What Eastern teams may seek in free agency

rolosonmarch17

With the NHL’s free agent signing period set to begin at noon on Friday, here’s what each team in the West will likely be looking for on the open market.

To check each club’s salary cap picture, check out CapGeek.com.

Boston — Loaded in most positions, the Bruins still may seek some veteran depth after the retirement of Mark Recchi and if they lose Michael Ryder to free agency, although they certainly could slot Tyler Seguin into Recchi’s second line spot. And if Tomas Kaberle goes elsewhere — he’s also a UFA like Ryder — they may be looking for another puck-moving defenseman, although a healthy Steven Kampfer might be a better and more economical solution.

Buffalo – With owner Terry Pegula’ unleashing his resources, free agency is now a more pleasant experience for GM Darcy Regier, who lost a number of important players (Henrik Tallinder, Toni Lydman, Chris Drury, Daniel Briere) to the previous owner’s thrifty practices. Even before July 1, the Sabres signed pending UFA defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to a long-term deal after acquiring his rights from the Islanders for a fourth round pick; the Isles had earlier gotten Ehrhoff’s rights from the Canucks for a fourth round pick. Regier has spoken with the agents for two of his UFA’s — center Tim Connolly and gritty forward Cody McCormick — but if they can’t reach an agreeable number, they may not be back. And it appears that Mike Grier and Rob Niedermayer won’t return, so there are spots up front to fill. Potential rookies Zack Kassian and Luke Adams will likely get shots in training camp and there are indications that Chris Drury would like to return to where he started and he could be a bargain. Some speculate the Sabres will be a player in the Brad Richards hunt, but, failing that, getting a healthy Derek Roy back will be like a signing a major top line free agent for a team that played surprisingly well in his absence.

Carolina - Bringing back Joni Pitkanen alleviates some concerns about their defense, but GM Jim Rutherford’s shopping list may hinge on how many more of his own free agents he can sign. He’s inked Chad LaRose and Jussi Jokinen, but others, namely forwards Erik Cole, Troy Bodie and Jiri Tlusty, remain free. The ‘Canes do have some young forwards in their development pipeline (Zac Dalpe and Zach Boychuk), but they might also have to look elsewhere in free agency.

Florida – It’s possible that no team will be more active than the Panthers, as GM Dale Tallon seeks to reach the salary cap floor. He’s over $20 million short (and National Post editor Noah Love cleverly tweeted “The Panthers can get the cap floor really fast by signing Stamkos and Doughty to $11-million/year offer sheets.”). What do they need? Almost everything. Florida has a chunk of young talent stockpiled (defenseman Eric Gudbranson included), but they’ll want to add some vets to mix and get their cap number up. They started early by acquiring the rights of and signing Blackhawks pending UFA forward Tomas Kopecky. There are indications they’ll take a run at Brad Richards and could also be in the market for a goalie if they can’t bring back UFA Tomas Vokoun. They have Brian Campbell now as a top-end defenseman, but could use more depth on the blueline. Up front, they have holes to fill after cutting Niclas Bergfors and Steve Bernier loose and, Richards or not, will look to upgrade in any case.

Montreal — The Canadiens have a need on defense. They’ve said goodbye to UFA’s James Wisniewski, Brent Sopel, Paul Mara and Alexandre Picard, and re-upped Andrei Markov and Hal Gill but their a one-year offer to Roman Hamrlik was turned down. So they may shop for a veteran defenseman (although they do have Yannick Weber, who they re-signed as an RFA, and will give long looks to spring signings Alexsey Yemelin and Rafael Diaz). The public pressure to deal Scott Gomez to a team that needs to reach the floor may not have an impact, but he would free up huge cap space for the Habs to chase a more productive big-time center. Of course, there really isn’t one available other than Brad Richards. In any case, they’ll be looking to fill spots up front, having not qualified Benoit Pouliot and Tom Pyatt. They also may be looking for a goalie to play backup to workhorse Carey Price, having yet to sign UFA Alex Auld.

New Jersey –The lack of a head coach will have some impact on free agents considering the Devils as their destination. And the massive Ilya Kovalchuk contract and need to get a deal done with Zach Parise may keep New Jersey relatively inactive and preferring the cheaper alternative of their own young prospects. They need a backup goalie and if they’re still not convinced about ’05 draftee Jeff Frazee, UFA Johan Hedberg has said he’d return. Some of their needs on the blueline — where they got inconsistent play from last year’s UFA signees Henrik Tallinder and Anton Volchenkov — may have been answered on draft day when Adam Larsson fell to Number 4. That’s if he’s actually NHL-ready and the potential star d-man he’s touted to be. The Devils could lose UFA Andy Greene — there’s no indication which way that will go, but regardless they have lots of depth on D in their organization. (Though they didn’t qualify Anssi Salmela to avoid the 10 percent raise or risk an arbitration contract, he could be brought back after July 1). However, most of that depth is young and no one is as promising as Larsson, so perhaps GM Lou Lamoriello will look for a veteran blueliner if Greene departs, preferably an inexpensive one. Similarly, they may find a bargain depth forward, but the Devs are more likely to promote from within (Adam Henrique could win a spot at center) to keep costs down.

New York Islanders — Signing Christian Ehrhoff after they got his rights from Vancouver would have been a big coup for the Isles, bolstering his needy defense corps and helping the team reach the salary cap floor. But he wasn’t interested and they dealt his rights a day later to Buffalo. That’s the problem the Isles face in free agency: It’s hard for this struggling team to attract big name talent even if they try to overpay them. Now, GM Garth Snow will cast his line into the shallow pool of defenders. While there is great uncertainty in goal with the surgeon’s best friend, Rick DiPietro, unsigned Evegeni Nabokov, and last year’s surprise, Al Montoya, there’s no need to look elsewhere at the moment. The good young core up front returns although with the loss of Doug Weight to retirement, Snow may try — or be forced — to pick up an experienced UFA forward or two if only to make the cap floor.

New York Rangers — Considered the leader in the Brad Richards sweepstakes, New York also lacks a big shot from the point on the power play with Bryan McCabe a UFA. So expect GM Glen Sather to also shop in that market. The buy-out of Chris Drury (which allows the Blueshirts to keep Sean Avery and Wojtek Wolski) makes affording Richards possible, but also creates a spot for a versatile veteran depth center if Richards goes elsewhere. They’ll have the cap space.

Ottawa – After a housecleaning last winter and a new coach in Paul MacLean, the Senators’ first priority is to produce offense. So it’s not impossible to envision them taking a run at forwards who have some history of putting up points. But that comes with a big caveat: GM Bryan Murray’s recent cracks at free agency — Alex Kovalev and Sergei Gonchar, for example — didn’t go well and most of this year’s crop of forwards have been inconsistent, so why go there again? There is some thought that Murray might rather rebuild with youth from the trade market (see: the recent deal for Nikita Filatov) and develop from within (Ryan Keller, Bobby Butler) as he’s done on the blueline. Except for Gonchar, Murray has made the defense corps younger, starting with Eric Karlsson and probably continuing with David Rundblad and Jared Cowen. So if ownership and management think the fans can hang in, patience will be the new mantra. Indications are, however, that they will hunt for a backup to Craig Anderson, but that could be it. They have a very strong AHL goalie prospect in Robin Lehner, but following his terrific Calder Cup playoff, they will probably keep him in Binghamton so he can get regular work rather than sit and watch Anderson, assuming Anderson doesn’t falter.

Philadelphia – After last week’s big deals, we no longer know just what to expect from those wacky Flyers.

Pittsburgh — The Pens have only $6.4 million in cap space remaining, the least in the league. After signing Pascal Dupuis and placing a $2 million offer to bring back Jaromir Jagr, their next order of business is seeing if they can reach a restructured deal with Tyler Kennedy, who they didn’t qualify and is now a UFA. Bidding farewell to Alex Kovalev, Eric Goddard and perhaps Mike Rupp and popular Stanley Cup hero Max Talbot opens the door to look for depth at forward, although — like the Devils — salary cap restrictions could mean they will be bargain hunting. If they sign Jaromir Jagr, it won’t be for big money.

Tampa Bay – There have been rumors that they are in the Brad Richards hunt, but keeping RFA Steve Stamkos has to be the priority (and, anyway, you have to wonder how they would manage the ice time for centers Richards, Stamkos and Vinny Lecavalier, any of whom could be top line guys). Like Stamkos, Teddy Purcell is also an RFA who was qualified by the Bolts and they would prefer to keep him, too. It appears that Simon Gagne is gone and if Sean Bergenheim’s excellent playoff performance propels him into a plump free agent contract elsewhere, GM Steve Yzerman will have some big spots to fill up front. UFA Adam Hall will return. Even though they signed UFA Eric Brewer and RFA Bruno Gervais (acquired from the Islanders during the draft), the Lightning would ideally like to upgrade on defense. Stevie Y doesn’t have to worry about goal: he re-upped potential UFA Dwayne Roloson for a year.

Toronto – The Leafs desperately need a top line center to go with Phil Kessel and they want to be in the Brad Richards hunt, but if Richards wants to play for a Stanley Cup contender, he’ll be better off playing elsewhere. Qualified RFA Tyler Bozak had the Number 1 center role last season, but GM Brian Burke doesn’t see him there going forward. Toronto is short on reliable scoring elsewhere and Burke will likely focus on producing offense whether or not Richards is in the Leafs’ picture. Tim Brent, who played well as Toronto’s fourth-line center and penalty killer last season, is a UFA. He’d like to stick around, but will probably hit the market, so that’s a spot Burke may have to fill. He’s acquired Max Talbot’s rights from the Penguins, so perhaps that’s the direction things will go.

Washington — With five players from last season (forwards Jason Arnott, Marco Sturm, Matt Bradley and Boyd Gordon, and d-man Scott Hannan) apparently going UFA on Friday, GM George McPhee has some spots to fill, although draft day acquisition Troy Brouwer gives the Caps added toughness and Stanley Cup experience, something that’s not always easy to find in free agency. There are reports that RFA goalie Semyon Varlamov may bolt for the KHL, but Washington has depth in goal and they’ll still have his NHL rights. Capitals Nation exhaled when McPhee got potential UFA Brooks Laich to re-up on a six-year deal this week. The soft UFA market made him an attractive name in media speculation, but the versatile Laich, a leader on this team, wasn’t really considering going elsewhere. Some thought is being given to making Laich the Caps second line center next season, in which case there would be an opening on wing for a free agent signing.

Winnipeg – With a new hockey department and a need to impress the new fan base, will the Jets try to make a splash and chase some big names, the few that are out there, or adopt a patient approach by continuing to build with youth? GM Kevin Cheveldayoff indicated that the team’s philosophy was not to spend more money but spend it wisely, so perhaps the will lean toward the latter. The Jets may have some holes to fill up front after they didn’t qualify Robbie Schremp or Anthony Stewart, turning both loose on the free agent market.

169 Comments

  1. and this guy here knows it

    Shane Oliver
    http://www.Sholi2000.com Inc.
    Custom Sports Figures
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    hockey@sholi2000.com
    Ph- 204 724 8418

  2. SI Int

    Shane Oliver
    http://www.Sholi2000.com Inc.
    Custom Sports Figures
    Brandon, MB,Canada
    R7B 2R7
    hockey@sholi2000.com
    Ph- 204 724 8418

  3. Kramby says:

    Wiz gets 6 years 33mil? WTF! No way he is worth that.

  4. CHsam says:

    Hahahah. Dave Stubbs tweets:

    Does Avery know Wiz has signed with the BJs ?

    LMAO

  5. Chuck says:

    Did anyone remember to set PG’s alarm clock for this morning?

  6. habsfan0 says:

    While the Wiz’s shortcomings on defence have been rightfully noted, good defensive play can be taught…unlike innate offensive abilities. If Larry Robinson was an assistant coach on this team, I suspect he would have helped Wiz immeasurably in this area.

  7. kempie says:

    K, so here’s me as a GM for the 40 minutes: First call is for Fleischman, make an offer. Next call is for Cole, make an offer. See who calls back first. While I wait, I see what’s up with Upshall, Connolly & Langenbrunner. And if Jagr calls, tell him I’ll speak to him in about 3 minutes.

  8. Hobie Hansen says:

    Twitter:

    RealKyper Nick Kypreos
    Look for #Bluejackets contract with Wisniewski to be front loaded like many we are seeing. 7-9M with signing bonus in 1st few years.

    • arya13 says:

      Get that money in before the next CBA rolls back all salaries 25%!

      With the NBA/NFL locked out, seems like NHL stars are going to be the ones frequenting the hot spots this year. Now I see why Richards wants to go to New York!

      MaxPac will raise 2 Stanley Cups in his career to show Chara that his is worth nothing.

    • slapshot777 says:

      If Columbus signs the Wiz doesn’t that 7th pick move to a 5th. I thought I read that somewhere. Anyone know anything on that?

      To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.

  9. punkster says:

    And to all you Wiz experts…raspberry!

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  10. punkster says:

    Way off topic but, hey, we need a little background music for the feeding frenzy today.
    Saw this awesome New York band last night at the jazz fest. Salsa dura baby! Nothing like it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2Gj319NBGU

    ***Subbang Baby!!!***

  11. Habs should have gotten a better 5th round pick for Wisniewski.

    • arya13 says:

      Or atleast a 4th/6th, then if the CBJ actually do good, we’d be higher up in that round, now lower! But it’ll probably be a mid-pack pick so it wouldn’t have made a difference.

      MaxPac will raise 2 Stanley Cups in his career to show Chara that his is worth nothing.

  12. SeriousFan09 says:

    James Wisniewski: 6 years, 33 million dollars. a 5.5 per year cap hit, I guess he likes the idea of being the best defencemen on Columbus and a pile of money to go with it.

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  13. sally122 says:

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    SK is RFA! Trade for his rights. Then package SK74/AK46/Diaz and a pick to Calgary for Jarome Iginla and a promise that Alouettes will tank it if they play Calgary in CFL GreyCup.

  14. Hobie Hansen says:

    Twitter:

    TSNBobMcKenzie Bob McKenzie
    Confirming James Wisniewski to CBJ for 6 years at $33M.

  15. habby27 says:

    CBJ sign D James Wisniewski. Six years, $33 million.

  16. kempie says:

    Man, I’ve got a feeling that Wisniewski is gonna have a very good afternoon. Dude is gonna be paid today.

  17. icemachine says:

    Michal Handzus looks to be available, bet he’d love a chance to play in Montreal. He may be declining a bit but a couple years at 3.5 per would be allright by me to get the big Slovak

    Its time to switch to whiskey, we’ve been drinkin’ beer all night

  18. habby27 says:

    If PG doesn’t do anything on this day, it would not be a bad thing.
    I like our team. We have the guys that can do it.
    (need to sign Georges though)

    • issie74 says:

      Yes we do need to sign Georges.His friend (O’Byrne who was booed out of town by Hab fans)has signed a new contract with the Avalanche.

      NorthTOHab

    • arya13 says:

      I agree, the team isn’t terrible and from the deals seen in the past week, everyone seems willing to throw cash at almost anyone. I’d rather keep some cap space, trade for a top 6 F when we need it, than jump into this silliness head first.

      MaxPac will raise 2 Stanley Cups in his career to show Chara that his is worth nothing.

  19. Hobie Hansen says:

    Twitter:

    TSNBobMcKenzie Bob McKenzie
    MIN re-signs goalie Harding to 1 year deal at $750K.

  20. boing007 says:

    Richard R
    Not signing The Wiz really steams me up. Every time I think about it.
    The Rangers got a 4th rounder for Drury and PG only got a 7th for Wiz.
    Feeble GM.

  21. Mattyleg says:

    He wouldn’t be second in scoring on the Habs. Or any other team with any kind of depth.
    Btw, it’s impossible to reply to posts with smartphones. Sorry for all the new threads.

  22. SmartDog says:

    PG seems pretty good at landing small fish. But I’ve yet to see any evidence he has the savvy to make the most of opportunity or seriously address the bigger and long-standing needs in a good way.

    IF PG:
    – Doesn’t move Spacek or Gomez
    – Doesn’t land a solid top 6 forward
    …then can we agree he’s just not up to swimming with the sharks?

    And if he DOES do both of these things, I will agree that he has more stones than I thought. Especially if he lands one of the better forwards and addresses team toughness too. I mean, this is his job right? To address the team’s needs, not play around 4th line shuffles.

    Related, I see no reason why Auld isn’t signed. Why waste your time and concentration in the UFA market on goalies when we have an allstar already in net and a guy who proved himself to be a decent back-up for him. What we need are GOALS not GOALIES. Why Auld isn’t just a done deal so the Habs brass can look at forwards I don’t get.

    • G-Man says:

      No. Much as you hate their contracts and harp incessantly upon them, still no. Every GM has problem contracts. Habs don’t bury theirs in the minors like idiots do.

      • Chris says:

        Idiots like Lou Lamoriello, who has been one of the best GM’s of this generation and started this trend when he buried Alexander Mogilny, a very popular and still somewhat productive player, in the minors?

        • G-Man says:

          He’s done very well the last 8 seasons, yes?

          • Bill J says:

            Not last summer, cough cough Kovalchuk.

            Without mentioning, all the talent that has walked away from NJ. Lou WAS good, not so much of late. Once Brodeur is done, Lou will be done soon thereafter.

            His streak is done.

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          Lou has done nothing but mishandle the salary cap and watch his team’s cornerstone (Any #1 to #4 defencemen) leave the team and go to market since the lockout ended, along with offer bad contracts to secondary players to submitting a cap-circumvention contract so obvious, his team got slapped with fines and penalized draft picks. He has not managed the Devils well since the salary cap was brought in.

          – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
          SF09 on Twitter

          • issie74 says:

            Lou was the guy who set up the salary cap and was not able to circumvent it when he needed to do so for his team.
            I don’t blame him for Kovalchuk though,that was by all accounts an owners decision.
            I have no idea how this club stays afloat.
            No fans and a huge new building.

            NorthTOHab

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      I don’t expect him to be able to move those two players SmartDog so I won’t fault him for that.

      He should be able to land a top 9 forward but if the day ends without Gauthier getting some toughness to surround our very good core with I’ll be aggravated.

      Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock…

    • JayBee says:

      Who are you going to replace Gomez with? That’s the problem right there. So you bury him in the minors or trade him. Who are you going to get to play 2nd line center. And don’t mention Lars or DD.

      • Hobie Hansen says:

        It would probably be worth having Desharnais at center if we could unload Gomez.

        Heck I’d play Weber as our 2nd line center if it meant we could get rid of that contract.

        • JayBee says:

          This is just ridiculous. DD would get eaten alive.

          • Hobie Hansen says:

            I’m not saying Desharnais would be the answer but if it meant suffering with him until a trade was made or another player could be brought in it would be worth shedding that contract.

          • JayBee says:

            OK, so you remove a popular locker room guy and replace him with a 2nd year undrafted, 5’6 player? I don’t think the guys would take that too well. You’re basically throwing in the towel. And if so, then the Habs should be sellers.

            In addition, you say they can go after a 2nd line center. Good centermen are rare, and are usually locked up to ridiculous contracts. In addition, who can the habs trade to get a good centerman? It’s easier said than done.

      • Clay says:

        It’s not difficult to replace a 7 goal scorer.

        __________________________
        Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

        Winston Churchill

        • JayBee says:

          Imagine if Gauthier got rid of Price when he had a weak season. Imagine if Plekanec was traded when he had a 39pt season. I think the best thing to do is stick with Gomez and see if he can rebound. You blame Gomez for 7 goals…well, who actually scores on this team besides Gio? Cam had 19, Pleks had 20?. Gomez has never been a big scorer. He’s a passer…so I don’t get this whole 7 goals nonsense. He’s not here to score goals.

          • Clay says:

            He’s not here to to anything of any value, apparently.
            And what’s this nonsense about him having ‘one bad season’? He’s been on the decline for years. Steadily.
            If you like him, that’s your prerogative. Me, I think he’s a nice guy who is a waste of 7.3 million dollars in the salary cap era. FFS man – he’s almost making Crosby money, but only contributes a small fraction of what Crosby brings to a team.
            But feel free to accept mediocrity.

            __________________________
            Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

            Winston Churchill

          • Bob_Sacamano says:

            Come on, stop defending Gomez. He is finished and everyone knows that. Pleks had one weak season, so had Price but both were much younger than Gomez whose production has been declining for years and he now had two bad seasons while getting paid 16 m (yes, his cap hit is a little bit lower)!

            You don´t want to blame him for scoring 12 and 7 goals, he is not here to score goals? Well, 15 goals would be the minimum for a second line center and I don´t even want to think about his salary. Seriously do you know a worse shooter among NHL top 6 forwards? I don´t.

            7 goals would be decent on the fourth line, acceptable on the third but with more than 18 minutes per game on the second? That´s a joke and when you mention he´s a passer: Good for him, but 31 assists aren´t that impressive and when I think about his ridiculous giveaways…

            I also really doubt a 7.3 m player who scores 7 goals is that popular in the dressing room. He might be a nice guy, he certainly can be funny but when things aren´t going well, “your big guys” have to be leaders on the ice and Gomez isn´t.

            If we both give Eller and DD the chance to center the second line, one of them will manage to do a better job than Gomez. There´s no doubt in my mind.

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      If you’re against lousy contracts, why want PG to be active on a day where teams seem prepared to pay stupid amounts of money for secondary talents?

      Ehrhoff just got a lifetime contract. Laich without even going to UFA got what would have been the low pitch today. Kopecky got 3M per in FLA. This is a day for PG to send out reasonable offers and if the guys like Cole and Gagne don’t bite, well too bad because if you insist MTL can’t take on overpriced contracts July 1st this year is a bad day to insist for bold action.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

    • Are you insinuating that you know the canadiens need more than PG?

    • twocents says:

      SmartDog,
      Did you catch the story on Pouliot’s exit interveiw? It pretty much contradicted much of what you claim as Martin’s faults.

      Apparently Martin communicated clearly and directly with the player, several times, and that his message was much the same as what Pouliot has heard before. Before, as in Jacques Lemaire, before.

  23. Rugger says:

    I’m going to miss all of the excitement. Helping our youngest move into her first apartment (behind Fenway park, downtown Boston – 5 minute walk to her Masters program). Empty nest symptoms will probably not hit us until tomorrow.

  24. habby27 says:

    Imagine if Habs traded Gomez and sign Jagr and Richards.
    In a perfect world…

  25. t1tan5 says:

    With this FA crop, teams will inevitably end up way overpaying players for their services. I realize that this happens every year, but this year’s product is far worse in terms of overall quality than other years. As a result, a player that would be getting 4 years and 20 million in 2010 would get something like 6 years and 30 million in 2011. I hope PG doesn’t do anything stupid and I would be happy if he just signed a couple bottom 6 players for cheap.

  26. JohnBellyful says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Jagr become a Hab for a year (I have the same wish for Gomez). I think there’s enough gas in the tank that he could make a meaningful contribution to the Canadiens’ offence, which could use some octane. I really can’t give a strong argument in support of this warm and fuzzy feeling, at least none that would withstand the withering scrutiny of passionate Hab fans who hold an opposing view. Statistics are not my bailiwick. Facts can be cumbersome.
    Just put it down to HIO intuition — unassailable, irrefutable.
    If the Habs sign him, I’m a genius. (Okay, and everyone else who said the same thing.)
    If he succeeds — I — okay, we told you so.
    If he bombs — stupid Martin didn’t use him right.

  27. Hobie Hansen says:

    So Vancouver resigns Salo!

    They never give up on this guy. He’s hurt every year it seems?

  28. Mattyleg says:

    Jaybee calls anyone who doesn’t think that D’Ags is a great player a hater. He did it to me too.

    • JayBee says:

      Where and when did I say he was great? All I said is you’re trashing a guy who would be second in scoring on your team. How does that make you look?

      You clearly don’t understand the real reason why he was not qualified.

  29. New says:

    If I was management I would avoid arbitration because it is time consuming, adversarial, and the results are random. You can’t plan for random, insulting each other is never a great start to a relationship, and summer is short. Better to say “Well then go out and see what you can get. If you still want to play here bring it back and we’ll try and match it or come close. If we can’t, well come to the August BBQ anyway.”

    If I was Jagr’s agent I would do a Shanahan/Sundin and throw Montreal into the mix because they have a lot of media ready to hype the story. So does TO but Burke is a wild card and would come out and deny it right off. Montreal will keep quiet or compliment the player’s abilities.

    If I was a player wanting to crack the NHL I would wonder how I was to do that if everyone wanted six NHL D-Men with top four experience, or forwards already getting 40 points a season. I would wonder exactly how a kid was supposed to break in.

  30. There’s rumor out there when Stamkos signs a contract with Tampa,the lightning will have to get rid some contracts. Apparently Tampa is shopping Ryan Malone(4.5 millions/y,3y left),canadiens are interested and he might be available for cheap because of his contract.If this is true then this might be the best FA addition to the canadiens IMO.This guy is a beast,and would create alot space for pleck and cammy.

  31. JayBee says:

    PG will sign a small, aging, 13th forward and a backup.

    That’s all I expect.

  32. twocents says:

    @coutNY
    The Blues have 21 million in cap space, and already have 18 skaters under contract. If they thought D’ags was a legitimate top six forward, which is what the whiners claim he is, they would have qualified him.

    Besides, teams can walk away from an arbitration ruling if they want. Or they could have qualified and traded.

    This can be spun anyway people like, but it boils down to D’ags not being as good as his 21 goals suggest and the fact that the Blues gave up a prospect and now have nothing to show for it despite having an option on D’Ags’ rights.

    • Old Bald Bird says:

      What I understood is that they want him but not at the price he’d likely get in arbitration. We shall see.

      • twocents says:

        What’s the threat? That an arbitrator would award him a top six kind of salary? If they thought he was a top six, they wouldn’t be worried, they’d make him a reasonable offer and take the risk knowing they could walk away if they don’t like the number that results. They clearly don’t think he’s worth that and is not a top six.

        Which is my only point. He’s not what some people here portray him to be, or twat his stats last year would suggest. He’s a depth player who can score some goals when given ice time, but who is a bit of liability in other aspects of his game. That’s what he is, and as such he is a complimentary piece and nothing more. And that’s how they’d like to pay him.

        Our problem is not really one of complimentary pieces, it’s of front line players. Dags’ is not a front line player and his rather one dimensional game doesn’t fit this team’s style.

  33. Ian Cobb says:

    Good Morning boys and girls!

    HAPPY CANADA DAY !

    Enjoy !

  34. habsfan0 says:

    Pierre Gauthier: 30 years NHL experience..0 Stanley Cups
    Jacques Martin: 30 years NHL experience..0 Stanley Cups

    “What’s past is prologue” William Shakespeare

    Too bad there isn’t a free agency period for signing GMs.
    I’m sure NHL teams would be tripping over themselves in their haste to sign Gauthier.

  35. Critical-MASS says:

    Stupid question but what time duz the frenzy start?Is it noon eastern time?

    …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

  36. Marc10 says:

    Wiz thanks the fans in Montreal… Class act the Wiz. I hope Detroit pays him a ton.

    Come on Pierre. Let’s load up.

    “To be irreplaceable, you have to be different”.
    Andy Warhol

    Go PK Go!

  37. CanadienBoy says:

    Sad that we are the only teams with a GM who can not unload players with bad contracts .

    • habs03 says:

      lol, who is out there that you would like us to sign that you think we don’t have the money for? We have money to spend. Lets say Gomez is buried in the AHL or wtv, who are we signing for the 2nd line, please don’t say DD or Eller?

      • CanadienBoy says:

        Actually both players are ready and could use the extra ice time and responsibility, DD on the power play anytime !

          • CanadienBoy says:

            DD 43GP = 22P , Gomez 80 GP = 38 P . DD younger cheaper and could be the next St.Louis in the making

          • Bob_Sacamano says:

            Either one of them would get the job done as they both have the talent. And what could they actually do worse? Some still see the two time SC Champion and the former 70-80 point scorer in Gomez. I see a 9 goal scorer (12 and 7 in two full seasons with us) who is just not good enough (anymore). Send him to Hamilton, sign Handzus to a 1 year contract for the third line and give both DD and Eller the chance to center the second line.

            A second line with Pacioretty – Eller – Kostitsyn would be so much better than the Moen – Gomez – Gionta (I have nothing against Brian but the other two…) crap we often saw last season.

    • Hobie Hansen says:

      Gomez is a bad contract for sure and yes we’re stuck with Spacek for the season but you look at some of those 8-10 year contacts that other teams are stuck with…

      If i was a GM I would never sign a contract for more than 4 years unless the guy was Crosby, Gretzky or Lemieux.

      Gomez has been a real lesson in that regard.

      • CanadienBoy says:

        Agree ,but bury Gomez and let Eller and DD compete for the ice time
        and sing Talbot to go from 2 to 4 line dutys just in case

      • issie74 says:

        Washington Capitals – Michael Nylander.

        NorthTOHab

      • Rugger says:

        What, you do not think it was wise of Buffalo to sign a D-man for a decade? What is the average career duration for a D-man, gotta be no more than 8 years.

      • arya13 says:

        Except with the new CBA coming into force, most of these contracts will probably be scaled back, some years chopped off, or possibly the GM will be forced to sign a new one.

        Then there is always the 2 week grace period to drop all contracts after the CBA. I’m sure many teams are thinking, we can gamble this year with the high cap and if it doesn’t work cut our losses next. Now quite a classy move to a player but, if you get 2x as much as you deserve for a year, you cannot really complain…

        I think that’s also JM’s plan. Gomez for another year then trade the contract or just cut it in the grace period. Unless Gomez really picks it up, he’s gone next year for sure. Or atleast his contract, the grace period means he could end the contract and renegotiate a new one.

        MaxPac will raise 2 Stanley Cups in his career to show Chara that his is worth nothing.

      • CanadienBoy says:

        Right on ,i like to see Talbot as 3 line center

    • issie74 says:

      Take heart CanadienBoy the last time Spacek had a career year …. he was in the last year of a contract.

      NorthTOHab

  38. habstrinifan says:

    SK is RFA! Trade for his rights. Then package SK74/AK46/Diaz and a pick to Calgary for Jarome Iginla and a promise that Alouettes will tank it if they play Calgary in CFL GreyCup.

    • G-Man says:

      Like Iginla a lot, but he is a Flame for life. Think Lanny MacDonald II.

      • shootdapuck says:

        The LAFFS said the same thing when they drafted him 4th from Medicine Hat Tigers WCJHL.

        … the fans of the Boston Bruins now have lost forever any right to complain that “the league” is out to get their team, and that the Montreal Canadiens have some kind of pull inside the NHL home office.

        Charles P. Pierce – Boston Globe

    • RGM says:

      I am sure that Calgary would love to take our garbage and an unproven prospect for their franchise player.

      During the long summer, we all get to be pretend GM.

  39. habstrinifan says:

    Hope Dredger is wrong .. hope HABS not in on Jagr sweepstakes.

  40. G-Man says:

    What? No live blogging of UFA Day with sidetracks to the Kate and Wills visit? I am shocked, HIO.

  41. b_whalen13 says:

    Dreger just tweeted that the Habs are still in play for Jagr, along with Pitts, Det, and one other team(not flyers).

  42. HabFanSince72 says:

    Have we signed anyone yet?

  43. Hobie Hansen says:

    OK Gauthier,

    I’m at work getting paid double time and a half with absolutely nothing to do except monitor the signings on the web…DON”T LET US DOWN THERE BUDDY!

    You’ve done good already with the Hamrlik, Pouliot and Pyatt situations so lets fill the gap they left with a couple solid UFAs.

    Go Habs GO!

  44. twocents says:

    @JayBee
    Regarding D’Agostini: he was RFA, if he wanted too much money, as you claim, he still could have been qualified and traded. What this indicates is that his overall value is not in line with his goal totals from last year. The Blues saw what we saw.

    @Bill
    Of course I think the Habs could improve their “asset management”, but when things are put into league perspective they aren’t nearly as bad as what some here portray. The rules are designed to force organizations to move players they don’t value enough to commit to. There is a constantly refreshed group of new prospects pushing organizations to make assessments of older players and create opportunities for the new kids. The fact that the Habs have moved so many young players in the last two or three years is an indication that player recruitment and development is healthy in the quantitative department.

    But the whole “asset management” perspective doesn’t fit very well in sports, because these are humans beings and there is more to them than just measures, like stats. Furthermore, stats themselves can easily obscure a players overall impact on a team, which in the end is all successful organizations care about. They aren’t pieces of jewelery or machines, whose nearly every aspect can be quantified.

    A great many of the players used as examples of Habs’ management folly are not the catches some people portray them to be now that they’re gone and the return some have brought is not nearly as poor as others like to make out.

    Sure there are examples of mistakes, I think the Latendresse/Pouliot situation may prove to be one. And, I certainly wish we had kept O’Byrne by the middle of the season. But most are not clear cut and only time will tell. Who knows what kind of player Bournival will be. In many cases the grass is always greener syndrome is in play.

    The only time some people lay off on this angle is when the players in question end up out the league within a year or two. Expecting every player moved to not find a useful role somewhere is a good way to seldom be satisfied.

    The underlying problem here is less asset management, as it is the inability, for various reasons, to develop a stream of top end talent. With the arrival of Price, Subban, Pacioretty and hopefully more to come in the next few years, this will hopefully change and perhaps we can stop whining about the spare parts we set free.

    • coutNY says:

      The word on D’ago is that they did not want to Qualify him here in ST. Louis because they were affraid of what he might get in arbitration. Along with a Qualify offer he would have had the right of an arbitration hearing.

    • JayBee says:

      @twocents

      Just like Tyler Kennedy?

      I don’t know what your hard on is for DAgostini, all I said is he’s a 21 goal scorer that would have been 2nd on the team….yet you don’t think he’s useful.

      The hate has clearly clouded you judgement.

      • twocents says:

        It’s not hate JayBee, I don’t hate D’ags, but I think the arguments that he was a great loss are weak. I don’t believe he would score 21 goals here, I don’t think his goals make up for his short comings otherwise, and I don’t think he is a a top six player on a good team. Apparently, he’s not even a top six on a non-playoff team, unless they are decimated by injury.

        The history of the NHL is littered with players who were able to pot 20 or so a couple of times in their careers and still were not any where near top six forwards.

        Peirre Dagenais once scored 17 in 50 games for us, and he still couldn’t stick in the NHL. Would you want him back?

        I am harping on D’ags because he’s a great example of the grass is always greener syndrome. Not because I hate him, I have nothing against him.

  45. Critical-MASS says:

    i didnt realize these guys were ufa’s…we could use any of these guys!:
    —–Cam Barker,Michal Handzus,Tomas Fleishman,Scottie Upshall,and hey we ought ta bring back Chris Higgins!I love that guy.

    …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

  46. HabinBurlington says:

    Where did HI/O get these team scouting reports? Tmz sports? We don’t need any forwards just d-men?

    • Critical-MASS says:

      we could use help at any position man,lets not kid ourselves.

      …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

    • Stuck_in_To. says:

      Gorges is not signed, Yemelin has never played in the NHL, and I don’t think even us fans think Diaz is supposed to come over and step right into the rotation. That leaves:

      Gill-Subban
      Markov-Spacek
      Webber –

      Who am I missing? Everyone here has penciled Yemelin in — and I agree it is most probable — but I think the pundits actually want a player to have NHL experience before the unquestionably assign him to the roste. Habs needing a D man is a sensible position for a hockey writer to take. Of course, that D man might be Gorges and they’ll still feel justified. Just saying.

  47. JohnBellyful says:

    NBA locks out players! Could be long, could be bitter. Habs should jump right in, sign some seven-foot-monster to a temp contract, teach him to skate — these guys are athletes so it shouldn’t take long — and then dress him for first game against Bruins.

  48. G-Man says:

    Happy Canada Day. Happy UFA Day! Or, as we say in Montreal, Happy Moving Day!

    Good Hunting, PG! Bring us home a winner. Or 2.

  49. Rugger says:

    Stopped reading after the Florida section – offer sheet both Doughty and Stamkos? Not legal after the first you have no first round picks for 4 years. Plus Florida is a top 5 pick most likely for several years. At least be realistic.

    • Bill J says:

      I seem to remember Scott Stevens being compensation for StLouis signing Shanahan as a RFA, as StLouis did not have 1st rounders, as they where given to WAS for Stevens the year before.

      I could be wrong, still haven’t had my coffee.

      Oh, and if Florida got both Doughty & Stamkos, they would not be top-5 picks for several years anymore….

  50. Captain aHab says:

    I’m hoping for a gritty forward and use the kids to fill the rest of the positions. That way we’ll have cash to spend when needs arise instead of just draft picks.

  51. Critical-MASS says:

    Aparrrrrantley Sergei Kostitysn missed the qualifying deadline to sign with preds
    ….therefore….
    wait 4 it….

    making him a ufa and free to sign anywhere!Like in HABLAND….I just kidding.. heheh
    …but he is ufa now;)

    …..You’ll never get to heaven if you’re scared of getting high…..

  52. habstrinifan says:

    Disagree with the assessment of what HABS need. They dont need defense so much as they need a shane O’brien type on defense to ‘protect’ to bring grit dimensio. Their defense is stacked right now and needs only that type player.. not to be a go to guy but a push back guy.

    Same on offense. No UFA will come in and score 30 plus goals. I f the kids like Palushaj etc a chance. But add a big intense mean presence. Like Stewart.

    Cheap solution both while going with our youth.

  53. arcosenate says:

    Well, here’s the first most ridiculous statement of the ufa signings:

    Regher: “You know it’s uncharacteristic of us to give up a fourth round draft pick.”

    I find the $40 million contract a good deal more uncharacteristic.

    And the owner is still talking about Brad Richards, but they’ll need more cap space, I wouldn’t mind helping them out by taking Brad Boyes off their hands…

  54. Mike D says:

    Can’t help but think that the most exciting thing for us Habs fans to look forward to tomorrow will be to see if we actually move Gomer or Spatch. I really can’t see us making any big moves in the FA market, especially considering there really isn’t many exciting names out there.

    – Honestly yours

  55. ClutchNGrab says:

    I’m having a hard time understanding the buzz around July first. As we’ve seen more and more after the lockout, especially because of the salary floor, most team will re-sign blue chip players. What is available on July 1st are leftovers, with the exception of one or two players. The best players will either be kept by their original team or traded away in exchange of some sort of assets, players or draft picks. By the way how many players were sign on July first last year and had a significant impact on the Stanley cup finalists? On a team that made the playoff?

  56. Chris says:

    You know what…I’m happy for the Sabres that they finally have an owner with deep pockets.

    1) I’ve always had a soft spot for old Adams Division teams. Except for Boston. They can be shot into the Sun. (Can we please bring back the Whalers?)
    2) They got royally screwed by the NHL on that Brett Hull goal. No guarantee they score later, but that was not a goal by the rules of the day. If that was Montreal, the riots would STILL be continuing.
    3) Losing all those good players because they had no money had to stink for their fan base. Let’s see how they do now that they can actually keep their own…the Sabres have always been good at developing good young players and/or salvaging guys cast off by other teams.
    4) I suspect when the divisions get re-aligned, there will be a move to put Buffalo in with the Rangers and Islanders to build a New York state rivalry, freeing up a slot in Montreal’s division for Detroit. Although come to think of it, the NHL would probably prefer Detroit to be in a division with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the Rangers to maximize their TV exposure.

    Anyways…10 years for Ehrhoff is probably going to burn them at the end, but good cap hit for a very good defenceman over the next 5 years.

    • TorontoHabsFan says:

      Yep, totally agree – it’s damn near impossible for me to hate Buffalo. Might have something to do with me going to school there for teacher’s college, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Sabres (doesn’t hurt that I’m a HUGE Lindy Ruff fan either).

      I think the Ehrhoff deal should be okay for them. To buy out the last 3 years of his deal will cost them $500k over 6 yrs…which is completely reasonable (it’s certainly much more reasonable than the Campbell deal in CHI – which seems to be the same kind of “let’s get a big name UFA to come here so we can show the rest of the league that we’re in business” deal.)

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Good post, I think all hab fans have a spot for sabers, loved watching the French connection, perreault should have been a hab! Plus we always beat them.

      • Chris says:

        Actually, that is one of the strange things…the Habs have had the upper hand in recent years, but just a few years ago, the Sabres and the Panthers were the only franchises with a career winning record against the Montreal Canadiens. I think the Habs are solidly on the right side of the line now, but it was an interesting stat.

        (I have to wonder if Tampa Bay doesn’t have our number now…they always seem to play well against the Habs.)

  57. 306Hab says:

    Tomorrows CH signings:

    re-sign BBAA
    land Anthony Stewart
    And ta-da…Jagr ftw!

  58. HABSGUARDIANANGEL says:

    who cares about the 29 other teams, lol

  59. Ice Storm says:

    My predictions for new Habs on the eve of a somewhat diluted pool of UFA’s…
    Johan Hedberg G
    Tomas Fleischmann F
    Ian White D

    Yours?

  60. zaq007 says:

    No mention of Gorges?

  61. JohnBellyful says:

    “Hi, Canada, it’s NHL Free Agent Frenzy 2011 on TSN. I’m James Duthie and I’ll be your host for the rest of the afternoon.
    You’re probably wondering why I’m not in the studio with the rest of the gang but here at home out on the deck taking it easy. People, it’s Canada Day, I got better things to do than drive into Toronto and recycle rumours that don’t pan out and then announce signings that have even the players involved yawning.
    So management agreed to let me stay at home and do the show from here. I’ve got my cellphone handy and if anything happens, I’ll let you know right away. Sure, we might not get the news out to you as quick as the other networks, radio shows and the kid next door who has a Twitter account, but is that so important? Folks, it’s the middle of summer – AND a holiday. The season doesn’t start for another few months. Finding out three minutes after everybody else is gonna ruin your day? If it does, well, we’re gonna help you dial it down by keeping the camera focused on the BBQ and you can watch the burgers and weenies slowly cook to perfection. It will be like those yule logs at Christmas.
    Oh we WILL get around to talking hockey. Bob, Darren, Gord, Mike, Michael and all the others will be dropping by later with the buns, snacks, salads and our favourite brews. Dave Hodge and his crew are bringing dessert. We’ll be sittin’ around, yakkin’ and yukkin’ it up, having a party, just like you will be, in celebration of a great country.
    Happy Birthday, Canada.

    [The original Hockey Night in Canada music starts playing] Well, fans, we have our first signing. Bobbie just texted me: The New York Islanders have signed Wade Belak for six months for $87,000. Bob says the deal is front-end loaded.
    There you have it, folks. The frenzy has started. But we’ll try to keep it low-key, okay.
    And be sure to stick around until 3 o’clock. We’re playing lawn darts and Pierre’s agreed – well, we’re pretty he will agree – to be the target.”

    — “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” –

    • Steven says:

      It would probably be a hell of a lot more interesting than the usual…

      Pierre: WELL I THINK THIS GUY’S GONNA GO HERE BECAUSE TEAM X NEEDS HIS SKILLSET AND TEAM Y SHOULD JUST STAY AWAY.
      *The cast throws it around to death*
      Duthie: I just got an update. There’s a report that this guy just got signed by Team X!
      Pierre: Told ya so.
      Duthie: No, wait, he got signed with Team Y because team X decided they didn’t need his skillset.


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