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2010 NHL Free Agency: Dan Ellis signs with Tampa Bay

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We don’t have the financials just yet, but it looks as though the Tampa Bay Lightning have signed goaltender Dan Ellis.

Ellis had hoped to sign with the Montreal Canadiens after having his rights traded, but with Alex Auld signing with the Habs, Ellis had to turn elsewhere.

He’ll be a great fit with Tampa Bay, as Steve Yzerman continues to rebuild his team is very short fashion. Ellis is a starting-caliber goaltender with a great work ethic and an even better attitude in the locker room.

2010 NHL Free Agency: Manny Malhotra signs with Vancouver Canucks


Malhotra.jpgManny Malhotra is getting one heck of a raise, thanks to the Vancouver Canucks.

After making $700,000 last season with the San Jose Sharks, Malhotra has signed a three-year contract worth $2.5 million per season with the Canucks, with a no-trade clause thrown in for good measure.

Apparently the going rate this summer for mediocre 10-20 goal scorers is in the range of $2 to $3 million per season.

Malhotra did have the best season of his career last year with San Jose, with 14 goals and a career-high plus-17 rating in 71 games. So, I guess you could say he was due a raise.

2010 NHL Free Agency: Colby Armstrong signs 3-year, $9 million deal with Toronto


Armstrong2.jpgIf this isn’t the biggest sign that this summer has one of the weakest free agency pools in recent memory, I don’t know what is.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed forward Colby Armstrong to a three-year, $9 million contract. Armstrong scored just 15 goals last season, one year after his “breakout season’ in 2008-2009 with the Thrashers, after he scored 22 goals in 82 games.

Armstrong is known more for his physicality than outright scoring ability, although he doesn’t end up in the penalty box as much as you would think with a player like that. He’s mainly just a “guy” who had a good season with Atlanta two years ago, and signed a one-year extension with the Thrashers to cash in on it.

Now, even after a down season, he’s making $3 million a year in Toronto.

2010 NHL Free Agency: Zbynek Michalek signs with Pittsburgh Penguins


michalek.jpgThe Pittsburgh Penguins lost Sergei Gonchar, and apparently couldn’t offer Paul Martin the money he wanted.

Instead, the Penguins pick up perhaps the most underrated defenseman on the market this summer as they sign Zbynek Michalek for five years and $20 million.

It’s a great deal for Michalek and the Penguins, who pick up a great defenseman with great potential, for much less than would have been required to sign Martin or Gonchar.

2010 NHL Free Agency: Paul Martin an option for Pittsburgh?

With the Pittsburgh Penguins losing Sergei Gonchar to the Senators, the talk has now heated up with the Pens becoming interested in defenseman Paul Martin.

Martin was unable to re-sign with the Devils and is now on the open market. You wonder just how much the Penguins would be willing to give Martin, however, as they seemed unwilling to make a big commitment to Gonchar.

Of course, Martin is just a bit younger than Gonchar — who’s had some injury issues of his own lately. The Penguins would likely be much more willing to give Martin the money that Gonchar wanted, for more years, especially considering Martin’s age and potential.