For more information regarding our move, please read the two last post published below.

01 July 2007

2007 Free-Agent Frenzy Live-Blogging Event

SEE POST ABOVE FOR PART 2 OF THIS LIVE BLOGGING EVENT!


Let's get this live blog started, enjoy, and remember to check back throughout the day!

DID I MISS SOMETHING?
If I did or if you just want to talk hockey, email me and your questions at bbrblog@gmail.com

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11:10 PM SIGNING OFF:
Good night guys, I've been in front of my screen for more than 12 hours now, and it's time for the good ol' brain to take a rest, I'll recap what happened early tomorrow morning and I thank everyone for checking in once again!

For now, TSN's signing tracker and Spector are your best bets.
Thanks again everyone! I had fun doing this!

11:03 PM The Nashville Predators sign forward Jed Ortmeyer to a 2-year deal paying him $1.5 million, or a bit under $1 million per season.

11:01 PM
Ok, TSN has YET to post anything and I doubt this report is true, come on, it's been 10 minutes, how much longer can Eklund know things McKenzie doesn't? Yeah, I thought so.

10:49 PM
Smyth signs with Colorado, according to Howard Berger from Hockeybuzz 5-year $31 million, though don't believe it's a done deal, since TSN and Sportsnet have yet to react.


10:43 PM
Howard Berger from hockeybuzz.com on Ryan Smyth:
Canadiens: have the most tempting offer on the table at $39 million for 6 years...he would make $6.5 million per season there but
apparently, neither Smyth nor his wife would be happy if he played in Montreal.
Still, the Habs have offered the most money and in the end, he may just go with the bucks.
He does not believe "the Habs or Islanders would be strong enough teams in the immediate future".
Islanders have a 5-year $32.5 million offer on table.

According to him, it's between Colorado and Calgary and that Sakic is pushing hard for Smyth to sign in Denver, but he won't go to Calgary since "Smyth would be swamped in every corner of that hockey-mad city if he signed with the Flames."

The Avs have offered Smyth $31.25 million over five years ($6.25/season). The Flames have two offers on the table -- five years at $6.15 million per season, or six years at $5.67 per season.

Take it for what it's worth, but I still don't believe Colorado has enough space to sign him and I doubt he goes to Calgary, especially if the Flames want to keep Kipper, Phaneuf and Langkow in the fold next year.
The only logical choice left would be Montreal...but, it's Montreal as well all know, a city that has difficulty attracting big names, well, ladies and gents, that might just be close to changing.


10:05 PM
Brian sends in this question:
So are the Sharks outta luck here? They need to replace Scott Hanna or they take a step backwards defensively, and not improving (missing on Drury) will leave them in a worse situation than last year.

They might just be, but there are still plenty of names out there that are just as good as Hannan: Roman Hamrlik, Sheldon Souray (for offence) and even Brad Stuart.

9:54 PM
Tic-toc...heading into 10:00 PM soon, my final hour live-blogging the even until I return tomorrow.
So far... there has been little or nothing to discuss...hoping that Smyth and Souray sign somewhere soon.

9:36 PM
Very interesting news...Scott Niedermayer hasn't officially announced his retirement, although he could make his decision between now and the start of the new season.

9:27 PM
(I've received so many questions and I apologize to all those of whom I didn't post theirs)Laurent sends in the following: Now that Briere, Drury and Gomez are off the market, should Montreal make an offer to Dainius Zubrus to be the 2nd line center?
I think the emergence of Tomas Plekanec last season was clear enough of an indication that the Habs don't need a 2nd line center, but anyhow, Zubrus could potentially be the team's 3rd line center or end up playing alongside Tomas Plekanec on the wing should Montreal sign him.
He's a decent option, but right now, they should concentrate on Ryan Smyth, landing a 2nd line scoring winger to complement Pleks and Kovalev.

9:23 PM
With the Blues losing out on Scott Gomez, Andy Strickland suggests they might try to bring in Dainius Zubrus while "they are looking hard at Paul Kariya too."
Two of Zubrus's former teams, Montreal and Washington could also potentially bring him back.
Guess that call Keith Tkachuk put in earlier in the day to Kariya could mean something.

9:12 PM
I'll continue today's covergae into the 10th hour of the day, just giving everyone a heads-up...it's eerily quiet around the NHL right now.

9:03 PM
Teams have cleaned out most of the top free-agents, but some still remain:
Sheldon Souray, Ryan Smyth, Roman Harmlik, Brad Stuart and Paul Kariya.

8:55 PM
Scott Niedermayer will announce his retirement soon in a press conference, according to our friends over at TSN.

8:50 PM Wow, I actually got a report right, the Isles have signed Sim to a 3-year deal probably worth around $1 million per season.

8:40 PM
Hmmm, now that the Rangers have commited about $14 million for two players (Gomez and Drury), I have high doubts they will be able to retain Brendan Shanahan, and it seems like the Buffalo Sabres could be a potential destination for him, even though it would only lightly compensate for the losses of Briere and Drury, and he probably wouldn't have an immediate impact like Drury did.

8:29 PM Report: the New York Islanders have signed forward Jon Sim, formerly from the Atlanta Thrashers. Terms have not been disclosed and this is still marked as a report only.

8:29 PM The Pittsburgh Penguins have brought back goalie Dany Sabourin, signing him to a 2-year $1.05 million deal.

8:28 PM
Thanks to everyone for checking in so far today, you've brought my hits to a phenomenal number for the day alone...30 000 views today! That was how much I had in total before the day started, thanks you all and be sure to check in for more updates throughout the day.

8:24 PM
The Colorado Avalanche have signed defenceman Scott Hannan to a 4-year $18 million contract, paying him a little over $4 million per season.
It looks like Smyth to Colorado rumours are over because of this, and it looks more like Smyth to Montreal could be reality!

8:13 PM
Oh wow, imagine how totally wicked it'd be if Ryan Smyth ended up playing in Montreal? According to Eklund (take it for what it's worth) the Habs are the favourite to land him and if my source pans out (and it's someone who works highly in the press) then the Habs mighta just done something people thought of as unthinkable before the day began...Ryan Smyth in a Habs uni!

8:02 PM The Washington Capitals have signed forward Viktor Kozlov to a 2-year deal that will pay him a total of $5 million, or $2.5 million per season.
Kozlov will probably play with Ovechkin next year, he's a good scoring winger with a big frame.

7:58 PM
The deal Drury got will pay him a total of $35 million, $7 million per season, while Gomez will receive a cool $51.5 million.

7:49 PM The New York Rangers HAVE SHOCKED ALL and damn it, made me 4-for-6 in the predictions I made by signing Chris Drury...just 20 minutes after picking up Scott Gomez!
Wow...I'm impressed Glen Sather, great job picking up the top two UFA's in this year's pool and leaving nothing for the Sharks and Kings to feast on.
And one musn't forget what Paul Holmgren has done...gone for being interim GM of the team to signing Daniel Briere, Kimmo Timmonen, Scott Hartnell and netting Joffrey Lupul, oh and don't overlook his acquisiton of Martin Biron either!

7:42 PM
Wow, some teams today will have their faces completely changed...the NJ Devils lost top centre Scott Gomez and no.1 defenceman Brian Rafalski to the Rangers and Detroit...the Sabres lost 95-point man Daniel Briere to Philadelphia and will likely lose Chris Drury soon...the Islanders have dumped Alexei Yashin, they will almost certainly see Ryan Smyth sign with another team and have the Leafs sink their fingers into Jason Blake.
Tough draw...and these are all New York based teams, I guess you can't win em all?
Hang in there Devils, Sabres and Isles fans!

7:36 PM The Toronto Maple Leafs have rendered me 4-for-5 in my predictions, but I already mentioned this was a possibility...and they have signed forward Jason Blake to a 4-year/$20 million deal.
A fair deal for both sides... JFJ still has $2 million left in the cap and might bring in some depth, but I doubt Toronto spends anything more here today.

7:30 PM
A friend I have close to the Montreal Canadiens organization has informed me that a there's a rumour flying around that the Habs have made a pitch for Ryan Smyth and are pursuing Paul Kariya, I'm no insider, but apparently the deal they offered Smyth would be worth around the same as they offered Briere, $7 million a season for 5-6 years.
And who isn't pursuing Paul Kariya at this point?
Stay tuned...and don't quote me an an insider, I'm no Eklund!

7:22 PM It's official folks, the report was true and Devils fans might just be crying now as the rival Rangers have signed forward Scott Gomez to a 7-year contract, likely worth between $42 and $49 million.

7:20 PM The Atlanta Thrashers have signed forward Eric Perrin to a 2-year $1.5 million contract.
And frankly, I'm surprised he didn't get more after his "breakout" season in Tampa, he had a better year than to be worth under a million per season...fire your agent!

7:19 PM
This is indeed a surprise: Ryan Smyth is close to a deal with the Colorado Avalanche. This while Jason Blake could be close to signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

7:17 PM
Wow, am I on a roll or what today? That's the 4th one I've gotten right, and no, I don't have any "inside sources".
Pitkanen is the man in Oil town for the years to come, he's a terrific young defenceman with plenty of upside.
Smith is a hard-hitting big hearted leader who's more on the defensive side of the game, and you can't really say Joffrey Lupul in Edmonton worked out well.

6:50 PM The Oilers acquire...JONI PITKANEN! 4-for-4 baby! Joffrey Lupul and Jason Smith headed to Philly for Pitkanen and Geoff Sanderson!

615 PM I'll be taking a break for about an hour, I'll report all deals later.

6:05 PM The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Michel Ouellet to a 2-year contract.
Ouellet was not qualified for a contract by the Penguins and became an unrestricted free-agent, he will prove some much needed secondary scoring for Tampa Bay.

5:59 PM
One more deal in before 6:oo PM: The Carolina Hurricanes agree to terms with F Jeff Hamilton on a 2-year contract paying him $800 K per season.
The Canes don't have much to spend at this year's UFA market and it looks like they may just use up whatever they have left on younger checking line players.

5:50 PM
It's been awfully slow this hour...

5:41 PM
Marc Antoine sends in the following:

Do you think that Tom Preissing is a good option for the Habs, since Rafalski and Schneider have signed elsewhere?

I think that Tom Preissing is really under-rated, 38 points last season and a plus-minus of +40!

I think Tom Preissing would be a great option for any team, let alone the Habs, but I think it may be difficult for Montreal to get him.
First off, as you mentioned, Rafalski and Schneider are gone (even though the Habs weren't ever in serious bids to net them) so that leaves Tom Preissing...and makes him look quite nice for a second-tier option, which means a lot of teams could put in bids for him.
He could command upwards of $3 million per season and I'm sure he'll get around what Cory Sarich got from Calgary (5-year $18 million).

I think the Habs should go after the big ones, they've been stuck going after second-rate players too long...Roman Hamrlik, Scott Hannan, Brad Stuart...Gainey should target these guys since it's time he gest out of the hole he's been dug into come free-agent time.

But I admit, Preissing and Hamrlik are probably the only two realistic choices of that bunch.

And yes, to answer your remark, Preissing is very underrated, but not much more than Andrei Markov was until he signed is $5.75 million per season contract.

5:24 PM
Guys, I'll be back in a few minutes, just gotta grab some dinner, I'm famished.

5:22 PM
Bob sends in the following:
What are the chances of Brian Burke landing a big-name today?

Pretty good I'd say, the Ducks are an attractive destination and there's no doubt any player would love to play for the defending champs in California!
Minimal pressure, the majoriry are casual fans and great weather...and a great organisation, led by Brian Burke.

What's not to like?

5:16 PM
The Boston Bruins have signed power forward Shawn Thornton from the Anaheim Ducks to a multi-year contract.

5:14 PM
Briere signed with Philly despite the fact other teams offered him more money per season, such as Montreal, that offered him an average of $7 million a year to come and play here while Holmgren will pay him only $6 million on average a year.
And besides, he went to play in Philly because:
a) His buddy Martin Biron asked him to.
b) He's going to get a whopping 10 million for the first few years!
c) Philly's a less pressured city than Montreal, and I'm not so sure him being here would be good thing when it comes to the damned Montreal media.

5:07 PM
Still some top names available out there: Drury, Souray, Guerin, Forsberg, Smyth, Hannan.

5:00 PM
Bob sends in the following:
Knowing that scotty is not likely coming back next year for the Ducks, do you expect Burke to make another singing to protect the whole if Selanne decides to leave? If so, who?

Bob,

I mentioned this earlier on in the morning after I speculated that Nierdermayer and Selanne would retire and I suggested these players as possible replacements for them:

Niedermayer
Scott Hannon
Sheldon Souray
(it was Mathieu Schneider)

Selanne
Paul Kariya
Jason Blake

Blake was almost a Duck at the trade deadline and Brian Burke admitted he tried to get him, and what's stopping him from getting him again now? Kariya could also be a potential "return" candidate in Anaheim should Selanne retire, although that's not very likely but not far off the chart either.

Stay tuned...

4:53 PM
The Florida Panthers have signed forward Radek Dvorak, per George Richards over at the Miami Herald to a 2-year contract.
Terms have not yet been disclosed but I assume he will net between 800K and a tad over $1 million.

4:46 PM
Niedermayer tells Burke that he's probably going to retire.
Come on, as if Burke hadn't already figured this out, what did you think the signing of Mathieu Schneider meant?

4:42 PM
Some more speculation: Souray back to New Jersey now with them losing Rafalski.

4:40 PM:
A few quick rumours off the top...Nylander's drawing interest from Capitals, and despite previous reports, Alexei Morozov officially announced he'd be staying in Russia next year.

4:34 PM:
Pierre sends in the following:
Now that Brière is gone, who do you think Montreal will go after? Do you
think they will sign anyone before the day is over?

Pierre,

I believe Montreal wanted Briere pretty bad, but not bad enough to front-load his contract at 10 milllion for the first few seasons.
I think Gainey will target other forwardslike Jason Blake and Dainius Zubrus but I doubt he'd be able to pick up any, seriously though, he should go after a few defencemen out there like Roman Harmlik, Scott Hannan and hey, maybe keep Sheldon Souray.
If my predictions were right, then San Jose will deal Patrick Marleau to Montreal to free up cap space (they would only trade him to an East coast team) and then sign Chris Drury.

I hope they sign someone before the end of the day, and I have a gut feeling Bob will do something.

4:33 PM The Chicago Blackhawks have signed forward Yanic Perreault to a 1-year $1.5 million contract.


4:17 PM: I've received a few emails regarding my "predictions" (in which I boast a 3-for-3), so here are they are once more:
10:25 AM: Ok, here are my predictions based on what I've read and decided for a few players:
Gomez goes to the Rangers, Briere goes to Philadelphia, Souray goes to Los Angeles, Drury goes to the Sharks, Smyth signs with Toronto, Guerin goes to Boston, Rafalski to the Wings.
Marleau traded to Montreal, Pitkanen traded to Oilers...


I'm not so sure I'll get all of them right though, haha, I certainly hope I do.
4:08 PM Clarification on Sarich's contract: 5-year $18 million, for an average of $3.6 million per season.
And I can't say Rafalski to the Wings was a huge surprise either, as now...I'm 3-for-3! in my predictions! Holland also replaced Mathieu Schneider, who signed with Anaheim, and made his blue-line about 2 years younger.
Rafalski is also Niklas Lidstrom's "heir", as the Swede won't be around forever, and it's nice to see a player return to where he was born (Rafalski's from Michigan).
Maybe we'll get to see Paul Kariya return to Vancouver?

4:03 PM
This have cooled down, so let's analyze:
EDIT: The Red Wings have signed defenceman Brian Rafalski to a 5-year $30 million contract.
The Flames got that top 4 defenceman they needed in Sarich and probably can't forget about Scott Hannan now.
Briere's signing with Philly may come as a dissapointment to Habs fans, but they shouldn't fret, now the Habs can probably focus on bringing in a top UFA defenceman such as Scott Hannan or even retain Sheldon Souray.
The Kings shouldn't be sad either since they're very much in the running for Drury.

4:00 PM The Oilers have also re-signed defenceman Denis Grebeshkov, Dick Tarnstrom's signing official per TSN.

3:54 PM
Drury talk going to West Coast team getting stronger and stronger...it's anyone's guess right now, Los Angeles or San Jose.
Gomez's deal not official yet, so he's not a Ranger yet.

3:53 PM
Confirming a previous TSN report, the Edmonton Oilers are wating on an answer from defenceman Brian Rafalski regarding their contract offer.

3:52 PM
Briere's contract is set at 8-year $52 million per TSN and Sportsnet, he'll earn $10 million next year, and has a contract similar to Kimmo Timmonen's, which is front-loaded.
He also has a complete no-movement clause

3:49 PM The WFAN radio station in New York is reporting that the Rangers have signed centre Scott Gomez, no word yet on how much or if this report is a valid one.
Kukla's Korner confirms this report, hooray, I'm 2-for-2 today, got Briere right and now I got Gomez.

3:48 PM The Fan 960 is reporting that the Calgary Flames have signed defenceman Cory Sarich .

3:46 PM: Eklund reports it's an 8-year deal, and probably worth around the area of $56 million.

3:42 PM It's official, sigh, Briere signs with Philly per the Buffalo News and Sportsnet, and now, RDS.ca.
Just like I predicted, I'm 1-for-1 in my predictions and the next one that better pan out if Marleau dealt to Montreal and Drury to San Jose.
Scott Gomez is also rumoured to be close to a 5-year deal with Toronto, as if this makes things for us Habs fans any better.

3:40 PM Sportsnet reports that Daniel Briere has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers
, there are no more details and I'm skeptical of the credibility of this report.
Let's wait for more details, then I'll be convinced...last year they also reported Martin Biron was dealt to the Panthers but he actually went to Philly.

3:29 PM Briere's choices down to 3: Montreal, Kings and Philadelphia

3:09 PM RDS confirms that the Habs have offered Daniel Briere a 6-year/$42 million contract.
Hooo boy, finally, Bob Gainey is looking like a real AGGRESSIVE GM!

2:58 PM Now that Schneider's in Anaheim, you think Kenny Holland will make a more serious push to get Brian Rafalski?
And Burke is a happy man, he has $9 million left to play and with Niedermayer's retirement becoming ever evident with the signing, $15 million, boy oh boy, he could bring in Drury or Briere at this rate!
Funny since there were reports earlier in the day that suggested all he'd get would be a depth defenceman and checking line player.

2:53 PM The Fan 590 in Toronto is reporting that talks between Brian Rafalski and the Flyers are close, and that a deal could come soon.
Wow, if Holmgren pulls another one off...first Timmonen, now Rafalski?!

2:45 PM The Ducks have signed defenceman Mathieu Schneider to a 2-year $11.25 million contract.
I guess this guarrantees the Ducks will have a defenceman to replac Niedermayer should the latter retire.
2:38 PM The Penguins have re-signed defenceman Ryan Whitney to a 6-year $24 million contract.

2:30 PM The Capitals sign D Tom Poti to a 4-year contract paying him $3.5 million per season.

2:20 PM The Panthers sign C Brett McLean to a 3-year contract paying him $1.7 million per season and winger Richard Zednik to a 2-year contract paying him an average of $1.6 million per season.

2:00 PM TSN's going to NASCAR but they'll intteruput their program for breaking news, so, we'll have to wait and see what's going to happen.
Check back in regularly for updates, though there won't be as many as there were in the last hour.

1:52 PM Drury's meeting with the Kings in person.
Rafalski and Gomez will be signed by a team before 6PM

1:48 PM The Thrashers sign F Todd White to a 4-year/$9.5 million contract.
For an average of $2.3 million per season.

1:44 PM Scott Hannon 's drawing interest from Ray Shero in Pittsburgh.

1:43 PM:
Michal Handzus would be a good fit in Columbus according to ex-Jacks GM Doug McLean, haha, what is he tryingto do here?

1:40 PM: The Red Wings like Peter Sykora.
There's something more than meets the eye for PIT to dump Ouellet, they say it was arbitration and that Ouellet could fit in with Atlanta and Washington.
Zubrus could return to Washington.

1:35 PM:
Not so sure if this is a joke, but it certainly isn't funny and sounds too "fantasy hockey" like, Dreger just threw out Olli Jokinen for Alex Tanguay as a rumour, unbelievable, I'm not so sure why Florida would do that though.

1:34 PM: Isn't it funny how last year, Patrik Elias was rumoured to have been close to signing a 6-year contract paying him $8.2 million per season and Joe Thornton's just signed for 1 million less, you have to wonder.

1:32 PM: Iginla hasn't yet signed yet and that we should expect an announcement over the next few days, not today or tomorrow.
Dreger says it could be more than 4 years.

1:27 PM: Incredible...how the heck does someone take Jarome Iginla over Joe Thornton? I somtimes wonder about Doug McLean...wow, why the heck do they have this guy on TSN, it's just embarrassing for them? What about Scotty Bowman or John Muckler, they'd both be better choices.

1:24 PM: Daniel Briere has narrowed down his list to 5 teams (9 had offered him a contract) which include Montreal, LA and Philadelphia.


1:21 PM Teams are dropping out of big-name players, teams are not willing to make the commitment to dedicate 1/5 or 1/6 of their cap to one player.
More or more teams think Brian Rafalski's not worth $7 million per year, the Wings don't need another "7 million d-man" (they already got Lidstrom)

1:18 PM McLean says Souray would be a great fit for the New York Rangers, lotsa money and NY would be a terrific fit for him city-wise, he's a "good looking guy and great hair".
(Geez, is McLean gay or what?)
He's a "great teammate, well spoken" and he respects everyone in the dressing room, he will get more than Rafalski (according to Keith)

1:16 PM McGuire says Detroit should swap Schneider and get Rafalski.
McLean says that he talked to Rafalski 2 years ago to try and bring him to Columbus and that he's a "tough sell".

1:14 PM Drury wants to be in the West Coast, McLean says that Colorado's very much in the mix for him as well to go along with Keith's opinion that he'll end up in Los Angeles to play with Anze Kopitar.

1:13 PM:
The Panel thinks that Gomez should end up in either Philadelphia to help out Gagne or Vancouver, because they "need him most". They also throw out LA so he can play with Frolov.

1:10 PM:
Ryan Smyth is weighing offers from 10 teams within an hour and a half of becoming a free-agent.
Iginla is close to sign a 4-year deal worth $7 million per season with Calgary according to The Hockey News.
Briere's seriously considering the Habs offer.

1:08 AM: Habs have offered Briere a 7-year $49 million contract per McKenzie, and they are VERY serious about trying to get him.
Drury is meeting with the Kings right now in LA.

1:06 AM: Barrett Jackman re-signs with the Blues. Terms were not disclosed.

1:04 AM: Tkachuk thinks that the Blues "will get back into the playoffs, be back where the team should be...in the playoffs."
EDIT: "I knew there might be a possiblity I return to St. Louis because of my relationship with the team and my family loves it here...there are some big boys out there like Chris Drury, Paul Kariya and Ryan Smyth, you know, there's a lot of guys out there and I'm sure they're getting a lot of offer. I tried to call Kariya, I know that he can help the Blues and we need some scoring up front and he'd definitely be someone I'd love to play with.

12:59 AM: God Almighty...why the heck are they talking about the HHOF? Apparently, there's breaking news, but...they won't tell us!

12:57 AM: Paul Kariya news from Jay Onrait's blog:
"8. Paul Kariya - Pierre: "Don't be surprised if the Pittsburgh Penguins are players"
Interesting, the Penguins...as players for Kariya, never thought about that combo 'till now.

12:48 AM: Vesa Toskala will be signed to a contract extension by the Leafs soon, Andrew Raycroft could be on the market...Coyotes could be interested...all this per TSN and various news readings.

12:45 AM: Leafs Lunch reporting that Scott Gomez will sign 7 year/$7 million per with either Philadelphia or the New York Rangers.

12:43 AM: Sheldon Souray wouldn't mind signing with the Devils and starting a new pizza business there, like he has in Montreal, and that "it'd be fun".

12:41 AM: Kevin Lowe's first call at 12:01 was to Brian Rafalski.

12:39 AM:
The Oilers have brought back...hehe, guess who? The guy they got from Pittsburgh two seasons ago...Dick Tarnstrom, signing him to a new contract.
He played in Switzerland last year.

12:34 AM: The Flames are in big trouble next year...Daymond Langkow, Dion Phaneuf, Miikka Kipprusoff, Jarome Iginla and Robyn Regehr will ALL need new contracts, and that's a very good list of players, they're going to command big bucks.
So, the Flames musn't overspend this year if they want to retain most if not all of those players next year.

12:30 AM: Darryl Sutter has $12 million under the cap, he needs a top 4 defenceman and that's his no.1 priority, Sutter might wanna plug in a veteran for their third and fourth lines.
They're talking a lot of Ryan Smyth and rubbing it in the Oilers' fans faces...but the only way they'd get him is if they dump Tanguaym but that's very unlikely.
Scott Hannon would be Sutter's first choice when it comes to his priority of finding a top 4 defenceman.

12:29 AM: Haha! Dreger and Miller are thinking like I am...imagine how the Devils and Sabres will be after losing two key components...not very good I assume!

12:26 AM: Brian Rafalski wasn't expected to hit the UFA market...and he's going to make a HUGE splash...McKenzie thinks he's the no.1 defenceman available on the market.
Bob also adds that the 33-year old will seek "Kimmo Timmonen money", for an average of $6.2 million a year but they've upped it to $8 million for the first two seasons.

12:24 AM: Dean Lombardi will be an active GM, and will be looking for a goalie since they're not so sure Cloutier is up to being no. 1 due to injury and inconsitency.

12:20 AM I think it's funny how all of a sudden, reports have turned the opposite way and they say Marleau won't be moved, that there's no way.
Ah but wait guys, how do you want SJ to sign Drury with Marleau's hefty salary?
There's only so much you can spend!
$37 million is what the Sharks have tied up, and if they also have Drury on their sights...that could be around a $7 million per season hit and they need a defenceman to replace Scott Hannan,and will have to pay $5-6 million to get someone...and that brings you around $50 million, I'm not so sure Doug Wilson would like the fact he'd be that close towards the cap max.

12:18 AM: Sharks sign JOE THORNTON to a 3-year contract paying him $7.2 million per season.
"I'm very confident in our team...and it's a no-brainer I wanted to stay here."
He throws out Drury, Briere and Guerin as players that he hopes "they grab one or two"
"California rocks"
Haha, congrats Joe, great pickup line!

12:16 AM: TSN's playing either/or, here's my take on their matchups:
Hannon or Stuart? Stuart, I was alarmed at Hannon's demise last year and I feel he's a tad overrated.
Briere or Drury? Drury because he's more complete, multi-dimentional while Briere's only offence.
Blake or Kariya? Blake because he scores more and I feel he has more heart.

12:14 AM: Kariya to Vancouver is wishful thinking according to Farhan Lalji, the price tag is too high for Nonis.

12:12 AM: Vancouver Canucks have $40.9 million tied up, Dave Nonis says he wants to be 2 million under the cap and will only have 7 million to spend.
The Canucks need a top-6 forward, Naslund struggled, Morrisson was injured, they need someone that can step in and have an immediate impact, that can add offensively in their game.

12:05 AM: The Salary Cap is worrying me, the floor is $34.4 million and the cap limit for a single player is a whopping $10.016 million!
I take it GM's will gladly overspend for every player out there with the new cap, and that they may be dragging us all back into the ominous old NHL.

12:03 AM: McGuire says Blues and Gomez have mutual interest.

12:02 AM: Let's take a look at what's happened over the past few hours...nothing really except Pascal Dupuis signing with Atlanta and plenty of rumours swirling around.
I'm so antsy, I can't wait to see which domino will fall first, and who will catch the big fish!

12:00 AM: It's oficially FREE-AGENCY FRENZY!
Teams can now sign unrestricted free-agents!

11: 59 AM: One minute remaining until guys like Daniel Briere, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury and Sheldon Souray find greener pastures!

11: 57 AM: Hoo boy, I wonder if we'll get to see a 12:01 PM blockbuster deal?
Stay tuned!

11:55 AM: TSN has gone off their clock, going from Phil Esposito to Alexei Cherepanov? Haha, what the heck are you guys drinking? It's UFA day! Not young prospects or old retirees day!

11:53 AM: Less than 10 minutes to go! Buckle up, it's gonna be a bumpy ride!

11:50 AM: Message to Peter Forsberg: Retire buddy!
You've had it all, a terrific career, you've been on awesome team for most of your life (Colorado) and you have all the money you could wish for, isn't it enough, haven't you had enough with the ankle and the skates?
Anyhow, I don't see him returning anywhere but Philly or Colorado.

11:45 AM: Interesting, they say Mathieu Schneider and Dainius Zubrus are possibilites for Montreal, and I'd be more than glad if we got both, solves two of our problems.
Zubrus is a big centre with excellent offensive ability and Schneider is a golden oldie that'd be a better defenceman than Souray.
And thank God McGuire just mentioned no Yashin for Habs...squee!

11:42 AM: Oo boy, the TSN crew is talking about the Habs right now.

11:39 AM: The Thrashers have re-signed F Pascal Dupuis to a 1-year 888K contrat, per TSN.
Dupuis was dealt three times last year and ended up having a terrifc stint with Atlanta.


11:33 AM: Scratch that, Former Jackets GM Doug McLean on TSN just reported that Redden ain't going anywhere.

11:30 AM: Expect the Sens to actively shop Wade Redden and Joe Corvo today, they would net substantial returns.
The Oilers could be a potential target and would likely be ready to give up prospects to get one of the two, and they better hope it's Corvo and not Redden Lowe wants.

11:22 AM: Per TSN, the Sens will let Oleg Sapryking walk and that's too bad for Ottawa, he was a decent forward with good skating and a very good work ethic.

11:15 AM: Michal Handzus, Michael Nylander and Mike Comrie can be considered "second-tier" centres behind Chris Drury, Scott Gomez and Daniel Briere, although, Nylander and Handzus might net a considerable amount of money for a"second-tier" center, especially if Briere, Drury and Gomez go fast...these guys better hope the elite go fast if they want their values to bolsten.

11:07 AM: Beth-sorry, Bitchany says:


I am stressed the hell out and noon can't come soon enough
I feel ya sister.

11:02 AM: 58 minutes to prime-time, this might be a slow hour.

10:45 AM: Today, on July 1st, Canada Day, tell me, how cool would it be if Ryan Smyth (not saying it's going to happen) returned to Edmonton?
Captain Canada returns to Edmonton on Canada Day!
But seriously, I doubt he's going to return there, the Oilers had all the chances in the world to sign him and they couldn't, so they dealt him.
The Islanders might've just given up an arm and leg to get him, only to endure a first round exit and potentially losing him to free-agency.

10:42 AM: Hmmm, I can feel role-reversals coming for certain NHL teams after today next year. I can see the Sabres and Devils switch places with Philadelphia and Washington.
The Sabres will probably lose both Drury and Briere while the Devis might lose both Rafalski and Gomez; the Flyers landed Timmonen and Hartnell via trade and are expected to compete for Briere while Washington is targeting top UFA centres and might bring top prospect and 2006 1st rounder Nicklas Backstrom back to the NHL from Sweden.

10:35 AM: Souray's not going to be a Hab and I'm not so sure Bob Gainey did all he can do to retain him. If this report is true, then the Habs can officially say sayannora to Shelly, and it was kind of hilarious that after Markov signed for $5.75 million per season that the Montreal Gazette reported Montreal offered Sheldon $4.5 million a year.

10:30 AM: Man, Brian Burke better hope that Niedermayer and Selanne tell him whether they're going to play again next year or retire very soon, otherwise, he may lose out on all the potential free-agents that would've replaced them (i.e. Souray/Hannan and Kariya).

10:25 AM: Ok, here are my predictions based on what I've read and decided for a few players:
Gomez goes to the Rangers, Briere goes to Philadelphia, Souray goes to Los Angeles, Drury goes to the Sharks, Smyth signs with Toronto, Guerin goes to Boston, Rafalski to the Wings.
Marleau traded to Montreal, Pitkanen traded to Oilers...

10:18 AM: Two guys I feel have been "underhyped" (since many players like Drury, Briere, Gomez, Souray are overhyped) in light of this year's UFA market are Roman Hamrlik and Jamie Heward, both very good defencemen.
Hamrlik is a solid all-around defenceman, but he doesn't put up as many points as Sheldon Souray or Niklas Lidstrom, and he will likely get a $3 million per season contract whilst Jamie Heward is a big body and likes to get involved on the offense.

10:13 AM: Looks like Jacques Martin is cleaning up the Keenan-mess, after getting Tomas Vokoun at the draft, he's looking to bring back Viktor Kozlov (who had an awesome year with the Islanders) to play with Olli Jokinen.
Kozlov's a former Panther and he would be a nice addition to any team's scoring lines.

10:08 AM: I'm beginning to get the idea Lou Lamoriello's not as great as everyone makes him, especially if he loses both Rafalski and Gomez because he "low-balled" them.
Heck, both could command up to $12 million combined, and that's the maximum, and I really doubt he's got that much money to spend.
Gomez apparently hasn't thought about signing with the Rangers, a team that's been long rumoured to want him, and wants to play for a team that will win every night, and he may not be able to do that in Edmonton or Los Angeles, so the Rangers seem like a choice that fits his wishes.

10:06 AM: If the Sharks need to deal Marleau and he winds up in Montreal, and then they get Drury, then Briere's going to Phily for sure, I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out like that, but I'm kinda hoping it does, for the reason I stated at 9:53.

10:02 AM: Darcy Regier...I said it yesterday, the one man to blame for Buffalo losing Briere an Drury. I also find it kind of funny that Stephane Laporte even mentions this on his LaPresse Montreal blog, God, how credible do you think this is?
A Montreal restaurant owner informed him that one of Molson's top businessman (former majority owners of the Habs) told him that Daniel Briere coming to Montreal was a done deal.
Nice to see Molson's trying to get some attention, guess they miss being majority Habs owners.

9:57 AM: Ottawa's gonna lose Mike Comrie and Tom Preissing, it'll be very interesting to see how they will replace these guys, as both were valuable assets for the Senators last season.
Combined, I expect them to net $5-6 million, around $3 million each and that's obviously too pricey for Bryan Murray, who's up tight against the cap right now, and can't afford to overspend on one or two players.
And he still has Ray Emery to sign...

9:53 AM: I'm still wondering...how will the Sharks dump Patrick Marleau's $4.5 million salary and sign Daniel Briere or Chris Drury?
I mean, is Marleau really much worse than those two guys, is it really worth paying an extra $2.5 million to get Drury or Briere when you have a carbon-copy of those guys in Marleau?
Drury's good, he's an all-around good player, but when it comes to offence, Marleau beats him clean...and what about Briere? Marleau's bigger than him and nearly as good in skill.
My question: why would you sacrifice Marleau (ok, ok, he didn't have a terrific year) and get back basically the same player for more money?
You're only hurting yourself by doing this Doug Wilson.

9: 47 AM I like how this year's FA market is shaping up to be.
It'll be interesting to see how GM's will deal with their potential big losses and other GM's will rejoice with their new signings.
I can only imagine the headache Bob Gainey is going to go through, he's under hot pressure from the fans to net someone big this year and God almighty, I hope he does.

20 fanatics have replied:

Bitchany said...

Good morning! It would be great to see Smyth back in an Oil uni...but like you i don't think there is a chance in hell...:(

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

Haha, same to you, although I admit, it would be nice to see :)

Bitchany said...

How's the TSN coverage? Has it started yet?

Bitchany said...

They are letting Sapryking walk!? That's interesting.

Kathie said...

Murray has never liked Saprykin. It's too bad, I think with a little work he would do a good job. He's not afraid to get in there and dig, and he doesn't mind taking the punishment with it. He dishes out enough hits.

Bitchany said...

I took so much crap for saying I wanted Schneider on my team...people saying he is another name for Foote...but I seriously doubt that

Bitchany said...

1. I need a hug.
2. I'm stressed.
3. I'm leaving.

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

Awww Beth, have courage, check back later to see what happened!

Bitchany said...

Ok, I am back never fear.......

Bitchany said...

Gomez to the Blue Jackets....what?! Alright, so if only in my dreams....

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

Haha, you didn't miss much at all.

Bitchany said...

Yeah I noticed!

KMS2 said...

Thanks for the updates, I would be lost without them. And will Drury pick a team already, he's killing me!!

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

No problem kms2 :D

Matthew Macaskill said...

I've started live blogging as well, but a little less than you, haha. I'll be reading from here on out.

Here's hoping Montreal can rope in Smyth, but I really doubt it if you consider the taxes and Bill 101.

Bitchany said...

KMS2 you made it over here!! Hooray! And, Matthew I will check yours out while he is doing dinner...

Bitchany said...

You seriously did a great job...thank you sooo much for doing this.

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

Thanks Bethany, I really appreciate it. :D

I had fun doing it too.

Still waiting on Smyth.

KMS2 said...

NOT happy. :( When will the Kings do something?! I guess this means we have more money to keep Cammalleri in case he asks for too much. Or maybe make an effort to lure an RFA? A girl can have dreams, right? BBetR, great coverage. Whenever my bf said, "ESPN says ..." I would say, "BBetR already posted that."

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

Haha, thanks there, I really appreciate it, always glad to help out fellow bloggers by keeping everyone up to date.

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