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Friday, July 21, 2006 

2006 NHL Free Agency Update

Anaheim - The Ducks, a team I became partial to last season, have become "On Notice" after trading Lupul and some draft picks for Chris Pronger. Outside of that, they have been fairly silent on the free agent front, agreeing to 3 years and undisclosed terms with their own breakout center from last season, Andy McDonald. And I was looking forward to buying the first "non-mighty" Ducks jersey. Pity. Only loss: Salei

Atlanta - Unlike the Ducks, the Thrashers have been very busy, having already signed multiple players, up to and including both bringing Freddy Braithwaite back from oblivion, and presumably handing Steve Rucchin himself next years Rucchin of the Year award ( 4.25 million in year three for Mr. Rucchin, by the way, whatever sense that could ever make). Darren Haydar, Jason Krog, Glen Metropolit, Johan Hedberg, Jon Sim, Kyle Wanvig, Nikko Kappanen and Scott Mellanby round out the singings. Losses: Mellanby, Abid and Savard.

Boston - The Bruins have significantly improved their team for the first time in years, signing Shean Donovan (2 years), Marc Savard ($20 million, 4 years) and Zdeno Chara ($37.5 million, 5 years). In landing 2 of the top 5 free agents of the year, the Bruins are giving evidence that last seasons selling out was temporary, and the playoffs are the only acceptable goal this year. Signed Mowers as well, for what it's worth (ie. significantly little. ie. at 32 he had his career high with 15 points last season. ie. there's a mowers in the league?). Also signed Wade Brookbank, Jeff Hogan and are bringing Jason York back from Switzerland. Losses: Reasoner, Gill.

Buffalo - Resigned Teppo Numminen for another year, and stole Jaroslav Spacek away from the Oilers. 2 players I'm sure Canucks fans would give anything for right about now. Derek Roy is staying put, and Henrik Tallinder got a contract extension as well. Oh yeah, Andrew Peters isn't going anywhere either (as if you cared). Neither is Brian Campbell (who managed to be a -14 on a top teams defense), who somehow got a multi-year deal. Biggest news, though, was that they managed to resign Martin Biron for barely over $2 million a year. Raycroft money for Biron. Does that say something about Buffalo, or does it say more about the Leafs? Losses: Grier, McKee

Calgary - Signed Zyuzin and lost Donovan. Brought back Jamie Mac. How do you spell inconsequential again? The loss of Chris Simon should help them be a little bit more watchable next year. Maybe Jim Playfair taking over the helm will free up a little more style points as well.

Carolina - Brought in John Grahame to take up Cam Wards backup roll, and third liner Trevor Letowski, while also resigning Erik Cole, Chad LaRose, Eric Staal Glen Wesley and Mike Commodore. They did also lose Aaron Ward, Mike Zigomanis, Matt Cullen and Doug Weight, but given the number of big contributing free agents they had on the payroll, this can't be looked at as a bad start.

Chicago - The Blackhawks decided that the best way to come out of the horrible situation they've found themselves in is by bringing in Patrick Lalime. God help them. Havlat (hockey's version of a soccer player) and Smolinski for Bell is the big news here. Oh God help the fans too. Resigning underrated rookies Rene Bourque and Duncan Keith are bonuses I'm sure many Hawks fans (if they still exist) are pleased about. Radim Vrbata signed on for another 2 years of torture. Losses: Anderson, Barnaby, Brown, Morgan

Colorado - "Stole" Tyler Arnason from Ottawa, Matt Murley from Pittsburgh and Mark Rycroft from St.Louis. Lost Blake and Hinote. Add to that the loss of Tanguay for a mediocre player that the media inexplicably built up, and the power house that was the Avalanche appears to be collapsing on itself. Resigning Liles is the only high note. Budaj and McCormick will be back riding the bench as well.

Columbus - Resigned Anders Eriksson. Lost Andy Delmore. Resigned Ron Hainsey and lost Don MacLean. Whatever. Trevor Letowski does more on the third line than people think, though, so he is an actual loss. Signing overrated today, underrated tomorrow Ty Conklin will be the solution some days, and the goat others. Interesting times ahead if they bother with him. Pascal Leclaire will be returning to pick up his slack, though. And in the did you know file - did you know that Jamie Pushor is still kicking around, and resigned with the Jackets? I remember him being like a -30 in Pittsburgh in like 2002, and I thought he took his cue and left afterwards. Apparently not. Who knew?

Dallas - Jeff Halpern AND Matthew Barnaby. Good show old chap. Oh yeah, and they lost Arnott, Guerin, and Willie Mitchel, but managed to hang onto Mike Smith and Steve Ott. Did I mention the changing of the guard in the Western Confernece yet? 30 games from Eric Lindros, who is coming off the least productive campaign (22 points in 33 games and a negative +/- for the first time), won't fix this mess. Between Lindros, Modano, Barnes and Halpern at least you know they'll win most face-offs before inevitably giving up the puck. Letting Niko Kapanen walk will result in even more turnovers. They really don't have too many "battlers" left there now.

Detroit - Resigned Chris Osgood, Dan Cleary and signed the farm over to Nicklas Lidstrom (with cause, mind you). Losses: Mowers... i guess... Gains: Hussey... i guess...

Edmonton - Marty Reasoner is coming home to Edmonton. Sun rise, sun set. Pisani, Horcoff, Stoll and Rolly are sticking around, while Morrison, Samsonov, Peca, Conklin and Spacek are hitting the road. Spacek is a big loss, everything else seems fine to me. Mediocre Tjarnqvist finds a new home. Sun rise, sun set.

Florida - Ruslan Salei and Alex Auld to replace Luongo. And you wondered how much worse things could get in Florida. Oh yeah, and Salei will "only" cost them over $3 million per year. Good times. Jamie McLennan knows a sinking ship when he sees one, while his replacement Craig Anderson moves from one Titanic to another. I guess Greg Campbell and Stephen Weiss don't. Maybe Horton does, though, as he only signed a one year deal. Not something the Panthers were likely looking for with one of their few true, young talents. Jon Sim left, and Juraj Kolnik stays. Call the presses.

Los Angelas - Brian Willsie, Rob Blake, Raitis Ivanans, Alyn McCauley, Kevin Dallman, Mike Weaver and Scott Thornton are in. I wonder which one of them it was that got $12 million over only 2 years? They also resigned Garon in net, who was interestingly enough only the 4th goalie in Kings history to win 30 games (Lessard, Vachon and Potvin each did it once) which is kind of hard to believe. Resigned the fragile Eric Belanger as well. Losses - Parrish and Corvo

Minnesota - Resigned Marian Gaborik, that's the good news. The bad news? $13.25 million for Mark Parrish (5 years) and $19.4 million for Kim Johnsson (4 years). Even $4.2 million for Carney (2 years) is a little bit out there as well. I don't even want to find out what they gave Radivojevic. I'm sure it's ridiculous. Someone in Minnesota has been attending the Mini-Babcock school of GMetry lately (ie. Jason Morgan is still in the league and someone signed him?). Speaking of which, they resigned Brent Burns, so I guess the conversion of him from potential top-line forward to potential 6th defenseman will continue. Shame. Losses: Kuba, Zyuzin, Tjarnqvist and Chouinard. So much for consoling their losing ways by being the team with the best names. Boogaard stays, so that could help. And apparently there wasn't a big market for Pascal Dupuis. Go figure. Somehow there was a market, though, for Kyle Wanvig. The other Koivu? Still Wild.

Montreal - Big move so far was bringing in Sergei Samsonov for the next two seasons. Sergei has some flash from time to time, but frankly in my opinion he became one of the most over-rated players in the league last season somehow. Habs fans will be sorely disapointed with his play if their expectations are as high as I suspect them to be. Resigned Francis Bouillon for nearly $2 million a year over 3 years (what?). Ribeiro, Aebischer, Higgins, Komisarek, Danis and Cote are staying put as well. Resigned highly overrated youngster Perezhogin to a one year deal, who despite all the hype only managed 19 points for the entire season. They only gave him $627,000, though, so it was a really good signing. I was just tired of all the Habs fans pretending up how good he was last year. 19 points, boys. Even Tie Domi has average 20 points a year over his last 9 seasons.

NYI - Signed over big old Andy Hilbert from the Penguins. Signed over big old Mike Sillinger from the Preds. Signed over big bum Chris Simon from the Flames. Signed over big baby Brendan Witt from the Preditors. Big news on the island! They did manage to get a cross town move for under-rated Tom Poti. There should have been a bidding war for this guy. I'd take him over Kubina and White any day. The way defensemen are valued in the league is in-decipherable to me. Wade Dub's taking the big step up to back-up goalie this season, finally realizing his full potential - as a back up goalie no ones ever heard of, that is. Loses: Garth Snow... Kind of...

NYR - Resigned Marty Straka for $3.1 million, brought in Aaron Ward for $5.5 million, Grandpa Shanahan for $4 million and Matt Cullen for $11.2 million. And here I thought that the new NHL would stop the Rangers stupidity in spending. Boy was I wrong. For some reason, though, Ortmeyer will be making another pointless "contribution" to the team again next year, although Dom Moore has taken his useless contribution to Pittsburgh - the land of useless contributions. Losses: Steve Rucchin, Tom Poti

Nashville - $22.5 million on Jason Arnott. I sure hope the Jason Arnott that's worth nearly that much bothers to show up for them. Improved team by losing Witt, Sillinger and Eaton. Resigned Mason and JF favourite little Jordan Tootoo, and as well brought in AHL superstar Ramzi Abid.

New Jersey - Resigned Elias (for one hundred billion dollars), Parise and Jamie Longnamenbrunner. No losses yet. But then Colin White for $18 million over 6 years. I can't even begin to comment on that stupidity. I had to check 6 seperate times to make sure it really happened. Six.

Ottawa - Spezza, Emery and Redden are staying in town, Chara is on the way out. I think they made the right decision. Especially now with Tom Preissing as his replacement. A top notch pick up to say the least, and not having to deal with Havlat anymore is a huge bonus. I might even be able to watch their games again now. Metropolit, Arnasson and Pothier are also out, Gerber and Corvo are in.

Philadelphia - Re-signed Nittymaki for a year, and brought in Baumgartner for 5. Despite what 'Nucks fans might pretend, that's not a great signing, as Flyers fans will find out soon enough. Lost Kim, but for nearly $5 million a year I don't think anyone there considers it a loss. No more Radivojevic either, but da berger and da pitt cannon are sticking together again. The Flyers also managed to coax Dan Corso back from Europe, likely to shore up their cross street neighbour AHL's roster. His career has been nothing but downhill since his MVP season in the Q in 1997. Newly signed reserve winger Boyd Kane will likely be at Corso's side on the Phantoms as well. Time will tell which side of the street the re-signed Matt Ellison will end up on. The Brashear experiment is over, but a new experiment starts with speedster Geoff Sanderson who signed on for 2 years. The Flyers are hoping 67 point Sanderson from 2003 shows up, not 16 point Sanderson from 2002.

Phoenix - Mike Morrison and Josh Gratton for a year, Zigomanis for 2 years and Ed Jovanovski for 5 years ( and roughly the cost of purchasing a small Caribbean island ). I think Wayne also hired some random family member to do some scouting or something as well. Re-signed Sjostrom and Seidenberg, two guys who I'm sure 95% of you have never heard of. Speaking of which, they also signed over Don MacLean from the Blue Jackets, who over 8 career seasons has managed to get into a total of 32 games, and resigned a trio of mediocre should-be AHL players in Sauve, Spiller and Saprykin while letting Geoff Sanderson walk. The three S's combined for 26 points and a GAA of 4 last season, in no particular order. Sometimes I wonder if Wayne really is still on the Oilers payroll.

Pittsburgh - Jarko Ruutu and Mark Eaton. Poor Crosby. Now Dominic Moore is coming over as well. Poor, poor Crosby. NO MORE HUSSEY! Landed Ekman and a prospect from San Jose for a second round pick? Someone fill me in on what happened there. There has to be a story behind that one. On another positive note, they resigned Colby Armstrong who, because of the depth of the rookie class last year, did not get the attention he deserved. This kid played on Pittsburgh, and picked up 40 points in 47 games and was a +15. A +15 on Pittsburgh. Ziggy Palffy was the only other player on the team to appear in more than 25 games and be in the plus, and he was only +5 and retired half way through. Even Crosby was a minus with his 102 points. This kid is definitely someone to watch, and by far the second best player on the team. There really should have been a lot more mention about him last year. Next season I know there will be.
San Jose - Mike Grier and Curtis Brown in, McCauley and Scott Thornton out. $1.8 mil a year for Grier seems a little steep, but nothing too damaging here. Tom Preissing is a huge hole to fill on D, and is in no way made up for by putting Mark Bell on the top line. Seriously, that's where they said he's going. Rucchin may just have competition for Rucchin of the Year afterall. Oh yeah, and apparently Patrick Traverse is still alive and on his way to California too. Also, apparently every mediocre player on the Sharks was a group 2 free agent, and apparently all 7 of them signed on the same day. In the longest, and most boring free agent announcement of all time, the Sharks disclosed having come to terms with defensemen Doug Murray (3 years), Jim Fahey and Garrett Stafford, centers Marcel Goc (2 years), Tomas Plihal and Craig Valette and right wing Grant Stevenson.

St. Louis - OK, let me start with this question: everything I see seems to say Jay McKee was signed for $16 million over 4 years. This isn't true, is it? 4 million a year for Jay McKee? It must be bad information. Anyway, they also brought in Guerin, Hinote, Drake and Weight in their best attempt at reversing the horrible, horrible mess that was last season. Along those lines, they also let Lalime go, now they just need a decent replacement to really turn things around before Jason Back Oshawa (re-signed) develops into a first string goalie. Kevin Dallman, Jeff Hoggan and Mark Rycroft are also leaving town, while Brewer, Woywitka, McClement and Sejna have signed on again.

Tampa Bay - ANDY DELMORE, MITCH FRITZ AND FILIP KUBA! WEEEE! At least Fedotenko will still be there. Oh yeah, and Afanasenkov will chip in another 15 points again next year too. Ryan Craig had a decent rookie year (28 points in 48 games), and has signed on for a second campaign.

Toronto - The mess. The huge mess. $20 million for friggin Pavel Kubina. $6.3 over 3 years for Hal Gill isn't horrible, if not just in comparison. Andrew Raycroft in net for a few years. Resigned Ondrus who was -10 with no points in 22 games. How does Mini-Babcock still have a job again? They did manage to sign the second leading scorer in the AHL from last season in Erik Westrum, but this is the Leafs so I'm sure he'll be in the AHL again next season after they sign a couple of injury ridden elders to fill out the roster instead for 5 times the money. Re-signing Nik Antropov and being out-bid for Lindros are the best moves of the off season so far. Eeek. The Leafs did manage to resign young defensemen Brendan Bell, Carlo Colaiacovo and Jay Harrison to one-year contracts, although I have no idea why they are staying in Toronto. The Leafs have clearly shown an unwillingness to allow their clearly talented young defensemen to have a shot in the bigs, and is continuing again this season. In bringing in Gill and Kubina, those three along with Wozniewski and Kronwall have only 2 spots to battle for, and that's assuming the Leafs don't bring in another old timer or Belak. If I were one of those 3 D-men I would have jumped on any chance I could to get out of town. Surprisingly, I'm only undecided on Peca's signing at this point. I'm even surprising myself with that one.

Vancouver - Willie Mitchell and Taylor Pyatt in, Carney, Baumgartner, Corvo, Ruutu, Brookbank, Auld, Cloutier out. Might sound like a lot out, but seriously, they are better off. Much better off. And that's not even taking the trades into account. Canucks fans are all a little weary still, but they shouldn't be. This is a much better team now than it was at the end of last season. Hopefully FINALLY announcing Marc Chouinard's signing will ease some of those nerves.

Washington - Resigned Brent Johnson, Steve Eminger, Kris Beech, Rico Fata, Brian Sutherby, ben Clymer and Brooks Laich, brought in Brian Pothier and lost Jeff Halpern, Boyd Kane and Brian Willsie. Oh the comings and goings of the Sutherby's. Managed to keep the guy with the stupidest spelled name in history (Shaone Morrisonn), in town as well. Also signed pointless winger Donald Brashear, who should be making his exit from the league permanently sometime around December.

McKee was 4 year, 16 million.

4 million a year for McKee? that makes less sense than anything. What is going on this offseason with the McKee and Kubina types? This is worse than before the "New NHL". I really don't get it.

Dear Kent

JFJ is a God among men.

Habs Fans Everywhere.

welcome back SGN, we missed yoU!

Peca...Toronto? Have you heard anything?

i heard peca say that he'd love to play in his home town... and later go on to say that in this sport you have to make a choice at some point - go to where you can make the most money, or go somewhere you really want to play. then he said he was at the latter stage in his career. then I shudder so hard at the thought that i knocked myself out. i'm still not well.

basically, it sounds like he'll take less money to play in toronto than anywhere else, so at this point there's really no way he'll show up in any jersey other than the Leafs next season. *passes out again*

But I heard, that if Peca plays for Toronto, that Eric Lindros and Gary Roberts won't due to Salary Cap Restrictions. I'd rather see Peca as a Leaf, then a 40+ yr old, or a guy who will play 2 weeks, and then fake an injury, or really get injured, or whatever the hell he does every season.

it probably hasnt occered to mini-babcock yet, but there is a 4th option: none of the above

No, it hasn't, and I don't think it will. Fans complain how crappy the team is, so he is in the mindset that he has to sign players and make trades in order for the fans to be happy. What MB is forgetting, (or just doesn't know), are that the signings and trades have to make sense.

I'd take Peca over Roberts and Lindros too...and that makes me kinda sick too!

eek indeed!!

My inside sources with JFJ tell me that JFJ made an offer to Lindros, and he is waiting to hear back. Also, Peca is asking for an offer to Toronto.

i hope they offered him fi dolla. Thanks for the tip, but keep in mind, around here JFJ is known as Mini-Babcock or MB...

Sorry Sir. Mini-Babcock it is, sir.

this is getting pretty long and thorough. nice job!

this is getting extensive. you going to keep it up all summer?

fantasy baseball draft kitAny one using the phrase "easy as taking candy from a baby, has never tried taking candy from a baby before.fantasy baseball draft kit

Excellent, love it! Mimi maternity dress

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