Thursday, July 1, 2010

Not So Free Agents

With so much going on, I figured it would be best to do one big wrap of the day's bigger signings, with quick looks at most of them:

Colby Armstrong to Toronto, 3 years, $9M: Leafs keep following Burke's plan, adding truculence. And Colby has leadership and some offensive skills. Good deal.

Matt Cullen to Minnesota, 3 years, $10.5M: Wild fans can expect a listless, uninterested, overpaid center who will decide to show up only when not feeling so homesick for Carolina that he calls into their broadcasts lamenting leaving Raleigh.

Dan Ellis to Tampa Bay, 2 years, $3M: Ellis will battle Mike Smith for starting time and hopefully that will make both better. Stevie Y is looking as smart off the ice as he was on it, adding Ellis and re-signing little Marty St. Louis. Tampa will be a lot better next season.

Kurtis Foster to Edmonton, 2 years, $3.6M: Big slap shot to go with good puck skills and some toughness, Sheldon Souray's replacement is younger, stronger and healthier. Good addition for Tom Renney's team.

Sergei Gonchar to Ottawa, 3 years, $16.5M: Gonchar keeps the same 5.5 salary he made with Pittsburgh and brings his sublime offensive skills to a team that desperately needs them. He is the Wade Redden replacement that they needed years ago and should hugely improve their power play with Spezza and Alfredsson.

Dan Hamhuis to Vancouver, 6 years, $27M: Canucks overpay for an overrated defender but after watching Luongo go swimming after rebounds last spring, they had to do something.

Olli Jokinen to Calgary, 2 years, $6M: Hahaha!! And I thought Sather would come through for Olli and we would all be left scratching our heads. Instead it is the poor Flames fans. Poor, poor Flames fans.

Toni Lydman to Anaheim, 3 years, $9M: Solid and steady Finn will help add stability to a blueline rocked by the loss of Niedermayer. Add in Saku Koivu re-upping, and the odds of Teemu coming through another season just jumped up.

Manny Malhotra to Vancouver, 3 years, $7.5M: Big money deal for our former top draft pick, Manny will be a rock in the middle for the Canucks. He can contribute on both sides of the ice and is stellar in the faceoff circle. That being said, a third liner making more than two mil a year is a lot ... but the Rangers pay theirs over seven so whatever ...

Chris Mason to Atlanta 2 years, $3.7M: Just in case Pavelic isn't ready, the Thrashers add a good goalie who can easily start 60 games and steal more than a few of them.

Paul Martin to Pittsburgh, 5 years, $25M: Amazing that Martin left Newark for just a 500k raise but how can you blame him? Martin gets a legitimate chance at a Stanley Cup run with the Pens. Pittsburgh doesn't replace Gonchar's offense but Martin helps in all three zones, not just the front two.

Zbynek Michalek to Pittsburgh, 5 years, $20M: When you consider the Pens added Martin too, this signing is HUGE. Michalek gets a massive raise from the 1.5 million he made last season but he is well worth the money, especially at just 26 years old.

Antero Niittymaki to San Jose, 2 years, $4M: It woulda been great to see the two 2006 Olympic gold medal game goaltenders holding court in New York but two mil a season for a backup is a bit much. San Jose was desperate to get someone in there and they got a guy who comes cheaper than the top flight but is capable of top flight goaltender. Sometimes.

Sean O’Donnell to Philadelphia, 1 year, $1M: Big, tough, smart and experienced, O'Donnell is a big addition for the Bullies. They make a huge improvement over Bartulis and Krajicek with O'Donnell and Andrej Meszaros.

Henrik Tallinder to New Jersey, 4 years, $13.5M: Another steady defender, Tallinder should quietly fit in and fill a third or fourth defenseman roll there.

Alex Tanguay to Calgary, 1 year, $1.7M: Tanguay took a 800k pay cut to go back to Calgary where he will reunite with Jarome Iginla and hopefully re-ignite his career.

Jody Shelley to Philadelphia, 3 years, $3.3M: What can you say? Philly adds class and toughness, perhaps even improving on Arron Asham, who is likely to sign elsewhere.

Ray Whitney to Phoenix, 2 years, $6M: The Wizard has serious skills, even at his age. He may take some ice time away from Prucha but he also may help Pru become a better player. The Yotes can certainly hope ...

Anton Volchenkov to New Jersey, 6 years, $25.5 M: Anton, meet Avery. Avery, meet Anton. Strong shot blocker should become close 'friends' with Sean this coming season.

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