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.