NHL Free Agency 2014

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Christian Ehrhoff signed a 1 year deal, worth $4 million, with the Pittsburgh Penguins and kicked things off for free agency this year. This is a great deal for both sides as Ehrhoff won’t be tied down to PIT, should things not improve, and PIT won’t be tied down to Ehrhoff in this, the salary cap world.

Paul Stastny signed a 4 year deal, worth $28 million ($7 million cap hit), with the St. Louis Blues. Stastny returns home to STL and becomes the third Stastny to play with STL (his brother Yan and his father Peter both played for St. Louis at one point in time). This is a lucrative deal for Stastny, who gets what he wants and the terms he wants it on, and for St. Louis, which adds strength down the middle in a solid veteran.

Dan Boyle signed a 2 year, $4.5 million per year, contract with the New York Rangers. Strength on the blue line continues for the blue shirts, however, with Rick Nash still on the team as a forward, this proves their offensive strength stills needs to be worked on.

Ryan Miller signed a 3 year, $6 million per, contract with the Vancouver Canucks today and led the charge for free agent goalies, both in the sense that he was the best available and in the fact that several goalies then followed and signed with many teams immediately after Miller’s announcement. The irony in Miller going to Vancouver, of course, is that 2010 wasn’t very kind to him in the Olympics that were held there. The fact that it is a short term deal does not surprise me, but rather makes a good point of if things don’t work out, VAN doesn’t have to hold on as long as they did with Roberto Luongo.

Brooks Orpik crossed enemy lines and went to the Pittsburgh Penguins rival, the Washington Capitals on a 5 year contract, worth $5.5 million a year. Just think, Brooks Orpik and Mike Green, well that’s just like Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang. Defensive defenseman with an offensive defenseman.

Thomas Vanek signed  a 3 year deal worth $6.5 million, per year, with Minnesota and reunites with Jason Pominville (like what everyone expected in the past). Look for many more wrist shots coming from Minnesota now.

Jarome Iginla went to Colorado on a 3 year, $16 million, deal and left better chances of winning the Cup with Boston for the Av’s who appear to be at least two to three years out of being a serious Cup contender- ironically the length of his contract. Or basically, Iginla said to the Bruins, “I like you, but I don’t like you, like you (again).”

Everyone has been waiting on what Matt Niskanen would do all afternoon, so it came as no surprise when a deal was announced. Niskanen and the Washington Capitals came to an agreement on a seven year contract worth $40.25 million and the Capitals bolstered their blue line. It is tough to choose from which is the bigger signing for the Capitals between Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, regardless, they should have no trouble at all getting used to one another in Washington and facing their rival, and former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins next season. If you asked me, though, and I were starting a team and could only pick one of them, I’d take Orpik.

Other big signings will appear shortly. Check out the newest post for a recap of all the deals.


The First Round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft

                                  2014 NHL Entry Draft

  1. Florida Panthers                                  D Aaron Ekblad
  2. Buffalo Sabres                                    C Sam Reinhart
  3. Edmonton Oilers                                 C Leon Draisaitl
  4. Calgary Flames                                   C Sam Bennett
  5. New York Islanders                             LW Michael Dal Colle
  6. Vancouver Canucks                            LW Jake Virtanen
  7. Carolina Hurricanes                             D Haydn Fleury
  8. Toronto Maple Leafs                            C/LW/RW William Nylander
  9. Winnipeg Jets                                      LW Nikolaj Ehlers
  10. Anaheim Ducks (from OTT)                 LW Nick Ritchie
  11. Nashville Predators                             C/RW Kevin Fiala
  12. Arizona Coyotes                                  LW Brendan Perlini
  13. Washington Capitals                           C Jakub Vrana
  14. Dallas Stars                                         D Julius Honka
  15. Detroit Red Wings                               C Dylan Larkin
  16. Columbus Blue Jackets                       LW Sonny Milano
  17. Philadelphia Flyers                               D Travis Sanheim
  18. Minnesota Wild                                    C/RW Alex Tuch
  19. Tampa Bay Lightning                           D Anthony DeAngelo
  20. Chicago Blackhawks (from SJ)            C Nick Schmaltz
  21. St. Louis Blues                                     C Rob Fabbri
  22. Pittsburgh Penguins                             RW Kasperi Kapanen
  23. Colorado Avalanche                             C Conner Bleakley
  24. Vancouver Canucks (from ANA)           C Jared McCann
  25. Boston Bruins                                       RW David Pastrnak
  26. Montreal Canadiens                             LW Nikita Scherbak
  27. San Jose Sharks (from CHI)                 LW Nikolay Goldobin
  28. New York Islanders (from TB via NYR) C/RW Josh Ho-Sang
  29. Los Angeles Kings                                LW Adrian Kempe
  30. New Jersey Devils                                C John Quenneville

Trades Made

(Pre Draft)

– VAN traded Ryan Kesler and a 2015 3rd round pick to ANA for Luca Sbisa, Nick Bonino, and this year’s 1st and 3rd round picks (24th and 85th overall).

– VAN traded Jason Garrison, the rights to Jeff Costello, and a 2015 7th round pick to TB for this years 2nd round pick (50th overall).

– VAN traded this year’s 3rd round pick (85th overall) to the NYR for Derek Dorsett.

(During the Draft)

– PIT traded James Neal to NSH for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

– SJ traded the 20th overall pick and the 179th overall pick to CHI for the 27th overall pick and the 62nd overall pick.

– TB traded the 28th overall pick to the NYI for the 35th overall pick and 57th overall pick.

Congrats to all the players selected in the first round of this year’s draft! Tune into NHL Network tomorrow at 10 AM EST for rounds 2 through 7. Good luck to all of those being drafted in their future careers and endeavors.


2014 Mock NHL Entry Draft

1. Florida Panthers      D Aaron Ekblad          Barrie (OHL)

Florida needs what Florida needs- defense. Sign a few free agent forwards, or make a good trade, and they have the potential to do a lot more now that they have a solidified goaltender in net.

2. Buffalo Sabres                     C Sam Reinhart            Kootenay (WHL)

Sabres have some good depth on defense with young players and whatnot, but they need to focus on growing offensively with Grigorenko and Girgensons.

3. Edmonton Oilers                 C Leon Draisaitl          Prince Albert (WHL)

6’1”, 208 pound, center that beefs up the Oilers down the middle. Just might be the miracle that Edmonton needs, or is that said every year? It’s time to develop a real plan and get active in the trade market if free agency isn’t going to work out for the Edmonton Oilers.

4. Calgary Flames                   C Sam Bennett            Kingston (OHL)

Calgary steals a good one that’ll do well alongside Sean Monahan.  He’s a two way center that everyone has had their eye on in the Sam and Sam battle between this year.

5. New York Islanders            LW Michael Dal Colle            Oshawa (OHL)

This power forward seems like he could be the key alongside Tavares. Then again, these days anyone could be the key with the Islanders because of the revolving door management has made so attractive. Their youth will improve, but they need a solid veteran that actually wants to be there. Doug Weight would you consider playing again, Gordie Howe or Chris Chelios style?

6. Vancouver Canucks            LW Jake Virtanen       Calgary (WHL)

In the expected aftermath, Kesler goes and Virtanen arrives. Vancouver’s got to find a goaltender as well. Hello Cam Ward? Or if the right moves are made, Ryan Miller? Anyone? Anyone?

7. Carolina Hurricanes            LW Nicholas Ritchie   Peterborough (OHL)

Carolina needs size in their lineup and at 6’2”, 226lbs, Ritchie packs a punch. What they also need is a new third jersey, but I’ll reserve that for another time.

8. Toronto Maple Leafs         C Jared McCann         Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

If they can’t acquire a good center, why not draft one? Either that or defense! Honestly, though, how can anyone in management focus in Toronto with all that is surrounding Dion Phaneuf, Nazim Kadri, Dave Bolland, and anyone else that I might have missed.

9. Winnipeg Jets                     RW Kasperi Kapanen KalPa (Finland)

Jets resolve some issues (Evander Kane) and work on building around Mark Scheifele. Better goalie needed- this is the market to get someone.

10. Anaheim Ducks (from OTT) LW Brendan Perlini           Niagara (OHL)

Talent runs deep in Anaheim, as noted by their season and GM of the year, Bob Murray. Another power forward drafted in the first round and another reason why the Ducks will improve their physicality to take on their rivaling California teams.

11. Nashville Predators           RW William Nylander            Sodertalje (SWE-2)

Seth Jones and Shea Weber need someone to score- they can’t do everything people. Nashville is going to be going through an interesting time now without Legwand and based on their last couple of seasons. This year will be a test as to whether or not they need a shakeup or something else.

12. Arizona Coyotes              D Haydn Fleury                     Red Deer (WHL)

Unsure of whether or not Keith Yandle may be trade bait the Coyotes pick a defenseman just in case. Also, another case for a new third jersey, only it should be retro and classy.

13. Washington Capitals         D Anthony DeAngelo                        Sarnia (OHL)

Washington takes a D-man because he’s an offensive defenseman (& offense wins, right Ovi). This year the Capitals learned that you can have the leading scorer and the worst plus minus in one player. Regardless, the Winter Classic will look cool in DC, right?

14. Dallas Stars                       C/RW Alex Tuch                    USA U18 (USHL)

He’s no Mike Modano, but he’s big (6’4”, 213) and can play a Western Conference style game. Youth movement continues in Dallas, and maybe they can land a big Star or two in a trade or free agent signing (oh and, yes, that pun was completely intended).

15. Detroit Red Wings            D Julius Honka                       Swift Current (WHL)

Defense wins championships. That’s been the mantra since, forever, for the Red Wings.

16. Columbus Blue Jackets     D Jack Dougherty                   USA U18 (USHL)

Columbus adds youth to their blue line and make moves this summer to become a contender. Bet on it. Admit it, you didn’t think they would be as competitive as they were against the Penguins. A healthy Nathan Horton and a leader in the locker room in the form of Scott Hartnell are the kind of veterans that you need and want to be involved with not only the team, but the surrounding community as well.

17. Philadelphia Flyers           LW Sonny Milano                  USA U18 (USHL)

The Flyers take a winger with good hands and hope to do better than this year. Isn’t that what everyone thinks every year? I’m not sure what else to say other than, Lecavalier. Irony comes in the form of Daniel Briere’s contract being bought out and then the same monstrosity being taken on by the Vincent Lecavalier signing, but you probably already knew that. Sorry to inflict pain.

18. Minnesota Wild                G Thatcher Demko                 Boston College (Hockey East)

We have the first goaltender of the draft! He had an impressive year at BC and is the best goalie in draft. Backstrom, Harding, Bryzgalov, Kuemper, someone make up their mind because Demko looks promising. In the meantime, hey BC, keep up with producing good goaltenders, okay?

19. Tampa Bay Lightning       LW Nikolaj Ehlers                  Halifax (QMJHL)

Ehlers falls unexpectedly but Tampa sticks to the Q (& Halifax- Jonathan Drouin last year, Ehlers this year) and gets a steal at 19th overall pick. 19 was also a good number for another reason, but I’m sure GM Steve Yzerman already knows.

20. San Jose Sharks                 C Dylan Larkin                       USNTDP (USHL)

Jumbo Joe or Marleau, which one will be the one to go? Larkin replaces them eventually. And I promise not to talk about the Kings in front of you, okay? Oh. Sorry.

21. St. Louis Blues                  C Ryan MacInnis                   Kitchener (OHL)

As in Al MacInnis’s son. Great skater that can play in any situation. Fits the Western Conference mold. By the way, are new jerseys on the way, because I bet they’d look awesome. St. Louis has a thing for making good looking jerseys.

22. Pittsburgh Penguins          LW Nikita Scherbak                Saskatoon (WHL)

Pittsburgh wanted Demko, but settles for a winger instead. He’s unselfish and great teammate. And the team needs a gold third jersey, but might I recommend one that is fresh and not a carbon copy of the nineties or eighties. I’m thinking rearranging the color palette on the home jersey and changing it to gold would look cool. But wear black helmets, because I’m not so sure gold helmets are a cool thing in hockey, unless you’re Notre Dame.

23. Colorado Avalanche          D Rolan McKeown                Kingston (OHL)

While Brendan Lemieux (Claude Lemieux’s son) drew interest from Jack Adams winner, Patrick Roy, the Av’s need another young defenseman to offset all of their young offense men from the last few seasons.

24. Anaheim Ducks                LW Brendan Lemieux             Barrie (OHL)

So the Ducks take him instead (see comment above). He’s scrappy and fits the rivalry with San Jose & Los Angeles. He compliments the Ducks roster nicely, especially if they do what everyone thinks they might do.

25. Boston Bruins                   C Nick Schmaltz                     Green Bay (USHL)

It was either a Swede, a Czech, or an American- and he’s good. At least, NHL Network told me he is. Either way, there’s no need to rush him in, the Bruins have enough down the middle for now.

26. Montreal Canadiens          LW Adrian Kempe                 Modo Jr. (SWE- JR)

So the Canadiens take the Swede I was thinking of instead (again, see the comment above). 6’1”, 187, finally brings some size to Montreal.

27. Chicago Blackhawks         C Brayden Point                     Moose Jaw (WHL)

If this guy turns out to be a gem, then somebody better start working on finding the Blackhawks horseshoe. I mean, really, Saad, Kane, Toews- they’ve stolen from the draft before and they’ll do it again if you’re not looking.

28. Tampa Bay Lightning (from NYR) LW Ivan Barbashev  Moncton (QMJHL)

This playmaker has hands, is Russian, and ushers in a new beginning for the Lightning.

29. Los Angeles Kings            C Jakub Vrana                         Linkoping (SWE-2)

Vrana slides down the ladder in the draft and the Kings get a steal. Skilled Czech= Cup clincher (if you need him to be). Oh and time for the obligatory congratulations to the 2014 Stanley Cup champions, maybe you can share the comeback wealth with everyone else next year, okay?

30. New Jersey Devils                        C Robert Fabbri                      Guelph (OHL)

I’m still unhappy with how the NHL handled the Kovalchuk contract, but anyway, Fabbri rounds out top 30.

*Barring any trades, this is how I see it progressing, but I’d like to see a lot of trades just to destroy my mock draft picks, like how someone always destroys my bracket during March madness.