Normally a quiet time in the NHL, there were some notes that made noise in hockey on Thursday. Both rumors and news items took the front page in the league. Some items are merely speculation and news of Andrei Markov and his exit from Montreal continues to roll in.
Cody Franson Found A Home?
There are rumors on Thursday that Cody Franson may be heading to the Chicago Blackhawks on a professional try-out (PTO). A defenseman who seems to be one of the last signed on the list of unrestricted free agents each summer, Franson seems to have made a backup plan should he not get signed by another team.
This update comes in according to Jay Zawaski of 670 The Score in Chicago. Franson is coming off a two-year, $6.65 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres where he scored three goals and added 16 assists in 68 games with the Sabres last season.
Hearing defenseman Cody Franson could get a Hawks camp invite if he doesn't find a deal by then. One would assume it'd be a tryout.
— Jay Zawaski (@JayZawaski670) July 15, 2017
For the Hawks, they are in need of an NHL experienced blueliner who can be added to the roster on a cheap contract. If Franson is unable to find a team to take him with a guaranteed contract, he could be an ideal fit in Chicago who have only five NHL-ready defenders.
Andrei Markov Headed to KHL
While things weren’t looking great, it was rumored that Markov was still trying to work out a deal with the Montreal Canadiens. That is no longer the case as the team officially announced he will not be returning to the club and his 16 years as a Hab will end this summer.
Rumors are that Markov wanted two years at $6 million per season. He’s his own agent and while he could argue that he’s still one of the Habs better defenders both offensively and defensively, it looks like he’s set a standard for himself and priced himself out of the NHL market. The Habs wouldn’t even budge on a one-year deal.
Apparently, Markov learned the hard way his injury history and his age made his target number an unrealistic mark. Since he’s over 35 years of age, he’s not eligible for a buyout and there are huge odds that his play goes downhill quickly. As a result, Markov announced in a press call today that he’ll be headed to the KHL.
While there isn’t confirmation as such, Markov himself noted that he turned down other NHL opportunities. It appears he just wasn’t being offered the money he wanted. There was speculation that the Flyers had interest. Some could have made the case the Rangers would have been interested but had no cap room. The Edmonton Oilers might have asked, but not for two years or for $6 million. The Florida Panthers were also rumored to be a place that might kick tires. At the end of the day, Markov decided Russia was the best opportunity for him and his family and couldn’t see himself wearing anything but a Habs jersey.
Tyler Bozak to the Rangers
It doesn’t work on paper, but if the New York Rangers can find a way to clear some cap space, rumors are they have an interest in Tyler Bozak from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The return would be defenseman Nick Holden plus something else.
If another piece doesn’t get thrown in, there is talk that the Rangers might buy out Marc Staal to make cap room on the roster to fit a player like Bozak.
Larry Brooks of the NY Post however quickly noted that there is no evidence that there is a deal in the works between these two teams or that the Rangers are actively looking at buying out Staal’s contract. They would need to do so before the end of Thursday to comply with the buyout window.
Even more, there hasn’t been much indication that the Maple Leafs are looking to move Bozak at this ver moment and it’s certainly not logical to entertain the idea if Nick Holden was the centerpiece of a deal.
Other Rumor Rundowns
Elliotte Friedman is reporting that John MacLean’s name has been kicked around to join Rick Tocchet in Arizona. Scott Allen may also be part of that conversation.
Mike Fisher Retiring?
No decision has come yet from the Mike Fisher camp about whether or not he intends to play one more season or retire. He is currently on vacation and David Poile has been solely focused on arbitration hearings. There should be an update next week in that regard.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”