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

01 July 2007

Free-agency FRENZY!

Hey all, just a quick announcement, I'll be live-blogging today's free-agency frenzy from the coziness of my laptop computer, tune in all day for breaking news, rumours, analysis and talk from around the league.

Now, let's get nitty-gritty, your preview for today's free-agent bash.

I guess Bucky Graham and myself think alike when it comes to the Sabres losing both Daniel Briere and Chris Drury to free-agency because of the front office's policy of not negotiating with impending free-agent's during the regular season.

The Battle of California/the Pacific Division may soon become much more competitive.
Teams like Los Angeles and Phoenix are expected to be players in this year's event.
The Kings need to fill several holes in their team whereas the Coyotes will plan for the future by targetting younger UFA's with solid upside and stay out of the bidding for the older ones (Bill Guerin, Mathieu Schneider).

Brian Burke will be a sitting duck on the sidelines when it comes to top players, as he's still waiting for the decisions regarding the returns of Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer next year. Both have been contemplating retirement.
But it's my personal belief if one of the two, or even both, retire, then Burke may have to target players to replace them.

Possibilites could be defenceman Scott Hannan or even Sheldon Souray, who's long been speculated to replace Niedermayer, should he retire, and on the offensive side, how about a return to Anaheim for Paul Kariya, who's expected to hit the open market?

After his prized $4 million acquisition of goaltender Manny Fernandez yesterday, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli won't be bidding for any top UFA players, unless he dumps forward Garth Murray's $4.1 million per season contract, which may prove to be difficult.
Murray has gone from solid 30-goal scorer to an inconsistent player that has had difficulty scoring without Joe Thornton and his salary probably won't attract much interest around the league.

Todd Bertuzzi and Bill Guerin both could be affordable second-tier options for Chiarelli, as both aren't expected to net as much as guys like Chris Drury or Daniel Briere.
Bertuzzi missed nearly the entire season due to injury, was dealt to the Red Wings at the trade deadline and surprise surprise, was ineffective during the playoffs.
Bertuzzi, along with teammate Mathieu Schneider, are both expected to hit the open market.
Schneider missed the last part of the 2007 playoffs to injury and he could command up to $4 million or more on the market.

I'd be damned if Bertuzzi got more than $2, $2.5 million, and the fact that he was injured all of last year and has the ever-famous Steve Moore incident on his resume, might dwindle any interest in him.

The Wings also will not re-sign forward Kyle Calder, and according to the most recent link above, will make a final push to retain defenceman Danny Markov with the potential departure of Mathieu Schneider only hours away.

I think it's official, GM's will be involved in many bidding wars for players today.

(All this per the link above)
Drury's list: San Jose, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Rangers, Carolina, Boston and Edmonton.

Smyth's list: Dallas, Detroit, Anaheim, San Jose, Rangers, Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto.

Briere's list: Montreal, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Edmonton, and San Jose (only if they are able to move Patrick Marleau's $4.5 million salary).

So, the Sharks might not even be able to sign any of the two Sabres and Montreal may not even wind up netting Briere because of the media scrutiny, even if he does want to play here.

The Sharks need to move Marleau and his $4.5 million tag if they want to sign Briere or Drury, and you know what, the Habs could be a potential destination for him.
Long been rumoured to have interest in Marleau, the Habs might just acquire him via trade and let guys like Briere and Scott Gomez sign for $7 million a season elswhere.

I also think it's a better move if Montreal does this, since Marleau is bigger than Briere and can be just as good, and the extra cap space might just get them a defenceman to replace Souray.
Marleau's the way to go, and not Briere.

And what's up with Lou Lamoriello? The guy's totally not being aggressive and it looks like he could lose both Brian Rafalski and Scott Gomez to free-agency due to "lowball" offers.
Although hold on a second, remember last year when it was almost certain Patrik Elias would be a Ranger or even a Hab? Lou Lamoriello stepped in and signed him to a 7-year $42 million deal, although that might not be enough to retain Gomez and Rafalski's salary demands could meet the level of $5 million per season.

Ryan Smyth will test the free-agent market, although the Islanders remain confident they will retain him. Should Smyth depart Long Island, Garth Snow might turn his head to Paul Kariya, Mike Peca and Dainius Zubrus.
Smyth will attract a ton of attention on the market, with likely one third of the league interested in him he could gain up to $7 million per season.

On the other side of the island, it appears Glen Sather will indeed be a bidder in this summer's UFA market, targeting guys like Scott Gomez and Chris Drury.

Although, it appears that the Oilers will push hard to sign Gomez and that Glen Sather could face the losses of Michael Nylander this year, and should he spend too much, and possibly Jaromir Jagr, who's eligible for UFA status in exactly one year.
The Oilers need something to revitalize them and their fans, whether it's a top defenceman (which they so sorely need like) or a top scoring forward, something needs to happen, otherwise, I'd hate to be Kevin Lowe.
It's bad enough for Oil fans he didn't acquire anyone on draft day, he better make good with free-agency or fans will be calling for his head on a stick.

Remodelling in TO? The Leafs are expected to let many UFA players go and it's about damn time. Forwards Yanic Perreault, Travis Green, Jeff O'Neill, Bates Battaglia, Michael Peca and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin are "finished in Toronto".
Maybe it's good they finally dumped these washed-up oldies, and one can expect them to be heavy bidders for Ryan Smyth, as this move appears to be a cap-clearing one for John Ferguson Jr's Leafs, who has $7 million to spend on a top-notch forward.

More to come!

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