Shea Weber was picked in the second round (49th overall) by Nashville in 2003. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)
It's now mid-way into the NHL's arbitration period, but only two players – Rangers right winger Ryan Callahan and Vancouver Canucks right winger Jannik Hansen – are slated for hearings this week. Given the trend thus far of players settling with their teams to avoid the arbitration process, it would not be surprising if these two did the same.
Next week's hearings will be more interesting. Nashville Predators defenseman and team captain Shea Weber and New Jersey Devils left winger Zach Parise are scheduled for August 2 and 3.
Both were taken to arbitration by their respective clubs to prevent them from becoming offer-sheet targets.
While Predators and Devils fans hope Weber and Parise re-sign, there's been no news of late concerning any significant progress in contract talks.
That's, of course, led to the inevitable trade rumors, with one suggesting the Devils might swap Parise for L.A. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, whose own contract talks have stalled.
Not surprising Doughty is being linked to Parise, since the rumor-mongers had the Kings blueliner being swapped for Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos prior to his recent re-signing with the Bolts.
Since that rumor turned out to be hogwash, it's hard to take the “Parise for Doughty” chatter seriously.
If Weber and/or Parise remain unsigned by the end of this week, it will provide more fodder for the rumor mill.
OPINIONS ON YASHIN RUMORS
If the New York Islanders front office thought the idea of bringing back center Alexei Yashin would generate excitement amongst their fan base, it wasn't the kind they expected.
Most of the reaction thus far has been very critical of such a move, not just from fans, but also many pundits and bloggers.
Chris Botta of Islanderspointblank.com called it “shameless, clueless.” Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post wrote, “One of the biggest financial blunders in Islanders history may be close to returning.” Ryan Lambert of Puck Daddy wondered if this move would the team’s way of “actively trying to be the worst-run franchise in the league?”
Not everyone panned the possibility of a Yashin return. Sportsnet's Mike Brophy suggested Yashin, while now past his prime at 37, could contribute as a secondary scorer on a Isles team currently led by young guns John Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner.
NHL.com columnist E.J. Hradek has two theories on the subject. Either Islanders owner Charles Wang is serious about making an offer to Yashin to help his team get over the cap floor for next season or he's feigning interest as a personal favor to help the center get a better contract from a Kontinental League team.
As for Yashin, he told the New York Daily News he's keeping all his options open, including a possible return to the KHL.
NABOKOV READY TO JOIN ISLANDERS?
Speaking of the Islanders, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov intends to honor his contract and report for training camp in September.
Nabokov started last season in the KHL, then returned to North America and signed a one-year, $570K contract with the Detroit Red Wings. He had to pass through waivers before joining the Wings, where the Islanders claimed him.
He refused to report, hoping the Isles might place him on waivers again, but they refused, making him their property again for this season.
With Rick DiPietro and Al Montoya considered the Isles’ goalie tandem for next season, it's believed they might try to shop Nabokov during training camp or pre-season in September.
Some confusion still existed over whether he still had to pass through waivers before being dealt, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly recently told the Globe and Mail that was no longer the case as it was a new season.
Rumor Roundup appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Foxsports.com and Eishockey News.