Monday, June 30, 2008

Lilja Re-Signs

The Red Wings kept another piece of their Stanley Cup winning puzzle together with the re-signing of defenseman Andreas Lilja to a 2-year contract extension. The deal is believed to be worth over $2 million for the duration of the deal, which should bring the salary cap total up to around $39.6 million for 16 players.

Pavel DatsyukNicklas LidstromChris Osgood
Henrik ZetterbergBrian Rafalski
Daniel ClearyNiklas Kronvall
Jiri HudlerBrett Lebda
Tomas HolmstromAndreas Lilja
Mikael Samuelsson
Johan Franzen
Kris Draper
Tomas Kopecky
Kirk Maltby
Darren Helm

Gaustad Earns Another Deal

Now we seem to be in full swing, 16.5 hours before the deadline kicks off. The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed Paul Gaustad to a new 4-year deal worth $9.2 million. This should equate to a cap hit of $2.3 million per season. Gaustad put 10 goals and 26 assists together in 82 games last season.

Thomas VanekJaroslav SpacekRyan Miller
Derek RoyToni Lydman
Maxim AfinogenovHenrik Tallinder
Tim ConnollyNathan Paetsch
Ales Kotalik
Jochen Hecht
Drew Stafford
Paul Gaustad
Jason Pominville
Dan Paille
Adam Mair

Sharks Keep Toughness

Another signing for the pools that keep penalty minutes as a usable stat, Jody Shelley has re-signed with the Sharks, to keep their toughness in tact versus teams like the Ducks. Shelley only contributed 7 points in 62 games during the year between Columbus and San Jose. Not a very big point producer at all.

Joe ThorntonCraig RivetEvgeni Nabokov
Milan MichalekMatthew CarleBrian Boucher
Patrick MarleauMarc-Eduoard Vlasic
Joe PavelskiDoug Murray
Jonathan Cheechoo
Jeremy Roenick
Mike Grier
Torrey Mitchell
Devin Setoguchi
Jody Shelley

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the team did have 16 players signed at $44.3 million.

Tampa Adds More

Tampa GM Jay Feaster will need one hell of a vacation once the roster is near finalized. He continued to shuffle papers with the signing of veteran forward, Vaclav Prospal. Prospal signed a multi-year deal on Monday, keeping him away from unrestricted free agency, which was the idea when the Lightning dealt for him a couple of weeks ago.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but there is no real concern about their salary status as of Malone & Roberts deals on Sunday night.

Vincent LecavalierPaul RangerMike Smith
Martin St. LouisFilip KubaKarri Ramo
Vaclav ProspalDan Boyle
Ryan MaloneShane O'Brien
Jeff HalpernBrad Lukowich
Jussi JokinenAlexandre Picard
Michel OuelletMike Lundin
Gary Roberts
Jason Ward
Nick Tarnasky

It is getting a little confusing as to why the TV stations are prepping Dan Boyle to be traded for space at the moment. Unless the team makes some drastic moves, they should be okay with Boyle in the team. The Lightning had 18 players at $41.5 million before Prospal's signing. Prospal's market value could very well be $5 million, which still leaves $10 million for two more key players.

Anyone else getting a little tired of Tampa yet? I kind of wish my team was working this hard for my approval.

Niskala Dealt Again

It was a bit of a hit to the ol' ranks, but the failed signing of Janne Niskala in Philadelphia has earned him another trade, this time down to the busiest team in the league, Tampa Bay. In return, the Lightning send a 2009 sixth round pick.

To Tampa BayAgeGamesPointsContract on July 1st
Janne Niskala, D2600RFA (in Europe)
To Philadelphia
2009 Sixth Round Pick

Well, the Flyers did manage to get a higher pick out of the deal than the one they gave to Nashville for Niskala, but they did lose a man in tough guy, Triston Grant. The trick is likely pulling the defenseman back from Europe, where he signed at the beginning of June. The new program in Tampa may be enough to persuade one of the top defensive prospects back to North America at a reasonable cost to the Lightning. If the Lightning keep this up, however, they won't have many picks at the podium come June 2009.

Olesz Goes Long-Term

The Panthers have successfully kept one of their young potential restricted free agents away from the possibility of a offer sheet tomorrow by signing him to a long-term deal. Rostislav Olesz signed a 6-year deal, worth $18.75 million, to keep himself in Miami for the forseeable future. Olesz, 22, had an injury-plagued season, which kept him to only 56 games, but he did manage 14 goals and 12 assists in that time. The feeling is that he hasn't quite hit his potential yet and can be a strong force for the team in the next few years.

Finishing with only 26 points kept Olesz out of the top 300 in pool scoring last season, but if he plays 82 games, he could top off at 38 points, but his potential sees more. It's still buyer beware with this kid, until he brings his A-game to the Panthers. A pool dark horse, to say the least.

Nathan HortonKeith BallardTomas Vokoun
Stephen WeissCory MurphyCraig Anderson
David BoothBryan Allen
Brett McLeanNick Boynton
Richard ZednikKarlis Skrastins
Rostislav OleszMike Van Ryn
Kamil KrepsWade Belak
Josef Stumpel
Ville Peltonen
Gregory Campbell
Chad Kilger*
Radek Dvorak

Flyers and Flames Exchange Depth

Minor league deal between the Flyers and Flames on Monday saw forward Kyle Greentree head to Calgary in exchange for defenseman Tim Ramholt. Both Greentree and Ramholt saw limited action in the league next season, but for both teams, their depth challenges have been addressed.

To PhiladelphiaAgeGamesPointsContract on July 1st
Tim Ramholt, D23101 year, $663,000
To Calgary
Kyle Greentree, F 24 2 0 1 year, $850,000

Pair of Buy-Outs

Monday, the last day of buy-out announcements brought a couple more. Alexei Zhitnik was bought out from the last year of his deal, valued at $3.5 million, after being acquired from the Flyers for young defenseman, Braydon Coburn. Zhitnik will now become an unrestricted free agent, with some mild appeal, but it is questionable as to how much. Zhitnik finished last season with 8 points in 65 games between Philly and Atlanta.

It's the same sort of story in Columbus, as the Blue Jackets have moved to buy-out Duvie Westcott, who still has two years left on his deal, valued at $1.6 million each. Westcott was a constant healthy scratch through the year and wasn't picked up on waivers the times he was put on, so this was the next best move for the team.

Lightning Trade for More Rights

If this isn't the perfect example of being an aggresive team in the off-season, I don't know what is. We're now sitting in the final day before the frenzy begins and the Tampa Bay Lightning want an early crack at Brian Rolston as well. They sent a draft pick in either 2009 or 2010, depending on Rolston signing on, to the Minnesota wild on Sunday night, for those exclusive rights.

To Tampa BayAgeGamesPointsContract
Brian Rolston, F358159UFA
To Minnesota
Conditional Pick in either 2009 or 2010

As you can see by Rolston's numbers, he still isn't doing terribly bad for himself, production-wise. A move to the Eastern Conference could be the thing he needs to break out of the defensive-first style of play in Minnesota. An update later today will likely see the signing being done and being added to the list.

The Lightning are putting together a pretty good program of players thus far and July hasn't even kicked off yet. The addition of Rolston could very well bring some much-needed leadership to a new nucleus forming in Florida. Of course, it is still uncertain where all these players will play together, which will also depend on the development of their first overall pick, Steven Stamkos, as well. All in all, it does seem to fare well for the team, who used to be very top-heavy when it came to their depth.

Liles & Foote Sign Back in Denver

Sunday evening was also a big night for the Colorado Avalanche, as they signed two of their key defensemen.

John-Michael Liles was taken off the unrestricted free agent market by reportedly signing a 4-year deal, worth in the neighbourhood of $16 million over the duration. Final numbers still to be determined. Liles was likely going to see some interest from other teams, likely garnering a bigger contract somewhere, but elected to stay in Denver with the Avalanche. Liles, 27, played in all 82 games last season, scoring 6 goals and adding 26 assists. The team was riddled with injuries to their top stars, that all offensive players suffered in their production.

Adam Foote, 37, was also re-signed on Sunday night. He was signed to a 2-year deal, worth $6 million in total. Foote, not known so much now as an offensive force, will bring that grit and leadership that the Avalanche may desperately need if some certain players do not return. His numbers offensively were 16 points (1G, 15A) in 75 games between Columbus and Colorado and may only be a very late round pick in a deep draft for your pool.

Paul StatsnyJohn-Michael LilesPeter Budaj
Milan HejdukRuslan Salei
Ryan SmythBrett Clark
Tyler ArnasonScott Hannan
Ben GuiteAdam Foote
Ian LaperriereJordan Leopold

With the assumption of numbers for both Liles and Foote, which will be corrected, hopefully for the next update, has the Avalanche still standing in reasonable shape with 13 players signed on for $34.5 million. Savvy shopping for free agents will be the key, if the team has to re-sign Joe Sakic or Peter Forsberg and a number one goalie for next season.

Oilers Acquire Visnovsky

In Edmonton, one of the key spots they were likely going to look to improve on was in defense and a deal with the Kings has seemingly done that. The Oilers acquired Lubomir Visnovsky from Los Angeles for forward Jarret Stoll and defenseman Matt Greene.

Visnovsky, 31, signed a huge extension last summer, which will kick in this season, becoming a salary cap hit of $5.6 million a year for the next five seasons. His 41 points (8G, 33A) in all 82 games can atest to those numbers, which makes him a pretty good pick-up for the Oilers.

In return, the Kings receive Stoll, 26, a restricted free agent who wasn't coming to terms with the Oilers and Greene, 25, a good defenseman with still some upside to produce. The Kings did manage to get younger and shade a little money back into the cap space, as they will likely try and be a big player on the market, starting tomorrow.

To EdmontonAgeGamesPointsContract on July 1st
Lubomir Visnovsky, D3182415 years, $5.6 million
To Los Angeles
Jarret Stoll, F268136RFA
Matt Greene, D254611 year, $1.25 million

Well, this is a deal that Oilers fans can certainly be excited about. After failures with Joni Pitkanen and Marc-Andre Bergeron, the team now has a bonafide puck-moving defenseman to spark theif offense from their own end and on the power play. Stock will rise for all the young forwards on the team that have full-time power play ice and quite possibly an extra few wins for the goaltending department, because of it. As for the Kings, Stoll could be a centre worth raving about, as his numbers suggest he'll come in fairly high on the depth chart. If there would be a summer wager put forth, I would see it likely that he and Dustin Brown may have some good chemistry, which would certainly boost Stoll's numbers from last season. That would be something to watch out for.

Malone Signs in Tampa

Well, the Tampa Bay Lightning made good use of their trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins. They managed to ink Ryan Malone to a 7-year deal, worth $31.5 million. Signing Malone did ensure that the pick going the way of the Pittsburgh Penguins next season will be a third rounder. The team also made good by signing the other part of the deal, Gary Roberts, as they signed him to a 1-year deal, worth $1.25 million, plus $10,000 for every game he plays next season.

Malone was a key fixture on a line with Sidney Crosby through the season and then when Marian Hossa came to town, the line was complete. Malone finished the season with 27 goals and 24 assists in 77 games for the Penguins and will now have a salary cap hit of $4.5 million over the next seven seasons, which is roughly fair market value for the forward.

He could be a key fixture on the top line with forward Vincent Lecavalier, but he'll likely need a top end playmaker to re-capture his 27-goal mark, if not more.

Vincent LecavalierPaul RangerMike Smith
Martin St. LouisFilip KubaKarri Ramo
Ryan MaloneDan Boyle
Jeff HalpernShane O'Brien
Jussi JokinenBrad Lukowich
Michel OuelletAlexandre Picard
Gary RobertsMike Lundin
Jason Ward
Nick Tarnasky

The Lightning are far from done this summer, but a quick update on their progress before more updates... the signing of Malone and Roberts (to his full cap hit, including bonus) brings the team to 18 regular skaters at $41.5 million. Tons of room to move, with more moves to come.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stumpel Bought Out

The Panthers moved to clear a line-up spot for some new blood by buying out centre Jozef Stumpel on Thursday. Stumpel, 35, was slated to be a $2.25 million salary cap hit this season, but his injury problems and lack of production could very well be solid reasoning as to why the veteran was dismissed from his contract. The Slovakia native played in only 52 games last season, scoring 7 goals and adding 13 assists.

Friday, Stumpel was officially bought out by the Panthers and will not suit up for the team in Miami next season. His pool value has dropped significantly over the last year and may not recover from of this tail spin.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Countdown Deal

Counting down the hours until the free agent frenzy on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning want to be sure they are already in the pool before anyone else makes a splash. The Lightning moved a conditional pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for the rights to deal with forwards Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts before the frenzy begins. Both Malone and Roberts are ready to become unrestricted free agents on Tuesday, but they both could be full time Lightning players before then. In return, the Penguins get a fourth round pick for next summer, unless Malone does in fact sign in Tampa. If so, the Pens will receive a third round pick instead.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Flyers Get Carter For Three

Finally, after a couple weeks of speculation, the Philadelphia Flyers have announced that they had signed forward Jeff Carter to a new 3-year deal worth $15 million. Carter, 23, just finished his entry-level deal this year and will now be a part of the Flyers plans for the next few years, barring a catastrophe.

Carter played in all 82 games for the Flyers in the regular season, scoring 29 goals and 24 assists, quickly becoming one of the go-to-guys on the team. Carter also notched 11 points in the 18 playoff games the Flyers took part in this Spring.

The inclusion of the big contract will likely cause some problems for the Flyers in these next couple of weeks, since they are currently sitting with 15 returning skaters at a salary cap hit of $50.6 million. The announcement of the final salary cap number ($56.7 million) was likely the depending factor of Carter's deal, where now they will only have $6.1 million available for up to eight more players.

Mike RichardsKimmo TimonenMartin Biron
Daniel BriereBraydon CoburnAntero Niittymaki
Jeff CarterDerian Hatcher
Mike KnubleLasse Kukkonen
Joffrey Lupul
Scott Hartnell
Scottie Upshall
Simon Gagne
Steve Downie

Flames Sign Four

The Flames on Friday put up the fences around their more valued character players down the middle in the midst of signing four potential free agents. Daymond Langkow and Craig Conroy were signed on Friday, along with winger Eric Nystrom and goaltender Curtis McElhinney to new deals. This all coming on the heels of the release of three players after they cleared waivers on Friday morning.

The details of the contracts were not available right away, but with the releasing of the three players, there was a little more room to spare to sign the two centres, something GM Darryl Sutter obviously wanted to get done this summer.

The re-addition of Langkow should put the top line in concrete, him centering Jarome Iginla and Mike Cammalleri. Conroy and Matthew Lombardi will likely battle for the second line centre position again this season. Nystrom and McElhinney will likely get a good shot at staying up with the big club this season as well.

Jarome IginlaDion PhaneufMiikka Kiprusoff
Daymond LangkowAdrian AucoinCurtis McElhinney
Mike CammalleriRobyn Regehr
Matthew LombardiCory Sarich
Craig Conroy
Dustin Boyd
David Moss
Eric Nystrom
Wayne Primeau

Stars Like Loui

More signing news... the Dallas Stars have signed on Loui Eriksson to a new 2-year deal worth $3.2 million ($1.5 in the first, $1.7 in the second) for a cap hit of $1.6 million in both years.

Eriksson played in only 68 games this season after having a stint in the minors and being a scratch at the beginning of the season, but then turned it on to score 31 points (14G, 17A). Eriksson was also key in the Stars playoff run in the Spring, having 8 points in 18 games. His maturity could have made him a little bit of a sleeper for next season's fantasy pools.

Mike RibeiroSergei ZubovMarty Turco
Brendan MorrowStephane Robidas
Brad RichardsMatt Niskanen
Mike ModanoTrevor Daley
Jere LehtinenPhillipe Boucher
Loui ErikssonNiklas Grossman
Steve Ott
Joel Lundqvist

The new deal now brings the Stars total to $47.3 million for 15 players. That leaves them under $10 million to assign to 8 more active players on the roster.

Ducks Quack Out Bert

The Ducks have decided to part ways with Todd Bertuzzi on Friday. Bertuzzi, 33, has one year remaining on a 2-year deal signed last summer and will be bought out on Monday, when he clears waivers.

Bertuzzi played in 68 games last season for Anaheim, scoring 14 goals and adding 26 assists. His market value continues to tumble and his pool value is very uncertain. It may be a wait and see attitude taken before your next pool draft, to see where you should take Bertuzzi, if you should at all.

Bates to be Bought Out

Another name has been added to the waived list, Shawn Bates. Friday morning, the Islanders announced their intentions to buy out Bates' last remaining year on his contract, which is valued at $1.2 million against the cap. Bates, 33, was drafted by Boston in 1993 and signed on Long Island in 2001. He'll be an unrestricted free agent come July 1st.

This past season, he only managed to play in 2 games, where he didn't manage a point. His career-high in points came in his first season on the island, where he managed 52 points in 71 games. His numbers have since dwindled since then and he may not be considered a good candidate for many pool teams anymore.