The Beginning of Free Reign

Free agency in the NHL is just a mere hours away from opening up and there has already been some considerable drama leading up to it. 

  • Montreal decided having all this cap space was silly so they decided to take Scott Gomez and his 7.357 cap hit, along with Tom Pyatt, and Mike Busto from the New York Rangers.  The Canadiens sent back Chris Higgins, last year’s first round pick Ryan McDonagh, Doug Janik, and Pavel Valentenko.  How or why Bob Gainey agreed to something like this is beyond me.  Striking out on Vincent Lecavalier must have really left a sour taste in his mouth. 
  • Jay Bouwmeester came to an agreement with the Calgary Flames signing off on a deal paying him $6.6 million for the next five years.  Now, Calgary has plenty of contracts to clear out without having much of a farm system to support them.  It really doesn’t make sense to have Dion Phaneuf anymore as he and Bouwmeester are basically the same player.
  • The Great Dany Heatley Chase may have reached it’s conclusion.  As long as Heatley waives his no-trade clause, Ottawa will send him to Edmonton for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner, and Ladislav Smid.  This is an unbelievable package Ottawa will be receiving for a guy who basically blindsided them with a trade demand. 

All that excitement and the rest of the league hasn’t even gotten in on the action yet. 

Don’t expect much from the Blackhawks tomorrow, though.  I know there’s been some considerable noise about re-signing Nikolai Khabibulin and Martin Havlat, but I’m hardly going out out on a limb when I say they will probably be playing somewhere else next season. 

In fact, don’t be at all shocked tomorrow if Bob Gainey makes his second big splash by landing Havlat in a free agent deal.  Long before Havlat twittered his way into your hearts, he spent a good deal of time telling anyone who would listen that Montreal is his favorite Canadian city.  There’s a very good chance that Gomez and Havlat are the first two steps in putting the Canadiens back to respectability.

–Tying up a loose end from yesterday, the Hawks formally announced the signing of Dave Bolland, along with Antii Niemi and Jake Dowell.  The terms of Bolland’s contract were the same as TSN reported, a 3.375 cap hit for the next five years.  Dowell was signed to a two-year deal and will have every opportunity to be the fourth line center next season.  Niemi signed a one-year contract.

Niemi’s re-signing probably signals the end of Corey Crawford’s time in the Blackhawks organization.  Whether or not the Hawks see Niemi as the back-up to Huet remains to be seen.

Stay tuned tomorrow for any significant moves.

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11 Responses to The Beginning of Free Reign

  1. Lou says:

    Heatley apparently says no to Edmonton

    If I were the Sens now, I would say. We are no longer interested in trading you. You are under contract and we expect you to honor that. If not, we will determine what rights we have under the collective bargaining agreement and determine what actions we can take.

    In this case, I would also be public about how you attempted to accomodate his wishes and that he would not play ball. Sometimes the player needs to have some of the burden and ownership of the problem.

    He is getting paid $7MM per year and is getting $4MM for existing tmrw.

  2. John says:

    Yeah that’s pretty ridiculous what he’s doing. I don’t feel sorry for him at all.

  3. Lou says:

    I hope we now stay away from Heatley all together. We made our offer and it was passed upon so keep it that way.

    What would he do to our locker room… This is Toews team and we have good chemistry. LEts build with character guys not princesses…

    Gonna be an interesting day.

  4. josh says:

    is anyone else as thankful as i am to Gainey for taking our Campbell contract out of the spotlight as one of the most questionable deals in the league?

  5. Lou says:

    good point. We have two sucky contracts – Campbell and Huet.

    Thanks Bob Gainey!

  6. John says:

    For all the hand-wringing people make about Huet and Campbell’s contracts, they’re not even in the top 20 of bad contracts around the league. Take a look at Edmonton and tell me that’s not a team surrounded by bad money.

  7. Lou says:

    deep breath here but according to Dreger on TSN twitter the Hawks are on HOssa.


  8. Patrick says:

    Saw that too on HockeyBuzz (must be same post from Dreger). Whoa! Where did that come from?

  9. Lou says:

    My guess…Scotty Bowman

  10. Patrick says:

    If the Hawks pull that off and are able to take care of all other business (including with next year’s cap), that man is just downright evil – but in a good way…

  11. Lou says:

    if you are gonna play in FA at least play big.

    Time will tell us today.

    Put on your helmet, grab a beer and celebrate Canada Day!!!!

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