Having some fun with free agency

One of the bloggers I follow on Twitter is Puck Sage, while he does blog about the Bruins, he does some great work. Puck Sage runs a contest every year surrounding free agency and based on rundown, this is totally something I can get behind.

This contest has four parts: Picking who will be signed first. Picking who will give out the most ridiculous contract. Picking Zach Parise’s destination and, finally, creating a 22-player roster of pending UFAs.

Here is my foray into the contest. Continue reading

Running tally of the current free agent signings

Roughly two hours into free agency and there haven’t been any monumental signings. The Jaromir Jagr deal to Philadelphia was strange, to say the least. Otherwise there hasn’t been much action from any of the big-name players.

TSN.ca has a killer UFA tracker that updates with all of the current signings from the day.

I touched, quite briefly, on the Jagr contract. The Flyers gave him $3.3 million for this season in hopes that he still has enough magic to help fuel a cup run. I really don’t understand their point of view on this one. By committing just over $3 million to Jagr, the Flyers are further handcuffing themselves in regards to signing a guy like Ville Leino.

Add to that the fact that Max Talbot was just given a five-year deal worth $9 million from the Flyers. If Philly is happy moving forward without Leino, so be it. I was under the impression that he was a guy they wanted to keep around to be part of their up-and-coming core.

I say oh well. If the Flyers falter due to these signings, I won’t be mad. In fact, I will be very happy. As for the Sabres, the only major player the fans are watching is Brad Richards. From everything I have read and heard, the white whale will make his decision tomorrow, at the earliest. I think the Sabres do have a very real shot at getting him. Of course the Rangers may have the best shot based on the most recent word to come down. New York will have the ability to match any contract that is offered to Richards. Personally, I think that is pretty lame. Does that mean that the Rangers won’t make him the offer he wants? Or does it mean that Richards wants to hear offers but would ultimately like to play for the Rangers? I understand his train of thought. His old coach is in New York, it is a big city with plenty to do. However, there is a lot of media coverage and Richards did want to shy away from that if possible.

Early transactions will lead to overvalued UFAs

Yesterday evening brought Kevin Bieksa a new contract and gave everyone a look as to what the UFA market may have in store come Friday.

The finances of Bieksa’s deal aren’t as interesting to me as the numbers game this plays with the remaining UFAs. Bieksa took a major hometown discount. Eric Brewer also took a little less money to stay in Tampa Bay. Combining those two signings with the trades for Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Devin Setoguchi and other trades completed on Draft weekend, the UFA market is gaining momentum. Despite the fact it is incredibly thin.

Now, the remaining free agents are in a much better position to leverage a deal from their potential suitors. The reason I raise this point is because the Sabres will have limited options come Friday, despite their new-found financial freedom. Continue reading

The calm before the storm

Darcy Regier showed Buffalo Sabres fans what his strategy may entail this past weekend. He dealt for Robyn Regehr and a second round pick from the Calgary Flames, while only giving up Chris Butler and Paul Byron. He did the Flames a favor by agreeing to take Ales Kotalik, as well. But the option of hiding Kotalik in Rochester is the likely option the organization will take.

The next step comes this Friday as unrestricted free agency begins. The past few seasons haven’t yielded much for the Sabres, especially on the first day. The fact of the matter is Darcy wasn’t given the resources to truly attract the marquee free agents. All that has changed now that he has an owner willing to fly north of the border to persuade players to come to town.

Regier made some very interesting remarks this morning during his appearance on WGR 550. While he was very careful not to tip his hand, he indicated that upgrades will continue to come and that the center position will not remain the same entering the 2011-12 season. Continue reading