July 01, 2007

Centre of attention: Rangers ink Drury and Gomez to lengthy deals. In other news on the first day of NHL free agency: The Leafs sign Jason Blake to a five year deal, Mathieu Schneider signs with the Ducks, putting Niedermayer's NHL future into question and the Flyers sign Daniel Briere to an 8 year contract. More inside...

posted by HATER 187 to hockey at 10:13 PM - 21 comments

The Wings signed Brian Rafalski perhaps in an attempt to fill the void created by Scneider leaving for Anahiem. The Cap sign two former Islanders, Tom Poti and Victor Kozlov. So who are the winners and who are the losers?

posted by HATER 187 at 10:21 PM on July 01, 2007

The losers are the Sabres. Top 2 centers gone. No one to replace them

posted by GOD at 11:50 PM on July 01, 2007

Holy crap, the Flyers are insane. Signing a 30-year old player for an 8-year contract is nuts. Who knows how good he'll be when he's 37 or 38 years old... What's that? The Leafs signed a 33-year old player for 5 years? *sob*

posted by grum@work at 11:59 PM on July 01, 2007

As soon as I think the Flyers (with all the moves) are going from worst to first, I see NY adds Drury and Gomez. Not good. If they keep Nylander with Jagr, Drury or Gomez could be their 2nd and 3rd line centers. WTH is that, the Eastern allstars? You have to hope they lose Nylander to FA. Maybe Philly will give him a 2 yr deal.

posted by Bishop at 12:52 AM on July 02, 2007

I'm disappointed that the Wings were unable to retain Schneider. He is a very talented defensemen. I'm very interested to see how Rafalski will do playing with a more talented offense with the likes of Datsyuk and Zetterberg rather than on the Devils. It's rumored in Detroit that the Wings were going to take a run at one of the big name free agents but with most of them signed it makes it more likely that they may retain Todd Bretuzzi or attempt to sign Peter Forsberg who (I think) is now the best free agent available.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:43 AM on July 02, 2007

The Bruins traded for Manny Fernandez. I'm guessing they look at him as stop-gap until the kid they have in the minors is ready. In 2012.

posted by yerfatma at 07:59 AM on July 02, 2007

The Sabres act as if they're coming off back-to-back Cups or something! I guess they have a plan, because they made absolutely no attempt to keep either Drury or Briere. They'll get some hungry, young guys into the lineup, play good defense, make the playoffs, then lose to a better offensive team. It's like a broken record.

posted by dyams at 09:30 AM on July 02, 2007

I think Rafalski will fit in quite well with Detroit. The change of atmosphere and playing in his 'hometown' will probably do him some good. I wish him the best of luck. However, that does leave a hole on the Devils defense. I don't know of anybody in the system that can replace him, maybe Andy Greene can step up, or maybe Lou can find another gem playing in Europe.

posted by MrFrisby at 10:49 AM on July 02, 2007

Schneider going to Anaheim is not a huge surprise, considering that he's kept his permanent home in Southern California since his time with the Kings. All I can say about the Sabres is that I believe their window has closed.

posted by holden at 11:36 AM on July 02, 2007

It's obvious that I don't understand salary cap economics. I really don't understand how, in a cap era, the same teams are throwing all the money at free agents that were doing it pre-cap. How, with their lineup, did the Rangers still have so much money left? I know some teams aren't even approaching their limit, but how do teams with all-star lineups like NY and Detroit always seem to be buyers while smaller market (but even more successful) teams like Buffalo and NJ are always losing players? Just a bit of frustration on the part of a Devs fan. I have faith that Lou will pull something out of his ass, but it seems tough to lose your two biggest playmakers while trying to endear a team to a new home.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:15 PM on July 02, 2007

The Devils would do themselves some good in going after Sheldon Souray. He's a better score than Rafalski and he's definetely tougher. Losing Gomez to the Rangers is a tough nut to swallow, it's going to be very hard to boo him....but I will. The players leaving NJ are saying all the right things, but the bottom line is NJ has the deadest fans in the NHL, but it's not the real fans fault. My season ticket in NJ 15 years ago was $17. That same ticket is now $90. Folks that are really into hockey can't afford to go, but apparently players think they need 5 million a year, then expect people making $60,000 to $100,000 a year to drop $7500 a year on season tickets. The Meadowlands and now the new building in Newark next year are filled with corporate shmucks who come in 10 minutes into the game, leave with 10 minutes left, and know nothing about the game. Just for your info for those of you that don't live on the east coast, Newark NJ is to hockey what the Jamaican bobsled team was to the winter Olympics. As stated by tahoemoj, just a bit of frustration from a Devils fan.

posted by MGDADDYO at 04:09 PM on July 02, 2007

OK, bring Big Shel back. That'd make me feel a little better.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:23 PM on July 02, 2007

Todd Bertuzzi goes to the Ducks for two years, $8 mil. So much for staying with the Wings.

posted by boredom_08 at 11:15 PM on July 02, 2007

tahoe, the Rangers are blessed to be able to go to the top end of the cap no matter how high it goes. Not all teams can say that. As for the specifics, here are a couple of reasons why they were able to sign Drury and Gomez (and still have room to spare for their RFAs: Lunqvist, Avery, Prucha) Washington is still paying part of Jagr's salary. This is huge. He counts less than $5 million against the Rangers cap, but he's making more so he isn't going to whine about making less than the other guys. Think about this: Jagr is counting less against the cap for the Rangers than Nylander is for the Caps or Smyth is for the Avalanche. It's a steal. Their goalie is young. They have a top-tier goalie and last year he was making less than $2 million. He'll get a bump this year, but he's a RFA so term length, and the security that brings for him, can be used as a carrot to keep the dollars down from what he'd get on the open market. Generally speaking though, getting great value from your net-minder is going to really help your cap number. Shanahan was willing to take a discount to play in NY and, by most accounts, he still is. Again, this is big. A lot of players want to play at MSG. Here is a good salary chart that might help. I can't vouch for the accuracy (Where is Straka?), but it does provide a good breakdown of where the Rangers stand right now (and of their troubling 2009 cap number.

posted by 86 at 07:58 AM on July 03, 2007

Wasn't the salary cap put in place to keep things competitive? You know, so the teams with all the money, like NY, Philly, Detroit, Toronto wouldn't get to sign all the free agents? Looking good, Bettman!

posted by fabulon7 at 09:12 AM on July 03, 2007

Wasn't the salary cap put in place to keep things competitive? No, the salary cap was put in place to "control costs" and to "tie player salaries to revenue". Done and done. "Competitive balance" is some mystical fairy concept that fans like to spout when their teams don't spend money like other teams.

posted by grum@work at 12:10 PM on July 03, 2007

MGDADDYO, I grew up in Livingston, a bedroom community not eight miles from downtown Newark--heck, I did my graduate degree at Rutgers Newark and so made the drive four times a week--and there's no way you can compare Jersey to Jamaica. We might not be Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts or anywhere in Canada but plenty of North Jersey towns have youth and high school teams. However, I can't argue with you about the high priced tickets and inability/unwillingness of the Devils to keep up with Rangers on salaries.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:11 PM on July 03, 2007

Yeah, all that, and I guess it just takes a special kind of G.M. to be able to maneuver under the cap. The Jagr case is a great example. As I said, Lou usually pulls something out and I have faith he will this time, too. And bill, I hope Newark is a remedy for the Devs lack of interest. I know it's tough to compete with the Rangers as an original 6 team, but there's no reason a crafty front office shouldn't be able to put an ass in every seat every night (especially in the freakin playoffs) to watch Marty B chase down all the records in the book! Maybe a few miles separation will help people in the Garden State claim the Devs as their own. Y'know, maybe get over that whole little sib to New York complex.

posted by tahoemoj at 06:53 PM on July 03, 2007

The new arena will also be more accessible, tahoemoj, compared to the Meadowlands. The only non-car option for the current arena is bus, and the routes are pretty darn poor to say the least, plus the new location is also friendlier to cars.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:13 PM on July 04, 2007

plus the new location is also friendlier to cars. i just hope the parking rates will be reasonable. i live a lot closer to the Meadowlands than i do to Newark, but i am looking forward to seeing the new place. and i hope they thrive there (financially that is, i'm still rangers fan after all). one problem i've noticed however, isn't so much bringing new fans in, but convincing old fans to make the move to Newark.

posted by goddam at 06:35 PM on July 04, 2007

Islanders do a bang up job of replacing Ryan Smyth. In regard to the Devils attendance woes: I think having a team in Manhattan since the twenties and another team in Philly since '67 is really going to hurt any chance you have a building a fan base even after having a club for 20+ years.

posted by HATER 187 at 08:18 PM on July 04, 2007

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