Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Randomness: Free Agency Edition

Since tomorrow is the start of free agency in both the NHL and NBA, I figured to use my Randomness article to get everyone up to speed in both leagues the start of some hot stove action. Let's start with Glen Sather best trade ever, Scott Gomez and a couple prospects to Montreal for Chris Higgins and a couple of better prospects, including the Habs best prospect, defenseman Ryan McDonagh. For Rangers fans, we're speechless, since we didn't think Slats was able to fleece a team like he did here. Higgins is a hardworker from Long Island who fits well in the 3rd line. McDonagh brings more organizational depth to the defensive side of the ice and can either grow or get flipped in a trade for Dany Heatley.

As for Gomez, he becomes another in the long line of Devils who bombed out with the Rangers, though in the case of Gomez, it was more Sather overpaying like he did with Bobby Holik. He now goes from one of the biggest pressure cookers in the league to the biggest in Montreal and already Habs fans are crucifying Bob Gainey. As an added plus, anytime Leafs bloggers and fans enjoy a Canadiens move the way Ranger fans used to when Mad Mike was running the Islanders into the ground, you have to make the move.

As for the rest of the Rangers preview, now they have $5 million in cap room ($7 million if they don't tender Higgins) to pick up that scoring winger they desperately need. Dany Heatley has been tied to the Rangers for weeks but now Edmonton wants him and the Sens seem willing to take Dustin Penner's awful contract (more fodder for Leafs fans, only Redden-for-Heatley would be better). Signings can start tomorrow and look for Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik to be sought after, though I really don't want either. Hossa isn't a number one scorer and should be paid like one, while Gaborik is too risky unless it's a one-year deal. Of course, Sather is prepared to give the fans who put up with rising ticket prices a big eff you as Blair Betts, Fred Sjostrom and Colton Orr.

UPDATE: The Oilers offered Andrew Cogliano, Penner and Ladislav Smid to Ottawa, but Heatley, after asking for a trade, didn't waive his no-trade clause. How ironic.

As for the rest of the NHL, Jay Bouwmeester signed with Calgary for five years with a cap hit of about $6.68 million. It makes the trade of a guaranteed draft pick to Florida for the right to negotiate early a good one for the Flames. The Gomez trade knocks the Habs out of the Sedin twins sweepstakes and now it's the Canucks, Wild, Leafs and maybe now the Rangers will be after him. The Wild could be players this year with a new regime in Minnesota and I know Brian Burke wants to be active in Toronto. Marian Hossa is as good as gone in Detroit and LA looks like a fit for a veteran scorer.

The Knicks seem interested in Jason Kidd, which would be a colossal mistake because he's not fast anymore for D'Antoni's system and would get eaten alive by guys like Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo. If you follow my Twitter updates from a few days ago, you would know I want the Knicks to trade for Ricky Rubio, even though the pieces that the Knicks could trade aren't really there. As for their two big restricted free agents, David Lee and Nate Robinson, let Nate go and don't go higher than $8.5 million for Lee. Hopefully, if Lee gets a great offer, let's hope that they can do a sign and trade.

Elsewhere, Ben Gordon I think is the best free agent out there in a weak class that has too many old names. He should go either back to Chicago or to Detroit. Hedo Turkolgu opted out of his deal with the Magic and with the trade for Vince Carter, the Magic won't overpay for Hedo. Portland can be a possible destination. Cleveland needs someone in their mid-level exception who can contribute with perimeter defense and a good shooter. Carlos Boozer made a smart move by not opting out and remaining with Utah until next season. It would be ironic if Boozer left Utah for New York and LeBron follows. Then, Cleveland fans can envision what should of happened for them this decade in New York with those two back together since the debacle with Boozer and the Cavs leading to his move to the Jazz.

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