clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

There’s something very different about this year’s free agent day

New, comments

We’re not even faking that the deals aren’t already done anymore.

Ice Hockey - Men's Gold Medal Game - Day 17
Patrick Marleau #11, Joe Thornton #19, Dany Heatley #15 and Dan Boyle #22 after winning the ice hockey men's gold medal game at the 2010 Winter Olympics 
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Have we all collectively lost our patience with polite fictions? Is this really a sign of growing uneasiness with media participating in nudge, nudge, wink, wink pretence, or is it just a blip?

Whatever’s going on, no one is faking it anymore. The so-called UFA discussion period is not a discuss everything but the money period. It’s very clear that many deals have been made. They aren’t signed, sealed and delivered, but they are agreed to in principle.

Bob McKenzie gave the opinion on yesterday’s Bobcast that this discussion period favours the teams and takes power away from players. The teams aren’t forced into snap decisions. They have time to explore their options, have second thoughts, and sign a guy for less money or term. The players are waiting for calls, wondering if anyone will sign them.

So the deals that are strongly stated to be done, start here:

But to summarize, it’s all about the goalies.

Anders Nilsson to Vancouver, and the Canucks also have signed Michael Del Zotto and Sam Gagner, two of those cheaper guys who aren’t stars, but are good signing. Vancouver is doing so many seemingly smart things lately it’s alarming. They’re still bad, though.

Some maligned players going to new teams: Steve Mason to Winnipeg and Dan Girardi to Tampa Bay. Both teams have holes to fill while they wait for prospects to mature.

Trevor Daley to Detroit, which makes no sense there, but then I’m not sure what the Red Wings are doing. Perhaps the same sort of fiddling while Rome burns that the Canucks have raised to an art.

Brian Elliott to Philadelphia and Chad Johnson to Buffalo, putting an end to Leafs fans’ hopes that Johnson might pick the Leafs this time.

Patrick Sharp back to Chicago because they’re getting the band back together.

Jonathan Bernier to Colorado. This is the first sign that the Avs are not quite convinced that Semyon Varlamov is totally fine after surgery. They let Vegas take Calvin Pickard, who they are keeping as backup, it seems, so they needed someone.

Evgeny Dadonov and Michael Haley to Florida. No idea who Haley is, but Dadonov, long rumoured to be going to Vegas, has opted to go to a team that is otherwise shedding salaries and players on a daily basis.

Ondrej Pavelec to the Rangers, and Ryan Miller to Anaheim. Okay, I honestly don’t see the difference between Bernier and Miller as the lame duck behind Gibson in Anaheim, but sometimes teams just need to change the backup to imagine they’ll improve.

And that’s McKenzie’s whole list so far today. One name is missing that he did mention on the Bobcast: Curtis McElhinney. He is of the opinion that the Leafs will simply re-sign McElhinney. With most of the other options signed or rumoured to be signed, I’m sure that’s true.

So there you have the free agent spoilers. What do you think of this new openness? There’s no suspense now except waiting to see where Marleau and Thornton do end up.

Poll

What’s the point of this discussion period? Should the league...

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Get rid of it and move the free agent deadline up to the day after the draft?
    (128 votes)
  • 17%
    Enforce the rules about not making deals until noon on July 1!
    (49 votes)
  • 35%
    Get rid of it and have July 1 be the deadline with no talking allowed before.
    (99 votes)
276 votes total Vote Now