By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
The hockey " off season " is a short one.
In rapid fashion, the Capitals won the Stanley Cup, the NHL Awards were handed out in Las Vegas, the Entry Draft was conducted at Dallas and countless young players are at NHL Development Camps as " next season " is somewhat unofficially underway.
This weekend, the focus turns to NHL Free Agents, those players who have played a significant term and now have earned the right to shop their services to the highest or most desirable bidder.
The most desirable free Agent is former Oshawa General ( & London Knight ) John Tavares.
After a campaign with 37 goals & 84 points for the New York Islanders, Tavares is fielding offers.
The first to make pitches were the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Islanders.
Four more clubs; Boston, Dallas, San Jose & Tampa Bay also get to make in person pitches to the 27 year old Tavares who's in the prime of his hockey career.
Of less fanfare, but certainly more significant in these parts, another 27 year old, Kevin Czuczman of Port Elgin was re-signed to a 1-year, 2-way contract by the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League.
The contract contains an average annual value of $650,000 IF Czuczman plays at the NHL level.
If not, he'll earn a decent wage playing for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton where he led all the AHL Penguin defenders in points with 35 and posted a plus-15 last season.
Two 27 year olds, John Tavares courted amid much hype, and Kevin Czuczman signed relatively quietly; the unofficial hockey season has activity at every corner of the market.
I'm Fred Wallace