Jul 8, 2013, 12:07 PM EDT
Feel free to check back in a few years to see if these verdicts still hold, but for now…
Winner: Detroit Red Wings
Yes, there are questions about Daniel Alfredsson (isn’t he kind of old?) and Stephen Weiss (didn’t he have, like, one goal last year?), but the fact these two guys picked Detroit showed the Red Wings are still a destination franchise.
In explaining his tough decision to leave Ottawa, Alfredsson said he liked the style Mike Babcock coaches, how stars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg perform “extremely well” when the games count, and the way the organization is committed to winning.
“Everyone knows Detroit’s goals are always to be at the top of the game and to win championships,” he said. “I’m really excited to get this opportunity at this stage of my career to go for a Stanley Cup and fulfill a longtime dream.”
Loser: St. Louis Blues
General manager Doug Armstrong targeted centers Weiss and Valtteri Filppula on Friday; he ended up with Derek Roy on Saturday. No disrespect to Roy, but when you don’t get the guys you want, it’s hard to call you a winner in free agency. As much regular-season success as the Blues have had the past two years, and as much young talent as they continue to boast, they’re still a budget-beholden team with a coach in Ken Hitchcock that offensive-minded players don’t line up to play for.
Winner: power forwards
Nathan Horton, David Clarkson, and Ryane Clowe all signed huge deals on Friday. The money they got (combined around $100 million) was one thing, but the term (combined 19 years) was the real eye-opener. Horton and Clowe each have detailed injury histories (including concussions), which makes perfect sense given the way they play. The risk the Blue Jackets, Maple Leafs and Devils assumed, respectively, shows how important this type of player is considered when it comes to having success in the postseason.
Mike Smith being the exception after signing a $34 million deal with the Coyotes. The non-exceptions include Ray Emery, Anton Khudobin, Jason LaBarbera, and Nikolai Khabibulin, all of whom put up good to great numbers in 2013 (albeit in backup roles) and signed for peanuts. Of the four, Emery is the most likely starter next season; compete for the number-one job in Philadelphia with Steve Mason, all the while making just $1.65 million. Emery hasn’t been a full-time starter in the NHL since undergoing surgery for avascular necrosis in 2010 — a factor that no doubt went against him in negotiations.
Winner: Phoenix Coyotes
We already mentioned Smith’s deal; the Coyotes, with a new owner (finally), also got center Mike Ribeiro for four years and $22 million. It’s worth noting that the one big thing Ribeiro wanted was term, and it was Phoenix — a team that’s been known for anything but stability in recent years — that was able to give it to him. “I’m trying to be stable somewhere for a while, that’s important,” Ribeiro said. “The fact that they confirmed they’d stay there for a few years, that’s a good thing. Obviously that was a big part.”
Loser: Washington Capitals
All of a sudden, the Caps are looking a bit thin down the middle. No more Ribeiro. Also, no more Matt Hendricks, who went to Nashville. Washington GM George McPhee wasn’t in the best position cap-wise to give those two big deals, but he still has to address the departures. Could Mikhail Grabovski, bought out by the Maple Leafs, be an option?
Sep 14, 2014, 10:56 PM EDT
The Hall of Famer has been tasked with aiding bench boss Ted Nolan in Buffalo’s difficult rebuild.
Sep 14, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT
But who and when?
Sep 14, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
He might not miss two months as initially feared.
Sep 14, 2014, 7:13 PM EDT
Training camp will “absolutely” have a different mood to it.
Sep 14, 2014, 6:01 PM EDT
The Flyers have high hopes for the young defenseman.
Sep 14, 2014, 4:42 PM EDT
He looked like a serious Hart Trophy candidate in the first half of 2013-14.
Sep 14, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
But can he contribute at the NHL level?
Sep 14, 2014, 1:46 PM EDT
Was rumored to be heading out of Buffalo at NHL Draft.
Sep 14, 2014, 12:15 PM EDT
Ryan McDonagh likely choice to wear ‘C’.
Sep 14, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
Calgary’s prospects show hope for the future in southern Alberta.
Sep 14, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Opportunities available for prospects Boone Jenner and Alexander Wennberg.
Sep 14, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT
That’s him, wearing No. 74 for the Oilers, during a pre-season game last year.
Sep 13, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
Or he may only be out for two weeks.
Sep 13, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT
Report: He will have it checked out in Dallas.
Sep 13, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
Philly bought out the high-priced goalie in the summer of 2013.
Sep 13, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT
He was taken fourth overall in June’s NHL Draft.
Sep 13, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
He re-signed with the Habs this summer. Eight years, $72 million.
Sep 13, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
That’s terrific news.
Sep 13, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT
He won’t play Saturday evening.
Sep 13, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT
The 23-year-old defenseman is prepared to miss camp if a deal isn’t reached.
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