NHL Free Agency Live Blog

Posted on July 05, 2013 by Mike Vogel

5:15 PM: It seems like things are finally starting to slow up a bit. Or maybe the GMs around the league are taking a nap. Or getting oxygen.

 

Looks like it’s wakey-wakey time in Anaheim and Ottawa, anyway. The two 2007 Cup finalists hooked up in a deal that sends left wing Bobby Ryan to Ottawa for Jakob Silfverberg, a first-round draft choice and right wing prospect Stefan Noesen, an Ottawa first-rounder in 2011. The Sens have seemingly made up for the sting of losing Alfredsson, but not without a cost.

 

Ryan is a legit first-line winger, but the Ducks pull in three strong assets including one (Silfverberg) who can step in for Ryan at a fraction of the cap hit.

 

Dallas signed Dan Ellis for two years to serve as Kari Lehtonen’s backup. With the lockout last season, I guess the Stars didn’t see much of Ellis.

 

Tampa Bay has inked Valtteri Filppula to a five-year deal that will pay him $5 million a season. I like Filppula, but that’s a lot of scratch for a guy who has exceeded 40 points once in six full seasons. He’ll likely be embracing a larger role in Tampa Bay than he had in Detroit, though.

 

Good to see Dominic Moore back in the NHL. He’s been through a lot and wish him the best in his one-year deal with the Rangers at $1 million.

 

Sounds like Carolina has signed Anton Khudobin to replace Ellis, that’s a strong upgrade for a mere $900,000 for 2013-14.

 

More Nashville business: The Preds have signed Eric Nystrom to a four-year deal for $10 million. Nashville GM David Poile has thrown some term around today, for sure.

 

Ex-Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz has landed with the Kings on a one-year deal for $700,000. Good depth signing there, getting a young guy who has played 20-plus minutes and having him on hand at a good cost makes sense.

 

In another depth move, the Canucks have signed ex-Habs defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year deal for $650,000. Vancouver has also inked Kings fourth-liner Brad Richardson to a two-year deal at $1.15 million per, a decent signing.

 

Two more blueline signings: T. J. Brennan to Toronto and Aaron Johnson to the Rangers in a couple of other depth signings, both for $600,000 for the upcoming season.

 

2:35 PM: In the next batch of nuttiness, we see that David Clarkson has signed with Toronto. No surprise there. The seven-year term is shocking. The $5.25 million a season seems high, too, but it’s not my money. I’m not sure how effective he’ll be on the back end of that deal.

 

Mamas, raise your babies to be power forwards. Horton, Clowe and Clarkson all got paid big time. And remind me one more time, please, why there was a lockout that killed the first half of last season.

 

The Leafs also inked center Tyler Bozak to a five-year contract extension worth $4.2 million per season. The Leafs now feature Nazim Kadri, Bozak, recently obtained Dave Bolland and Jay McClement up the middle. The latter three cost just upwards of $9 million annually as a combo platter; Kadri is an RFA who has yet to sign for 2013-14.

 

Speedy Viktor Stalberg got a four-year deal from the Predators worth $3 million a season. Nashville seems to be in terminal need of scoring and he should help, even though his hands aren’t as good as his feet. He’s a third-liner who can play on the second in a pinch.

 

The Preds also brought in veteran checking center Matt Cullen for two years at $3.5 million per season. The Cullen deal seems steep to me, but there are two potentially helpful adds up front for Nashville. It also sounds like the Preds may have a bigger role in mind for Cullen.

 

Speaking of the Preds, they signed ex-Caps winger Matt Hendricks for four years aat $1.85 million per season.

 

An hour or so after landing Alfredsson, the Wings also signed center Stephen Weiss, one of the best available pivots. Weiss got

 

Chicago re-upped third-pair defenseman Michal Rozsival for two years. No money announced on that one yet.

 

An earlier signing that I liked but neglected to mention was the Hurricanes’ one-year deal with defenseman Mike Komisarek for $700,000. Good third-pair signing.

 

On the depth front, the Oilers signed ex-Islander Jesse Joensuu to a two-year deal and the Panthers added veteran defenseman Mike Mottau for one year.

 

1:34 PM: Okay, it’s been about 90 minutes now since the NHL’s Free Agent Emporium – its shelves freshly stocked to varying degrees – opened for business. Already, we have more than a handful of signings. And already we’ve got some craziness afoot in terms of what teams are throwing around, more related to term than dollars in a lot of instances.

 

Earlier in the week, I posted a three-part free agent preview series that looked at the open market for free agent centers, free agent wingers and free agent defensemen and goalies. In terms of money, most players signed so far have come in right around where I slotted them. In terms of term, not so much.

 

Columbus placed seven years and $37 million worth of faith in Nathan Horton, he of the bum shoulder and two 60-point seasons in the league, none since 2007-08. Horton was one of the top free agents available this summer, but it’s all relative.

 

Ryane Clowe is coming off a couple of down seasons, but that didn’t stop New Jersey from bestowing him a five-year deal that will pay him $4.85 million annually. Clowe might have been worth that dough two summers ago, but it’s somewhat surprising to see that term and money for a guy who totaled three goals in 40 games last season. Again, the shallow pool drives up the prices.

 

The Islanders resigned goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to a one-year deal for $3.25 million, up from the $2.75 million he was paid last season. Good deal for both sides there, and the Isles are able to bring back a guy they’re comfortable with.

 

The Islanders’ inking of Pierre-Marc Bouchard to a one-year deal for $2 million is a solid signing with good upside. The Isles also signed former Sens forward Peter Regin to a one-year deal at $750,000. That’s a depth move.

 

I had Rob Scuderi getting a deal similar to the one he just finished up with the Kings, a four-year pact that paid him $3.4 million annually. He has signed a four-year deal for $3.5 million a season with the Penguins.

 

I noted that Andrew Ference would get three or more years at around the $3 million mark; he got four years for a total of $13 million (AAV: $3.25 million) from Edmonton, so he’s headed home.

 

Daniel Alfredsson gets his first taste of life outside of Ottawa, signing a one-year deal with Detroit for $5.5 million. That’s a good fit for both sides; it gives Alfie a chance to win a Cup and the Wings have another sturdy top-six forward.

 

Having lost Alfredsson on the right side, the Sens signed left wing Clarke MacArthur to a two-year deal for $3.25 million a season, exactly doubling the one he just completed with the Leafs. MacArthur netted eight goals and had 20 points in 40 games last season. Wow.

 

The Oilers have been busy early. In addition to Ference, they inked backup goalie Jason Labarbera and checking center Boyd Gordon (an ex-Cap) as well. The Gordon signing is for three years, and it’s an astute one. A righty center who can win draws, check and kill penalties is a very underrated and useful commodity.

 

More notably among ex-Caps on the move is Phoenix’s signing of Mike Ribeiro to a four-year deal. The Caps offered the 33-year-old Ribeiro a three-year extension during the season, but the center was adamant that he wanted four or five years. The deal with the Coyotes will pay him an average of $5.5 million over the next four seasons.

 

Phoenix could have claimed Mikhail Grabovski off waivers and had him for the next four seasons for exactly what they’re paying Ribeiro over that span. Coyotes coach Dave Tippett is familiar with Ribeiro from his days in Dallas as the Stars’ head coach, and Ribeiro has a degree of familiarity with Phoenix as well, having played in the old Pacific Division for the better part of a decade.

 

Ex-Caps defenseman Scott Hannan has signed on with San Jose, a one-year deal for $1million, exactly what he got in 2012-13. Hannan is now in his third tour of duty with the Sharks.

 

Ex-Cap Joey Crabb signed a two-year deal for $1.2 million with the Florida Panthers.

 

Ex-Cap Keith Aucoin signed a one-year deal with St. Louis for $625,000.

 

Philly has renewed its membership in the Goalie of the Year Club, bringing Ray Emery back to the Flyers on a one-year deal worth $1.65 million. He’ll join Steve Mason in defending the Philly twine, and the Flyers also signed a “break glass only in case of emergency” guy in veteran journeyman goalie Yann Danis, noted for surrendering the first NHL goal of Brooks Laich’s NHL career.

 

With Phoenix having lost longtime backup Labarbera to the Oilers, the Coyotes filled the gap with Thomas Greiss, formerly of the Sharks. Greiss signed for one year, but I haven’t seen the money on that one yet.

 

After helping the Hawks to a Stanley Cup title last month, veteran pivot Michal Handzus has re-upped for another season in Chicago, dollar amount pending.

 

Locally, Washington’s war room is active with the team’s hockey operations staff, led by general manager George McPhee. With this week’s buyout of defenseman Jeff Schultz, the Caps have somewhere above $8 million of cap space available for 2013-14, but they still must sign RFAs Karl Alzner and Marcus Johansson, which could eat away anywhere from two-thirds to three-quarters of that space.

 

Once the dust settles, they may be able to slot in another useful player with the remainder, but they may also be better off saving the space for use later in the season.

 

Posted in: Sports
next up:

A Thin Blueline

July 05, 2013

A dearth of defensemen and some interesting goaltending options are on the market for NHL teams shopping for free agents this summer

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