Is a team from the Swedish Elite League negotiating to buy Niclas Wallin's contract from the Hurricanes?
A reader passed along this tidbit from a Swedish newspaper that would indicate Lulea of the SEL is trying to do just that, translated here via google:
It has long been silent about the combination klassvärvningar and Lulea Hockey. Jättetalangen Kristofer Berglund (Björklöven) is the only catch in the category so far. A credible source tells PT-sport club is trying to negotiate loss Stanley Cup-winner Niclas Wallin from the Carolina Hurricanes-the contract.
Wallin was almost ready for Luleå for a couple years ago, but then succeeded his Carolina win the Stanley Cup whereupon Haradspojken offered a drömkontrakt. Now, Wallin played by two of those three years and Luleå is said to work hard and quietly to buy off him. In this case, the new government's first major chapter.
While no transfer agreement is in place between the NHL and the SEL, the IIHF has made it clear -- in the context of the battle between the NHL and the new Russian Super League, the KHL -- it intends to enforce contracts across leagues.
Wallin considered returning to Sweden after the 2006 Cup season but was encouraged to stay by a four-year contract that included a no-trade clause. Wallin declined to waive that no-trade clause last summer when the Canes had a deal in place to trade him. The Canes are trying to dump salary on defense, but that no-trade clause makes it more likely it's Frank Kaberle or Dennis Seidenberg who departs.
Given that Wallin has two years left on his contract at a relatively affordable
$1.875 $1.725 million, and under NHL rules the Canes would have to buy out that contract to give him his release, Lulea would either have to pay $2.4 million to cover the buyout or arrange some sort of loan deal. In short, this all seems pretty unlikely. But stranger things have happened.
UPDATE, 5:27 p.m.: In an email on Thursday, Wallin said there was no truth to the rumor.
If this doesn't pan out, I suspect -- and this is just a guess here -- that this might have been spawned by some wishful thinking on Lulea's part. And the smart money would still be on Wallin signing with Lulea when his contract expires in June 2010.