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Lee Stempniak And The Unofficial Collusion Blues; The Blues

In the course of discussing a possible Lee Stempniak return to St. Louis, Game Time editor Sean Gallagher considers a possible cause of the free agent logjam that starts with Ilya Kovalchuk and has just about every other forward of note stuck upsteam:

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What has happened is that a large group of productive forwards have been waiting and waiting and waiting for something to happen. One theory is that once Ilya Kovalchuk finally signs somewhere, a virtual signing levee will break and players like Marek Svatos, Mike Comrie, Petr Sykora, Alexander Frolov, Paul Kariya, Maxim Afinogenov, Raffi Torres and Alexei Ponikarovsky will quickly find new homes.

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Personally, I find that theory flawed, as the suitors for Kovalchuk (believed to be down to Los Angeles and New Jersey) aren't going to fill the hole left by not landing the $10 million one trick pony by signing several of those less talented but still valuable forwards listed.

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Instead, it seems as if every team in the league is pulling the same trick on every scorer who wants to get paid this summer as the interested teams have pulled on Kovalchuk: it isn't collusion if it's unofficial, and every team seems to be hard-lining Kovalchuk and his cheaper forward bretheren.

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While Kovalchuk seems determined to drive his own price down by focusing on signing with Los Angeles at all costs, the rest of the glut is stuck hoping that somebody breaks down and starts calling agents.