On the move
Joseph, Richter, Domi traded before deadlinePosted: Sunday June 30, 2002 11:02 PM
Updated: Monday July 01, 2002 12:27 AM
Also late Sunday, the Rangers traded the rights to goalie Mike Richter to Edmonton for future considerations, and the Maple Leafs traded the rights to enforcer Tie Domi to Nashville for a 2003 eighth-round draft pick.
The Maple Leafs were not in a position to get a compensatory pick if Joseph signed elsewhere because of their high payroll. Toronto used the same strategy the New York Rangers and Dallas Stars used last week when they dealt future free agents for draft picks. The Rangers traded forward Theo Fleury's rights to San Jose, and the Stars traded goalie Ed Belfour's rights to Nashville.
Discussions between Toronto general manager Pat Quinn and Joseph's agent, Don Meehan, didn't materialize into a new deal for the 35-year-old goalie, who was to return from a vacation in Cuba on Monday -- when teams can negotiate with unrestricted free agents.
"We didn't get a deal before midnight. You just accept it," assistant GM Bill Watters said. "We know Curtis won't be coming back until tomorrow and all the goalies become available at 12:01 a.m. So you just do what you have to do."
There is still a chance Joseph, who is 133-88-27 with a 2.42 goals-against average in four seasons with Toronto, could sign again with the Maple Leafs.
"Based on my meeting with Pat on Friday, I'm going to talk to Curtis about it and he's going to tell me to go back to Pat with whatever his decision is," Meehan said. "Pat felt that was reasonable. I felt it was reasonable, and that's what we're doing."
The NHL's free agency period officially begins at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
"I told Pat that whatever happens I'll go back to him with a decision so that I don't leave him hanging," Meehan said.
In Friday's meeting, Quinn offered Joseph $26 million over three years, but the stumbling block is believed to be Meehan's desire for a fourth year. Joseph earned $6.57 million last season -- the last of a four-year, $24-million deal.
Joseph, who broke his hand during the season, went 29-17-5 with a career-best 2.23 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage in 51 games. He had a 2.30 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in 20 playoff games.
It was an up-and-down year for Joseph, who lost the starting job as Team Canada's goalie at the Salt Lake Games after a 5-2 loss to Sweden in the opener. But he finished the NHL season on a positive - single-handedly winning Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final in Carolina with a sensational shutout and playing well in a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 6.
Fans at the Air Canada Centre chanted, "Cujo, Cujo," after that last playoff game.
Joseph, who has also played with St. Louis and Edmonton, is 346-260-81 during his 13-year NHL career.