Saturday, July 01, 2006

This isn't ideal / free agent signing musings

It looks like Jeremy Jacobs' son is serious about shedding the image of the Bruins being tightwads, as he allowed new GM Peter Chiarelli to dish out the big bucks today. Boston signed Zdeno Chara to a five-year, $37.5 million deal today according to TSN.

This mean we'll see Chara at least eight times a season. Dammit.

$7.5 mil would have been way too much for the Sens to spend, but for a Boston team that desperately needed to make a splash and regain all the confidence they lost with their fanbase when they shipped Joe Thornton out of town, it's not a bad contract. Boston's defence was weak and now it's a whole lot better.

By the way, I sure hope Chara doesn't give the "it wasn't about the money" speech. It clearly was.

He was offered $6 mil to stay on a team that was a contender every season he was here, and chose the cake.

Nothing wrong with being driven by money, but please don't try and tell us otherwise.

And you have to think this'll make the already uncomfortable situation with Chiarelli even more awkward. What a kick in the balls by him to the team that he probably thinks is dicking with him.

EDIT: I've decided to turn this into the official "Saturday signing thoughts" post

Boston signs Marc Savard to a five-year, $20 million deal.
Boy are the B's ever making an immediate impact. Over $11 million on two players in less than four hours. The price seems a little steep, but again, Boston's in a position where they probably have to be willing to overpay. Whether or not Savard can be a true #1 center remains to seen, as I know his size turns a lot of people off, but the guy is a points machine and in spite of his small stature has really worked hard to shed himself of the lazy label he deservedly got in Calgary.

I would've LOVED to see him in Ottawa, but the price tag was just too high for us to even be in the discussions I'm sure.

By the way, don't the Bruins still have Alexei Zhamnov's salary on their books? I recall hearing his name in the buyout rumors but didn't see it anywhere yesterday when the teams were making it official.

Toronto signs Pavel Kubina to a four-year, $20 million deal
Yikes. The Leafs now have $15 mil invested on three defenceman. It's nice that JFJ is committed to fixing that glaring weakness, but I feel as though they spent too much on this one.

Kubina's coming off an average season according to most people who saw more of the Bolts than I did and the consensus there seemed to be that they didn't even want him back if this was the cost.

Still, he has a Cup ring, and was a major part of that run, so adding a winner to the mix can't hurt the Leafs.

Again though, I wonder, where are the Leafs going? Are they rebuilding or trying to be a contender again? Based on this signing I'd think it's the latter. I realize you can't completely rebuild in Toronto, as that fanbase won't accept it, but more of a youth movement appeared to be the route to take. Guess not.

Phoenix signs Ed Jovanovski to a five-year, $32.5 million deal.
I've already seen some point out Jovo now makes as much as the Sens dished out to Redden. An important distinction is that the 'Yotes got Jovanovski to committ for five years, so that likely increased the value. Had he taken a two-year contract, I'd bet it was less than $6 mil.

Much of what I said about Boston can be applied to the Coyotes because they had to do something big this offseason. Their moves last year did not pan out and the appeal of Gretz as coach wore thin very quickly with that fanbase, who ended up being much more demanding than I thought they'd be.

Los Angeles signs Scott Thornton to a two-year, $3 million deal.
I like this one, and wonder if Muckler made a pitch of any sort. Thornton's a gamer and even though the new rules didn't suit his skillset, I found him to still be an impact player. He won't be anything more than a third-line guy but provides a lot of character. My question is, aren't L.A. rebuilding as well?

They traded away Pavel Demitra, who at $4.5 mil was a decent deal, and are reportedly shopping Craig Conroy. I figured they were going with a young crop. Bringing in a 35-year-old player seems to indicate otherwise, unless he's going to be one of the lone veterans, around to guide the kids.

Toronto signs Hal Gill to a three-year, $6.3 million deal.
If the Kubina signing was an overpayment, this was a robbery on the agent's part. Hal Gill is crap. He's, at best, a fourth defenceman (which is where he'll be) and at $2.1 million, he's now vastly overpaid. Despite his massive size, he's not nearly a physical presence and has the heart of a schoolgirl. Ferguson Jr. is showing his desperation, I believe.

Carolina re-signs Eric Staal to a three-year, $13.5 million deal.
An excellent move by Jim Rutherford. I wonder if any teams would've tried to lure Staal over and bite the bullet with the RFA compensation. Staal was one of the 10 best players in the league this season and in the playoffs came into his own even further, so to get him at only $4.5 million as far as the cap hit is tremendous.

Bringing it back to Ottawa, what effect, if any, will this have on the Jason Spezza contract? If Staal gets $4.5 mil, then where does Spezza sit? Surely he's not worth more than $4 mil.

Edmonton signs Dwayne Roloson to a three-year, $11 million deal.
I view this as purely optics on Kevin Lowe's part. The team is facing a ton of heat due to the Craig MacTavish contract fiasco and the Chris Pronger nonsense, and had to bring Roloson back to keep face with much of that fanbase, I believe. Roloson's 37-years-old and is coming off a knee injury. A three-year contract committment is a big roll of the dice. I suppose an argument could be made that they had to bring Roloson back and if this what it took, so be it, but for their sake, I sure hope Roloson has that much gas left in the tank.

Vancouver signs Willie Mitchell to a four-year, $14 million deal.
Dave Nonis is manning up BIG TIME this offseason. Agree with the Roberto Luongo deal or not, it took some balls, and while the contract seemed a little excessive given his lack of playoff experience, getting his name on a long-term deal was big. Yesterday, getting both the Sedins to three-year deals was massive, and at, comparatively speaking, pretty good contracts. And this one is a home run, I think. Getting Mitchell for $3 million less than what it would've cost to keep Jovanovski is a tremendous move and gives them a lot of room to manuveur. Pretty ironic that Mitchell will be wearing a 'Nucks uniform and Bertuzzi is out of town, but if I'm a fan of the team, I'm enthused about it.

Washington signs Brian Pothier to a four-year, $10 million deal.
It's official: NHL GMs have lost their friggin minds.

St. Louis signs Jay McKee
Well damn. I was hoping he was headed our way but once again we see a team that desperately needs help overpaying to get it. All the bad contracts today are coming from teams who are in a position where they have to overspend to get it. Even Toronto, the hockey mecca where guy are supposedly willing to cut off their arms to play, had to pay a little bit more than market value for what they wanted. Such is life, I guess. On this one, the Blues are getting a hell of a player, as we in Ottawa are well aware of, but even with his signing and the re-up of Dallas Drake, that team looks to have so many holes to fill the idea of them competiting for a playoff spot seems very silly.

Los Angeles signs Rob Blake to a two-year, $12 million deal.
When I heard he wasn't going back to Colorado, I pretty much assumed this would be the end result. Blake's at the point in his career where, it seems anyway, that winning has taken a back seat to being comfortable. L.A. was a franchise he helped build in the 90's and it's a good homecoming. What I wonder is, will Kings fans still boo him everytime he touches the puck, or is all forgiven now? Also, this answers my query about whether or not the Kings are rebuilding.

10 Comments:

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Looks like Toronto signed Hal Gill as well. Right now I would put Toronto's defense ahead of Ottawa's now. With McCabe, Kaberle, Kubina, Gill and a couple of Colaiacovo, White, Harrison, Wozniewski, and Kronvall they are looking pretty good on defense. Now JFJ has to focus on adding a forward. As for Ottawa, with the Boston and Toronto signings it will be up to the Senators to do something big to keep pace or I can see Sens fans being very dissapointed. Jay McKee might be thier target now.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

The top three, definitely, but I think Gill sucks.

 
At 4:26 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Gill isn't great but he is decent defensively and is a good 4/5 defenseman. As of right now I wouldn't trade Toronto's defense for Ottawa's.

"If Staal gets $4.5 mil, then where does Spezza sit?"

I would say that that sets the ceiling unless they go long term and try to buy more of his free agent years than Carolina did with Staal.

 
At 4:31 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Again though, I wonder, where are the Leafs going? Are they rebuilding or trying to be a contender again?

Why completely rebuild? Leafs fans won't accept spending less than the salary cap so if you have money to spend, why not spend it and try to win?

It appears that JFJ is allocating close to $20 million on defense. With Raycroft not costing much over the next year or two and Pogge not costing much after that another 20+ million can be allocated to forwards. That sounds like a reasonable split to me.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

I don't think Carolina got any of Staal's free agent years, did they? He's played two years in the NHL (the AHL lockout years don't count) and it's a three-year deal, so he can only be a UFA in three years, right?

As for Gill, $2.1 mil is absurd for him and I see that contract being laughed at very soon.

He's big and slow, which hurts big time in the new NHL, and even worse, not all that physical either.

Toronto's defence now has four guys committment to $17.1 million. Assuming they fill the other two slots with kids at near the minimum, they'll be close to $19 million for defence.

Does that say something about their faith in Raycroft, or do JFJ and Maurice want to go in a new direction with the style of play?

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

By the way I'd disagree with your earlier point that Ottawa has to keep pace with Boston and Toronto.

Those two teams missed the playoffs last year. These are moves on their part to try and get up where Ottawa was.

It would be foolish to make a move because the teams in your division, who you finished ahead of by a wide margin, did so.

 
At 5:32 PM, Anonymous David Johnson said...

No, I don't think Carolina bought out any of Staal's free agent years. If Ottawa doesn't but out Spezza's free agent years they can probably get him for around $4 or maybe a bit less. It would probably cost at least $5-6 million (maybe a bit more) for each free agent year they buy.

By the way I'd disagree with your earlier point that Ottawa has to keep pace with Boston and Toronto.

Ottawa had 11 more wins than Toronto last year. That is not a lot considering Ottawa was 7-1 against Toronto. Ottawa has lost Chara, Toronto has added Raycroft, Kubina and Gill. That potentially could make a fairly significant dent in the 11 win difference. Ottawa doesn't have a goalie signed to a contract and might also lose Pothier.

But you must admit that Ottawa has to do something to replace Chara. If i were a Sens fan i wouldn't want to see the Sens go into next season with a defense of Redden, Meszaros, Phillips, Volchenkov, Pothier (if they re-sign him) and Schubert with Emery in goal.

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

With all due respect David, last year you also said Toronto's D was better than Ottawa's. You said Ken Klee was on par with Phillips.

So, on this topic, I take what you say with a big spoonful of salt.

But you must admit that Ottawa has to do something to replace Chara.

It depends on what else they do. If they address a need for a top six forward and get a proven #1 goalie, then I'm okay with Redden, Volchenkov, Phillips, & Meszaros as their top four with Schubert and Novak as the bottom pair.

If i were a Sens fan i wouldn't want to see the Sens go into next season with a defense of Redden, Meszaros, Phillips, Volchenkov, Pothier (if they re-sign him) and Schubert with Emery in goal.

Pothier wants $2 mil over multi years, so he's as good as gone, and at that price, I'll drive him to the airport. He's an average d-man who has strong offensive skills and therefore puts up points.

If some team gives him that money, their pro scouting starff should be fired.

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Tom L said...

Chris,

Good rundown of the day's moves. Mitchell for that money is a home-run for the Nucks.

Other moves I like a lot are:

Carney to MIN for $2.1 mil/2yrs. He's a solid guy with a ton of experience.

Matt Cullen to the Rangers. They need a versatile, speedy center like him, and poaching him from the Canes will hurt their chances to repeat, I think.

Any Elmore to Tampa: Short-handed goals will go up again next year as well. :)

Ta,

 
At 2:46 PM, Anonymous TomD said...

This was a great summary...great work!

 

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