Category Archives: NHL Free Agency

2017 NHL Free Agency: Day one notes and analysis 

Day one has free agency has come and gone (for the most part). Some big names still remain on the board, however many have already vanished. Here are some of my notes and analysis from the first wave of the frenzy. 

• Ryan Miller is a solid backup for the Ducks. He brings a true veteran presence behind John Gibson, which is something that had been absent in the past. This is a perfect fit for both player and team. 

• The Coyotes added journeyman defenseman Adam Clendening on a one-year deal. This signing will prove as a low-risk, high-reward scenario. 

• The Coyotes, however, also lost a lot of depth players, including Josh Jooris and Radim Vrbata. Chayka is banking significantly on internal progression up front from the likes of Perlini and Dvorak. 

• The Hurricanes added a nice piece in Justin Williams. The veteran winger formerly played in Carolina and won a Cup with them in ’06. Is his and Scott Darling’s presence enough to boost Carolina back into the playoffs? They certainly look like a solid team right now. 

• The Blackhawks continued their parade of bringing back former players, as they signed Patrick Sharp to a one-year deal. The base salary is $1 million but he can earn bonuses based on a number of factors. If he stays healthy, this will be a great value signing for Bowman. 

• The Blackhawks also added two depth players to round out their bottom six on day one. Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels both agreed to one-year deals. Neither are flashy players, however both can hold their own offensively and physically. 

• The Stars brought in Martin Hanzal to finish their center core headed into next season. They now have Hanzal, Seguin, Spezza, and Faksa down the middle. It’s definitely one of the best groups in the league. All four players can thrive in all situations. 

• Detroit brought in Trevor Daley on a three-year deal at $3 million per. It is not a backbreaking deal, but Ken Holland needs to commit to a full rebuild. Detroit does not have the assets currently to compete. Moves like this are doing more harm than good. 

• The Panthers, who came into the day with eight forwards signed, added Evgeny Dadonov from Russia and Radim Vrbata from Arizona. Dadonov is the more promising addition, but both players provide a scoring threat regardless. Dadonov was originally drafted by the Panthers in 2007 and played 55 games with them before returning to the KHL. He had 66 points in 53 games there last year. 

• Karl Alzner’s deal with Montreal was surprisingly reasonable money wise. Keeping him under $5 million for five years is very nice. Still, though, I’m surprised he didn’t wind up in Western Canada. I think Calgary getting Hamonic and keeping Stone hurt that. 

• The Predators had an interesting day, inking Scott Hartnell and Nick Bonino. Some had a problem with the money ($4.1 million per) on Bonino’s deal, but the Predators had to make a move. Losing Neal and not pushing for Duchene or Thornton made Bonino a prime target. 

• On a related note, I wonder if Peter Laviolette personally petitioned for the Scott Hartnell acquisition. 

• The Devils got Brian Boyle on a two-year deal. Their center core now looks like Boyle, Zajac, Hischier, and Henrique. That can compete with anyone in the league. Albeit, they are still a few years away from contention due to their wingers and defense.  

• The Rangers fulfilled the prophecy and added Kevin Shattenkirk on a four-year contract late this afternoon. It fills a huge need for them, and as an added bonus he is of the opposite hand of Ryan McDonagh. That would be one heck of a pairing. 

• The Flyers getting Brian Elliott is a perfect stopgap while their prized goalie prospects, specifically Carter Hart, develop in juniors and the AHL. It also seems that Ron Hextall and company do not have any faith in Anthony Stolarz. I wonder if he will get moved at some point this season. 

• The Penguins signed Matt Hunwick to a three-year deal worth over $2 million per season. He is a reliable #6 defenseman, but that contract is ridiculous. Plain and simple, he isn’t worth that kind of money. 

• The Sharks brought back Joe Thornton for one year but Patrick Marleau still remains undecided. I bet that would leave a sour taste in Thornton’s mouth moving forward if Marleau left. 

• The Lightning added Dan Girardi for two years and Chris Kunitz for one year. Girardi has a chance to revitalize his career under Cooper. Kunitz, a four-time champion, can help try to push Tampa Bay over the edge. 

* The Leafs did a good job adding depth in Ron Hainsey and Dominic Moore. The most important outcome was that no spot will be taken away from one of their younger players. 

• The Canucks made a few signings, Sam Gagner, Anders Nilsson, and Michael Del Zotto included, today. Not bad players and they have the chance to be flipped down the road if they perform well enough. 

• The Jets adding Steve Mason is a very nice move. It gives Eric Comrie a chance to develop and Connor Hellebuyck a more subdued role. The Jets also added Kulikov on defense. They aren’t looking to shabby for next season. 

Stay up to date on our twitter for more free agency talk. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

The Ultimate Guide to the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline: Eastern Conference Edition

The Ultimate Guide to the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline: Eastern Conference Edition

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Top 15 remaining NHL free agents 

1. Radim Vrbata: Despite being linked to upwards of four teams, Radim Vrbata has not signed anywhere yet. The right wing is older but is only one season removed from 30 goals. He struggled last year putting up only 27 points in 63 games, but almost all Canucks players struggled. Vrbata can still fill a middle-six scoring role on a playoff team.  Read the rest of this entry

Team-by-team review of Day 1 of NHL free agency 

Day one of NHL free agency has come and gone, but it has left a considerable mark on the league in the process. Here’s a team by team breakdown of who signed who and what the outlook is for the team and player. 

The Anaheim Ducks really didn’t do anything. Actually, they did nothing. Beside lose Jamie McGinn and David Perron, that is. There is still time to turn it around, but it was a rough start for Bob Murray. It’s expected that they at least pick up a goalie — one of Ramo or Enroth. 

The Arizona Coyotes had a quiet but successful day, picking up some depth pieces. Jamie McGinn is a nice add. Justin Peters provides goalie insurance if Mike Smith goes down with injury again. And, Ryan White will play bottom six minutes. Nothing spectacular, nothing bad for GM Chayka’s first frenzy day on the job. 

The Boston Bruins brought in three free agents, one especially notable in David Backes. The gritty center signed a five year deal in Boston at six million per. That’s the price you’re going to have to pay. I don’t really see the fit though with Krejci and Bergeron in the middle, but I am sure Backes knows what is best. Boston also welcomed back Anton Khudobin as a backup and added Riley Nash down the middle as well. 

The Buffalo Sabres didn’t do much, but they hauled in arguably the biggest free agent of the class. Kyle Okposo signed there for 6 million. I was expecting the AAV to be higher, so good on you Tim Murray. 

The Calgary Flames added two new players in Troy Brouwer and Chad Johnson. Brouwer will play a top-six role in Calgary and Johnson proved to be a formidable NHL goaltender in Buffalo last season. It was a good day for Brad Treliving. I wouldn’t be surprised if he picks up another forward, either. 

The Carolina Hurricanes didn’t add any big names, but they brought in some depth. Lee Stempniak and Viktor Stalberg were both signed to deals. I like both of these for Carolina. Very bang-for-your-buck type players. 

Chicago was thwarted by the cap but managed to squeeze Brian Campbell in. He’ll be a valuable addition. Side note: it was reported that he left almost 2.5 million on the table from Florida to join Chicago. Wow. 

Colorado had a solid and surprisingly sensible (sorry Avs fans) day. They inked Joe Colborne to a deal, a player I’m surprised the Flames let slip away. They also nabbed reclamation project Patrick Wiercioch for under a million which could turn out to be a steal. Fedor Tyutin, master shot suppressor, was also signed. 

Columbus, like Anaheim, really didn’t do much. Seth Jones getting locked up was about as big of an offseason win as you could’ve gotten in Columbus. 

Dallas finally got Dan Hamhuis after trying for him at the trade deadline. His 3.25 million cap hit is surprisingly low. This is a great signing for Dallas and Hamhuis alike. 

The Detroit Red Wings had a busy day, signing three forwards. They grabbed Frans Nielsen (six years) and Thomas Vanek, Steve Ott (one year). Nielsen was the best center on the market and helps fill the Datsyuk void. Vanek can be a good signing if he turns it around. If not, you let him go next year. No biggie. 

Edmonton got their guy in Milan Lucic, thankfully because if they lost Taylor Hall AND didn’t sign Lucic, hell would’ve broken loose. The AAV is high, but you have to do what you have to do. They also got backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson. 

Florida made one big acquisition with James Reimer. With Berra being just traded for, you have to wonder about Lu’s future. Rumors of health issues have been going around. We’ll see. 

Los Angeles was one of the more active teams, signing five players, albeit none of high salary. They signed Teddy Purcell, Zach Trotman, Michael Latta, Tom Gilbert, and Jeff Zatkoff. All very affordable and solid options spread across all three bases. Solid day for Dean Lombardi. 

Minnesota was also very active, signing Eric Staal, Alex Stalock, Victor Bartley, and Chris Stewart. Both Stewart and Staal present a bit of a risk but have the possibility to pay high dividends. Minnesota needs to get over the second round hump soon. 

Montreal made a few waves today, mainly by signing Alex Radulov. They also signed depth players with defenseman Zach Redmond and goalie Al Montoya. Radulov will be a fun storyline to watch this year. Hopefully for Montreal, it will work out better than Semin did.

Nashville made a few defensive depth signings but nothing major. Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber will be joining the team. Maybe Weber will take #6? 

The Devils didn’t have an overly active day, but got Ben Lovejoy and Vern Fiddler. Lovejoy knows Shero from his Pittsburgh days. I think we’ll see one more move up front from New Jersey. 

The Islanders lost Nielsen, Okposo, and Martin but added Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera. Overall a successful day for them. They probably need another forward, if not Mat Barzal will have to step in, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Time will tell. 

The Rangers made some depth signings with Gerbe, Grabner, Paliotta, and Clendening. The two forwards will provide as bottom-six help, whereas Clendening will likely slot in as a seventh defenseman. Nothing major in the Big Apple yet. 

Ottawa, like Anaheim and Columbus, didn’t do much today. They made a few minor-league signings but not anything noteworthy. New GM Pierre Dorion feels Mike Blunden can step up into a bottom-six role next season. 

Philadelphia added two bottom-six players in Dale Weise and Boyd Gordon. The Weise deal is for four years and will either look really good or really average after this year. Luckily for Philadelphia, if things go bad, Weise has an easily moveable cap hit. 

Pittsburgh, due to cap, didn’t add anything outside of two depth defensemen. They got Stuart Percy, ex-Toronto Marlie. I guess that makes up for losing Scott Harrington in the Kessel trade?

San Jose added David Schlemko and Mikkel Boedker in an attempt to push them to the next step, which is winning the Stanley Cup. Many people were surprised by Schlemko getting four years, but the AAV is low and he is a very underrated defenseman. 

The St. Louis Blues brought back David Perron on a two-year deal. He is a solid replacement for Troy Brouwer. They also got Carter Hutton to backup Jake Allen, the recipient of a new four year deal. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed two depth forwards, Michael Bournival and Jeremy Morin. Not much to write about here. 

Toronto only made one move, signing Matt Martin to a four year deal. The AAV was surprisingly low at only 2.5 per. He’ll provide energy for the Leafs as well as protection for the young kids. Personally, I think it’s a good signing. Others think the opposite. To each his own. 

The Canucks signed Loui Eriksson to a six year deal and he is expected to slot in beside the Sedin twins. I think it’s a good fit for the team, but I’m surprised Eriksson isn’t in a “win now” mode. 

Washington signed Brett Connolly to a cheap deal. He has the skill to really make this a great signing for Washington. The former first round pick hasn’t been able to find his knack in Boston or Tampa Bay. 

Lastly, the Winnipeg Jets made a trio of moves grabbing Shawn Matthias, Quinton Howden, and Brian Strait. Matthias is a good depth option, Howden is a youngster who never got a chance in Florida, and Strait is a 7/8 defenseman. Not spectacular, but not a bad day. 

Plenty of free agents are left. We’ll see what day two has in store. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Recap: Hall/Larsson and Subban/Weber trades, plus Stamkos’ signing 

Yes — we are just as confused as you are. 

In thirty minutes, the course of the next NHL season changed dramatically. In what was likely the biggest flurry of trades in NHL history, PK Subban, Taylor Hall, Shea Weber, and Adam Larsson were all dealt. Not to mention Steven Stamkos re-signed in Tampa Bay. 

So let’s start at the first trade of the day. New Jersey acquired Taylor Hall from Edmonton in exchange for Adam Larsson. This was a desperate move met by a lot of scrutiny, mostly rightful, by Peter Chiarelli. With trading chips such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, a deal involving Taylor Hall shouldn’t have been necessary. Adam Larsson is a solid young defender, but nowhere near the caliber of defenseman that should have been brought in for Taylor Hall. 

Regardless, this likely makes Edmonton the firm landing spot for Milan Lucic. That’s not to say Lucic is a formidable replacement for Taylor Hall, but it is what is going to happen.  

As for New Jersey, they get a bonafide first line winger. They’ve been devoid of scoring for a few years now and this is a tremendous pickup. 

Just a few minutes later, rumblings from Nick Kypreos came out that PK Subban could be on the move. That happened a few minutes later when he was traded to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber. 

This is a mind boggling deal. Subban is a better player than Weber, who has significantly declined over the past few years. Weber will also be turning 31 at the start of the season and still has ten years left on his deal. It’s hard to find a rationale from Bergevin’s side when looking at this trade. 

From Nashville’s side, it is a fantastic trade. They get a younger, dynamic defenseman in Subban who can anchor their top-four for years to come. Ryan Ellis, PK Subban, Matthias Ekholm, and Roman Josi is a scary defensive corps. 

Moving on from trades, the Lighting also announced that they had re-signed big fish free agent Steven Stamkos to a eight year, 8.5 million per deal. This is a lower AAV than what other teams may have given him, but with no state income tax in Florida, he’ll earn a lot more than he would elsewhere. 

This changes Friday’s gameplan drastically. Almost every team was going to take a shot at Stamkos, so now they all have to revert to Plan B. David Backes and Frans Nielsen just moved up the leaderboard big time. 

Stay tuned for more NHL news, because I’m sure we’ll get some. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Stamkos Watch 2k16

Where will Steven Stamkos land? Let’s break it down into four groups. 

1) The Impossibilities 

These teams have no chance at signing Steven Stamkos, mainly due to cap restrictions. There’s not much else to say. The teams that fall into this category are:

•Chicago Blackhawks

•Pittsburgh Penguins

•Los Angeles Kings

•Columbus Blue Jackets

2) The Long Shots 

These teams have a chance at signing Stamkos, but it’s highly unlikely. The teams that fall into this category are:

•Philadelphia Flyers 

•Colorado Avalanche

•New Jersey Devils

•Calgary Flames

•Dallas Stars

•Carolina Hurricanes

•San Jose Sharks 

•Nashville Predators 

•Washington Capitals

•Anaheim Ducks 

Some of these teams, like Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas, Edmonton, and Anaheim, don’t necessarily have a need for Stamkos with their center core and cap situations. Others, like Carolina and New Jersey, simply are not likely to get him because they are relatively unattractive destinations. But theoretically, any team on this list could get Steven Stamkos. 

3) The Middle of the Road

These teams float in between the favorites to land Stamkos and the long shots. All of these clubs will be in good consideration. The teams that fall into this category are:

•New York Rangers

•New York Islanders

•Winnipeg Jets

•Arizona Coyotes

•Ottawa Senators

•Boston Bruins

•Florida Panthers

•Minnesota Wild

•Montreal Canadiens 

•St. Louis Blues 

•Vancouver Canucks 

Most of these teams, minus maybe the Wild and the Rangers, have a good enough current cap situation to fit Stamkos in under the bill. Teams like Ottawa, Winnipeg, Montreal, and Vancouver are all devoid of a top-tier center. Two teams that may surprise you on this list are Arizona and St. Louis. However, both teams have the cap and have general managers that are not afraid to do something big. Arizona winning the Cup may be a pipe dream, but wouldn’t Stamkos look nice with the music note on his chest? His addition would certainly help the Blues potentially disperse their playoff failures. 

4) The Favorites 

Last but certainly not least, the favorites. These teams are presumed to have the best chance to land Steven Stamkos. The teams that fall into this category are:

•Buffalo Sabres

•Toronto Maple Leafs 

•Tampa Bay Lightning

•Detroit Red Wings

These four are set to duke it out at the top for a chance to sign Steven Stamkos.

Stamkos staying with the Lighting is still a very real possibility, especially because of the absence of income tax in Florida. The hometown Toronto Maple Leafs are also a very attractive option. Buffalo is also ready to shell out a bunch of money to try to get him in a Sabres jersey. Furthermore, Detroit is ready to bring trucks of money to the Stamkos residence as well, and they even traded the Pavel Datsyuk contract to do so. 

Only time will tell where Steven Stamkos will go. But he certainly won’t be devoid of options. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Notable NHL Training Camp Invites (Updated 9/17/15)

NHL training camp is just around the corner, so here are some notable names attending camps.

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Sunday Blog: Franson, PTOs, and Al Arbour 

We’ve reached the dog days of the NHL offseason, which is a perfect time to start a new trend. I’ll try my best to post these Sunday blogs, just to talk, every week along with the regular content spread out accordingly.   Read the rest of this entry

How Every Team Faired in Day One of NHL Free Agency

How each NHL team did on day one of free agency.
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Frolik Generating Tons of Interest

Among forwards, Michael Frolik from the Winnipeg Jets has been garnering some of the most interest heading into the free agency period. 
The 27 year old forward is about to enter his 8th NHL season after being drafted 10th overall by Florida in 2006. It is believed that Frolik and his agent met with over 10 teams down in Florida over draft day weekend. He is seeking a deal up to five seasons long and will likely get in the 5 to 6 million range. 
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Martin St. Louis’ Future

Martin St. Louis’ first full year in New York has come to a bitter end, leaving many fans desiring more out of the aging winger. He had an above average regular season with 21 goals and 52 points in 74 games, but failed to produce when it really mattered, the playoffs. After being a catalyst to the playoff run to the Finals last season, St. Louis only had one goal and 7 points in 19 playoff games this year. 
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Top 5 NHL Free Agents by Position

Up front, this offseason’s free agents are weak, but the defense is loaded for any team looking to rebuild their backend for the upcoming season. The group also features four goalies that could potentially hit the market that could be starters next year.
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