July 1, winners and losers

So after the Avs decided to tease their fans all day yesterday, with reports of Smyth being close to signing early and not actually signing until later, it's time to take a look at who went where and who was helped out the most. There are still quite a few quality Free Agents out there so teams could still have quality offseasons, but yesterday was crazy, and a look back is warranted (plus i get to say more about the Avs signings)


The Avs- They got exactly what the doctor ordered: "Take two mullets and call me from the playoffs." The Avs were in a position of power with a lot of cap room and few players they needed to sign, so they could splurge a little on some free agents. Not only did they sign both players I thought they needed, but they stayed well within acceptable prices for both. Yes their salaries are high, but they weren't absurd (well by absurd I mean in a professional athlete's sense. All the salaries are absurd). Good times all around

New York Rangers- Gomez and Drury? Wow that's making a splash. Both Dury and Gomez are really good players, and Ranger's fans have every reason to be excited but, as The Dark Ranger astutely mentions in his recap, the Gomez signing is risky. It's a seven year contract and it's a cap number of over $7M. That's a risky contract for a guy whose only scored 20+ goals once in his career (albeit with the defensive Devils). Also the signing of these two means Nylander is gone, and they may have trouble signing some of the restricted FA's. Nevertheless they had a pretty good day, landing 2 of the top 4 prizes.

Philly Flyers- Briere is a nice fit there, even though they may have overpaid a little. Let's not forget they picked up Timmonen and Hartnell, and Jason Smith from the Oilers. They may have overpaid a little for all those guys, but there's no doubt they upgraded their team.

Washington Capitals- Their Free Agent signings went under the radar, but they got a solid defenseman who will be able to captain their powerplay in Poti. Kozlov is a nice player that they can team with Ovechkin. More importantly, for whatever reason, Russian players seem to have the most difficulty adjusting to the NHL. The Caps brought in a veteran Russian that seems to have made the transition rather well to tutor young Ovechkin. Nice low key moves that should really help the Caps.

Pittsburgh Penguins: More low-key solid moves here. Adding Sykora and Sydor to that already talented offensive cast. Pens Fans seem happy


New York Islanders: Ryan Smyth, Jason Blake, Viktor Kozlov and Tom Poti all depart a team that needed a shootout win on the last day of the season against a resting Marty Broduer to make the playoffs. Can't get much worse for them, and their fans know it.

Buffalo Sabres: The general consensus before July 1 was that the Sabres would lose Briere or Drury, but not both. Well they lost both, and they are likely to lose Zubris, and still need to resign Vanek. The last couple months have not been good to Sabres fans.

New Jersey Devils- Lost Gomez and Rafalski, one to their hated rivals. not as bad as the Islanders, still not a good day. And Lou Lamorillo seems to have snapped.

Edmonton Oilers- They had high hopes, but at the end of the day. They got Nylander, and Pitkannen, but lost 2 extremely popular Captains, as well as really good players. Oh they also signed 2 guys who weren't in the NHL last season. Yikes.

LA Kings- For the second season in a row they had a bunch of cash lined up, and tantalized their fans with Drury, but at the end of the day they have nothing to show for it, except the possibility of really ugly new jerseys. Unlike the teams above, there's not as much desperation here. They can still upgrade their team by making signing some solid still available players for cheaper. (Handzus, Nagy, Hamrlik, Stuart etc.)

Gary Bettman- So the big spenders yesterday were: Toronto, New York Rangers, Philly, Colorado and Detroit. Teams like Edmonton, NYI, Calgary, Florida and others had to fight for tablescraps while the big money teams dined on free agent prime rib. 2-years after the lockout, Bettman has one of his southern teams on the verge of relocating, goal scoring going down again, a terrible TV contract in the States, and now he is losing his biggest "victory" as commissioner in cost certainty. Big Market teams ruled the day. Short of using racial slurs in a press conference what else does he have to do to get fired?

Break Even:

Detroit Beige Wings: Lost Schneider, replaced with Rafalski. "Lost"on Smyth, but I never thought they really had a chance to get him anyways. $6M a year for Rafalski, for 5 years no less, seems like it was paying a bit much.

Florida Panthers: Upgraded some depth, but I can't get past $1.7M for McClean. Wow. Overall some decent moves but nothing great.


  1. What's left? We're still holding out for Drake right?

  2. yeah Drake is pretty much the only other move I would like to see. It doesn't have to be drake, just a nice guy for the Penalty kill, checking line and face-offs.

  3. Drake could be quite a bargain.

    But the market isn't tapped out yet by any means, so the Avs still have a lot of options---and a lot of money left. The sky's the limit.

  4. I think the Jackets have disconnected their phones and have said we don't give a crap...that or Howson forgot...not sure which

  5. Hello... hello (Is this thing on?)

    Still some good options there Bethany.

  6. 1) We don't disagree with any of your assessments, BUT we feel its a tad too early to decide winners losers. There are still some quality players out there to be had via UFA/RFA or trade.
    2) Teams like LA/SJ/Isles/Caps/FLA/Habs, to name a few have a few bucks to spend and holes a-plenty to fill.

  7. Well It was just meant to be "Winning the Battle" not the war. Of course one of these great FA signings could end up having a major heart defect that makes them retire (like Konawalchuk last season for the Avs. Yes I purposely used his situation as to not jinx my team) that turns a great FA signing into a dud.

    but for the day I think those are the winners and losers

  8. I know but I'm so frustrated...the only thing we did yesterday was sign an AHL defenseman...come on now...don't we have enough little projects :(

  9. I'm sad to see Schneider go but I would say Rafalski is an upgrade. He's better defensively, put up similar numbers while playing in New Jersey's system, and is 4 years younger. He didn't cost all that much more than Schneider and is locked in for a good length. Besides, if every hometown-hero story replaces one recycled "holy crap, did you know Chelios is old?" article he's worth the extra couple hundred grand right there.

    The power shift in the Atlantic is pretty crazy. Two years ago Rangers/Pens games were a joke but they should be a pretty hot ticket now. I can't remember the last time a team so consistently overspent like Philly is doing, but you do what you gotta do to get out of the basement.

  10. Maybe Rafalski is a slight upgrade, but I don't think Detroit upgraded their team that much to be considered a FA "winner". a small upgrade, but really if it weren't for the size of the contract given, it would be seem to be a push to me still

  11. True, but they didn't really have to upgrade per se. They made it to the WCF and were the only team to hand two losses to the Ducks (or even play them close, for that matter). Colorado needed to upgrade, Detroit just needs to tweak.

    It looks like the Kings decided to avoid the fun yesterday and make smaller safer moves today. Given their prospect pool, that might have been their best strategy in the long run. Keeping out of the frenzy didn't really impress anyone yesterday but if they keep going like they are they could be a force in a couple of years. Avoiding a huge contract commitment might have been a really smart move.