It’s officially one month since the beginning of free agency, and the biggest names remaining on the market are free agent blueliners Christian Ehrhoff and Cody Franson, but it might not be long before both are scooped up.
Late this week, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reported that the Blue Jackets had made a “low-ball offer” to Ehrhoff for his services, but added the fit wasn’t right for the veteran defenseman quite yet. The problem for Columbus – and what’s keeping Ehrhoff from getting the contract he desires – is lack of cap space.
Ehrhoff likely took much less than he could have gotten last off-season in order to sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins and take a run at the Stanley Cup in 2014-15, but injuries limited him to 49 games and he only mustered three goals and 14 points. Even still, his $4 million hit this past season, which was considered low, is more than the $3.73 million the Columbus Blue Jackets currently have available.
If he wants to sign in Columbus, Ehrhoff will likely have to take a sizeable hit and another short-term deal could be his best option.
As for Franson, the Boston Bruins continue to show interest in the 27-year-old, but there has yet to be a deal finalized.
In speaking at a press conference to announce the 2016 Winter Classic game at Gillette Stadium, Bruins GM Don Sweeney was asked about the status of talks with Franson and if the two sides were close to a deal. Sweeney said that he didn’t believe he could say the two sides were “close, because you don’t know what other conversations they’re having.”
VISNOVSKY TO EUROPE?
Lubomir Visnovsky is also available as a free agent, but it appears his future is in Europe.
Slovakian news outlet Sport.cas reported this past week that Visnovsky had received a contract extension from the Islanders, but the team has since decided to go in another direction.
One such option could be the KHL, where Visnovsky spent half a season during the 2012-13 lockout. However, Visnovsky said the amount of travel is discouraging.
He admitted he could consider retirement, too, as his back is still causing him pain. Before he does that, though, Visnovsky said he will explore his options and then make a firm decision on how to proceed.
HOFFMAN AWAITING NEW DEAL
Mike Hoffman and the Ottawa Senators are still at an impasse with regards to a new contract, but the arbitration hearing happened Thursday and a decision could come by Sunday, the team said.
Hoffman, who was the Senators’ top goal scorer this past season with 27 tallies, asked for $3.4 million per season, while Ottawa’s offer was $1.75 million. However, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported that it is likely Hoffman will get a deal closer to his ask than what the Senators have offered.