Thursday, July 1, 2010

Free Agency Live-Blog Wrap-Up

We are going to be updating this post throughout the day as more developments occur so keep checking back.  Hopefully Blogger can handle the spike in readership we expect today.

Finesse, 12:05pm:  I had an awakening on the Metro this morning that the Pens really should sign Volchenkov.  Lebrun's tweet confirmed that Hamhuis and Gonchar are both headed to the market.  As Artistry confirmed this morning, Gonchar will be gone.  Someone will give him the money and years and he should take it.  Hamhuis is also on the open market now and seems to want to drive the price as high as possible.  I'm disappointed about that but he isn't good enough to command much more than $4 mil/season.  So, if the price is too high, let him go.  (Not a great development here for Shero that we gave Philly a third round pick for nothing).
  • Artistry may take issue with this, but I think the Pens should really pursue Volchenkov and go over $5 mil/season for him.  The Pens, as currently constructed, are easy to play against.  Volchenkov, as we know, makes opposing forwards uncomfortable and causes opposing coaches to worry about line matchups.  No offense to the guys on the team now, but no opposing coach was concerned about matching his forwards against any of the Pens' D-Men last season.  The Pens need a rock on D and Volchenkov can be that guy.  If he costs $5.5 million (or a little more), I'm ok with that.  Also, let's hope Shero does whatever it takes to keep Volchenkov away from the Capitals.  
Finesse, 12:17pm: Martin Biron signs with the Rangers to back up Lundqvist.  Now the Rangers have one of the worst goalies in the league to back up one of the most overrated goalies in the league.  Big season ahead for the Blueshirts!!

Finesse, 12:20pm:  Lebrun says Gonchar to Ottawa!
Real_ESPNLeBrun: 
The Sens have signed Gonchar to a $16.5-million, three-year deal. The deal will pay $5.5-million per year and includes a no-trade clause.
GTOG instant reaction: It will be sad (for Gonchar) when Malkin steals the puck off him 14 times in the first round of the playoffs during the 2-7 matchup.  Good for Gonchar.  Take the money, you've earned it.  Pressure now on Gogo and Letang to handle the PP duties.

Finesse, 12:28pm:  Alex Tanguay signs in Calgary.  Finally something to get LeBron off the front pages. 

Finesse, 1:04pm: Pens considering Paul Martin.  GTOG says not a bad Plan B, but we'd like to see Martin AND someone else good.  Flyers have re-signed Braydon Cobourn.   The worst thing that could happen for the Pens today is if the Caps trade Alex Semin and free up the space to sign Volchenkov.

Finesse, 1:12pm: Rumor swirling that Caps management is waiting for the JumboTron to tell them what to do.  Working to confirm. 

Finesse, 1:13pm: Confirmed.

Finesse, 1:17pm: Pens sign Zbynek Michalek to 5 years/20 mil. This confirms that Shero is a reader of GTOG.  This blog also confirms that I don't want to be at work today.

Finesse, 1:30pm:  Opening line at 3:1 that Ron Cook's column tomorrow begins as follows:
Huh?  Spell that for me, again.
Z-b-y-n-e-k.
Zbynek.
Yeah, I could get used to the sound of that.  Definitely could.
Read on for more.  A lot more.


Finesse, 1:40pm:  Montreal signs Alex Auld to backup Carey Price.  Apparently the Habs are happy with Auld over Halak.  That's like the Cavs replacing LeBron James with Donates Zavackas.

Artistry, 1:48pm:  Hey, I'm out of my meeting. I miss anything? Hang on, I have to jump on a call.

Finesse, 2:07pm: Pens still pursuing Paul Martin.  That would be an enormous signing for the Pens.  Orpik, Martin, Michalek, Letang, Goligoski and Eaton/Lovejoy.  I can get on board with that.

Artistry, 2:16pm:  I'm with you on Martin. Isn't it possible that he's a better fit than Hamhuis? We all have a soft spot for Colby Armstrong, but 3 years at 9 million seems crazy to me.  That Matt Cooke deal is looking better and better.  Colby has more playmaking ability, but they're both third line guys. Give me Cooke's sandpaper and save me $1.2 million under the cap.

Finesse, 2:19pm:  Love the strategy shift of the Pens to solidifying the D.  The Pens' two biggest challengers in the Eastern Conference are Washington and Philly.  I'm not worried about the Pens scoring against either of those teams - the Pens are a lock for 3 goals/game against them regardless of who is on the wing.  However, I'm extremely concerned about those teams scoring on the Pens (especially Washington).  Let's solidify the D so that the Pens can beat the Caps 3-2 as well as 5-4.

Finesse, 2:23pm: If someone named "Joey Crabb" signs with the Maple Leafs and no one cares, did it really happen?

Finesse, 2:28pm: Paul Martin is on the Pens.  Paris Hilton reacts.

Artistry, 2:34pm:  Thinking about Martin and recalling a goal he scored during one of the Devils 43 wins against us last year.  I remember thinking the guy is pretty good. Finesse is pumped. He loves our team right now. I'm pleased as well, but I want to see terms.  Finesse, any word from your sources?

Finesse, 2:37pm:  Still no word on terms.  However, Kris Draper has just confirmed to me that Zbynek Michalek did in fact shake Nicklas Lidstrom's hand at the end of the Coyotes/Red Wings playoff series this year.

Artistry, 2:48pm:  Reports now via TSN that Martin gets 5 years, $25 million.  That's a commitment.  This guy better bring his number one defenseman game.  I think he will.

Artistry, 2:53pm:  Derek Boogard to the Rangers for too much money.  Thanks, Glen Sather, for all you do. Wait a minute, TSN now reporting 4 yrs at $1.65 million per year.  Really, Glen, thank you.

Finesse, 2:55pm:  Whenever you see a tweet that begins with "Rangers sign..." you know it's going to be hilarious.  Pens now have top-4 D locked up for the next four seasons.  Only thing that could make this day better is trading Kunitz (not because we don't like him, but because he makes way too much money).

Artistry, 3:08pm:  Mr. Shero had a plan. $2 million or so left under the cap.  Maybe he has one more move? He likes a bit of a cushion going into the season, but we have some money to work with, and maybe we can move some salary (Dupuis? His value has peaked) to open things up for a trade.  Get a top 6 forward in here and it's an A+ effort.

Finesse, 3:18pm:  Cam Ward's application for a new liquor license was just approved.

Artistry, 3:27pm:  If the Geno I see in that clip shows up next year, I'm not sure if it matters who his wingers are.  By the way, has anyone checked on Ruslan Fedontenko lately?  Do we have a pulse?  Ray Whitney to Phoenix, 2 years/$6 million, per TSN.

Artistry, 3:40pm:  Hamhuis is asking for 6 years/$30 million, per TSN moderator Gord Miller.  Easy there, Dan Hamhuis.  Finesse, if you have a son one day, please name him Gord.

Finesse, 3:41pm:  From Burnside:
Ah, it wouldn't be free agency if the Rangers didn't inexplicably blow their brains out and so we give you Derek Boogaard and his four-year deal worth $1.65 million annually. Ha, ha, ha. Worst contract of the day by a country mile. And the day's only half over. Take a bow Glen Sather, your reputation remains in tact.
Ok then.

Finessse, 3:43pm: Speaking of Burnside and Fedetenko, Burnside said earlier today that the Gonchar signing by Ottawa may spark Kovalev because they are both Russian.  Huh?  These are grown men.  Kovalev is in his late 30's and has been in the NHL for 15 years...but all he needed was another 30-something Russian?  By this logic, the Pens would have won the Cup last season if we brought in a 38 year-old Ukranian to give Fedetenko a spark.

Artistry, 4:20pm:  Hamhuis to Vancouver 6 years at $4.5 million per year.  This guy was wasting everybody else's time.  Ollie Jokinen apparently going back to Calgary, which makes my head spin.  You think Jarome Iginla is having a hard time getting excited about another go-round with Ollie and Alex Tanguay? Kurtis Foster to Edmonton.  Whoa, late breaking, Bob McKenzie reporting Volchenkov to the Devils for 6 years. Uh oh.

Finesse, 4:33pm: Volchenkov to Devils doesn't bother me as much as if he had gone to Washington.  Does losing Martin and gaining Volchenkov really change NJ that much?  Had Volchenkov gone to Washington, that's a different story.

Finesse, 4:36pm:  Derek Boogaard has 14 career points in 255 games.  The Rangers are paying him $6.64 million over 4 years.  That's $474,285 per career point!!!   If Gretzky had been paid that amount per career point, he would have made $1.3 billion dollars in his career.

Finesse, 4:47pm: Volchenkov's deal is 6 years, 25.5mil (4.25mil/year).  Not a bad cap hit at all for the Devils.  The 6th year is a concern for them, but I think a very strong signing by them.  I'm sure he will be great when they lose in 5 games in the first round next season.

Finesse, 4:50pm:  Caps are conspicuously quiet today.  Someone should tell them that this is free agency, not the playoffs.

Artistry, 4:58pm:  Ted Leonsis is busy remodeling Washington's pro basketball team. Plus he has Alexander Semin under contract for one more year at $6 million dollars.  So he's got that going for him.  Which is nice. Derek Boogard aside, you can't beat that price for a guy who goes scoreless in the playoffs.  I feel like going forward we're going to be starting a lot of sentences with "Derek Boogard aside."

Finesse, 5:17pm:  Jordan Leopold signs with the Sabres.  He should fit in well with a fluid skating team like Buffalo.  He also will go down in history as having one of the least distinguished Penguins' careers of all-time.  It isn't his fault or Shero's fault - I thought the trade for him was good at the time and still would make it again.

Finesse, 5:29pm: Johan Hedberg just signed to be the backup goalie for the Devils.  When I'm reduced to reporting on the Moose signing a 1yr/$1.5 million deal, I think it's time to wrap up this live-post.  It's been a great day for hockey, and a great day for GTOG.  Hopefully we'll be back later with a recap of the days events.  LGP.

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