Day 1 Off-season Review

Well…………wasn’t that fun? I had such a blast watching all of this. At times I felt disappointed, excited, anxious, curious…. It was definitely an active day, more than I thought it would be. Now that Day 1 is done with, let’s review, shall we?I figure it is better to give my opinions, and yours, by taking some time mulling over what has gone down today. Well, it is 12 hours gone by and I’ve come up with some good opinions. Disagree with me? I’ll be up to the challenge.

Washington re-signs defenceman Mike Green to a four-year deal worth $21 million (average of $5.25 million per season).

Two thumbs up on this one. I was really surprised by Green this past season, especially under Budreau. The guy was as threatning as a top six forward. Imagine that? A defenseman that has such abilities to act as a fourth forward on the offense. Brilliant. There is no doubt that Green will be earn such a stipend in the near future, and possibly could even fetched more in a matter of only three years or so. Sure, it was his rookie year and the sophomore jinx curse can affect anyone, but he has superb skills to continue his career being a scoring threat. I claim this to be a WINNER

New Jersey agrees to terms with defenceman Bryce Salvador to a four-year deal worth $11.6 million (average of $2.9 million per season).

I am puzzled as to how this defenseman nearly doubled his salary from last season. He made $1.5M last season and now makes $3M. I ask, why? He is nothing more than a 3rd pair defenseman. Solid? Absolutely. Risk factor? None. Yet, how much could you pay a 5th…6th d-man $3M to barely reach double digit points and just be responsible in his own area? $2.5M would have been the extreme max for such a defenseman. Still, it’s not such a horrible contract, which the Devils have been known to give out in recent years, but was he THAT important to the Devils? Not like they got better with him in February either. I’ll call this as NEUTRAL. Not a winner, not a loser.

Carolina sign defenceman Anton Babchuk to a one-year deal worth $1 million.

So, after some contract disputes the Hurricanes gave in? Hey, this is actually a great deal for the Hurricanes. Babchuk is a solid defenseman, better fit for the 3rd pair. There’s so little risk in this deal. It’s only one year and it’s only $1M. Right, only….? Hell give me $1M. Anyway, I judge this to be a WINNER.

New Jersey re-signs forwards Jay Pandolfo (3 years, $7.5 million) David Clarkson (2 years, $1.675 million) and Barry Tallackson (undisclosed). Declines option on forward Sergei Brylin.

Many people would call the Pandolfo contract a bad one, but I disagree. Even as a Rangers fan, I know what this guy means to the Devils. He is a New Jersey Devil at heart. Sure, he may not be a producer offensively, but you know what he is other than just being a defensive 4th liner? He is identity. He is part of the definition of Devils hockey. Quickness, smarts, responsible, reliable, hard worker. Sometimes you need to refresh the team and let go of your old ingredients, and this is where Brylin comes in. Just ebcause the option was declined, does not mean the Devils will not re-sign him. Sergei Brylin is also part of the institution of Devils hockey. I can see him stay for a lesser price, and if let go then I can’t blame the Devils either. He is aging and let’s get real, they have fourth line players that are younger and cheaper. Tallackson was worth keeping, even though he doesn’t seem to be much of a fit in the new NHL. Clarkson was a good keep. Overall, I’m calling this Devils segment a WINNER.

Detroit Red Wings and veteran defenseman Brad Stuart have agreed to terms on a 4 year contract that averages 3.75 per year.

Nothing wrong with keeping part of the winning formula. I have never been a fan of Brad Stuart, but at least he finally found his comfort zone in the Motor City. While he may be slightly overpaid, though not by much, the Wings had every right to keep him at such a cost. Congratulations to Brad for reviving his career with a Stanley Cup ring. WINNER

Pittsburgh Penguins sign forward Pascal Dupuis to a three-year deal which will average $1.4-million per season.

Similar to Brad Stuart and the Wings, there is nothing wrong to keep part of the formula. Dupuis gets paid like a 3rd liner that contributes fairly well in all areas of the ice. There’s no question that he just wanted to be part of this team. Both sides win. WINNER

Anaheim re-sign forward Corey Perry to a five-year deal worth $26.625-million which will average $5.325-million a year.

For some reason, I still don’t feel thrilled about this contract. I guess it is a matter of time once he will reach 70-plus points. Obviously it had to be done for the Ducks as keeping your young core is essential. He has great potential and definitely worth investing in it. WINNER

Tampa Bay sign UFA forward Radim Vrbata to a $9-million, three-year contract.

Two thumbs up for this one. Vrbata may be inconsistent, but take into consideration that he played for a team that had little offensive skills. I like his style of game. He is an offensive threat. He is entering the prime years of a forward as well. He will provide a lot of offensive depth that the Bolts lacked on the wings. Stamkos will find himself with a lot of offensive support in the next few years. The contract is rather short and not a burden on the cap. WINNER

Vancouver signs RFA forward Kyle Wellwood to a 1 year deal worth $997,500.

Yes, he may have some personality issues, as I have heard through the Leafs fans grapevine. He still needs to mature and put more effort. Still, if he can stay healthy for 80 games, the guy has the potential to be a 50+ point scorer and at that price, he’s a bargain. Better yet, he is a STEAL. There is no risk here for the Canucks. They have nothing to lose and if it does not work out, putting him on waivers is not a hard task. Low salaried, with lots of potential. Excellent signing. WINNER

Minnesota Wild sign UFA forward Andrew Brunette to 3 year deal worth $7-million.

Back in Minnesota eh Andy? I think the guy definitely wanted to go to Minnesota as this contract is so ridiclously low for the kind of season he’s had. He is 35 (August) years of age, and when turning 38 he may just be a role player contributing little offensively. Still, at $2.3M a season it doesn’t hurt the team. Not one bit. He had 59 points this past season, and only gets $2.3M for it in this upcoming year? Fabulous. WINNER

Pittsburgh Penguins re-sign UFA defenceman Mark Eaton to a 2 year deal worth $4 million

So let me get this straight. Eaton played thirty-some-odd games without scoring a goal. Smart in his own zone as a 3rd pair guy, yet how on earth does he get $2M a season is beyond me. Was there a reason to even sign him today? There couldn’t possibly have been another team trying to “pry” him away from the Penguins. Nothing against Eaton, he’s a pretty good hockey player, but at $2M a season? Horrible. LOSER

Phoenix signs UFA defenceman Kurt Sauer to a 4 year deal worth an average of $1.75-million a year

Hence why I called Pittsburgh’s signing of Eaton as a “loser”. Kurt Sauer is actually a better defenseman than Eaton. This guy is so reliable that you wish every game he stays healthy. That’s the knock on this guy, health issues. Besides that, though, he is such a fluid skater for a guy his size (6’4, 220), not physical but just a smart defenseman. He reminds me of what Jessen Cullimore brings to a team, except Sauer is younger. Good signing for the Coyotes after losing their two top defensemen, although I wouldn’t necessarily call this a good substitute for either Boynton or Ballard. Boynton has that extra physical edge that made him more valuable. Nonetheless, at such a price getting a solid d-man? WINNER

Washington signs UFA goaltender Jose Theodore to a 2 year deal worth $9 million

I’ll call this one right away. NEUTRAL. Obviously, Cristobal Huet did not want to stay in Washington DC, so he moved on. As much as I like Jose’s skills, it seems like that every night he starts you don’t know what’s coming. Whenever I changed to the channel that aired Avs games, my first question was “what kind of Jose will I see tonight?” His salary did not decrease by much either. This guy should not be getting such a high salary for having such an up and down career. There are only two reasons why I did not tag this with “loser”. 1) I like Theodore’s goaltending skills. 2) It’s only a two year deal.

Colorado signs UFA goaltender Andrew Raycroft to a 1 year deal worth $800,000

………………………………… heh……hehe…..heheheh…..hehehehehehehe….hehehehahahah….HAHAHAHA…. HAAAAHHHHHAAAAAAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! (to be continued….)

Montreal re-signs RFA forward Andrei Kostitsyn to a 3 year deal worth $3.25-million a season

Ahem…. yes. Okay. Talk about an EXCELLENT financial contract. At just over $3M this guy gives so much, therefore a steal. What prevents me from calling this a “winner”? It’s only three years. Horrible. I was greatly entertained by these two brothers, and that Habs jersey suited them so well. They are perfect Canadiens players, yet this guy is only inked for three years? Too little. LOSER.

Detroit signs UFA goaltender Ty Conklin to a 1 year deal worth $750,000

I can understand why they give a shot at Conklin but is Conklin really that dumb? This is the guy who turned it around for the Penguins. Without him, the Pens would have kept spiraling towards the bottom of the East. I mean, if Andy Raycroft got more than Conklin, then I guess it is true that pigs do in fact fly. Right? It’s a winner for the Wings as their goaltending should be considered questionable despite winning the Cup. Is Jim Howard ready? He looked far from ready this past season. Still, what does this mean for the youngster? Another year in the minors or hopefully being dealt away. So far the Wings blew two solid goaltending prospects. Stefan Liv and Jim Howard. Yet, who really gives a rat’s ass when they won the Cup, right? NEUTRAL

Phoenix signs UFA forward Todd Fedoruk to a 3 year deal worth $3.175 million

I scratched my head with this one. First of all, he is not worth anything close to a million dollars. Second, he is injury prone. Third, as if they didn’t have fighters in theit own system? Fedoruk can be useful on the third line once in a while, but there are PLENTY of 4th line fighters out there that could be had for half of this contract. What a waste of money. LOSER

Toronto signs UFA defenceman Jeff Finger to a 4 year deal worth $3.5-million a season

“Previously on Challenging Mikster… “heh……hehe…..heheheh…..hehehehehehehe….hehehehahahah….HAHAHAHA…. HAAAAHHHHHAAAAAAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! [on Avs signing Raycroft (to be continued….)].

…………………..HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Hahahaha…hehehe….oooooooooh man. Too funny. It’s good to have a laugh like that. Seriously, I LAUGHED when I saw this. Laughed so much that I just had to listen to a Toronto radio. I think it was the Fan 590 or MOJO that I was listening to, but it was funny how the hosts of the show were asking themselves “Who is this guy?” Seriously, don’t these people have Center Ice? I know Jeff Finger. And you know what? He is a heck of a hockey player. Good defensively, quick feet to help create an offensive outbreak. But, at $3.5M a season? I don’t know who infected Toronto and Colorado with the retardatus virus. The Avs sign an average goalie in Andy Raycorft. The Leafs sign a 5th…6th d-man of recent success for $3.5M a season and for FOUR YEARS! I mean, if it was two years, well okay…fine. He is a gap filler. But FOUR years? Too funny. And let me tell you Leafs fans that liked the idea of Cliff Fletcher…. the guy is a sleezeball. Yes. You heard me. Cliff Fletcher is a sleezeball who probably needs to be mentally examined. This organization completely humiliated and trashed John Ferguson Jr. Fletcher came in as if he was Superman’s great grandfather and yet so far has arguably screwed up this organization more than JFJ has.

Cliff Fletcher just handed out a financial plan of $14M over the next four seasons to a guy who’d be a 7th d-man on a few teams, and a 6th d-man on many teams. Yet, JFJ was humiliated for the “horrible” contracts he gave out? Jason Blake received a $20M contract for five years. Take away one year now and he has four years left at $15M. That is one million more than Finger. Are you kidding me? Cliff Fletcher, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You are such a disgrace to this hockey club. You are just an interim GM and acting as if you are the permanent GM. You just handed an attrocious contract to an average hockey player who should be worth no more than $2M a season. This is just wrong…. just so wrong. Leafs fans should be rioting in the streets for this. JFJ may have handed out bad contracts, but they were handed out to players that proved themselves over the years. Fetcher gave one to a player that has played his first full NHL season as a 28-year-old. WHAT-WERE-YOU-THINKING? Do people realize that Cliff Fletcher did not sign Mike Commodore to a contract that is SLIGHTLY more than Jeff Finger? I already think Mike’s contract is bad, so imagine with this one.

Yes, I have seen Jeff Finger for at least 10 to 15 games, especially the playoff games. He is a good hockey player. Leafs fans will like him as a player. But, his contract? I just don’t know what else to say. I guess I am disgusted with the Toronto Maple Leafs. So much for ridiculing a young JFJ. You know what? At least he had class. He had class and decency. Cliff Fletcher, you’re slime. I mean, who the hell wants to sign with a team that tells a player of McCabe’s value to stay home and not even come to training camp? Surely, I think McCabe is being a dork not to waive his no-movement clause. But, don’t trash the guy like this. I mean, this is just horrible. Leafs fans should ask Cliff Fletcher to pay Finger’s contract with his own money. This “interim” guy just left such a bad contract to whoever will be the next permanent GM. JFJ must be chukling right now.

Toronto signs UFA goaltender Curtis Joseph to a 1 year deal worth $700,000

Not so much of an issue with this one as I like Cujo. Thing is, how many teams were lining up to get him? Probably zero. How about giving a youngster a chance? Guess not… Just an untimely signing. There was no reason to sign the guy today.LOSER

Tampa Bay signs UFA forward Adam Hall to a 3 year deal worth $1.8-million

More depth on the wings, and this is a plus for the Bolts. They went from little depth to lots of depth. Adam Hall is a serviceable forward. He has size, he is physical, good forechecker, can net 10 goals. Good contract, no risks in it either. Yet, still so thin on defense Tampa. There’s still lots of time though. WINNER

Pittsburgh signs UFA forward Eric Godard to a 3 year deal $2.25 million

Excellent replacement over Georges Laraque. Godard is cheaper, just as tough and mean. Good get. WINNER

NY Rangers sign UFA forward Aaron Voros (undisclosed)

Yes, because this Rangers team desperately needs fourth line forwards. Right? Waste of money. LOSER

Florida signs UFA forward Cory Stillman to a 3 year deal worth $10.6-million

It raised my eyebrows as Cory Stillman is such a reputable forward. He is aging at 34, but he has such a nice skill set of hands. Very smart. Has experienced, has a winning attitude. Definitely the top six forward that they needed to get. I like this signing. He has done well in the SE Division playing with Tampa and Carolina, winning the Cups, so it seems to fit him. Good addition. WINNER

Chicago signs UFA goaltender Cristobal Huet to a 4-year, $16.875 million.

Excellent signing as the Frenchie fits so well with this kind of team. Surely though, having a total of around $12M on two goalies is a concern, but Khabibulin could soon be dealt as well. Huet is a fine goaltender. Maybe not greatly skilled, but his techniques are so good and they allow him to be such a tough goalie to beat. Chicago is knocking on Stanley’s door with this signing. WINNER

St. Louis matches Vancouver’s offer sheet to RFA forward David Backes at 3 years, $7.5-million.

Well worth it for the Canucks. They need depth. Backes is talented, young, and the salary is not bad at all. I highly recommend that the Blues match this offer. They can’t lose him as he is developping into a fine winger. PENDING

Colorado signs UFA forward Darcy Tucker to a 2 year deal worth $4.5-million

A new scenery will do Tucker so much good and he is also so far away from the pathetic Toronto soap opera show in Cañuckon, featuring Mateo Sundiñez, Briano McCabero, y Cliffe` Fletcheres, and introducing….. Jeffereno Fingeridos. Kidding aside. Tucker will remind some Avs fans of one of my favorite players named Adam Deadmarsh. Not that they both play so similarly, but they have that on ice character that fits well. Don’t expect Tucker to score much anymore, but expect him to be a useful character player that takes away some weight off Laperierre. Good addition for the Avs, and the price is more than fair. I mean, what makes more sense? Keeping Finger at $3.5M p/s or signing Tucker at $2.25 p/s? You know it. WINNER

Tampa Bay signs UFA goaltender Olaf Kolzig to a 1 year deal worth $1.5-million (plus bonuses).

The good news for Olaf is that John Torturella (aka The Goalie Slayer) is no longer there. The good news for Olaf is that Mike Smith is a solid goalie, but doubtfully one that will be a permanent starter. The good news for TB is that Kolzig is great insurance just in case Smith does not pan out as hoped. The contract makes it a no risk factor. Solid contract, but I remain dubious if a Kolzig-Smith tandem will work well enough for playoffs hockey. NEUTRAL

Ottawa signs UFA goaltender Alex Auld to a 2 year deal worth $2-million

I’m really happy for AA. He’s a good person, a solid back-up and just doing an honest work, giving his best. Hopefully the Ottawa media won’t get on him expecting him to be solid every night. He’s not the best goalie out there, but one that you’d like to sign and feel happy with. Still does this adress anything for Ottawa? No. But, I am mainly happy that Alex has a contract for two years. NEUTRAL

Buffalo signs UFA goaltender Patrick Lalime to a 2 year deal worth $2-million

So Jocelyn Thibault goes and Patrick Lalime comes in. What an excellent transition for back-up role, and Lalime is the kind to steal some consecutive starts from Ryan Miller. Hey Ryan, watch out for Lalime because he can make things very competitive for you. For the Sabres, it’s an harmless contract WINNER

Chicago signs UFA defenceman Brian Campbell to an 8 year deal worth $56.8-million



The contract is quite massive. It probably would have killed Wirtz Senior if he were still alive. I’m happy for both sides here. As much as I wanted Campbell in a Rangers sweater, he fits great in a Hawks jersey. Finally, this hockey club is climbing up and gaining the respect it once had. Blackhawk fans will be back and hopefully we will see more of them join us on Campbell is such a skilled defenseman that makes you want him on your team. His offensive skills can make you fall in love with him, and I say that in the outmost un-gay-ly manner, unless you’re a horny puck bunny desperate for gingers. But for real, Campbell is a hell of a d-man at both ends. Yes, occassionally he makes that mistake that makes you cringe, but he then makes that great play that results in a goal, or he makes a great earth shattering open ice hit. The contract is massive, but for the Hawks it is all worth it. WINNER

Columbus signs UFA defenceman Mike Commodore to a 5 year deal worth $18.75-million

I never understood people’s infatuation with Commodore. I like the guy. Colorful personality, solid in his own end, toughness….physicality. All the makings of a solid third pair defenseman. Thing is, he this contract ridiculously overpays for what the guy contributes to. The length is not so bad, considering he can play hockey for some more years, but at nearly $4M a season? Not worth it, at all. Still, in a sense it is worth it for the Blue Jackets after losing Adam Foote, so… I’ll tga it as NEUTRAL.

Philadelphia signs UFA defenceman Ossi Vaananen to a one year deal worth $1-million

I can’t necessarily call this a “winner”, even though I’d like to, because we don’t know how Vaananen will come back. What I do know is that I definitely expected him to be signed last year. He is a good defenseman, very serviceable and at times can show his potential to become a 2nd pair d-man. Yet, he is inconsistent. You don’t hear his name much throughout a game, and that’s good because it means no mistakes. Sometimes you hear his name for making a good play. Unfortunately, you probably may hear his name when he makes mistakes than when making good plays. Nonetheless, he brings solid depth to the Flyers scary blueline. But, it’s hard to make a judgement of this. NEUTRAL

New York Rangers sign UFA forward Patrick Rissmiller to an undisclosed deal

Same as the above comment on Voros. LOSER

New Jersey signs UFA forward Brian Rolston to a four year deal worth $20.25-million

Brian Rolston brings everything that the Devils have lacked the past couple of years. Someone of his caliber is greatly needed. A superb all-round player, a leader, experienced, a winner, competitive…. and he’d be absolutely perfect for Zach Parise. If he scored a bunch under Lemaire’s defense only system, then surely he can do just as good, if not better, in NJ. The Devils lacked depth up front for offense, and they addressed it with the right player. The contract is a bit of a concern since he is 35 and will be 39 when this contract ends, earning $5M. Nonetheless, I think the Devils had a great day and this only made it that much better. WINNER

Philadelphia Flyers sign UFA forward Glen Metropolit to a two-year deal

I don’t see why the Flyers signed him for two years. Pending on his salary, I stay “neutral” on this deal, but leaning on the loser side really. It just seems like a waste of space and money for a team like the Flyers.

New York Rangers re-sign UFA defenceman Michal Rozsival to a four-year deal worth $20 million

At first, I was upset since I did not want Rozsival back, thinking he’d be replaced by either Campbell or Redden. When I saw this news, I went pychotic. Rozsival is inconsistent, and he can drive you mad with his decisions. Yet, it is evident he wanted to stay as a Ranger since there is no doubt he could have signed earlier in the day. The Rangers keep an ingredient that has been part of their post-lockout success. We can’t deny that. On many teams, he is a top four d-man and he finally is on this Rangers squad with the acquisition of Redden. Still, at such a high salary for his services, I remain skeptical. NEUTRAL.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign UFA forward Niklas Hagman to a four-year contract worth $12 million

I like Nik. It was unfortunate to see Mike Keenan trash the guy, as a Panther, and get him traded to Dallas for….what… a 7th rounder was it? Stupid man. Thing is, Hagman is a third liner. Yes, he scored 27 goals and 17 the previous year. Yet, he is third liner and he will not be playing under the Tippet’s system in Toronto, and he will not have the same line-mates either. How about this, I consider it to be Jason Blake Acquisition v2. Still, I would not call this a bad signing since it is three years, since it is a good hockey player, and a good gap filler to have. NEUTRAL

New Jersey Devils sign UFA forward Bobby Holik to a one-year contract worth $2.5 million

Ok, I think the 90’s Devils re-union should have ended with Rolston. I am not sure how Holik will fit on a much different Devils team, which is based on quickness and speed. Holik is only getting older, slower, and definitely not the same player he was. I think this signing goes to show how weak the Devils system is; it lacks depth. Still, at one year, low salary, it’s harmless. It will be interesting to see the Rangers-Devils series once again with Holik back in NJ. I’m still not too fond of this decision though. I think the Devils could have waited or signed a younger player to do the job. NEUTRAL

New York Rangers sign UFA defenceman Wade Redden to a six-year contract worth $39 million

And finally I was silver lining. The Rangers finally found their #1 defenseman in Wade Redden at such a hefty contract. Nevermind the length of the deal, though. The Rangers are definitely planning to compete for the Cup in these next few years. Redden makes Rozsival’s job a lot easier to do. The Rangers desperately needed another defenseman to take up 20 minutes a night to put less weight on not just Rozsival, but on youngins Girardi and Tyutin, and even Marc Staal. So, Redden-Rozsival-Staal-Girardi-Tyutin-Backman, solid group on defense. Young, experienced, skilled…. Rangers desperately needed a player of Redden’s caliber. Some people say he is declining. Since when do 31 year-old defensemen start declining? Redden was so loyal to the Ottawa Senators and yet was mistreated by GM Murray. Redden now has a new scenery, and a new team to halp carry. Redden should feel quite comfortable on the Rangers squad as he joins a solid defensive core, a three-time Vezina finalist, and veteran winners in Gomez and Drury, and possibly more to come. The Rangers addressed a crucial need. They had to do it. WINNER.

New York Islanders sign defenceman Mark Streit to a five-year contract worth $20.5 million

Though very weak defensively, Streit elevates the Islanders a step forward in the right direction. The Isle’s are building a sound defense with the likes of Witt, Sutton, and now Streit. His contract is very fair, definitely market price. I would not expect him to score 60 points as he did in Montreal, but he will definitely make a HUGE difference for the Islanders. I liked this move a lot, it fits them well. WINNER

New York Rangers re-signed goaltender Steve Valiquette (undisclosed)

A no-brainer. He is loved in the locker room. Very close with Lundqvist. Has good back-up abilities. I suspect his contract is under $1M again, which is good. He’s a funny guy and adds character to the team. Still, don’t pencil him in yet as LeNeveu had a strong performance with the Wolfpack and wll challenge for the job.

Boston sign forward Michael Ryder to a 3-year deal worth $12 million

I don’t know how people think the Bruins will, or can, sign Marian Hossa when they just handed such a horrible contract to a guy like Mike Ryder. What has this guy done to earn $4M p/s? Honestly, tell me. A healthy scratch for a number of games. Lacked effort. Horrible when workong on defense. A pathetic 17 goal and 31 point season earned this guy such a contract? Too big of a risk. It’s one of those high risk/high reward situations, but $4M is not even a gamble when spending it on Ryder. It’s insanity. LOSER

So that does it for Day 1 review. There is still more to come. I would like to thank all of you for keeping things in order by not submitting multiple news stories and sticking with the July 1 column. We will do exactly the same tomorrow.

And man, is tomorrow interesting or what? Sundin, Hossa, Jagr, Bertuzzi, Naslund, Demitra, Huselius…. possibly more trades.

I just love this game.

Thank you all for reading as always,

Micki Peroni


36 Responses to Day 1 Off-season Review

  1. Rickler says:

    Who's Left?
    Notable Free Agents:









































  2. kamullia says:

    Miki…as to Eaton and Penguins. Absolutely overpaid…but so are basically all the defensemen in this year market because in all reality, there’s little to none to be had who are worth anything.

    Eaton was also 1st pair in Pittsburgh when his season ended, not third pair, playing with Gonchar. The problem here is that the Pens are quite possibly losing Orpik, who arguably is the best coveted defensive defenseman in this year’s UFA class…so on top of losing Orpik, they can’t even replace him w/ something comparable…so they overpaid but kept Eaton who feels he has something to prove having been hurt and playing only parts of both seasons w/ the Pens.

    So this is sort of a double whammy here….being that there’s not much to be had in the market, Eaton would be snatched by other teams if the Pens would not jump at him right away…and his price rises out of the thin market itself, not his abilities…but that’s the market we have so…

    All in all, still a loser because it’s too much money and he will probably get hurt AGAIN and pick most of his paycheck in the mail at home, and also because the Pens are not upgrading their defense either, just trying to stay with the deficient group they have already.

  3. mikster says:


    Let me tell you this though. Just because Eaton played on the first pair for some games, does not mean that he is. This is not someone you can rely to play such a role for more than 40 games. Defensemen have been overpaid, but Eaton had no case to be worth $2M. Who knows, maybe it was Fletcher wanting to give him $4M and making Finger-Eaton his 1st defensive pairing? Ha!

    Pens should let Orpik go, sign Warrener, and look at what’s going on with Florida and Jay-Bo.

  4. kamullia says:

    And by the way Miki…in all seriousness, if you call Eaton a loser for the monetary side, you have to say the same for the Rangers and Redden. He might not be in a decline in theory because of age, but that is all he has shown is to be in a decline in his last two years (yes he started more than a season ago)…so it’s hard to argue w/ that.

    Now, posturing that he is not improving, as he should be, but his game did decline, even if just for his last season….go give him the SAME amount of money he was making LONG term is simply overpaying. He could in theory very well improve…but that is theory, and therefore he could just as well decline further. You have to take things at face value at the time, and him being in a decline the most recently to pay him the SAME salary and long term (not even scaling down)…it’s overpaying.

    Hind sight is 20/20…but at this point? LOSER!!!

  5. kamullia says:

    Agree, Eaton should not be 1st pair…but he’s not third pair either. Let’s be honest here.

    I’m not sold on Warrener, but he might have been of the same effectiveness as Eaton or more, considering he might be watching 40 games or so from home.

    Bowmeester?? To the Pens??? No way in hell. Nice idea, but the other 29 teams would stop it from happening just not to let the Pens get stronger alone. Besides…my girlfriend loves Bowmeester, and she’s sworn she’ll cut some heads off if he’s traded…so NOT HAPPENING. She’s the hot looking redhead at all those Panthers functions……yeah I know, I’m so freaking lucky. Shhhh…don’t tell her that.

  6. mikster says:

    I’m not calling players losers here. They are all winners for getting rich and making billionaires pay.

    I am calling the signings as winners, losers, or neutrals.

    Redden is a proven #1 d-man. He had injuries that slowed him down, and had conflicts with Murray. The 06 season he would have been on pace for 46-50 points, which is still good, had he played a full season.

    Eaton has had 10 points in the last 140 games. Not, worth, $2M. He is not better than Sauer, in my opinion.

  7. mikster says:

    Dude, my eyes are set on either the ice or on the Ice Cats, the dancers. Hehehe.

    Eaton’s career has been as nothing more than a 3rd pair d-man, and i don’t think that’s changed.

  8. kamullia says:

    You can’t compare Eaton and Redden when they’re different types….That’s like saying that Gonchar and Stevens can be compared because of point production. Dai, via Miki Non puoi fa’ cosi.

    But I do get your point, and still, the Rangers are losers because put in any way you want…they don’t know what their getting w/ Redden. No one does. So at that price and for that long? Hell of a gamble…this could be a Atlanta/Holik type contract. Hence, why I said LOSERS.

    Again, the Rangers could be right on the money. But at face value today? No way.

  9. pezzz says:

    great article, great analysis.

    I'll disagree with 3 statements though.

    Aaron Voros, Todd Fedoruk and Glen Metropolit.

    First, I think you will be surprised by Voros. yes, he known as a 4rth line winger, 3rd liner at best, but for some games last year, he played with Gaborik on the 1rst line and he did pretty well. Yes, indeed, he was playing with Gaborik. But if given the chance, the kid could put up 30 points. NEUTRAL.

    As for Todd Fedoruk, yes, 1.1/year seems big for a enforcer. but you have to know that Fedoruk is arguably the fighter with the best hockey skills out there. when Demitra was injured last year in Minnie, he played very well as top 6 winger, well enough that he earned a spot there for the remaining of the year, resulting in Voros demotion to the minors. I'm not saying he will start the year top 6 for Phoenix. hell no. but if someone gets injured, he will be a decent back-up, as well as playing the enforcer role Phoenix was looking since Laraque's trade. WINNER.

    Metropolit. Since Jim Dowd left as UFA, they needed a 4rth line center, especially with Potulny traded away to Edmonton, and Downie moved to the wing. If the deal is around 1/year, I think it's a great signing, as he will provide good face-off man, veteran leadership on the checking lines for rookies like Downie (sophomore), Ruczika (sophomore) and Giroux, as well as ranking maybe 10 goals and 25 points. WINNER (If the deal is cheap)

    Also, I expect the Flyers to waive Hatcher in the next days. With Vaananen and Eminger, they got 2 physical stay-at-home d-man, playing the same game as Hatcher, but a lot more affordable. Also look for the trading of Lasse Kukkonen, probably for a mid draft pick, or along with a draft pick for a puck-moving d-man.

  10. pezzz says:

    Just throwing it out there….Bouwmeester to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal?

  11. pezzz says:

    I'll throw something there, don't yell at me please lol

    J-Bo to Pittsburgh
    Jordan Staal to Florida


    does it make sense?

  12. cartino says:

    I personally think almost every contract handed out on Tuesday was ridiculous, and we're just heading for another lockout down the road.

    Mike Commodore 3.7m-ish?
    Jeff Finger 3.5m-ish (played a total of 94 NHL career games)

    Since when are #5-6 defenceman worth 3m+, teams are getting really desperate to be competitive.

    I disagree with the comments about Wade Redden to the NY Rangers. As a Sens fan he has been a loyal steady d-man for the last 12 years. Since the lockout and personal issues in his life, his play has steadily declined the last 3 years where he was not performing as a 6.5m D-man, he wasn't even our top defensive pairing. He is not overly physical, not blessed with great foot speed, and his frequency of bone-head turnovers are increasing each year and based on his potential or what he used to be I wouldn't have paid him more than 4.5m. I think 6 years at 6.5m is a waste of money on him and believe he is extremely overrated.

    That being said about Redden, he has been very loyal, was great in our community and I personally hope he can rebound to the former player he was and have success in New York. But if his play is similar to the last 2-3 years then I think you'll be dissappointed with him.

    Still was a very good article though outlining all the UFA signings and breaking them all down, just disagree in general with the amount of money being dished out to these players. Someone said it best (Piere Maguire maybe) that 80% of UFA signing fail in the long run and most of them are not able to repeat the success of their previous contract year on their new contracts.

    Detroit being the model franchise, were quite contempt to simply resign one of their UFA's, nab an affordable backup goalie and keep their team intact which they drafted/developed.

  13. jimbob says:

    After one day of free agency, everybody was hyping it up that Campbell would come to Ottawa.  All signs pointed to that.  Nothing.  All that Ottawa signed was an overrated backup goalie.
    Yes, there are still some guys left.  Hainsey, Blake and Kalinin are all good blue-liners.  Blake doesnt want to go to Ottawa.  Hainsey and Kalinin will get bigger money elsewhere.  What does that mean?  Under contract on the blueline, the sens have 2 proven d-men, 1 guy in the minors that can be a 7th defenseman, a guy who so far played more forward than defense, and a rookie.  Ottawa is no longer a threat to win the stanley cup, for years to come.
    Go Chicago!

  14. wheresthesoda says:

    i think with Rissmiller and Voros, do the Rangers have a new fourth line featuring

    Rissmiller-Betts-Voros……will be tough with Voros and will put the puck in the net more than 5 times a year.

  15. RealisticNick says:

    Actually one of the best I have seen in a while.  Talent for talent, not crap for a name someone wants.  There may be some extra little things added as Staal has not reached his potential and had a weaker season offensively.  But his current production and potential should be enough for Jay.  Although that would give Florida Weiss, Horton and Staal down the middle.  Although I do know Weiss and Horton have played some wing (they were just drafted as centers).  Staal and Horton would be one tough combo.

  16. BruMagnus says:

    I think the Pens value Staal higher than Bouwmeester, though that is a damn even trade in most people's eyes methinks.
    Swap a 2nd and 3rd rounder in the Pens favor and maybe.

    Methinks the Pens would rather trade Staal and a 2nd rounder to CBJ for Nash if they don't sign Hossa/Jagr.

  17. BruMagnus says:

    I think the Pens value Staal higher than Bouwmeester, though that is a damn even trade in most people's eyes methinks.
    Swap a 2nd and 3rd rounder in the Pens favor and maybe.

    Methinks the Pens would rather trade Staal and a 2nd rounder to CBJ for Nash if they don't sign Hossa/Jagr.

  18. BruMagnus says:

    I agree with Metropolit. This guys always impresses me, especially when he plays on Team Canada. It was a great pick up like Jonny Sim back in the day!

  19. habskovalev27 says:

    disagree on Kostitsyn : Winner
    disagree on Vrbata : Loser
    Very very disagree on Streit : Very Loser…you'll see

  20. cartino says:

    I have to disagree with your assessment of Ottawa's Defence.

    Ottawa has 2 very good proven shut-down defencemen in Phillips+Volchenkov
    -Mezaros (if re-signed) whose a solid #3-4 defenceman and will mature
    -Lee a rookie (and high first round pick) who has the potential to be a very good #2-4 defenceman
    -a #5-6 defenceman in Schubert (if moved back full time) who is physical and has a good shot.
    -A 7th d-man/4th liner in Matt Carker.

    Ottawa really just needs a one defenceman via trade or UFA signing and they should be fine back there. Not as talented as back in the hayday with Chara, Redden in his prime when he was better, etc. but still solid and if Hartsburg makes them play a more defensive game which they should then it should be fine.

    I'm quite glad they didn't do any big spending at the deadline, Brian Cambell is not in my opinion worth 7million a year. Great offensively but average in the backend.

    I'm not sure Ottawa will be a threat to win the cup next year but will be competitive and in the race and you never know. I think they need to do a mini-rebuild and in 2 years time get Karlson and Elliot up. And some more experience for Foligno, Bass, and other youngsters and they should be fine at complementing the core that's locked up (alfie, spezza, heatley, fisher, kelly, phillips, volchenkov)

  21. RealisticNick says:

    Would take more than that for Nash.  Nash is now what they hope Staal will be.  Seeing how Columbus is not really trying to dump Nash for any reason that makes no sense.  The whole point of the J-Bo trade was because apparently he wants out of Florida.  Nash has more value than him and seems to currently be happy in Columbus.  And the Pens might value Staal higher, but I'm betting Florida values J-Bo more, and the price for defencemen has gone way up, so they start at an advantage over the Pens right there.

  22. cementhead says:

    Regarding the PHOENIX deals and comments:

    First, I would hardly call Ballard and Boynton the Coyotes "top two defencemen".  Although Ballard was my favorite D from the dogs, I would say he was number 3 after Jovonovski and Morris.  And I would surely have put Michalek above Boynton.  Boynton and Ballard could both play with an edge as well as D but I wouldn't count Jovo or Morris out of that category.  I do agree with the rest of your assessment with Sauer however.

    Second, as for Fedoruk.  I agree entirely.  And perhaps someone can answer some unanswered questions for me?  I can usually read a trade with hindsight, but here I'm struggling.
    The Desert Dogs already have Carcillo (fighter, and not too bad for point production either.  Still an RFA, I know, but team still has his rights). 
    Then the Yotes pick up McGratton a couple days ago.
    Now they sign Fedoruk? 
    I mean, what is the plan.  I know they wanted some protection for the young guys but how much protection do they need?


    (my theory: IF phoenix signs ALL the tough guys in the league than no one else can and therefore no other teams will have tough guys that can beat on the young Yotes?  Realistic?  Ok, probably not.)

  23. habsrock99 says:

    I disagree with a few of your winners and losers.

    Jose Theodore– Loser. 4.5 million to a goalie who is a career 2-16 in the 2nd Round of the Play-Offs? That's way too much. Plus he's been relatively average since the Lock-Out (59-53-10 2.96GAA  .895SV%  3SHO).

    Andrei Kostitsyn– Definite winner. Sure 3 years isn't very long but Andrei's also still relatively unproven. He was a major question mark through the first 20 or so games last year when he had just 3-4 points then he went on his tear and ended very strong with 8 points in 12 Play-Off games. And with the Habs pursueing Sundin relentlessly, he could be moved from the Kovalev-Plekanec line.

    Cristobal Huet– Neutral. Yes, the Hawks solidify their goaltending to a degree but because of this signing, they are now 5.3 million over the Cap. Plus he's going to be 33 before Training Camp and do you really want to pay a goalie almost 6 million at the age of 36 or 37? Not to mention, he's making almost half a million more then Brodeur and if anyone thinks Huet's better then Brodeur, you're on crack. Should of been a 2 maybe 3 year deal, not 4. And it's for 22.5 million, not 16.875.

    Mark Streit– Loser. Isles are going to kick themselves for signing him for so long and so much. If anyone thinks Streit will near his 62 point outburst from last year, you'll never get it. He'll be lucky to notch 35-40. Only reason Streit was so good offensively was because of Andrei Markov feeding him perfect one-timers. And last I checked, the Isles don't have a guy that can do what Markov does night in and night out.

    Michael Ryder– Neutral. I honestly cannot think of a better place for Ryder to play. The only problem I see coming from this deal is Claude Julien trying to teach him defence again. If Julien pairs him up with a Savard-Lucic combo and tells him to think offence, Ryder can very well score 40 goals or at the very least will get 20-25.

    Other then those few, I pretty much agree with all the other assessments.

  24. Kyleton says:

    First off no one from leafs management has said they will just send McCabe home and not let him play, that is all media speculation. Secondly while I do think it is a little too much money for Finger, he brings alot of things to the leafs they did not have. He averaged 20 minutes a game for Colorado which is more than a 6th or 7th d-man would get.   I do agree with your opinion of the Hagman singing, and I think Cujo signing was smart. It's cheap, one year. It provides the leaf fans with an old favorite which will soften the blow of knowing your team is not likely to make the playoffs.  I think it is also smart because it could open the door more for Cujo to join the leafs after his playing career is done also.

    I completely agree with your views on Chicago, I think they did rather well yesterday.  Although Campbell's salary is high, that was the going rate for him so it something that has to be accepted, just like all other ones.

    I am loving everything Tampa has done this offseason, and Vrbata just adds to that.  I think they need one shutdown dman and they are in very solid shape to contend in the East.

    Minnesota needs to do a little more. Brunette is a good pick up and fan fav, losing rolston hurts, but I would not want to risk paying him 5 million against the cap in the last two years of his contract.  Zidlicky trade i do like and could be a steal if he turns it around like he started to late last season.

  25. wheresthesoda says:

    on the islanders standpoint, they already had a bad d-man with a good shot, but they traded him because he was mediocre in his own end. Marc andre bergeron. hahaha

  26. ccrashh says:

    I watch the Sens almost exclusively, though I am not a rah-rah fan of them at all.  I predicted a 7th place finish back in Feb (here on HTR in fact).  Having said that, I think this is a poor deal for the Rangers.  Why?  Redden has declined in recent years, and isn't worth the money he was being paid.  He has lost so much weight he looks skeletal.

    He plays like someone with a "monkey" on his back…I have seen it in other athletes in other sports…and I am not saying I know anything at all about this, but….all I'm saying is that unless drugs are harder to come by in NY than in Ottawa…um…this could be a bad deal.

    Only time will tell.  It would be fun to revisit your list next year to see how the trades played out.

  27. habsoverserver says:

    put michael ryder on the powerplay with a qb with a slapshot and he will score 18 goals with the man advantage.

  28. prospectiv says:

    Makes sense as they are of almost equal value.  Gives the Panthers that center they need but I don't see why the Pens would want Bouwmeester when they have Withney, Gonchar, Letang and Orpik in their top 4.

    Nash with Crosby or Malkin would be CRAZY but it just won't happen unless you give Staal AND Letang/Gonchar. 

  29. prospectiv says:

    They are 2 main reason why Kostsytsyn was resigned for only 3 years :

    1st : this guy actually only played 1 full season.  In this matter he's almost still a rookie! He was also playing with the perfect player to make him rack up points : Kovalev.  It just didnt made any sense to sign him long term…  yet.

    2nd : He will still be an RFA at the end of this new contract.  Signing him for 4 years would have meant giving him a UFA opportunity.

    All the media in Montreal are unanimous (which is a rare thing!) : this is a very clever and affordable signing.

    Now it's time for my little fantasy :

    Trade Plekanek for J-Bo.

    Sign Gratton (if Sundin changes his mind, sign him and put him on the line with Tanguay/Higgins and drop Koivu on the 3rd.  Move Hamrlik to make cap space for Sundin)

    Move Sergei Kostsitsyn to the center as he is clearly a playmaker and that would give him the opportunity to play with his brother a la Sedin's line.

    Andrei K.  – Sergei K.  – Alex K.

    Tanguay – Koivu  – Higgins

    Latendresse – Gratton – Lapierre  (lots of grit)

    Bégin – Chipchura – Kostopoulos (Defensive trio)

    Markov – Komisarek

    Bouwmeester – Hamrlik

    Bouillon – Gorges / OByrne



    The defense is quite scary! Of course a scenario including Sundin would be quite better…

  30. BruMagnus says:

    The Pens have 9 NHL-ready defensemen if you include Alex Goligoski who set a rookie AHL record for defensemen.



    They don't need J-Bo unless they traded away newly signed Eaton and Sydor.. even then who's the odd man out?

    Whitney may get traded to make room for Cap space, but I doubt that even.

  31. hockeyhead says:

    you say that michael ryder has done nothing to deserve a 4 milllion dollar contract….

    what has mark streit done to deserve that contract?

    ryder has two 30 goal seasons with no set up man.

    what might he do with savard and a coach that appreciates his play.

    he was in the doghouse with that boob geee carbono.

    lets wait and see…shall we.

  32. habsrock99 says:

    You are obviously blind to the fact that your current coach is also the ex-coach of the Montreal Canadiens. And during his tenure, Ryder was in Julien's doghouse more then he was with Carbo. Only difference was Julien didn't have the balls to move Ryder from the Top Line like Carbo did. And I am willing to put money down that Julien will likely turn this potentially good signing into a horrible signing by trying to make Ryder do other things that he is incapable of doing, such as be a playmaker, play solid defence and make things look fancy.

    And yes, Ryder has two 30 goal seasons under his belt but anyone who knows a thing or two about Ryder will tell you that those were 2 inconsistent 30 goal seasons. He would start off a year with 6-8 goals in 10-14 games then disappear for 15-20 games by scoring just 1 goal, then he'd heat up and net 3-6 goals 4-6 games, then disappear for 10-15 games scoring nothing, then he'd go on a small tear by scoring another 5-7 goals in 10-12 games, quickly followed up with a 10 game stretch of horrendous play resulting in no points then with the remaining 5 or so games, Ryder would often string together a few 2 goal games and would reach his 30 goal mark.

  33. billypilgrim says:

    And most of them were garbage goals. That is not an exaggeration. Just check out his website.They just replay the same three highlights, cause the rest are crap. Oh, I just checked and his site is "Off-Line for Updating." Wonder why.

    But I'm sure he's capable of putting just as many in again. But don't expect them to be pretty.

  34. billypilgrim says:

    Love the little picture with "challange mikster" and the boxing gloves.

    Toronto: Well, the leafs certainly don't look for players with a "coolness" factor. No offence to them, but "Breakaway! HagMan to Finger, Finger to HagMan, Score!!!" There's you're comic relief on Hockey Night.

    Montreal: AK for 3 years. Perfect. He'll be RFA at contract's end, if he hasn't !@#$ed off to Russia in the meantime. No brainer, this is awesome. Nobody tell me he's not tempted to go home for the more cash.

    Georges Laraque signed today! Thank the lord. The NHL "Heavyweight champion" in MTL for those western road trips. For those games against the Bruins that finish 7-4 with 85 mins penalty! That's entertainment(he never killed anyone)!

    Sundin: Any day. As long as he doesn't scew up bad and rip off his Habs jersy to reveal a TML jersy underneath.

    Lets see, what else…

    Mark Streit: Put Sergei Kostitsyn on the point next season and he'll rack up just as many PP assists as streit this season. Almost a guarantee. The other Dmen on the Habs don't deserve the spot, at least on first wave.

    Boston: Sorry but Ryder is not worth 4.

    Detroit: Hossa is cup hungry. Obviously. Lets hope Osgood stays healthy. But Conklin at 750k is a great insurance policy.

    Pens: Satan, Fedotenko, just giving those guys another chance. Their offense will be RIDICULOUS unless this team turns into a "country club" (AKA previous NYR)

    Ottawa: The little steam engine that COULDN'T. Good luck with the tandem of Gerber/Auld. And how's their D looking? lol! Opportunity comes, goes.

    Tampa: Wow, that was quick. But now there's talk of trading Boyle? Like so many teams, they think they can win without D. We'll see.

    Wash: Theo, wow,with brent Johnson backing up. They better get a great back-up and fast. Sorry, Jose.

    NYR: AKA Jagr's back pocket. They'll give him no less than last year. Redden, fine. Naslund, ok.

    Anyways, alot of the money thrown around, to me, means not only that the salary cap went up, but also that very few teams have much condidence in their farm system.

  35. billypilgrim says:

    Only if he misses the net 850 times.

  36. hockeyhead says:

    julien coached the habs?  holyshit.  i didnt know that.  i must be in a trance.

    read juliens blog on ryder.  i guess he lies.

    glad to see the habs sign a fighter.  at least they can drop the gloves and play hockey instead of hiding behind refs.

    wait,  im sure they will still hide behind refs.

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