Lightning's Kurtis Foster is "disappointed"; Todd Fedoruk seems to be a buyout target
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Kurtis Foster said he would consider a hometown discount to stay with the team, but called it a "huge disappointment" contract talks have not progressed heading into Thursday's start of free agency. Left wing Todd Fedoruk apparently is on waivers, it would seem for the purpose of buying him out of the last year of his deal. That would have to happen by Wednesday.
"It's pretty frustrating," Foster said of the lack of tangible progress in his contract talks. "It's almost like they're pushing me to look another way."
Foster said his agent has had some contact with general manager Steve Yzerman, but no serious talks have taken place and no numbers have been exchanged. Foster, 28, would seem to have some value. He is coming off a career season in which he had eight goals and 42 points, including three goals and 29 points from the high slot on the power play, combining with forwards Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis as the core of the No. 1 unit.
Foster said making it even tougher to contemplate playing elsewhere is that owner Jeff Vinik and assistant GM Tom Kurvers attended the funeral of Foster's daughter, Lila, who died on May 10 at 5 days old. Foster called it "one of the classiest moves I've ever seen."
Asked about a hometown discount, Foster said, "I'd probably play in Tampa for less than I would to go somewhere else. ... It's where we want to be. My wife and I love it there."
Foster made $600,000 last season on a one-year deal, quite a bargain considering he was coming off a broken leg that allowed him to play just 10 games in 2008-09.
As for Fedoruk, who had three goals, six points and 54 penalty minutes in 50 games last season, he is scheduled to make $1.125 million next season. A buyout would be for two-thirds his salary spread over double the remaining years of his contract. That means about $753,000 over two years or about $376,000 a season. Fedoruk would become an unrestricted free agent free to sign with any team.
Tampa Bay is already on the hook for $1.167 million next season in the second year of a six-year buyout of Vinny Prospal. Fedoruk, 31, was one of the nicest guys in the locker room and a real cutup. But he grew his career by being a tough guy, a role he can no longer perform because of the massive injuries he has sustained to his face that is being held together by pins and plates.
Fedoruk came to the Lightning last summer with defenseman David Hale in the trade that sent Radim Vrbata back to the Coyotes.
Also, the Devils signed former Lightning assistant coach Adam Oates.