PHT’s 2014 free agent frenzy tracker

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Welcome to Thunderdome! Or, as us in the hockey biz like to call it, July 1.

Throughout today, PHT will bring you up-to-the-minute news covering all the signings and trades that go down across the NHL. And — because we know you don’t wanna go looking all over the place for what’s happened — we’ve created this here handy tracker to keep tabs on all the action.

Enjoy the day…

Tuesday, July 1

New York Islanders sign Harry Zolnierczyk: for one year, $600,000 (link); they also sign Cory Conacher to an identical one-year, $600,000 deal (link)

Detroit Red Wings re-sign D Kyle Quincey for two years, $8.5 million (link)

Anaheim Ducks sign G Jason LaBarbera for one year, $750,000 (link)

New York Islanders signed F Jack Skille to a two-way deal (link)

Tampa Bay signs G Evgeni Nabokov: one year, $1.55 million (link)

Pittsburgh re-signs C Marcel Goc: one year, $1.2 million (link)

Florida signs D Willie Mitchell: two years, $8.5 million (link)

Philadelphia Flyers signed F Blair Jones to a two-way deal (link)

New Jersey re-signs F Stephen Gionta: two years, $1.7 million (link)

Dallas signs F Patrick Eaves: one year, $600,000 (link)

Washington signs D Matt Niskanen: seven years, $40 million (link)

Chicago signs C Brad Richards: one year, $2 million (link)

Phoenix signs G Devan Dubnyk: one year, $800,000 (link)

Philadelphia signs G Ray Emery (one year, $1M) and G Robb Zepp (link)

Buffalo signs D Andrej Meszaros: one year, $4.125 million (link)

Calgary signs D Deryk Engelland: three years, $8.7 million (link)

Tampa Bay signs F Mike Blunden: one year, $600,000 (link)

New Jersey signs G Scott Clemmensen: one year, $ N/A (link)

Detroit signs F Kevin Porter (link)

Buffalo signs F Cody McCormick: three years, $4.5 million (link)

Carolina re-signs F Jiri Tlusty: one year, $2.95 million (link)

Tampa Bay signs D Anton Stralman: five years, $22.5 million (link)

Columbus trades Matt Frattin to Toronto for Jerry D’Amigo (link)

Buffalo re-signs F Marcus Foligno: two years, $3.75 million (link)

Colorado signs RW Jarome Iginla: three years, $16 million (link)

New Jersey re-signs F Steve Bernier: one year, $600,000 (link)

Buffalo signs LW Matt Moulson: four years, $25 million (link)

Toronto signs F Leo Komarkov: four years, $11.8 million (link)

Chicago re-signs C Peter Regin: one year, $650,000 (link)

Colorado signs D Zach Redmond: two years, $1.5 million (link)

New Jersey signs F Martin Havlat: one year, $1.5 million (link)

Florida signs C Derek McKenzie: three years, $3.9 million (link)

Minnesota signs Thomas Vanek: three years, $19.5 million (link)

New York Rangers re-sign Dominic Moore (two years, $3M), sign Tanner Glass (three years, $4.35M) (link)

Toronto signs D Stephane Robidas: three years, $9 million (link)

Florida signs RW Shawn Thornton: two years, $2.4 million (link)

Colorado signs D Bruno Gervais: one year, $650,000 (link)

Florida signs G Al Montoya: two years, $2.1 million (link)

Calgary signs G Jonas Hiller: two years, $9 million (link)

Pittsburgh signs G Thomas Greiss: one year, $1 million (link)

Dallas signs G Anders Lindback: one year, $ N/A (link)

Colorado re-signs D Nick Holden: three years, $4.95 million (link)

New York Islanders sign T.J. Brennan: one year, $600,000 (link)

Buffalo signs F Brian Gionta: three years, $12.75 million (link)

Winnipeg signs C Mathieu Perreault: three years, $9 million (link)

Montreal signs D Mike Weaver: one year, $1.75 million (link)

Washington signs D Brooks Orpik: five years, $27.5 million (link)

Carolina signs C Brad Malone: two years, $1.3 million (link)

Montreal signs D Tom Gilbert: two years, $5.6 million (link)

Dallas signs LW Ales Hemsky: three years, $12 million (link)

Phoenix signs F Joe Vitale: three years, $3.3 million (link)

Vancouver signs G Ryan Miller: three years, $18 million (link)

San Jose trades D Brad Stuart to Colorado for picks (link)

Pittsburgh signs F Blake Comeau: one year, $700,000 (link)

Vancouver signs D Bobby Sanguinetti: one year, $600,000 (link)

Anaheim signs D Clayton Stoner: four years, $13 million (link)

Calgary signs F Mason Raymond: three years, $9.5 million (link)

Florida signs C Dave Bolland: five years, $27.5 million (link)

New Jersey Devils sign LW Mike Cammalleri: five years, $25 million (link)

New York Rangers sign D Dan Boyle: two years, $9 million (link)

Colorado sign LW Jesse Winchester: two years, $1.8 million (link)

Florida signs LW Jussi Jokinen: four years, $16 million (link)

Washington signs G Justin Peters: two years, $1.9 million (link)

Tampa Bay signs F Brian Boyle: three years, $6 million (link)

Edmonton signs D Keith Aulie: one year, $800,000 (link)

Montreal trades D Josh Gorges to Buffalo for ’16 2nd-round pick (link)

St. Louis signs C Paul Stastny: four years, $28 million (link)

Ottawa re-signs F Milan Michalek: three years, $12 million (link)

New York Islanders sign G Chad Johnson: two years, $2.6 million (link)

St. Louis signs C Jori Lehtera: two years, $5.5M (link)

Edmonton signs F Benoit Pouliot (five years, $20M) and D Mark Fayne (four years, $14.5 million) (link)

Pittsburgh signs D Christian Ehrhoff: one year, $4M (link)

Montreal signs C Manny Malhotra: one year, $850,000 (link)

Ottawa trades Jason Spezza to Dallas for Alex Chiasson, Alex Guptill, Nicholas Paul, 2015 2nd-round pick (link)

Columbus re-signs D Frederic St. Denis: one year, $550,000 (link)

Vancouver re-signs F Mike Zalewski: two years, $1.85M (link)

Detroit re-signs C Riley Sheahan: two years, $1.9M (link)

 

Florida Panthers aren’t afraid to change, but will they actually improve?

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Change is often a necessary thing in sports, and the results can be swift and brutal. There’s a fine line between rolling with the punches and blindly swinging, however.

The Florida Panthers’ history as a franchise makes you wonder if they’ll ever find the right balance between stability and innovation. Amid all these years of flip-flopping and regime tweaks, there may only be one unsettling constant: the on-ice product being middling-to-terrible.

Just look at the way they burn through coaches.

Six of their 14 head coaches were behind the bench for fewer than 82 games, including Tom Rowe, who was seemingly thrown out with the analytical approach last season.

Their GMs haven’t fared much better. Dale Tallon’s probably received the longest leash of them all, and this past year or so made a mess of that situation. And it’s arguable that things have only degraded as Tallon aims to clean up supposed “messes.”

The Panthers didn’t just lose cheap 30-goal scorer Jonathan Marchessault to Vegas; they also shipped Reilly Smith to the Golden Knights. Smith was a golden boy of sorts to the more stats-leaning members of the franchise, and while he struggled last season, it sure seemed like the Panthers were eager to get rid of him.

The same could be said about Jason Demers.

MORE: Welcome Demers to the trade rumor mill

As abrupt as the Gerard Gallant firing felt, the Panthers didn’t necessarily give the analytical approach much time. At least from an “optics” standpoint.

Now, parting ways with Marchessault, Smith, and possibly Demers may end up being reasonable in hindsight. Still, there’s no denying that Tallon made some mistakes in his stead; the “computer boys” didn’t sign an atrocious Dave Bolland contract and didn’t pick Erik Gudbranson over superior talent.

The bottom line is that the Panthers haven’t won a playoff series since John Vanbiesbrouck led them to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final. There’s legitimate concern that this franchise will keep making the same mistakes – and keep changing the cooks in the kitchen – while the results leave much to be desired.

Will Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau share the same frustrating path as Jay Bouwmeester and others before them?

This summer could serve as a serious fork in the road, as Tallon has some building blocks in place and an estimated $20 million in cap space. Even if the Panthers remain a budget team, they’re likely to have some room to work with.

Perhaps they’ll finally make the right changes?

Related

Panthers look to be aggressive in adding scoring

Devils will give top pick Hischier a chance to make team right away

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There’s at least some question regarding whether Nico Hischier is ready to jump straight from being the top pick of the 2017 NHL Draft to becoming an immediate part of the New Jersey Devils’ roster.

If he went back to junior, it would break a lengthy trend of No. 1 choices going to the big time right away.

Devils GM Ray Shero seems pretty optimistic that he can handle that jump, though, as you can see from this presser via MSG:

MORE: Devils pick Hischier over Patrick

As one would expect, Shero said that the Devils won’t rush him if it’s “apparent” that the Swiss-born forward isn’t ready. Still, Shero seems convinced that Hischier has the size, skill, and smarts to earn a spot.

Much like Nolan Patrick with the Philadelphia Flyers, Hischier didn’t deny that he wants to make the big time right off the bat.

“Yeah, for sure. I mean, it’s my goal, so it is important for sure,” Hischier said on draft night. “I really want to achieve my goal, but I still know I have to prove a lot of things to play there.”

Hey, maybe Taylor Hall could even ease his adjustment?

Burns and Thornton pose nude for ESPN Body Issue, and yes, it’s weird

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Hey, have you ever wanted to see Brent Burns and Joe Thornton essentially line up against each other naked?

Well, ESPN the Magazine interrupted your answer either way, going ahead and doing it for their vaunted Body Issue.

Considering Thornton’s UFA status, there’s at least an outside chance that this will be their final action together as members of the San Jose Sharks.

This is your last chance not to scroll and see Thornton, Burns, beards, tattoos, and not a whole lot else.

/waits

Former teammate Jason Demers captured it on Twitter, making it his background, and generally winning the Internet for the day:

Did anyone else think about Thornton’s line after Tomas Hertl scored four goals? No? OK.

The real highlight might be Burns and Thornton giggling in robes, honestly.

Click here for more on that issue, including information on U.S. women’s ice hockey team members who will also be featured.

Hjalmarsson shocked by Blackhawks trade, but Coyotes could improve soon

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Who could blame Niklas Hjalmarsson for being surprised that the Chicago Blackhawks traded him? The move blindsided … well, just about everyone outside of the Blackhawks organization, after all.

“It’s going to take some time to get used to that thought,” Hjalmarsson said, according to the Arizona Republic. “At the same time, I’m trying to always be a positive guy.”

Indeed, the 30-year-old defenseman did his best to say all the right things about the Arizona Coyotes, praising a roster that includes “a lot of young and promising players.”

MORE on the trade here

Described by some as the NHL’s best pure defensive defenseman, Hjalmarsson also gives the Coyotes good reason to be excited by a blueline that’s suddenly quite competitive. Consider the quartet that GM John Chayka helped assemble:

Hjalmarsson: An often-underrated part of the Blackhawks’ run. Consider some of the praise he received even before this move was made.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson: One of the league’s best-kept secrets, “OEL” ranks as one of the most dangerous scoring defensemen. At 25, he’s still deep in his prime.

Alex Goligoski: When you consider the Dallas Stars’ lost 2016-17 season, don’t dismiss the absence of “Gogo.” He might not be perfect, but the 31-year-old is the sort of puck-mover you need to excel in the modern game.

Jakob Chychrun: At 19, he’s already getting reps at the NHL level. The Coyotes could pair him with a veteran and watch him grow.

***

When you look at those four, in particular, it’s easier to see Hjalmarsson’s excitement as more than just lip service. It probably doesn’t hurt that the Coyotes also added Derek Stepan, another sign that this franchise is taking the next step after absorbing other franchises’ problem contracts in the likes of Dave Bolland and Pavel Datsyuk’s last year.

Granted, it will still be an adjustment, as the Coyotes are likely aiming for “respectable” while anything less that a deep run was unacceptable for the Blackhawks.

Still, Hjalmarsson has plenty of power to make this move more palatable than it may have initially seemed.

And, hey, who would blame him for circling Oct. 21 on his calendar?