The Buffalo Sabres lost two defensemen via free agency, but managed to fill that void by signing free agent defenseman Jordan Leopold — who finished last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The financial terms haven’t been disclosed just yet, but it’s a three-year contract for another one of the more underrated defensemen on the market as more and more blueliners get big deals today.
Leopold has been a trade deadline piece the past two years, first going from Calgary to Florida in 2009, then heading from Florida to Pittsburgh this past spring.
While losing Lydman and Tallinder hurts, gaining Leopold should help the transition just a bit.
The Chicago Blackhawks continue to make moves in an effort to free up cap space, as they trade RFA Andrew Ladd to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for a draft pick and defensive prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy.
Ladd was given a qualifying offer by the Hawks late last week, but they just couldn’t afford to keep him given how tight their salary cap space has become.
In exchange, they acquire what should be a decent draft pick and what was once a promising prospect in Vishnevskiy.
As of right now, the Hawks have about $55 million locked up in 13 players, but it’s important to remember that thanks to player bonuses going onto next year’s cap they aren’t operating with the same high cap as everyone else.
More moves will have to be made. As of right now, the Hawks have lost several pieces of the depth that made them so great on their Stanley Cup run. This was expected however, especially after the moves Dale Tallon made last summer.
It’s a good thing they won the Cup when they did.
Chris Mason turned down a big contract with the St. Louis Blues, who then traded for Jaroslav Halak. Mason entered a crowded goaltending market and had to settle for a very cheap deal with the Atlanta Thrashers.
Mason signed a two-year contract with the Thrashers, worth $1.6 million for the first season and $2.1 million the second. This is a great deal for Atlanta, who get a top end goaltender for under $2 million per year, especially after it seems that they would be unable keep Johan Hedberg.
Once again, you wonder where this leaves Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov. At this rate, there’s no way that either goaltender makes more than $3-4 million next season and now there seems to be a sudden dearth of starting jobs available.
The Vancouver Canucks are committed to improving their defensive corps this season and with several defensemen set to become UFA’s next summer, they are now set for the next few seasons. After acquiring Keith Ballard from the Florida Panthers, the Canucks have now won the Dan Hamhuis sweepstakes.
The Canucks were the frontrunners for Hamhuis for most of the day, however several teams jumped in on the talks and caused his price to raise just a bit.
Hamhuis signs a six-year contract worth $4.5 million per season, which is somewhat reasonable considering some of the contracts being thrown about today. The length is a bit interesting, but at $4.5 million that’s right in line with the market that’s been created today.
There’s also some thoughts that Hamhuis took a bit of a discount to go to Vancouver, where he’ll be the top defenseman and be regarded as a cornerstone for the franchise moving forward.
The New Jersey Devils lost Paul Martin to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but gained one of the more underrated defensemen on the market by signing Henrik Tallinder to a four-year contract worth $3.375 million per season.
Tallinder was part of the solid Buffalo Sabres blue line last season, and has played his entire career in Buffalo. He’s far from an offensive guru, but he is a very solid and dependable shut down defenseman that should fit perfectly in the Devils’ system.
With Tallinder now signed, the stakes are raising for Dan Hamhuis as more and more teams get in on his negotiations.