Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Eve of Free Agency

Tomorrow is the start of NHL Free Agency (it should also be the start of NBA Free Agency, but they will begin a lockout that will wipe out the 2011-12 season instead). As we go into the signing period, here's some thoughts I have on the goings on.

-The Brad Richards Sweepstakes is very unique; you have the best FA forward on the market, and it's not even close. You would think that everyone would want the guy. Instead, at least in the case of the Rangers and the Leafs, no one seems to want him aside from the teams themselves. The reason is clear; Rangers and Leafs fans are afraid that either Brian Burke or Glen Sather will spend like a drunken sailor on the guy, and they're right. I guess I must get used to the fact that Richards will be a Ranger on Friday after an 8 year/$56 million contract.

-Everyone can talk about the Islanders putting it all together all they want; the fact is, as long as a guy like Christian Ehrhoff leaves in no uncertain terms that he won't play there, they aren't a threat, just a nuisance (if you're a Rangers fan).

-Meanwhile, the Sabres take the rights to Ehrhoff and get him signed, for 10 years/$40 million contract. Once again, the Terry Pegula era is completely different than before and now Buffalo will spend like everyone else on July 1.

-No new news on where Jaromir Jagr will sign, whether Pittsburgh, Detroit, Montreal. JagrWatch '11 continues.

-If the Flyers sign Brad Richards, they will officially have given up their future. Claude Giroux and James vanRiemsdyk will both be up for raises in a few years and they're ability to sign both guys with Chris Pronger, Ilya Bryzgalov and Richards will handcuff them.

-Adrian Dater is absolutely right, I'd be shocked if Tomas Vokoun isn't wearing an Avs sweater by Monday.

-So Tomas Kopecky signs for $12 million/4 years and Jonathan Ericsson signs for $9.75 million/3 years. This only makes me fear the Ryan Callahan/Brandon Dubinsky negotiations even more, especially if someone swoops in with an offer sheet.

-Dale Tallon's mistakes always seem to repeated. This week we saw it twice, as Nashville apparently forgot to qualify their RFA's (Shea Weber isn't included in this list, otherwise this becomes the biggest story in hockey), while Tallon takes another shot at Brian Campbell. This time, something tells me Florida won't be forced to sell off their roster as a result.

-Who offers Steven Stamkos an offer sheet? Philly? Detroit (not after signing Ericssson, I'd believe)? If I was the Panthers (assuming I have the literal cash to do so), I'd sign him to a 12 year/$132 million offer sheet. Might actually give the NHL a reason to care about a Bolts/Cats game.

-Carolina resigned Chad LaRose and Jussi Jokinen before July 1. Two guys who are only good with the Canes. My question: What is Erik Cole waiting for?

There is plenty more to talk about, but for now, we wait until noon for the Free Agent Frenzy to begin. Unfortunately, there won't be the amount of updates from me like on last July 1, but a review post will be written. Happy Canada Day everyone!

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