a breakup: It's not you, it's me. And it really is me wanting to explore this."
Vanek is in the final season of a seven-year, $50 million contract he signed with the Buffalo Sabres prior to the start of the 2007-08 season. He said the chance at age 30 to explore free agency is something he isn't ready to pass up.
"It's just me being a little selfish I guess and wanting to get to July 1 and seeing what's out there," he said. "It has nothing to do with this team and where we are in the standings. I think this team has a tremendous upside. Is it the right move? I don't know. But it's something me and my family want to explore one time and see how it goes."
The Islanders acquired Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 27 in a trade for forward Matt Moulson, a 2014 first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick. In 41 games with the Islanders, the 30-year-old has 15 goals and 38 points.
CALLAHAN WANTS BIG BUCKS
Thought the reported seven-year, $42 million contract New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan wanted was a little steep?
Turns out he wants even more cash than first believed.
According to TSN, Callahan is looking for a seven-year deal worth between $45.5 million and $49 million. That would put him in the same tax bracket as Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and the Sedin twins, Henrik and Daniel.
The Rangers are balking at paying Callahan that kind of money and have reportedly explored trade options, including one that would send him to the St. Louis Blues for Chris Stewart.
Callahan, an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, has nine goals and 12 assists in 39 games this season. The 28-year-old has 130 goals and 120 assists in 444 career games, all with the Rangers.
BROAD STREET BULLIES GM DIES
Keith Allen, the general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers during the Broad Street Bullies era, died Tuesday at the age of 90.
Allen was the first coach of the expansion Flyers in 1967-68 and moved up to be the GM of the team for 14 seasons, including the Bullies heyday of 1974-75. Allen retired after the 1982-82 season.
"Keith was the first coach in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers and a man for whom I have tremendous respect," Flyers chairman Ed Snider said. "In my mind, he was and always will be one of the greatest general managers in the history of hockey. He was known as 'Keith the Thief,' I never knew of a bad deal he made. This team would never have reached the level of success we have had over the past 48 years if it were not for Keith."
Allen went 51-67-33 in two seasons as coach of the Flyers. As GM, his team won the division title six times and made four trips to the Stanley Cup final.
WILL THOMAS RETURN?
It's starting to sound like Tim Thomas won't limit his stay in South Florida to one season.
Thomas, who signed a $2.5 million, one-year deal with the Florida Panthers prior to the 2013-14 season, admitted Tuesday he just might be open to re-signing with the Panthers.
"I'm certainly willing to entertain the idea," Thomas told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I haven't talked to the club about that."
There isn't much chance the Panthers will move Thomas before the March 5 trade deadline -- he has a no-movement clause -- but that could change if the goaltender decides he wants to be dealt.
Thomas has gone 14-16-3 with a 2.79 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 34 games this season. He didn't play last season, opting to take a year off after seven-plus seasons with the Boston Bruins.
GREEN OUT UNTIL AFTER BREAK
The Washington Capitals probably will have to make do without defenceman Mike Green until after the Olympic break.
The Capitals expect a concussion to keep Green sidelined until the end of February, when the NHL resumes after the Sochi Games. He's already missed two games since he was concussed last week against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"It looks that way," Capitals coach Adam Oates told CSN Washington. "I can't guarantee it, but it looks that way."
The Capitals have just two games left -- Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets and Saturday against the New Jersey Devils -- before the break.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ondrej Palat was named the NHL's rookie of the month for January on Tuesday. Palat had five goals and 11 assists in 15 games to edge out teammate Tyler Johnson for the award ... Washington Capitals forward Martin Erat will replace St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka on the Czech Republic team at the Sochi Olympics. Sobotka won't play in the Olympics due to a leg injury ... Minnesota Wild defenceman Jared Spurgeon returned to the lineup Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning after missing 14 games with a broken foot. Spurgeon averaged almost 22 minutes of ice time before getting hurt in early January.