Mike Ribeiro notched 19 goals and 53 points in 66 games for Dallas last season. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk had nothing new to say about contract talks with restricted free agent left winger James Neal other than negotiations were ongoing and he hoped to have Neal signed prior to the start of training camp.
Nieuwendyk did, however, dispel speculation Mike Ribeiro was on the market, telling ESPN’s Mark Stepneski he has no plans to move the center, believing Ribeiro and veteran left winger Brenden Morrow are “going to have big years” by posting better numbers than they did last season.
Throughout the summer it had been rumored Ribeiro was being shopped for a puckmoving defenseman and he was always linked with Toronto’s Tomas Kaberle.
Even if Nieuwendyk was shopping Ribeiro, the center’s $5 million-per-season salary and limited no-trade clause makes him a tough sell. Ribeiro would have to have a significant bounce-back performance this season to improve his value if Nieuwendyk was ever hoping to move him in a cost-cutting deal.
That type of move, however, won’t be necessary if the Stars are unable to re-sign veteran center Brad Richards, who’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.
SO LONG SOURAY
Sheldon Souray appeared to be willing to patch things up with the Edmonton Oilers, but it’s clear the front office has other plans.
TSN reported Monday that Souray was skating with his Oilers teammates at Rexall Place and appeared to have “softened his stance” from his initial trade demands earlier this year after he claimed he was pressured to return from a wrist injury too early.
Souray said that was five months ago, claiming “we are in a completely different spot now and there is a lot of optimism.”
However, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini didn’t share that optimism, sending Souray’s agent an e-mail indicating he didn’t want Souray to attend training camp.
Tambellini unsuccessfully attempted to move Souray in the summer – even placing the defenseman on waivers – and told the media late Monday he will continue to try and find a deal.
But that won’t be any easier now than it was during the summer. The 34-year-old Souray has two more seasons at $5.4 million per remaining on his contract, plus an injury history; his public spat with Oilers management may also scare off possible suitors.
For Tambellini to make a trade he’ll have to take on a toxic contract of roughly the equivalent amount.
One rumor circulating the Internet has Tambellini shipping Souray to the New York Rangers for defenseman Wade Redden, but the latter is owed $6.5 million per season for the next four years, which doesn’t do much for the Oilers GM.
THE BUZZ IN BOSTON
Boston goaltender Tim Thomas isn’t letting rumors the Bruins were shopping him this summer be a distraction in training camp.
Thomas, the 2009 Vezina winner, is once again entering Bruins camp hoping to prove himself as the starting goalie, a role he lost midway through last season to Tuukka Rask. Thomas told the Boston Herald he’s worked hard at recovering from hip surgery in May and on improving his overall conditioning.
Given his age (36), salary ($5 million per season for the next three years) and no-movement clause, trading Thomas over the summer was a difficult task. That isn’t likely to change unless his stats improve this season and even then such a move can only come with his blessing.
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 Magazine.