That was certainly the most memorable 1st day of free agency ever in terms of stories. Unbelievable all the deals that went down, and the one that didn't. Here's a breakdown of the best, worst and indifferent:
Most surprising deal:
- Hossa to Chicago - not just the destination, but the term. If this deal had been done a month ago, there might have been a different team in the finals. Chicago should be the Western Conference favorites going into next season, largely due to this signing. Too bad they couldn't reunite him with Havlat.
Deal that filled the biggest need:
- Ohlund to Tampa - The Lightning have had one failure after another, but this signing made wonderful sense. They get a solid 2-way defenseman, and a perfect mentor for Hedman. The term may be a little long, but they won't regret this transaction
Most laughable signing:
- Gaborik to NYR - As with every year since Sather arrived in NY, the Rangers get the prize for the head-scratcher. Yes, they need every bit of scoring that the talented Gaborik can bring, but 7.5 million for 5 years? So easy to forget Redden, Gomez, Holik, Lindros, etc… They'll be begging some team to take him off their hands in two years after Gaborik averages 30 games a season.
- Rupp to Penguins - 90% of hockey fans don't even know who Rupp is. He might contribute on the fourth line, or he might not even make the lineup next season.
Staying where he belongs:
- Cole in Carolina - Cole just make sense in Raleigh. It was great to see him sticking around at a fair salary. Great signing for the Canes.
- Sullivan in Nashville - Good to see this happen for both sides. Nashville was loyal to Sullivan during 2 trying years, and Sullivan rewarded their patience with a strong comeback.
Is that the Best you can do?
- Anderson to Colorado - Going on 4 seasons now that the Avalanche have settled for an average solution in goal. Anderson may be the answer, or he may be like the others who came before and disappointed.
Addition by Subtraction
- Kubina leaving Toronto - Shedding some salary and losing an overrated defenseman. Gives Burke the flexibility to do what he wants going forward
- Gill leaving Pittsburgh - Gill was a liability for the Pens. He will fit in nicely on a team of misfits that is being assembled in Montreal.
GM that should be fired tomorrow
- Gainey in Montreal - Are you kidding? This is the best you can do? Signing 3 midget forwards, offset by a slow, lugging giant defenseman, while losing your entire top line and your top defenseman in the process on a team that was already bad and getting worse? The wrong guy was fired in March.
- Havlat in Minnesota - Wild fans should rejoice that the franchise might actually be thinking about offense for the first time. Sure, they offset the loss of one injury-prone star scorer for another, but imagine if they hadn't signed Havlat.
- Couldn't get through the day without calling Heatley a moron for obvious reasons. The NHL should consider a rule change based on his behavior. If you request a trade, you nullify a no-trade clause. Moron.