Brian Burke could have a Monster issue on his hands next summer.
The Maple Leafs GM has to wait until January before he can hold talks on a contract extension for rookie goalie Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson, but he might want to get the framework in place, because if Burke is going to live by the sword, he had better be prepared to die by it, too.
You see, it was Burke who threatened the Bruins with a Group II offer sheet before making a deal for winger Phil Kessel in September.
The Leafs could easily be sitting in the same position if they don’t get the 25-year-old Swede signed. Gustavsson, who is making $810,000 (all terms US) on a one-year deal this season, has emerged as the club’s No. 1 goalie ahead of Vesa Toskala.
There would be more than an NHL GM or two who wouldn’t mind put the screws to Burke by signing The Monster to an offer sheet worth $5 million a season.
Gustavsson was the most sought-after free-agent goalie on the market before he signed with the Leafs last summer. Every team in the league scouted him. Most made a pitch for him. The Stars thought Gustavsson was going to sign there to push Marty Turco for the job.
“Don’t think for a second there wouldn’t be a lineup of teams again offering up big money if he gets to restricted free agency,” said a league executive.
Around the boards
The heat has been turned up in St. Louis. Owner Dave Checketts told reporters Friday he’s disappointed with the way the Blues are playing. “I’m frustrated like everybody else,” Checketts said. “And I think it’s frankly time to declare the wait over. I think our fans have been patient, I think we’ve been patient. This is a team that the time has come ... it’s time to win. The waiting is over. We don’t need to be patient anymore.” Coach Andy Murray was given a vote of confidence, but the comments were a little strange. Don’t forget Peter Laviolette and Craig MacTavish are both looking for work ... An NHL GM on trying to make a trade at last week’s meetings in Toronto: “We all talk and we all try, but every deal is about money. That’s all we talk about. All we want to move is players who are making big money. Deals are very difficult for us to make right now.” ... The Predators are trying to deal RW Ryan Jones to anybody willing to listen. He is making $975,000 and playing in the minors.
Off the glass
The Rangers have held trade talks with the Habs about Fs Sergei and Andrei Kostitsyn because New York could be without Cs Chris Drury (concussion) and C Brandon Dubinsky (broken hand) long term. Drury’s status is uncertain, while Dubinsky is gone 4-6 weeks. Oilers GM Steve Tambellini is also looking at acquiring Sergei, who was a linemate of Edmonton C Sam Gagner when they played junior together with the OHL’s London Knights. Montreal GM Bob Gainey would love to move Sergei, who is currently with AHL Hamilton ... A player teams looking for scoring help might want to consider is UFA RW Miroslav Satan. Satan, who was with the Penguins last season, has been helping Islanders G Rick DiPietro get ready for his return by taking shots on him daily on Long Island ... A number of GMs are frustrated by the presence of the competition committee, which includes league officials, GMs and players. The GMs have been virtually been rendered powerless because — according to the CBA — all changes must go through the competition.
Have a nice Sunday.
Let’s get Jiggy
Anaheim G J.S. Giguere caused quite a stir last week when he announced he’d rather be dealt than be a back up to Jonas Hillier. While many NHL insiders believed Giguere was just trying to buy himself a ticket out of town, don’t be too quick to assume he’ll join former Anaheim GM Brian Burke in Toronto. You see, it was Burke who gave Giguere a no-movement clause in the last contract he signed with the Ducks and the veteran netminder isn’t going to agree to join the Leafs when Jonas Gustavsson has assumed the No. 1 job. You can also forget the possibility of Giguere winding up in Detroit because the Wings can’t afford his $6-million (all terms US) cap hit. Add to that there’s uncertainty of where his relationship stands with his old coach in Anaheim, Mike Babcock, who is Detroit’s coach. The Wings are still convinced Chris Osgood will bounce back and Jimmy Howard has been solid.
back to buffalo?
The future of Islanders G Martin Biron remains up in the air. There’s no timetable on when G Rick DiPietro’s will return from injury, but the belief is he could be back soon. League sources say the Kings have looked at the possibility of bringing in Biron to lend support to G Jonathan Quick. A more plausible scenario is that Biron will end back with the Sabres to back up G Ryan Miller.
Teams are lining up to try to sign UFA C Peter Forsberg, but nobody is sure what he’s going to do after taking part in the Karjala Cup in Helsinki. The Bruins have added their name to a list that includes the Rangers, Canucks, Senators, Flyers and Avalanche. Sources say Forsberg, 36, isn’t sure if he’s going to play, but he’s motivated by the fact he wants to suit up for Sweden in the Vancouver Olympics in Vancouver. The Canucks are considered the frontrunner and GM Mike Gillis has been diligent in his pursuit.