An Analysis Of Free Agency Day 2 Over Morning Coffee
Well, day two of free agency is in the books. Darcy signed Cody McCormick to a one-way deal and that means either Matt Ellis or Adam Mair is on his way out. Let’s go ahead and take a look at what happened around the rest of the league, shall we?
New York Islanders
Garth Snow certainly had an active day, didn’t he? He spent July the 2nd picking up big defenseman Milan Jurcina, cheapy forward PA Parentau, veteran blueliner Mark Eaton, and reigning NHL lunatic Zenon Konopka (actually, I like Konopka. He’s an endearing lunatic). Shores up some holes, sure, but…wait. Snow is on the record as being in the Kovalchuk Sweepstakes? Reports of a 10 yr, $10M per deal have surfaced? While a Kovy/Tavares/Okposo line would be impressive, this story smacks of one thing: cap basement.
Five words: Olli Jokinen has a NMC. Don’t shoot the messenger.
Okay so, Brian Burke extended Nikolai Kulemin and re-signed young John Mitchell, but the big story here is that he may actually be pursuing Maxim Afinogenov to sign him for the truculent Maple Leafs. No punch line necessary.
Central Division rivals of the Chicago Blackhawks, a word to the wise:
Philly asked Simon Gagne to waive his NTC, which he agreed to do. The feeling here is that Philly wants to dump him off for cap relief, seeing as they’re only $577K under the cap ceiling. I’m not actually gonna make fun of Paul Holmgren and the Flyers for this – I was purely using it as a segue to…
…talk about my theory on the LA Kings. One of the rumors that immediately surfaced once Gagne agreed to waive his NTC was a deal to LA. Initially I thought Gagne might be considered a Kovalchuk alternative, but my friend and fellow rumor-monger Jay had the thought that Gagne might be Kovy bait. Think about it – the Kings would acquire Gagne to add to an already stacked team (but alternatively, depleted LW corps) to help persuade Kovalchuk to lower his asking price. Imagine if Lombardi managed to talk Kovalchuk down to $8M or even ~gasp!~ $7M per. They could front load the deal an absurd amount to reduce the overall cap hit in order to prevent them from losing Doughty and Johnson once their ELC deals are over, and it’d give them one of the most loaded left sides in hockey. Kovalchuk, Gagne, and Smyth, in that order. Damn. Glad my team is in the other conference.
Here’s to a great day in free agency. Bill Guerin, Brendan Morrison, Willie Mitchell, Carlo Colaiacovo, Jose Theodore, Marty Turco, Evgeni Nabokov, Mike Modano, Alexander Frolov and – of course – Ilya Kovalchuk are still available. Let’s see where they go (Guerin, Morrison, and Theodore to the Sabres, please).