Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Keenan: Nieuwendyk, Muller Too Costly

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Keenan: Nieuwendyk, Muller Too Costly

Article excerpt

The other day, New York Islanders general manager-coach Mike Milbury talked about some teams having "nebulous" interest in disgruntled center Kirk Muller.

He might have been referring to the Blues.

Blues general manager-coach Mike Keenan, who had been in hot pursuit of both Muller and Calgary holdout Joe Nieuwendyk, has backed off on both.

"They're probably too expensive for us," he said Friday. "They each want over $2 million a year. That doesn't really fit into our economic position at this point."

The Blues' payroll is hovering around $22 million, still about $1.5 million more than the Kiel Center Partners want to spend this season.

Keenan also isn't too keen on the bidding-war aspect of trade talks with Calgary's interim GM Al Coates and Milbury, who succeeded Don Maloney two weeks ago.

"They're driving up the marketplace to the point where it'll be way too expensive in terms of players," Keenan said.

Keenan said he wants nothing to do with that. His preference would be to act quickly without the bidding.

"That's the only way I'll deal with it," he said.

Although former Islanders coach Al Arbour scouted the Blues' 3-3 tie Thursday with Calgary, Keenan said he wasn't sure whether Milbury really wanted to trade Muller. Keenan also raised the possibility of Nieuwendyk rejoining the Flames.

"When they fired the GMs in both places, that's probably what they were looking at, bringing them back," Keenan said.

Muller, 29, was acquired last season by the Islanders from Montreal in a deal for Pierre Turgeon. Muller is unhappy playing with a rebuilding team at this stage of his career. He also wants his $1.9 million contract, paid in Canadian money, upgraded to $1.9 million in U.S. funds, a $532,000 raise based on the Canadian dollar being worth 72 cents in the United States.

Nieuwendyk rebuffed Calgary's efforts to bring him back, but Keenan said, "That's a lot of money not to be paid. …

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