League-Wide NHL Free Agency Roundup
While the Florida Panthers took the airwaves hostage on July 1st, it was difficult (for me anyways) to keep tabs on the signings made by the other 29 teams in the league. Well fear not--a month and a half later, and with most free agents accounted for, it's recap time! Now let it be known that I am not the well rounded, enlightened, Scott Burnside caliber hockey writer I make myself out to be, but I'm sure someone will benefit from this breakdown. And remember, I am in no way, shape or form biased against any team, because I hate the other 29 teams equally. 29 times the awesomeness of a regular post after the jump.
Note: With hundreds of signings and departures between 30 teams, I was bound to miss somebody of importance. I included within these lists the major names that moved between now and free agency. This doesnt include players who resigned, most minor leaguers or tryout contracts. The +/- figure represents the difference between goals lost (from the player subtractions) and the goals acquired (from the additions). Now, it isn't a perfect measurement because one player could have benefited from good linemates on a good team, meaning his production could decrease, or one player could have been dragged down on a bad team and flourish with a new one. But, since that's all speculation, we'll make the assumption that it'll all even out in the end.
Anaheim Ducks: +4
Additions- Andrew Cogliano, Jeff Deslauriers, Kurtis Foster, Matt Smaby
Subtractions- Kyle Chipchura, Andreas Lilja, Jarkko Ruutu, Todd Marchant, Brad Winchester
Most intriguing signing: At only 24 years of age, Andrew Cogliano still has potential as a 20 goal scorer despite his numbers dropping with a bad Edmonton club, so I was surprised they let Cogliano slip after only 4 years. Its safe to assume Cogliano will bounce back with Anahiem.
Overall: The Ducks look about the same as last year. They added Cogliano, but could lose Teemu Selanne to retirement. If that happens, expect a hole in leadership to emerge that needs to be filled. Same
Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets: -27
Additions- Eric Fehr, Tanner Glass, Rick Rypien, Randy Jones, Derek Meech, Kenndal McArdle
Subtractions- Radek Dvorak, Anthony Stewart, Eric Boulton, Rob Schremp, Freddy Meyer
That'll come back to bite you: The passing-up of Anthony Stewart probably wasn't a great move for a team that didn't bleed offense in Atlanta and has done little to make the team score more in Winnipeg. Sure, losing Stewart wont mark the end of the world, but it seemed like he was finally turning the corner he couldn't turn in Florida.It wouldn't have been a big deal to just resign him.
Overall: Despite losing only what amounts to bits and pieces, the Jets have become a worse team (on paper) than the Thrashers last year, but you have to develop a new identity somehow. Worse
Boston Bruins: -12
Additions- Joe Corvo, Benoit Pouliot
Subtractions- Tomas Kaberle, Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi
Overall: Corvo seems like an upgrade over Kaberle and the signing of Pouliot softens the blow of losing Ryder. As long as they have Tim Thomas, the Bruins will be just fine next season. Same
Buffalo Sabres: +14
Additions- Christian Ehrhoff, Ville Leino, Ales Kotalik, Robyn Regehr
Subtractions- Chris Butler, Tim Connolly, Mark Parrish, Steve Montador, Mike Grier
That'll come back to bite you: Lets put it this way, Ehrhoff is like a fancy German sports car that anyone would want in their garage. However, for the amount of money GM Darcy Regier spent on that car he could have bought a zeppelin. I know as a Panthers fan I can hardly criticize overpayment, but come on.
Overall: It's hard to argue that the Sabres didn't become a better team this offseason, but maybe not as much as some think. We'll just have to wait and see how the Leino/Ehrhoff gambles pay off. Better
Calgary Flames: -13
Additions- Chris Butler
Subtractions- Robyn Regehr, Ales Kotalik, Steve Staios, Fredrik Modin
And the award for most boring offseason goes to:
The Montreal Canadiens The New Jersey Devils The Calgary Flames! Congrats guys!
Overall: Calgary didn't lose much, but Butler is no upgrade over Regehr. Marginally worse
Update: The Flames have signed Scott Hannan, which is an upgrade over Regehr. How about that? Same
Carolina Hurricanes: -18
Additions- Brian Boucher, Tim Brent, Tomas Kaberle, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Anthony Stewart
Subtractions- Erik Cole, Joe Corvo, Cory Stillman
Most intriguing signing: After a terrible season with Los Angeles, Ponikarovsky needs a bounce-back season to ease the sting of losing Erik Cole.
Overall: The 'Canes lost nearly 50 goals between their three subractions, which hurts when you see what they have for replacements. If Tim Brent and Stewart can expand upon their last season's production, Carolina might break even. Worse
Chicago Blackhawks: Even
Additions- Andrew Brunette, Dan Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, Sean O`Donnell, Steve Montador, Rostislav Olesz, Sami Lepisto
Subtractions- Troy Brouwer, Tomas Kopecky, Brian Campbell
Most intriguing singing: Andrew Brunette's 18 goal season marks his 11th consecutive 15+ goal season, meaning even at 37 he has something left in the tank. Brunette is a forgotten player that should erase the loss of Brouwer.
Overall: With the loss of Brouwer cancelled out by Brunette, as a Panthers fan I sure hope Chicago is a worse team, as the only other subtractions are now Panthers. If Campbell is as good as I make him out to be and Kopecky is missed, maybe that will be the case. Marginally worse
Additions- Cedrick Desjardins, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Jan Hejda, Chuck Kobasew, Shane O`Brien, Semyon Varlamov
Subtractions- Peter Budaj, Philippe Dupuis, Brian Elliott, Tomas Fleischmann, John-Michael Liles, Adam Foote
That'll come back to bite you: Just another example of why #ShermanIsAnIdiot, JM Liles was traded at the draft for a 2nd round pick in next years' draft. In case you're not familiar, Liles was the Avs best defenseman and was a front runner for captaincy. For a second rounder.
Overall: The Avs holed up their biggest concern (goaltending) quite well but will be hurt by Flash's departure and the jettison of Liles. Worse
Additions- Radek Martinek, Vinny Prospal, Curtis Sanford, James Wisniewski, Jeff Carter
Subtractions- Mike Commodore, Mathieu Garon, Jan Hejda, Sami Lepisto, Scottie Upshall, Jakub Voracek, Nikita Filatov
Most intriguing signing: Well, not a signing, but the trade for Jeff Carter finally brings help to Rick Nash, and Carter's long term contract just about assures the two grow old together.
Overall: With the new additions of Prospall, Wisniewski and Carter, not only are the Jackets better, they might just be a playoff team. Better
Dallas Stars: -4
Additions- Radek Dvorak, Vernon Fiddler, Eric Godard, Adam Pardy, Michael Ryder, Sheldon Souray, Jake Dowell
Subtractions- Brad Richards, Jamie Langenbrunner, Jason Williams, Karlis Skrastins
What two million dollars will buy you: Adam Pardy!!
Overall: Losing Richards will hurt any team, but what matters is how the team compensates for the loss. Dallas did a pretty good job with a sub-par free agency market. Same (but that's a good thing)
Detroit Red Wings: -12
Additions- Ian White, Mike Commodore, Ty Conklin
Subtractions- Derek Meech, Ruslan Salei, Chris Osgood, Kris Draper, Mike Modano, Brian Rafalski
Jay Mohr's terrible NHL Awards ceremony joke corrected: "There were many retirees this year, we had Forsberg of course, Brian Rafalski, Doug Weight, and apparently the entire
Florida Panthers Detroit Red Wings team"
Overall: Yeah, so they lost a few players and seem worse, but come on, it's the Red Wings. That's like a scratch on a bear. Only a flesh wound. Marginally worse
Edmonton Oilers: +21
Additions- Eric Belanger, Darcy Hordichuk, Ben Eager, Cam Barker, Ryan Smyth, Andy Sutton
Subtractions- Andrew Cogliano, Jeff Deslauriers, Sheldon Souray, Zack Stortini, Jim Vandermeer, Kurtis Foster, Colin Fraser
Most intriguing signing: The trade to reunite the Oilers and Smyth was understood, it just might not work out to be everything fans were hoping for. Who knows how Smyth will do with the worst team in the NHL?
Overall: There are a lot of unknowns for the Oilers, but Smyth and the kids should help bring the Oilers up in the standings. Better
Florida Panthers: +53
Additions- Sean Bergenheim, Matt Bradley, Tomas Fleischmann, Marcel Goc, Tomas Kopecky, Scottie Upshall, Kris Versteeg, Brian Campbell, Ed Jovanovski
Subtractions- Sergei Samsonov, Niclas Bergfors, Marty Reasoner, Rostislav Olesz, Steve Bernier, Steven Reinprecht, Tomas Vokoun
That'll come back to bite you: Although there was little that could be done to keep Vokoun in Florida, it will hurt having him gone, especially since he signed within the division.
Overall: The Panthers added the most offense of any team during the free agency period, and should the team form chemistry quickly, should at least contend for a playoff spot. Noticeably better
Additions- Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Colin Fraser
Subtractions- Michal Handzus, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, Ryan Smyth
That'll come back to bite you: Losing top prospect Brayden Schenn could make or break this deal, but we'll only know in a few years.
Overall: Yes, the already good Kings got better, and I mean Stanley Cup contenders better. The only question is at what cost and for how long? Since Mike Richards isn't exactly a character guy, will he become a locker-room disease for the Kings? Schenn could have been Richy's eventual replacement. Better
Minnesota Wild: -11
Additions- Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Darroll Powe, Mike Lundin
Subtractions- Cam Barker, Andrew Brunnette, Chuck Kobasew, Jose Theodore, Brent Burns, Martin Havlat
How looks can be deceiving: On the surface, adding Heatley and Setoguchi seems like an awesome deal when you give up Havlat and Burns. But really, they kinda leave Minnesota worse off. Seto's 22 goals and Heatley's 26 are comparable to Burns' 17 and Havlat's 22, but Burns put up his numbers as one of the leagues top defensemen. Considering they also lost Brunnette, Wind fans better pray Seto and Heatley form insta-chemistry and Lundin can fill Burn's abyss.
Overall: Despite the stated above, I think Heatley had an off year and can return to putting up 35-45 goals in a Wild uniform. Minnesota desparately needed a goal scorer of that caliber. Better
Montreal Canadiens: -18
Additions- Peter Budaj, Erik Cole
Subtractions- Jeff Halpern, Roman Hamrlik, Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt, Curtis Sanford, James Wisniewski, Paul Mara, Brent Sopel
Overall: There isn't much to say about the Habs, but adding a 26 goal scorer in Cole should help. However, they lost 3 10 goal scorers to other teams, including a very good Wisniewski. Worse
Nashville Predators: -31
Additions- Niclas Bergfors, Tyler Sloan, Zack Stortini, Brett Lebda
Subtractions- Marcel Goc, Shane O'Brien, Steve Sullivan, Joel Ward, Cody Franson, Matthieu Lombardi, J.P. Dumont.
Most intriguing signing: We Panther fans are aware of the skiddish, effortless nature Niclas Bergfors showed us during our horrid post-deadline tank. And then to demand more money than cash-flushed Dale Tallon was willing to give him? Watch out Nashville.
Overall: Nashville really got thrown under the bus this offseason with the RFA apocalypse that lost them Joel Ward in addition to Shea Weber's arbitration hearing. At least the new jerseys look nice. Worse
New Jersey Devils: -9
Additions- Eric Boulton
Subtractions- Colin White, Brian Rolston, Trent Hunter (waived)
Really? You mean to tell me no one would trade some sort of draft pick for Rolston? A 7th rounder would have been better than a waived Hunter.
Overall: I guess after throwing their all at Ilya Kovalchuk the summer before, all Lou can wrangle this year is Eric Boulton? Same
New York Islanders: +20
Additions- Marty Reasoner, Brian Rolston, Evgeni Nabokov
Subtractions- Bruno Gervais, Zenon Konopka, Radek Martinek, Trent Hunter, Doug Weight
Most intriguing signing: Not a signing, but if Nabokov cuts his losses and becomes an Isle, we're looking at a different Islanders team.
Overall: The Isles added some more scoring support for their up and coming players, and with the possibility of Nabokov, are a much improved team. Better
New York Rangers: +10
Additions- Brad Richards, Michael Rupp
Subtractions- Matt Gilroy, Vinny Prospal, Bryan McCabe, Chris Drury, Alex Frolov
Brad Richards 11-12 goal prediction: Richards' production slows a bit, 26 goals in 75 games.
Overall: Yeah, they won the prize of the 2011 free agents, but you have to wonder if it will really work out. The quiet exits of Prospal, McCabe and Frolov could hurt down the stretch. Marginally better
Ottawa Senators: -13
Additions- Zenon Konopka, Mark Parrish, Nikita Filatov, Alex Auld
Subtractions- Curtis McElhinney, Ryan Potulny, Ryan Shannon, Marek 'The Legend' Svatos, Pascal Leclaire
Most intriguing signing: Sens GM Bryan Murray is betting on Filatov to benefit from new head coach Paul McLean's coaching style to become the scorer he never was in Columbus.
Overall: Like most of the Northeast division teams, the Senators have done very little this offseason. Same
Philadelphia Flyers: -76
Note: The 76 goals 'lost' is a number I found when (graciously) assuming Jaromir Jagr would score 15 goals. Since that is an assumption, look at it as more of a -91.
Additions- Ilya Bryzgalov, Jaromir Jagr, Andreas Lilja, Wayne Simmonds, Maxime Talbot, Jakub Voracek, Brayden Schenn
Subtractions- Brian Boucher, Dan Carcillo, Ville Leino, Sean O'Donnell, Darroll Powe, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Kris Versteeg, Nikolay Zherdev
That'll come back to bite you: Ilya Bryzgalov may just be the goalie the Flyers need, but at what cost? Nevermind Bryz's stupidly expensive pricetag, it cost Philly their captain and #1 scorer. The conselation prizes are Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, but still, way to take a giant leap back.
Overall: In the future, expect Couturier and Schenn to balance out these deals, but for now its difficult to see the Flyers finishing any better than 6th seed. Noticeably worse
Phoenix Coyotes: -7
Additions- Alexandre Bolduc, Kyle Chipchura, Boyd Gordon, Curtis McElhinney, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Mike Smith, Raffi Torres
Subtractions- Eric Belanger, Andrew Ebbett, Vernon Fiddler, Ed Jovanovski, Alexandre Picard, Ilya Bryzgalov
Most intriguing signing: Raffi Torres brings a lot of grit and scoring potential to a team that looked a bit soft at times. Torres scares me.
Overall: Losing Bryzgalov doesn't help, especially when replaced with Mike Smith. The forward and defensive lines didn't change much, so the concern is in goal. Marginally worse
Pittsburgh Penguins: -21
Additions- Steve Sullivan, Jason Williams
Subtractions- Eric Godard, Mike Rupp, Maxime Talbot, Alex Kovalev
Most intriguing signing: Now we all know Pittsburgh likes to take risks with aging players, but usually only at the trade deadline. The signing of 37 year old Steve Sullivan could turn out really well, or it could turn out like all of the other signings they try with 35+ year old players.
Overall: The Penguins got worse this free agency, but don't forget they didn't have Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin in the second half. Having them back for the season opener is like adding two Brad Richards on July 1st. Same
San Jose Sharks: -19
Additions- Michal Handzus, Andrew Murray, Brent Burns, Martin Havlat, Colin White, Jim Vandermeer
Subtractions- Ben Eager, Kent Huskins, Jamal Mayers, Scott Nichol, Ian White, Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Niclas Wallin, Kyle Wellwood (is fat)
Most intriguing signing: The trade for and contract extension to Brent Burns gives the Sharks yet another solid defenseman and a true Canadian lumberjack.
Overall: Losing Heatley and Setoguchi will hurt, but getting Havlat and Burns makes up for it, especially since Burns is a defensemen. However, they lost a good deal of depth to other teams. Same
St. Louis Blues: +32
Additions- Jason Arnott, Brian Elliott, Kent Huskins, Jamie Langenbrunner, Scott Nichol
Subtractions- Ty Conklin
That'll come back to bite you: No, not because a good player left, because a bad player signed, and Brian Elliott is about as bad as they get. Remember when Jaroslav Halak scored on himself last year? Expect more of that from Elliott.
Overall: Though the players they picked up aren't entirely spectacular on their own, the Blues have improved a good deal since no one really left. A little extra competition for roster spots would be good for a team that hasn't lived up to high expectations. Better
Tampa Bay Lightning: -17
Additions- Mattieu Garon, Matt Gilroy, Bruno Gervais, Alexandre Picard, Tom Pyatt, Ryan Shannon
Subtractions- Sean Bergenheim, Cedrick Desjardins, Simon Gagne, Randy Jones, Mike Lundin, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Matt Smaby, Mike Smith
That'll come back to bite you: Since Dwayne Roloson's days are numbered, losing a very promising almost NHL-ready goaltender like Cedrick Desjardins will be a mistake in the long run. If I was GM Yzerman, I'd be in a mad scramble to find a suitable replacement.
Overall: Losing Gagne and playoff hero Bergenheim left some Lightning fans grimacing, but they did add Ryan Shannon to compensate. Marginally worse
Toronto Maple Leafs: +24
Additions- Tim Connoly, Phillipe Dupuis, John-Michael Liles, Matthieu Lombardi, Cody Franson
Subtractions- Tim Brent, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Brett Lebda
Most intriguing signing: Tim Connolly is a fragile, fragile little man. If the Leafs surround him with tough players who can keep up, will he shake his injury bug?
Overall: The Leafs did themselves a favor by trading away Lebda while adding Liles, Franson and Dupuis. Better
Vancouver Canucks: -34
Additions- Mike Duco, Andrew Ebbett, Marco Sturm, Alexander Sulzer
Subtractions- Alexandre Bolduc, Christian Ehrhoff, Tanner Glass, Rick Rypien, Raffi Torres, Sergei Shirokov, Jeff Tambellini
Most intriguing signing: 7 time 20 goal scorer Marco Sturm has had trouble finding stability after leaving the Bruins, but looks poised for a comeback year. But at 32 years old, you just have top wonder how much he has left.
Overall: The Nucks lost 2-14 goal scorers in Torres and Ehrhoff and didn't do much to replace them. Losing Shirokov to the KHL could also hurt if he turns out to be the scoring threat he's hyped up to be. Marginally worse
Additions- Troy Brouwer, Jeff Halpern, Roman Hamerlik, Ryan Potulny, Joel Ward, Tomas Vokoun
Subtractions- Jason Arnott, Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon, Tyler Sloan, Marco Sturm, Seymon Varlomov, Eric Fehr
Most intriguing signing: The supreme kings of playoff under-performance needed two things, a playoff hero and an elite goalie. Joel Ward and Tomas Vokoun. Check and check.
Overall: Assuming Alex Semin remains a Capital, this team got a lot better. Though offense was an issue last year and keeping Arnott would have helped, bringing in Troy Brouwer could do wonders for the lineup. Noticeably better
So now for the fun part! By taking last year's total goals scored by team, subtracting the total goals lost (from the team's subtractions) and adding the total goals gained (from the team's additions) we can get a rough estimate of how many goals each team will score next year. I know, there are a lot of assumptions that are made by my method (and really this is just pure extrapolation) but it's summer and what else is there to do?
2010-11 Goals scored by team on the left, predicted 2011-12 values on the right.
So you might notice something, there are 7 teams under the 200 goal mark while only 4 in 2010-11. I chalk this up to the fact there are a number of players who retired or went overseas, which could drag any team's numbers down. However, each season new players from the CHL or AHL get spots or call up duties and make up for this loss, which is something no one can predict, just like how an uninjured Parise will bring up the Devils numbers, as Crosby and Malkin should for Pittsburgh. Again, this is just a rough simulation. Quote it at your own risk.