NHL Free Agency 2011 - Live Updates & Instant Analysis

Can the Oilers compete in this environment?

The target today should be Edmonton-born Vernon Fiddler, a man who can finally plug the giant hole in the Oilers' roster.  I looked at other possible targets in an article last week, but the cost of some of these guys is going up with each additional signing and it doesn't look like the Oilers are going to be able to compete for much. 

Lowetide thinks Antti Miettinen is the #1 target of the day, but you can cross Jan Hejda off of the list as the rumor is he may get near $4 million per year.  I'd be happy with any of Fiddler, Marty Reasoner, or Eric Belanger.

This is our Free Agency open thread, let the overpayments ensue.

James Wisniewski signs with the Blue Jackets for $33 million over 6 years.

  • This is a terrible overpayment.  On top of this, Scott Howson gave out a no-trade clause, though I doubt anyone would want to trade for Wisniewski at that number.  Howson should have spent less money and brought Jan Hejda back.

Patrick Eaves signs with the Red Wings for $3.6 million over 3 years.

  • Eaves is a depth player and I'm not impressed by the money.  It's probably $500k per year too much for a player like Eaves.

Chris Higgins signs with the Canucks for $3.8 million over 2 years.

  • Another excellent contract for Mike Gillis, who continues to prove himself as one of the best GMs in the game.  Higgins might not bring big point totals, but he's capable of playing the tough minutes and generates chances.  He just doesn't cash in on them.

Josh Harding re-signs with the Minnesota Wild for $750k for 1 year.

  • An outstanding signing by the Wild.  If Harding comes back healthy, this is one of the best goaltender contracts in the league and could get them a decent return at the trade deadline.

Tyler Kennedy re-signs with the Pittsburgh Penguins for $4 million over 2 years.

  • An odd decision by the Penguins to not qualify Kennedy, then give him more money without buying any UFA years.

Sami Salo re-signs with the Vancouver Canucks for $2 million for 1 year.

  • If he's healthy, this is a good deal, if not, the Canucks have $2 million in LTIR space.

Drew Miller signs with the Red Wings for $1.65 million over 2 years.

  • This is more like it for a depth player.

Ben Eager signs with the Edmonton Oilers for $3.3 million over 3 years.

  • The Oilers are going to have the most expensive fourth line in the league.  Ben Eager is not very good at hockey, but he is a dirty player and hits people, so I'm sure the huddled masses will love this signing.

Jose Theodore signs with the Florida Panthers for $3 million over 2 years.

Jamal Mayers signs with the Chicago Blackhawks for $550k for 1 year.

Mathieu Garon signs with the Tampa Bay Lightning for $2.6 million over 2 years.

  • Steve Yzerman has two ex-Edmonton goaltenders who are both better than the two current Edmonton goaltenders.

Andy Greene re-signs with the New Jersey Devils for four years, terms not disclosed.

Scottie Upshall signs with the Florida Panthers for $14 million over 4 years.

  • Not a bad deal considering the money the Panthers just spend on Kopecky.

Jeff Halpern signs with the Washington Capitals for $825k for 1 year.

  • It's the year 2000 all over again.

Raffi Torres signs with the Phoenix Coyotes for $3.5 million over 2 years

  • Pacific division concussions on / 60 just went through the roof.  I think this is a slight overpay, but the league has tons of resources to bury bad contracts like this.

Jaromir Jagr signs with the Philadelphia Flyers for $3.3 million for 1 year.

  • After Gary Bettman, Jagr will be the most-booed man in the NHL this year.  It's not a bad signing, but I still wonder what Paul Holmgren's plan is.  The team is really strange and now has no cap space for Voracek and Simmonds.

Jakub Voracek signs with the Philadelphia Flyers for $2.25 million for 1 year.

  • Will Holmgren trade Simmonds?

Andreas Lilja signs with the Philadelphia Flyers.

  • Wayne Simmonds is now ripe for an offer sheet or an offer of a 2nd round pick.

Boyd Gordon signs with the Phoenix Coyotes for $2.65 million for 2 years.

  • For this money, it's likely that he's coming in to free up Martin Hanzal for easier duty.

Mike Smith signs with the Phoenix Coyotes for $4 million over 2 years.

  • He's always injured and only average when healthy.  Smith isn't better value than Mathieu Garon, yet he got $700k more.

Cody McCormick signs with the Buffalo Sabres for $3.6 million over 3 years.

  • Darcy Regier needs to slow down for a minute.  McCormick is another depth player being overpaid by $500k


Adam Pardy signs with the Dallas Stars for $4 million over 2 years.

  • I'm not sure what the Stars are doing here, but Adam Pardy is not worth this money.  They've struggled to figure out defense sign Sergei Zubov left, but this is a real head-scratcher.

Jan Hejda signs with the Colorado Avalanche for $13 million over 4 years.

  • Considering the market, this deal isn't bad.  The term is probably too much for an older defenseman, but it's not like they gave $33 million to Wisniewski.

Edmonton-born Vernon FIddler signs with the Dallas Stars for $5.4 million over 3 years.

  • Fiddler was perfect, absolutely perfect for the Oilers, but goes to the hated Stars instead and on a really nice contract.

One-time Edmonton Oiler Radek Dvorak signs with the Dallas Stars for $1.5 million for 1 year.

  • We'll always have the dagger.  Dvorak and Fiddler have the makings of an outstanding checking line.

Mark Mancari signs with the Vancouver Canucks.

Tim Brent signs with the Carolina Hurricanes for $1.5 million over 2 years.

  • Jim Rutherford has been the best GM in the league this week.

Brian Boucher signs with the Carolina Hurricanes for $1.9 million over 2 years.

  • Boucher will get 18-20 starts spelling Cam Ward.  It's the signing Philadelphia should have made, rather than giving Michael Leighton a one-way deal.

Ed Jovanovski signs with the Florida Panthers....for $16.5 million over 4 years.

  • The only thing Florida has in their system is defenseman, and they have a ton of them.  Why on earth Tallon was compelled to give Jovanovski four years is a mystery.  Though everything Tallon's done this off-season has been a mystery.  This contract is awful.

Andrew Brunette signs with the Chicago Blackhawks for $2 million for 1 year.

  • This is a pretty good signing for the Blackhawks.  Brunette is slowed, but can still play and will help their power play.

Sean O`Donnell signs with the Chicago Blackhawks.

  • O'Donnell is a noted Oilers' killer, scoring his annual goal in the third period each year.  He's a depth guy for Chicago, nothing more.

Washington trades Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche for a 1st round pick in 2012 and a 2nd round pick in either 2012 or 2013.

  • What a beauty of a deal for the Capitals.  That 1st rounder could be a top 3 pick.  Colorado has some explaining to do here.  Why not just send an offer sheet for 2nd round compensation?

Semyon Varlamov signs with the Colorado Avalanche for $5.5 million for 2 years.

  • The Avs have become Paul Holmgren west.  This whole sequence is insane.  The Avs just gave up a lottery pick for Varlamov, then overpaid him by at least 50%.

Johan Hedberg re-signs with the New Jersey Devils

Marcel Goc signs with the Florida Panthers for $5.1 million for 3 years.

  • Dale Tallon: 

0i3qt_medium

Nobody beats the Dale.


Radim Vrbata re-signs with the Phoenix Coyotes for $9 million for 3 years.

  • The league is really spending all of the other owner's money this off-season.

Max Talbot signs with the Philadelphia Flyers for $9 million for 5 years.

  • Steve Tambellini should offer sheet Wayne Simmonds right now.  Don't stop.  Do not pass go.  Send and offer sheet to Simmonds.

Peter Budaj signs with the Montreal Canadiens for $2.3 million for 2 years.

  • Considering Boucher and Harding's deals, this is an overpay of about 30-35%.

Mike Rupp signs with the New York Rangers for $4.5 million for 3 years.

  • Glen Sather is always there to bail everyone out.  Just when you think paying a fourth-liner $1.1 million for three years is bad, Sather shows up to make that look smart as heck.

Mike Commodore signs with the Detroit Red Wings for $1 million for 1 year

  • Ken Holland picks up the scraps from the Blue Jackets.  If the Wings are able to shelter him it's not terrible and it's quite easy to bury in the AHL.  It's a good risk.

Steve Sullivan signs with the Pittsburgh Penguins for $1.5 million for 1 year.

  • Astute signing by Ray Shero.  Either Sullivan stays healthy and becomes a great addition to Evgeni Malkin's line or he can't overcome his back problems and becomes $1.5 million of LTIR space at the deadline.

Marty Reasoner signs with the Long Island Islanders for 2 years.

  • Reasoner is a very good fit on Long Island and will likely form a tough minutes line with Trent Hunter.

Joel Ward signs with the Washington Capitals for $12 million for 4 years

  • It's an overpayment, but the Capitals can afford to do that right now, especially if Semin is gone after the season and they add that 1st rounder from the Avs.

Roman Hamrlik signs with the Washington Capitals for $7 million for 2 years

  • This signing spells the end of Tom Poti in Washington.  It's also an overpayment.

Erik Cole signs with the Montreal Canadians for $18 million for 4 years

  • Montreal didn't want to be outdone in the worst contract department, so they stepped up to the plate.  An IM just came in saying only "Bananas".  Bananas, indeed.

Cam Barker signs with the Edmonton Oilers for $2.25 million for 1 year.

Darcy Hordichuk signs with the Edmonton Oilers for $800k for 1 year.

  • Why have one useless goon when you can have two?

Michael Ryder signs with the Dallas Stars for $7 million for 2 years.

  • About what I expected Ryder to get, especially after a strong playoff run, and a great term for the Stars.  They're using the Brad Richards money extremely well.  This is why they should've traded him when I told them to.

Alex Auld signs with the Ottawa Senators for $1 million for 1 year.

  • Overpaid by 20%.  I have no idea why GMs are offering career backups more than $750k-$800k

Benoit Pouliot signs with the Boston Bruins for $1.1 million for 1 year.

  • Another overpay for a depth player.

The Edmonton Oilers trade Kurtis Foster to Anaheim for Andy Sutton.

  • One defenseman who got easy minutes, easy zonestarts and couldn't move the puck for another.  One shoots hard, one hits hard.

Ville Leino signs with the Buffalo Sabres for $27 million for 6 years.

  • Buffalo has now become New York Rangers west.  This is the worst signing of the day and it's not close.

Marco Sturm signs with the Vancouver Canucks for $2.25 million for 1 year

  • Mike Gillis and Jim Rutherford continue to trade shots as best GMs of the off-season.

Alexei Ponikarovsky signs with the Carolina Hurricanes for $1.5 million for 1 year.

  • And Rutherford fires back.  These two are the class of the league right now.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere signs with the Colorado Avalance

  • The Avs have had a miserable season and management isn't doing them any favors.

Philadelphia trades Kris Versteeg to the Florida Panthers for either a 2012 or 2013 second round pick and 2013 third round pick.

  • Now Philly has room for Wayne Simmonds.  Dale Tallon, rescuing teams from cap hell 24*7

Jim Vandermeer signs with the San Jose Sharks for $1 million for 1 year.

  • A depth signing for San Jose and not a bad one.  They probably coughed up $100k too much, but he's not going to see many minutes considering the Sharks top three are all minutes eaters.

Sheldon Souray signs with the Dallas Stars for $1.65 million for 1 year.

Tomas Fleischmann signs with the Florida Panthers for $18 million for 4 years.

  • Tallon, unhappy that Darcy Regier was trying to beat the Dale, comes back with a ridiculous contract.

0i3qt_medium

Nobody beats the Dale.

Eric Belanger signs with the Edmonton Oilers for $5.25 million for 3 years.

  • The long provincial nightmare is over.  After three years, the Oilers have finally signed a third-line center capable of winning faceoffs and killing penalties.  He'll play between Paajarvi and Omark and give them some defensive help.  I don't care if the term is $8 million over the next two years, this signing is three years overdue.  He was third on my list, but it doesn't matter.  Good signing.  No, great signing.  UPDATE:  $1.75 per year is amazing.  Almost enough to take the sting out of the goon parade.

Chuck Kobasew signs with the Colorado Avalanche for $2.5 million for 2 years.

  • Kobasew must have an amazing agent to scare up more than $1 million per year.

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