Notes from the first few days of Free Agency
Since the craziness that is the Free Agent Frenzy is slowing down, let’s analyze what’s gone on so far. I’m not going to comment on teams that didn’t make any moves, just the ones that did.
- Confidential to the Winnipeg Jets Front Office – That was a HUGE mistake letting Al Montoya go. Last season he was CLEARLY better than Ondrej Paveleck (who is average at best) during his starts.
- Keep an eye on the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames during this signing period. All were insanely embarrassed on a regular basis last season and all have taken the first steps to right their proverbial ships.
- New Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning is making all the right moves so far….or should I say all the moves that former GM Mike Gillis should have made during his tenure. Sign an elite goaltender? Check. Start signing talent on the second line to take pressure off the Sedin Twins? Check.
- Yesterday I was pretty critical of Islanders GM Garth Snow for letting two pieces of their franchise (Thomas Vanek and Matt Moulson) that they’ve been working on building for years go for almost nothing. Then today they sign Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin. Good moves.
- For you Rangers fans who are wondering why they signed Tanner Glass, this signing has Head Coach Alain Vigneault’s fingerprints all over it. You have to wonder if the Canucks let go of other people on their roster (like Jannik Hansen) will the Rangers be calling?
- Yeah the Dallas Stars are as scary as everyone is making them out to be….on paper. The Kings and the Ducks set the bar last season and the rest of the teams in their division are making modifications to get to or beyond that level.
- While most teams don’t build teams through Free Agency, the Panthers seem to be doing that yet again. Will their signings pan out? Too early to tell. On paper, they’re good role player signings. I like what they’ve signed so far but you have to wonder if it’s time for some of their youth to come up to the show.
- Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis has a huge problem with his club. He’s got too many lazy and coddled players that are ruining the team. He’s clearly no going to be able to fix this via free agency so he’s going to have to deal some of the problem players starting with Captain Dion Phaneuf either by trading him or giving another player the ‘C’ so he can concentrate on playing.
- TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that the Philadelphia Flyers have given permission to Kent Hughes, agent of Vincent Lecavalier, to talk to other teams about a trade. This is a win/win for both teams. The Flyers need cap relief badly (approx. $2.5 million OVER the cap) and Lecavalier can find a new place to hang his hat.
- The Colorado Avalanche made a good splash with trade and signings including Veteran Jarome Igilna. This team is close to going on a very deep run into the playoffs and that’s an attractive selling point to players like Igilna. “I do believe they’re going to win it, and I’d love to be a part of it. Whether that’s next year or the year after, I think they just keep getting better and better and have a great opportunity” said Igilna to reporters on a conference call after signing his deal.