02 July 2007
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?
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.
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