Thursday, July 01, 2010

NHL Free Agency - Decision Day 1

I wasn't truly expecting much when mostly all of the truly intriguing free agents were already signed before the season ended. General Managers are getting smarter by long term extensions to guys who they would much like to keep. The "Free Agent Frenzy" that every other Sports Network was hyping up to with became the "Free Agent Flop".

On day 1 of free Agency in professional hockey, it was more or less one or three ways to view it. Either your team missed out on signing the favorite available player, was elated that your team was able to land a star free agent, or you were a Chicago BlackHawks fan who watched in horror as the entire team was ripped apart by trades further to the point where no possibility of having a team defend their Cup in the playoffs would ever be possible.

The major name in the Free Agent list Ilya "Kovalchick" who has been trying to extend the media attention since the last trading deadline has been put into "to be continue" mode for at least one more day. From most trusted reports that I have been keeping a keen eye on, he has limited it down to a couple teams and still continue to use the KHL money as leverage to prop up his absurd "salary cap busting" demands. Can he milk it out for a few days? Possibly. A week? Even more probable.

The next best free agent available and talked about was Sergei Gonchar and how his leaving the Penguins would affect the team and weather he had enough left in the tank for another new team. Shockingly, the Ottawa Senators were able to provide 37-year-old veteran defencemanGonchar with what he asked for and immediately stepped into a reported chaotic drama-drenched locker room. The initial reports from this area was that it was contract length that was a sticking point.

But my hometown Penguins was able to replace the Gonchar loss with the significant signing of defensive defensemen Zbynek Michalek of the Phoenix Coyotes and Paul Martin fom the New Jersey Devils. Both are great pick-ups and seemingy addresses the lack of defensiveness that won the Cup the year before last. The Penguins have still not addressed the need to ballance out the wing position on the top two lines and Shero seems content with the roster at wing now. No mention if Billy Guerrin will return, but I was able to grab a quote off of the Facebook page of blogger pal Sean Leahy who conributes to Yahoo! Sports Hockey
We’ll take a look and maybe we can do somebody on a one-year deal at a low number or just give our players an opportunity and see what training camp brings or later in the summer we can make a trade."
You can check out all the other signings that are going through the summer on the best FA-tracker on the internet that I have seen so far.

Rogers Sporsnet - NHL
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