UFA updates: Morrison, Tucker, more

July, 13, 2010

Plenty of unrestricted free agents not named Ilya Kovalchuk are still out there. I took some time to check in with the agents for a number of them Tuesday:

Brendan Morrison

I'm actually surprised the Caps let him go. He's a solid character player and thought he fit in well as the No. 2 center in Washington. Now he's looking for a job. "We're talking to four teams," his agent, Kurt Overhardt, told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "We have our own priority list, which we can't disclose. We've already turned one club down. We're just waiting for our priority list to unfold. There are issues on the marketplace, like cap restrictions and trade possibilities, that are slowing down the process for a lot of free agents, and that's what we're seeing."

Eric Belanger

A versatile, two-way center who would fit in well as a No. 2/3 guy and can kill penalties. I think he is the top center left on the market.

"He's a very complete player," his agent, Joseph Tacopina, told ESPN.com. "He scored 15 goals last year, really in a defensive role. When it comes to taking draws and his defensive responsibility, he's among the best.

"This is a big year for him free-agent wise. He's got a young family. He wants to be compensated fairly. Some teams we've spoken to have asked us to wait for various reasons. Some are trying to create cap space. There are a lot of X-factors. We're going to take our time and make sure we put him in the right spot."

While Tacopina would not say, I still think Washington remains interested in bringing him back and Tampa Bay could be interested.

John Madden

This guy was a real nice fit with the Cup-champion Hawks, but there's no room under the cap for him in Chicago at this point.

"Johnny is evaluating the possible situations so that he can pick the right spot moving forward," his agent, Bill Zito, told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "Once Kovalchuk happens and [Tomas] Kaberle gets moved, now there's going to be more free-agent business. So, at this point, it's hurry up and wait."

Darcy Tucker

The veteran winger is working out and is in great shape.

"We do have some of the proverbial irons in the fire, and I believe there will be a deal consummated; but as you know given the summer schedule, I do not anticipate finalizing anything before the end of the month," said Carlos Sosa, Tucker's agent. "Choice of location and a chance to win are the key factors."

From all accounts, Tucker helped the young players in Colorado this past season.

"I'd say Darcy indeed was a good influence on the young guys last season," veteran Avs beat writer Adrian Dater of The Denver Post told ESPN.com. "Ryan O'Reilly lived with him all year, for instance, and he seemed to transition in his mind from being a 'star' to a guy who's at the end of the line and knows it and wants to be a good citizen to help others."

Raffi Torres

The good: He had 19 goals in 60 games with Columbus this past season. The bad: He had zero goals in 18 games (playoffs included) with Buffalo after being traded there. But he's only 28, and I think his rugged style and occasional offense make him a decent pickup at the right price.

"A handful of teams have expressed interest, however no firm offers yet. He will be patient until we find the right fit for him," agent Stephen Reich said.

Arron Asham

The hard-nosed winger was real noticeable with the Flyers during the Stanley Cup finals. He's a terrific third-line guy who plays with a hard edge and can pop in an odd goal.

"He had a great season and a great playoff," agent Jarrett Bousquet told me. "Many teams have acknowledged that he made an impact. There's a lot of teams interested, but many of them want time to figure out what they're doing with Player X first and things like that. There are offers, but we think he deserves a raise. We'll see what happens."

Pavol Demitra

We saw two Demitras in 2009-10: the one who shined for Slovakia at the Olympics en route to making the tournament all-star team, and the one who spent most of the season in coach Alain Vigneault's doghouse in Vancouver. Demitra has always had offensive talent and just needs the right environment.

"Talking with teams in Russia and the NHL on Pavol," said his agent, Matt Keator. "With the amount of interest, we hope to have something done soon."

Ruslan Fedotenko/Miroslav Satan

We group both veteran wingers together because they're both represented by veteran agent Allan Walsh.

"We are involved in discussions with several NHL teams on both Ruslan and Miro," Walsh told ESPN.com. "Teams appear to temporarily be in a holding pattern, but I expect the UFA market to become active again soon."

Satan played well for Boston last season, while Fedotenko has always shown to be a clutch player.

Slava Kozlov

The 38-year-old isn't hanging up the skates.

"There have been some discussions with a couple of teams to this point," agent Scott Lites told ESPN.com. "I believe he would be an outstanding fit on a contending team, especially in light of his prowess in the playoffs [42 career playoff goals, including 12 game winners, tied for 18th in NHL history] and as the most prolific shootout scorer in NHL history with 27 goals [on only 46 shots, a remarkable 58.7 percent success rate]. He is an extremely dedicated athlete, is in tremendous physical condition and wants to be part of an organization that is committed to winning a Stanley Cup in the 2010-11 season."

Mike Mottau

In my mind, Mottau is an underrated blueliner. New Jersey remains interested, but everything is obviously on hold until Kovalchuk decides.

"We continue to stay in contact with the Devils," agent Jerry Buckley said. "… They have expressed interest in trying to find a way to bring Mike back. Mike has an interest in returning as well but is exploring his options with other teams."

Marek Svatos

He has twice scored 25 or more goals in his career and just might offer the most bang for the buck on a one-year deal because he should be pretty affordable after a bad season in Colorado (11 points in 54 games).

"It's been more active as of the beginning of this week," his agent, Richard Evans, told ESPN.com when asked about talks with teams. Personally, I think Svatos would be a great fit in Pittsburgh at a bargain price. He's a sniper, and either No. 87 or No. 71 could use him.

Brian Pothier

I've always liked this guy; he's a smart player who knows his limits. He can definitely help a team as a fifth or sixth blueliner and move up to a No. 3 or No. 4 role in short stints.

"We are still talking with teams as of today but haven't moved on anything at this time," agent Justin Duberman told us.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer




You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?