Free Agent Feeding Frenzy

4:04 pm– Going to put bow on this.  Dale Tallon put a ribbon on his spending day with a 4 year, $18 million deal for Tomas Fleischmann.  Between that and his Ed Jovanovski 4 year, $16 million deal, those will be the first two contracts Dale will have to answer for if Florida’s attendance problems continue.  That’s too bad on Fleischmann, with his health concerns aside, because he probably could have been had for a Jussi Jokinen type deal.

With that, that brings a close to one of the more exciting days in the hockey season.  The Hawks struck early and often.  Jamal Mayers is a nice depth signing and while it’s nice that he once played center, there’s absolutely no reason why he should be considered for that 4th line role.

Sean O’Donnell was a guy I wanted them to sign last year when he was still hanging around and he’ll fit in very nicely with this group.  Certainly, the Hawks won’t get pushed around in front of their own net when he’s dressed.

Andrew Brunette should hopefully fit in as well as Mark Recchi did on this year’s Bruins team.  He’s a guy who can play on either of the top two lines.  He’ll be a solid veteran voice and definitely won’t be afraid to score some greasy goals.

Then of course, there was Steve Montador signing yesterday.  He will also fill in nicely on the Hawks 2nd or 3rd defensive pair.  He’s younger than the aforementioned three but he brings some solid experience and is another good character guy for the locker room.

The important thing to remember about three of those deals is they are of the one year variety.  So however the players turn out, they’re not cap killers.

3:21 pm– And now Ville Leino is off the board.  6 years, $27 million.  Too bad, I had visions of him skating with Kane and Toews this year.  6 years is a really long time for a guy who was almost out of the league a year and a half ago.  All quiet from the Hawks front otherwise.

It was a good day regardless of any more moves.

2:36 pm– No longer available: Joel Ward and Erik Cole.  Ward goes to Washington for 4 years, $12 million which is a lot of cheddar for a 30 year old who’s never come close to 20 goals.  Erik Cole goes to Montreal for 4 years, $18 million which is a lot of money for a guy who was free two years ago.  I won’t lose sleep over either of those.  Bad news is it probably prices Leino out of the Hawks range.

1:55 pm– Still available: Joel Ward, Ville Leino, Sean Bergenheim, Erik Cole and Chris Drury.  One or two of those guys and Stan Bowman will have hit a home run today.

1:43 pm–Late on this one but Talbot to the Flyers.  Oh well.

1:38 pm–Tornadoes rip through the Chicagoland area last week.  No problem for me.  Lake effect rain hits last night with baseball sized hail, still no problems.  A little wind storm blows through and I lose power.  Oh, and coincidentally, it’s the only time I really needed it.

1:08 pm–Slowing down a bit after that rush of information.  The Brunette signing is a good one for the Hawks.  He’s another veteran voice who can fill the back of the net while playing with highly skilled players.  Last year, he skated with Havlat and Mikko Koivu in Minnesota while being the assistant captain.  In July, I can see him playing on either of the Hawks top two lines.  Not bad for a one year signing.

12:52 pm–And the Hawks win the Andrew Brunette sweepstakes.  1 year, $ 2 million.  Now that’s another signing to get behind.

12:45 pm–Recapping quickly : Jagr to the Flyers.  My national nightmare is now over.  Scottie Upshall to Florida.  Ben Eager to Edmonton.  I think that covers it.

12:26 pm–TSN finally got their Jamal Mayers interview.  Glad we got that.  Highlight was when Duthie asked him what he thought his role would be and Mayers said if I don’t know my role by now, then I’ve got bigger problems.

12:11 pm– Looks like the Hawks were also front runners in the Sean O’Donnell sweepstakes.  They signed him to a one year, $850,000 deal.  When Stan Bowman said he wanted to make them tougher to play against, he wasn’t lying.  O’Donnell is certainly better than Brent Sopel and he brings a lot more nastiness.  He was one of Philadelphia’s unheralded guys last year and someone they wanted to keep.  The only downside is that O’Donnell won’t last through an 82 game schedule.  The good news is he looks like their 7th defensemen as the roster stands now.

12:08 pm– Nick Kypreos is saying the Hawks are the front runner for Maxime Talbot and Darren Dreger says the Hawks are in the lead for Andrew Brunett.  Neither would be awful signings.  Let’s hope they stay in the lead.

12:05 pm– TSN tries to interview Jamal Mayers on the phone.  His phone cuts out.  Probably all for the better.

11:55 am– Another underwhelming Hawks signing: Brett MacLean on a two-way deal.  He played the last two years in the Swiss League so he’ll likely be a Rockford veteran this year.

11:50 am– And the Hawks make their first signing and it couldn’t be more underwhelming: Jamal Mayers for one year, $550,000.  Mayers played with San Jose last year and wasn’t good.  The Hawks could have used him about 12 years ago.

11:41 am– I’d love to know what TSN considers a diversity hire.  There are about 15 middle aged white men sitting at about 5 different desks discussing hockey and trying to convince me Jaromir Jagr is still useful.  And Andy Greene re-signs with New Jersey for four years.  Yawn.

11:30 am— And now Bob McKenzie has bitch-slapped his first false rumor of the day saying not only has Michael Handzus not signed with the Flyers, there has been no contact between the two parties.  I’ve said it before, but there’s nothing better than Bob swatting away false rumors.

Great, now Craig Button has made his first appearance on the TSN panel.  I’d love to know how he once had a job in a NHL front office.  If you listen to the guy talk about players, it’s like he’s never seen them play.  I believe he described Jonathan Ericsson as a potential top pair defensemen.  Ok, moving on.

11:17 am– Here’s something you probably never heard before today: Twitter has completely changed the way we receive information.  I can’t wait to tell my grandchildren about how I learned of trades and free agent signings by continously refreshing ESPN.com.

Still nothing happening unless you’re really pumped about Michael Handzus returning to Philadelphia.  I’m still intrigued by how Paul Holmgren plans on fielding a team next year.  Don’t worry though, they still have cap space to sign Stamkos to a 24 year, $200 million offer sheet.

11:08 am– No joke, TSN has a reporter staked out outside of Brad Richards’ agent office.  This is just like LeBron’s decision last year except nobody cares.  Seriously, in any other year is there a national following for a free agent?  With this class, they’re treating Brad Richards like he’s a cross between Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Peter Forsberg.

11:02 am– And our Tyler Kennedy dreams die before they even take off.  Pittsburgh re-signed him for two years.  Damn.  He would have been an ideal checking winger for the Hawks and would have made Michael Frolik obsolete.  I think that rhymes.  Oh well, there’s still four unrestricted free agents left not including Bob.

11:00 am– James Duthie is on my TV and my pants are off.

10:25 am– So the company line from the Hawks today is that they may not make many deals and wait until the trade deadline to make their move.  You already know how I feel about that.  Why pass on an opportunity to improve the team now because an opportunity may or may not be there eight months from now?  Not to mention, what if the team isn’t strong enough to handle the first few months of the season because all this precious cap space was saved for a future acquisition who may or may not make a difference.

Oh well, we’re just going to have to wait and see before I get too critical.

10:21 am— Watching Stakeout before we get started.  Who remembers when Richard Dreyfuss didn’t look like a bloated seal and was actually funny?  I’m pretty sure the acting Gods are still punishing him for Mr. Holland’s Opus.  Has there ever been a more unlikeable main character that the audience was supposed to like?  Guy hates his deaf son, wants to run away with a student, but it’s alright because his students loved him.

9:52 am— For the first time in our existence, I’m going to be give you live updates on the fly on this glorious day.  We’re just over an hour away from the free agent pool opening and the end of most people’s rosterbations.  Thank God.  Players we should be keeping an eye on today in terms of the Hawks are as follows: Joel Ward, Maxime Talbot, Tyler Kennedy, Shawn Bergenheim, Brent Sopel, Erik Cole, Chris Drury, Vernon Fiddler, Tomas Fleischmann, and Ville Leino.

The Hawks locked up Steve Montador to a fair 4 year, $11 million deal last night so on the back end, they are pretty much set.  All that’s left is probably one depth guy who will come cheap.

On the offensive side, the Hawks are looking to fill a couple holes.  Ward and Talbot are probably 1 and 2 on their list.  Then they’ll probably look at 4th line center who can also give them time at the 2nd or 3rd line in a pinch.  So that crosses Zenon Konopka off their list.

As for what’s going on so far today, Vancouver has re-signed Chris Higgins to a two-year deal and Sami Salo to a one-year deal.  And the immortal James Wisniewski signed with the Blue Jackets for 6 years, $33 million.  Enjoy that.

Ok, now it’s time for me to sit back, relax, and strap it down until we get closer.

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14 Responses to Free Agent Feeding Frenzy

  1. Ross says:

    You should flip the post so most recent updates are at the top.

  2. John says:

    Done

  3. Dominic says:

    These guys make some of our NFL commentating icons look like geniuses. Lets go Canada…there is not much else going on…talk about something useful….

  4. Otter says:

    Wisniewski will be a $5.5m cap hit for the next six years. LOL! Is Wisniewski’s agent the same guy that represents DiPietro or is Garth Snow the GM of the Jackets now? I can’t believe this… Seabrook is only costing the Hawks .3 more.

  5. Otter says:

    In fairness to Canada, today is like if NBA/MLB/NFL free agency opened on Thanksgiving and nearly everyone signed that day.

    I was up there last weekend, and the wall to wall coverage of the draft is mind blowing. It’s just so bizarre that somewhere so close is so different. As a hockey fan its beyond fantastic, but it’s still so so so so weird that the top 38 stories on their SportsCenter are related to hockey rumors, Walter Gretzky or the effects of not having Bobby Orr during the Summit Series.

  6. CT says:

    Everybody knows that McDonough forced Dale to sign those guys to big contracts.

  7. Grunfeld says:

    “Great, now Craig Button has made his first appearance on the TSN panel. I’d love to know how he once had a job in a NHL front office. If you listen to the guy talk about players, it’s like he’s never seen them play.”

    Yes, he is awful. Plus, he doesn’t know how to pronounce ‘Toews.’

    “There are about 15 middle aged white men sitting at about 5 different desks discussing hockey”

    So? Hockey is overwhelmingly played by white men. Basketball, for example, isn’t, so you see plenty of ‘diversity’ on the NBA network and in the coverage of the NBA on ESPN and TNT.

  8. Cam says:

    Hawks also bring in notorious penis Dan Carcillo.

    Well, fans wanted players who weren’t fun to play against. If it makes the Hawks have to kill umpteen more penalties, so be it I guess.

  9. Thirty Barns says:

    I really don’t mind the Carcillo deal at face value. I suppose it’s somewhat troubling that we don’t have a kid in Rockford that can play to his game. Or, we don’t have a kid out there that plays his brand that is ready to make the jump to the NHL at present.

    Pretty solid July 1st for Stan Bowman, but who’s our second line center come October? Maybe McNeil goes nuts and takes the job. Him, Kane and Burnette would be a pretty sweet line.

  10. Adam F says:

    I think Notorious penis is playing Empty Bottle sometime next week. Might be playing Martyr’s too.

    I guess I’m still waiting for another move before i hop on the “yay, great!!!!” side of things I like the moves but I’m wondering if they all needed to be done. brunette and Brouwer kind of wash in my mind. And Carbomb- Myers- and O’donnell ( who should have been signed last year instead of Boynton.) kind of replace Pisani and Tomokop. which leaves us with a trade of Montador ad Olesz for Campbell. yeesh. maybe Double yeesh. But that’s probably looking at it too close up and not seeing “the bigger picture.”

    But hey, I’ve got the Feather here to lay down the truth. you two have been more than happy to put the blade to StanBow. And if you’re encouraged, well, then you’re ecouraged. there are defietly some positives to all this….

  11. John says:

    We truly won’t know what effect these acquisitions will have until the season opens up. From a very simple standpoint, obviously, the trade offs you listed make logical sense. But there is simply no way to quantify what kind of edge and attitude these six players will bring in comparison to who left. If you think that stuff makes a difference and after watching last year’s “here again, there again, need a reason to be motivated” type effort throughout five months, it made a believer out of me that you definitely need some guys who will bring the kind of intangibles that will help the team avoid that stuff.

    Whether they do it or not will probably help decide how big of a difference they make. It certainly will help quell the need for veteran voices in the room. Something that a lot of people thought they lost with the trade of Campbell.

    I’m perhaps most intrigued by the Carcillo signing. First, I’m intrigued by the reaction it’s gotten from Hawk fans who have decided to hate him before he even plays. Even though he’s really done nothing of significance to the Hawks. Secondly, in their post-season exit interviews, more than one “core” Hawk stressed the need for a guy who can fight and play, this fills that role pretty well. So long as he doesn’t get goofy and lose his mind in a close game that ends up costing the Hawks, I think he’s going to be a very positive contributor for them.

  12. Bob in EP says:

    It will be a true test of Carcillo’s maturity and adaptability if he can work within the Hawk’s system and still be effective. His avg of 3.5 pim/game and -30 can be worrisome. Glad you’re back.

  13. Cam says:

    Now why would anyone think Carcillo would lose his mind or do something counterproductive?

    Incidentally, Dan will miss the first two games this year for abusing the officials in last year’s playoffs….

    This season is more on the shoulders of players like Keith, Bolland and Hossa. Those three need to be healthy and play well. That will make for more improvement than the FA additions ever could.

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