Its looming out there boys and girls, July 1st is just about here and there's plenty of signings, releases, buyouts already happening.
The first big deal of the weekend sent Captain Elbows to the Philadelphia Flyers, the team he identifies with in terms of similar personality. Philly shipped Lupul back to Anaheim after his three year trip to Edmonton and Philadelphia, along with promising young defenseman Luca Sbisa, and three picks. Philly toughens up their blueline, and forces the team into 'Win or Bust' mode by giving up some of the future. Anaheim may have destroyed their impeccable defensive lineup with the trade and almost certainly losing Beuchemin to Free Agency. Scotty said he and his brother would be back, but there's been a lot of speculation of them heading home to BC. They've already won a Cup together, is there any reason to stay down in Southern California other than the weather?
Jay Bouwmeester has had his rights traded to Calgary in exchange for Jordan Leopold's rights to Florida. So he can talk to Calgary exclusively, but he's still more than likely going to see what other offers are out there. And this is the same Calgary team that couldn't dress enough defenseman last year because they were planted against the cap. This makes no sense to me, unless Darryl thinks he can intimidate Jay into signing a deal for the league minimum, because we all know Jay is pretty timid, and Darryl is kind of like this scary, mesmorizing zombie.
Since then its all been free agent signings by their current teams... Craig Adams and Billy Guerin (PIT), Dave Bolland (CHI), Jussi Jokinen (CAR), Johnny Oduya (NJD), Peter Budaj (COL), and probably the biggest with Rob Blake (SJS).
Some 'Please Stay!' pleading... Marian Hossa (DET) for $4-5mil for 1,000,000, 000 years, the standard Scientology membership contract, Dwayne Roloson (EDM) $3mil for one year, and Alex Kovalev and Mike Komisarek (MTL),
Flat out 'Fuck-Off's'... Nik Antropov (NYR), Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay (MTL), and Marcel Goc (SJS).
And some general ambivalence... Rob Scuderi (PIT), Taylor Pyatt (VAN) and Steve Sullivan (NSH).
In other Free Agency news...
The Blue Jackets are already scrambling to re-sign Rick Nash with his Free Agency not kicking in until next July.
Looks like Jumpin' Joe Sakic could be hanging them up with an announcement scheduled for the middle of the summer, and the ushering in of this new Duchene kid to the Colorado franchise.
The hotly debated Heatley race has had two runners drop out, St. Louis and Los Angeles but the Rangers seem to be very much in play with Dany heading to New York tonight. Let's hope he's not driving. In other Ranger News, Gomez has been shipped to Montreal for Higgins and other scrubs.
And Pierre McGuire's favorite goaltender, Jonas 'Monster' Gustavsson, this year's winner of the free-agent-out-of-nowhere award, has decided to wait out until July 1st to see who's going to show him the money.
And some more Swedish indecision from the Twins this time. Gillis does or does not have counter offer to J.P. Barry's ridiculous double contract? I can't tell any more. Montreal's a potential suitor for the pair?
There have been a few good lists of Free Agents out there, Mirtle seems to have the best with his defenseman, forwards, and goaltenders, not to mention his youngest and oldest FA list, and his cheat sheet for all teams assessing needs and listing available cap space. Wyshynski and Leahy over at Puck Daddy has set up a little Good, Bad, and Ugly parody of the top 10 players by position, but so far he's only got defensemen, goaltenders, and centers.
Enjoy the craziness.