Author: NBC Sports

2010 NHL Free Agency: Winners and losers after day one


After one day of free agency, you start to get a sense for just who
the “winners” and “losers” will be free agency. And today, it looks like
there’s more losers than anything as teams grossly overpaid for
mediocre players. Our list:


Penguins –
The Penguins lost Sergei Gonchar, but arguably upgraded
on defense anyways. It came with a price however. The Penguins landed
two of the top defensive free agents as they signed Paul Martin and
Zbynek Michalek for $9 million between the two players. Both signed
five-year contracts, with Martin’s ($25 million) worth more overall than
Michalek’s ($20 million). Neither will produce the same offense as
Gonchar, but the Penguins now have two relatively young defensemen
locked up as the cornerstone of their defense for the next few seasons.

Canucks –
Dan Hamhuis took a bit of a discount to head to
Vancouver, where he was promised top minutes and the chance to play with
a team that always has the opportunity to head deep into the
postseason. Hamhuis could have certainly signed elsewhere for more, but
settled for a six-year, $27 million contract with Vancouver. Hamhuis
might not have been the big free agent target in other years, but this
summer the deal that Vancouver got for him has to be a positive.

Nothing earth shattering happening down in Atlanta
today, but two nifty moves by Rick Dudley definitely helped the team.
First, the Thrashers traded prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy to Chicago for RFA
Andrew Ladd, who they should have no problems signing. Dudley says that
Ladd is the scoring winger they’ve been needing, and consider him a big
piece of the team moving forward. They also acquired Chris Mason for a
steal, signing the goaltender for almost half of what he was about to
make in St. Louis.


Calgary Flames: Don’t
ask me what Darryl Sutter was thinking today. I have no clue. But he
signed two players today that have been wholly disappointing the past
few years, and who have both spent time with Calgary in the past. Yes,
Ollie Jokinen and Alex Tanguay are back in Calgary, which has to be the
most head-scratching decisions I’ve seen in a long, long time. I don’t
even know how to opine on this. Ridiculous.

New York Rangers:
Good job in signing Martin Biron to be Henrik Lundqvist’s backup.
Horribly bad job in giving Derek Boogaard a four year contract worth
$1.65 million per season. Every year there is one contract handed out
that ruins it for the rest of the NHL, completely skewing the market and
opening the door for horrible contracts all over the league. For some
reason, it seems that it’s the Rangers that do this every year.

Louis Blues:
It seemed the Blues were on the cusp of being big
spenders in free agency, and were poised to do so. They have nothing but
massive amounts of room under the salary cap, but other than extending
Alex Steen and signing Vladimir Sobotka to a one-year contract, were
very quiet and didn’t make any noise in the first day of free agency.
Perhaps they were spooked by the big contracts being handed out to
fringe players, but the Blues needed to make some moves — especially on
defense — in order to get the team back to the playoffs next season.
Still some time over the next few days, however.

2010 NHL Free Agency: After one day, who's left?

With one day in the books in the 2010 NHL free agency period — that
wasn’t really a frenzy as much as it was nutty — here’s the top free
agents remaining (and their 2009-2010 cap hit) who are still looking for


Ilya Kovalchuck – 27 –

Pavol Demitra – 35 – $4,000,000

Mike Modano – 40 –

Fredrik Modin – 35 – $3,250,000

O’Sullivan – 25 – $2,925,000

Owen Nolan – 38 – $2,750,000

Madden – 37 – $2,750,000

Lee Stempniak – 27 – $2,500,000

Lombardi – 28 – $2,900,000

Maxim Afinogenov – 30 – $800,000

Ponikarovsky – 30 – $2,105,000

Ryan Potulny – 25 – $525,000

Belanger -32 – $1,750,000

Mike Comrie – 29 – $1,250,000

Wellwood – 27 – $1,200,000

Raffi Torres – 28 – $2,250,000

Asham – 32 – $640,000


Bergeron – 29 – $750,000

Pavel Kubina – 33 – $5,000,000

Colaiacovo – 27 – $1,283,333

Ruslan Sulei – 35 – $3,025,000

Grebeshkov – 26 – $3,150,000

Joe Corvo – 33 – $2,625,000

Johnsson – 34 – $540,000

Shaone Morrison – 27 – $1,975,000

Boynton – 31 – $1,500,000


Nabokov – 34 – $5,375,000

Marty Turco – 34 – $5,700,000

Theodore – 33 – $4,500,00

Ray Emery – 27 – $1,500,000

Toskala – 33 – $4,000,000

Denis Yann – 29 – $500,000

Lalime – 35 – $1,000,000

Wade Dubielewicz – 31 – $600,000

Climie – 27 – $574,500

Some thoughts:

The run
was on defensemen the first day, leaving plenty of forwards for the
pickings in the next few days. With the amount of overly expensive
contracts we’ve seen so far, it’s not surprising to see teams take it
easy and wait for the market to shake out a bit.

2010 NHL Free Agency: Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov still available


turcovechkin.jpgYou knew this was bound to happen; with so many goaltenders hitting free agency this summer and with not that many teams in need of a starter there was bound to be some goaltenders on the outside looking in.

But Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov?

Trends build in sports, where one or two teams have success with a certain aspect of the game and the rest of the NHL follows suit. Lately, especially after what happened in the playoffs, it seems that the NHL is looking more towards cheaper goaltenders while boosting the rest of their roster. That’s left expensive veterans like Turco and Nabokov on the outside looking in.

Before free agency began, Turco turned down an offer by Philadelphia worth $2 million a season. No exact reason was given, but you have to figure pride came into for Turco, who made over $5 million last season and wasn’t willing to take such a paycut. As it turns out, that deal would have been the most expensive contract handed to a goaltender today, as Martin Biron, Alex Auld, Antero Nittymaki, Chris Mason and Dan Ellis all received multi-year deals for less that $2 million a season.

Even Andrew Raycroft found a job.

Now, both Turco’s and Nabokov’s options are severely limited and there’s no way they’ll get the deal they had likely hoped for when the day began. Philadelphia, perhaps the one team out there still in drastic need of a starting goaltender, ended the day by saying they’re content with their situation in net if they have to go into the season with their current roster.

Even if they wanted to get one of the two they’d need to make a move for salary cap space.

There’s still a chance Turco could land with a team like the Capitals, and get a shot at the starter’s spot — but not for anywhere close to $3-4 million like he was likely holding out for. Marty Turco is a prideful man, one who was a great leader in the locker room and did a lot for the community during his time in Dallas. And he’s still a capable goaltender.

But his desire to remain a starting goaltender at the price he wanted came at the wrong time.

2010 NHL Free Agency: Andrew Raycroft signs two-year contract with Dallas Stars

Raycroft.jpgThe Dallas Stars announced this afternoon that they have signed goaltender Andrew Raycroft to a two-year contract, filling their need for a backup goaltender to new starter Kari Lehtonen.

Financially, it’s a great deal for the Stars. The first season of the deal is two ways, worth $700,000/$105,000 and the second year a one-way deal worth $600,000.

Raycroft enjoyed a good start to his career in Boston, but hasn’t exactly shined the past four seasons. After nearly getting the Maple Leafs to the playoffs in 2007, he fell apart two years ago in Toronto and Colorado. After a decent season as Roberto Luongo’s backup in Vancouver, he gives the Stars a decent option as a backup goaltender.

Still no home for Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov.

2010 NHL Free Agency: No news on Ilya Kovalchuk just yet

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kovalchukjuly1.jpgWe are now six hours into the 2010 NHL free agency period and still nothing concrete on Ilya Kovalchuk — the supposed top free agent this summer.

All day long it’s looked like the Los Angeles Kings were the frontrunners on Kovalchuk, but over the past few hours things have slowed down a bit on the Kovalchuk to LA talk. Right now the Kings are working on trading for a defensemen after missing out on the top free agents, and now it seems their focus isn’t completely on Kovalchuk.

While there’s a number of teams in on the Kovalchuk negotiations, including the New Jersey Devils, even now it seems like the Kings are still the favorite destination for the Russian sniper. Yet the rush of rumors and whispers about the contract talks have certainly slowed, as Kovalchuk waits for the perfect deal to come along.

Word is he’s waiting on Los Angeles to make the offer he wants, although as of now their focus is on improving the defense.