NHL UFA Day: Quiet afternoon for Panthers; Jokinen headlines moves
Can't say it's a complete shock of any sort to find Florida GM Dale Tallon decided against grabbing anyone from the free agency bin. If his staff found anything to their mutual liking, it was probably a combination of high prices and and a lousy fit that kept them at bay. The inaction only fuels further speculation that trades through the summer will be a primary means of acquiring the specific talent they seek.
Then again, free agency only began hours ago, and many days and weeks lay ahead to sign one or several of those still unemployed. And it worked to a degree a year ago in the cases of Dennis Seidenberg and Dominic Moore.
And hey...the Cats picked up a very solid hockey man in new assistant GM Mike Santos. So someone was added to the team, in effect.
Some of the expected names found new homes: Dan Hamhuis to Vancouver, Sergei Gonchar and Anton Volchenkov to Ottawa, Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek to Pittsburgh, Ray Whitney to Phoenix (3 years!), among others. More interestingly is the group of players still without contracts: primarily goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, evidently a victim of clubs leaning toward cheaper and younger, and sniper Ilya Kovalchuk, who has nothing but time on his hands to peruse offer after ridiculous offer.
The afternoon got sublimely slow until word began to circulate via Twitter: Olli Jokinen was a target of the Calgary Flames. Yep...that Jokinen, and those Flames. This after Calgary had reacquired Alex Tanguay (E-5). It just couldn't be true...
Several hours of truly heroic comedy from the TSN Sports Desk contemplating GM Darryl Sutter's impending madness later, the story was verified: Olli signs for two seasons at $6M over the term. The Flames organization is so obviously giddily excited that Sutter refused to speak of it earlier in the day, and the deal remains (as of 5:45pm EST) unposted on their website. But I'm sure they'll get right on that when the Tanguay lovefest (read: sarcasm) winds down. Only in the NHL.
Thoughts on the day? Pleased? Not pleased? Someone you had in mind for a contract?