Thursday, July 1, 2010

NHL Free Agency Day 1 Wrap-Up

I needed to finish off the analysis of a few more NHL moves before I go with an NBA review for tomorrow. Let's start with Anton Volchenkov going to the Devils for 6 years/$25.5 mil. The thing I like about this is the Devils have rebuilt their blueline despite losing Paul Martin. This is the best Devils defense with the additions of Volchenkov and Tallinder since Scott Stevens was still playing. That's also the thing I hate about this, considering it's the Devils. They also signed Johan Hedberg, who I think is overrated, but he can play about 15 games, giving Marty Brodeur more rest in a year.

The other big contract was Dan Hamhius, who signed a 6 year/$27 mil deal with the Canucks. Vancouver has addressed their blueline with this signing and the Keith Ballard trade. This means Willie Mitchell is gone (someone teams should look at if healthy) but the Canucks have 7 defensemen, all of whom are good. They also picked up Manny Malhotra with a 3 year/$7.5 mil deal as a third line center. It was killed by Pierre McGuire, who thinks prospect Cody Hodgson should ask to be traded. I must say, I think the Canucks are the early favorites to win the West with the moves made and no more excuses for Roberto Luongo, not with that blueline in front.

The Oilers signed Kurtis Foster to a 2 year/$3.6 mil deal, which should spell the end of Sheldon Souray's time in Edmonton. He's been linked through trade to the Rangers, who resigned Vinny Prospal to another 1 year deal for less than Boogaard's cap hit. Seems like the Rangers really felt that if they had beat the Flyers in the shootout, they would go to the Stanley Cup Final. They have to make another move soon.

The Hawks finally signed someone, in Josh Scott. That's after trading Andrew Ladd to the Thrashers as Stan Bowman looks to win repeat titles, one in Chicago and one in Atlanta. I like how the Thrashers have made their team better since the Kovalchuk trade. It's been very impressive and they should be a playoff team. Signing Chris Mason at $3.7 mil over 2 years only makes them even better.

The last moves of note: Matt Cullen goes by the Minnesota Wild for over $3 mil a year for three years and also add Eric Nystrom for three years as well. The Blues resign Alex Steen and they have plenty of cap room. I'd make a run at Kovalchuk if I were them. Saku Koviu is staying in Anaheim, but the fact Bobby Ryan didn't sign an offer of 5 years at $5 mil per is alarming. Two former Hawks have moved on as Adam Burish tries to create the combo with Steve Ott that Sean Avery spectacularly failed at in Dallas, while Colin Fraser left for the Oilers. Finally, Dustin Boyd and Jordan Leopold don't listen to phone calls from Darryl Sutter trying to bring them back to Calgary, and sign with Montreal and Buffalo respectively.

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