NHL Free Agency: Winners & Losers | July 5, 2012
Free agency began on Sunday and already we have had a flurry of signings. I’m going to have a quick look at the winners & losers of FA as well as question some deals that have been made, nothing says Free Agency in the NHL than overpaying players.
What a day it was for the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, getting two home grown players in Ryan Suter & Zach Parise who were both heavily targeted by a number of franchises, including Detroit, Chicago & Pittsburgh – who could have easily offered more money, as well as a better chance of winning a Stanley cup.
The Wild will be delighting on landing both players for the next 12 years, this was a team who lead the NHL a quarter of the way through the season but eventually faultered. Minnesota have a number of blue chip prospects in Dumba, Granlund and Broding, by adding Suter and Parise the Wild are hoping this crop of players can get them back into the play-offs and possibly a Stanley Cup to match.
The Stars haven’t made the play-offs since 2008, GM Joe Nieuwendyk is hoping adding Jaromir Jagr (1 year, $4.5 million) and Ray Whitney (2 years, $9.5 million) will get them over the hump. Both players are over 40 years old but both showed last season they can play. Jamie Benn is the star of this franchise but adding two veteran players who can score will only help Benn develop into a better player.
Nieuwendyk has been busy trading for players by adding Derek Roy Sabres & Cody Eakins Capitals to the team, this team struggled with goals and the off season moves have gone about addressing that.
New Jersey Devils:
You’re probably thinking, how is this possible? Devils, winners in free agency after they lost Zach Parise to the Wild? Well, things could have been a lot of worse for the Devils. They were able to re-sign Martin Brodeur and Bryce Salvador, two key players who helped them to the Finals in the 11/12 season. They could have been in worse shape if both players also left, with Parise gone the Devils will have sufficient cap space to go out and add other FA available on the Market.
Notable mention to the Oilers who signed prized possession Justin Shultz.
Nashville lost star defence man Ryan Suter who signed a 13 year deal with the Wild, the Predators have already lost Jack Hillen, Francis Bouillon and Jordin Tootoo, players who played a important role last season. Shea Weber could be possibly gone with him having 1 year left on his contract, if the Predators don’t think he will resign they will have to trade him. In return hoping they are able to attain some ‘A’ prospects, draft picks for Weber. Predators could be in bad shape in 2012/2013 having also lost Russian Star Alexander Radulov to the KHL.
Calgary have the second highest payroll in the NHL behind the Bruins, no surprise they are constantly expected to overpay players, then regretting it down the line. The Flames gave Dennis Wideman 5 years $26.25 Million and Jiri Hudler 4 years $16 million. The Flames are constantly known to overpay and these two contracts show that. Flames are hoping Hudler and Wideman are able to help them get back into the playoffs after missing out on it for the last 3 seasons, otherwise their contracts could be a massive problem in 2-3 years.
Now that both Parise & Suter are off the market, it will be interesting to see if the dominoes fall in place with Rick Nash – maybe finally getting traded to the team he wants, which I presume is NYR. Will Shea Weber be getting a long term contract? Similar figures to Suter but he could be traded if he refuses to sign a long term contract, potentially losing him for nothing next season. Bobby Ryan of Anaheim will be off soon after he was upset with the way he is being treated by the team after his name has come up a number of times when discussing a trade with the Ducks. Alexander Semin will be heavily coverted now that Parise is off the market, with him potentially going to the Red wings but is rumoured to be going back to the KHL.