MONTREAL- The Detroit Red Wings are waiting for an answer from winger Marian Hossa.
The talk in NHL circles is the Wings have a made a lucrative long-term offer to the UFA winger and are waiting to see whether he'll accept the deal or test the market July 1.
Hossa, who signed a one year deal worth $7.45 million (all terms US) last season, will be the most sought after free agent on the market if he keeps his UFA status. That decision should be made in the next couple of days.
The Florida Panthers are getting ready to unload defenceman Jay Bouwmeester, who will be a UFA on July 1. League sources confirmed Panthers assistant GM Randy Sexton is trying to deal Bouwmeester's negotiating rights before tomorrow's draft.
The indications are the Panthers are hoping they'll be able to get a No. 1 pick and a prospect in return for Bouwmeester. The Flyers, who have the No. 22 selection overall, have major interest, but aren't sure how to make Bouwmeester's salary fit under the cap.
If the Flyers are going to deal for Bouwmeester, they need to shed salary and the word is GM Paul Holmgren has been active in trying to deal Daniel Briere and Simon Gagne. Both have no-trade clauses, which they would have to waive to make a deal happen. The word is Edmonton, Dallas, Vancouver and the Senators have also made a pitch for Bouwmeester.
Here and There
The belief is former Minny coach Jacques Lemaire is going to return behind the New Jersey bench to replace Brent Sutter ... The Olympic staff, which will be announced this morning in Montreal, is expected to be: Mike Babcock, Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff and Lemaire ... The Ducks haven't gotten any indication whether Scott Niedermayer will return next season. Agent Kevin Epp, said Niedermayer hopes to inform the Ducks before the draft, but isn't ready to make a decision.