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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Knee Jerk Reactions: NHL Free Agency

Wild on Sports
Knee Jerk Reactions: NHL Free Agency
By Wild on Sports Analyst Brian Pierce

This off-season was a mess; I think the NHL needs to be given the biggest loser title. There were questions by everyone about how buyouts were going to work, when teams could talk to players, you had people being signed while others had to wait, and it just was an awful situation that really turned me off what usually is my favourite part of the year.

Some of the biggest moves were made by the normal names in the front office, and some were shocking. With the amount of money still skyrocketing, the league learned nothing and every team loses because of it. Because of this, any team that signs no one but their own, are automatically winners unless their signings were tragically awful. I cannot even think of an example.

Philly always seems to be making huge moves with their team, playing tightrope with the cap, and generally keeping everyone guessing. A team that was over the cap and had to buy out two of their biggest contracts just to make it work quickly signed the biggest name in UFA and went back over the cap. I like that they are aggressive, but they are over the cap and need to make a trade to get it fixed, until they do they are losers who will have a runner up for the best line in the league. This player was of course Lecavalier, who is a ppg guy, and the only true superstar on the market. He will be fun to watch with Giroux, who is a superstar himself. He was only on the market because the Lightning dumped him to get cap flexibility.

I think the Lightning really didn’t need the room this year, and considering in the past they turned down deals of blockbuster proportion for him, I think they might have to be a loser. I just don’t see saving 2.6 million while going from a superstar to Filppula as a good thing. If he signed him to 4 million I would say he did a great job, but he didn’t.
I also think Steve Yzerman was thinking he wouldn’t be alone in dumping 30 million dollars down the drain, and is looking foolish now that no one else dumped their toxic contracts. COUGH COUGH VANCOUVER COUGH!

Yeah Vancouver, there is a loser of a team. Not saying moving Schneider was a bad move, but at this point you are putting your fate in the hands of someone who you kicked while on the ground. Your cap is still in pretty bad shape, and you are shopping your best defenseman because you cannot trade any one else away. It was looking like you could have been a dynasty at one point, and it just fell apart so fast that there might be another riot.

Dallas had the newcomer of Jim Nill, who those who are deep into hockey know him as the understudy of Ken Holland, the once great GM of Detroit. For those who don’t know him, he was the guy who had final say in every Red Wings draft of recent history and has been responsible for some tremendous picks. He was promised the job in Detroit, and when Holland didn’t retire when he said he was going to, he took a job in Dallas and now we find him being the most aggressive guy in the league.

He has made two major trades, one getting Horcoff from Edmonton, and the other being a massive 7 player trade where he got a Seguin, a guy who was touted as a phenom and got to play for Boston and see a couple of impressive cup runs. He gave up Loui Eriksson in the process and several good prospects. It is a risky deal that seems like Boston won in the short run getting the best player as of yet in Eriksson, and they could win in the long run if Sequin doesn’t pan out. However in believed upside, Seguin should end up being the best player in the trade, and if he is that #1 center, then Dallas just bought the face of their franchise.
I think Dallas is a winner here.

Speaking of an aggressive move, The Ducks traded Bobby Ryan for Sifverberg, Noesen, and a 1st round pick. Sifverberg is a 22 year old who had a respectable .4 ppg in his first season with the Senators. He is a step down from Ryan, but could be a minor step down going forward. Noesen is a 20-year-old sniper who hasn’t played a professional game yet, but could be a scorer in the league. The first might be a mid round pick, so the Ducks get many good unknowns for a young Ryan who had one really good season. Cannot call either of them winners or losers, but Ottawa needed a superstar after losing Alfredsson to the Wings.

Speaking of the Wings, I will take this chance to say something to Ken Holland directly. Congrats on keeping to your plan of making the team bigger, younger, and increasing scoring by signing a 5'11 guy who got .24 ppg last year to a 4.9 5 year deal that will take a roster spot from one of the kids going forward. He replaced Filppula who over the last two years had . 68 ppg to Weiss' .62 ppg, and was an inch taller. An aging 5'11 guy will help that out on top of that who is really old, and got .55 ppg last year to replace a 27 year old who got .59 ppg and two more goals in his first season who you could have gotten for a lot less than 5.5 Million in Damien Brunner.

Holland sure is doing a great job. Good show old boy. Bonus, you let Val walk without trading away his rights or anything like that...

What a shitty, shitty, shitty job he has done the last three years. If Jim Nill was the reason the Red Wings draft well, this team is going to be defunct in five years. He doesn't have the guts to make a good move, then gets into a panic and throws money into horrible contracts that hurt the team. He didn't even buy out the right freaking contracts, as they were thin at Defense and deep at forward and he bought out a defenseman. There were also far more defenseman available than forwards. I would like to say that if I could have any job that really exists in this world, it would be GM of the Detroit Red Wings. I would do it for free. Days like today make me think they should give me that job, because I could not possibly do any worse than Holland did today.

If you think I am wrong, let me just say this. As of right now, they have 2.3 million dollars left with 14 forwards and 6 defenseman signed to resign Brunner, Andersson, Nyqvist, Smith, or even Cleary. It is an impossible task, and will require trading someone, but whom can they trade but their good pieces? They are going to get worse. All of this when he could have just resigned Andersson, Brunner, Nyqvist, and Smith, letting youth be served. Ken Holland is the biggest loser of the day, and might be the biggest loser of the last three years when it comes to UFA and trades. If he didn’t get Brunner and DeKeyser, he would have it locked up.

The Leafs kept their own and added Clarkson. I think Clarkson is good and will help them win more games, but they did overpay for him and Bozak in my mind. It is hard to call this team a loser for it, but I don’t think I can call them winners either. They just feel like they have second-rate talent in too many positions that they won’t be able to move. You also have to think that they would have loved to make the Seguin deal if they didn’t have made one of the worst trades ever in moving that pick away. In an alternate universe, they might be winners. Here, we have to wait and see.

Phoenix is a winner, because they get to keep their team and added Riebero. I hate him so much, but he is hard to play against and is like adding a Shane Doan with no class to your team. The desert dogs might as well call themselves Scrappy-Doo now. They honestly would be losers, except for the feel good story that they get to keep their team. Unless you are one of the tea party people that wanted to chase them out of town with pitchforks, then you are a loser anyways.

Nashville is being Nashville, going after no superstars but building a solid stable of second-rate forwards to play in front of absurd defense. They won as soon as they got Jones in the draft, but adding Stalberg, Hendricks, and Cullen were solid move. They got it all for less than some people have paid one player. They are winners here, and might surprise people next year.

Montreal got Briere, who might be the best playoff player in the league and they are winners for that. New Jersey added Clowe and kept Elias for 10 million+ combined while losing Clarkson, losers there. Islanders got out from under DiPeitro, which finally takes them out of the loser column, but does not put them into the winning section. Columbus got Horton, which will not help them as much as they would think, but are moving in the right direction. Everyone else either just had minor signing so far that I don’t think are worth pushing them down or up, or they just kept their own for the most and are winners. Except for Winnipeg, they needed to do something and did nothing.

I am in a bad mood myself today; I hope that no matter what I say, you are happy with your team and their moves.


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