NHL Free Agency Rapid Reactions

Even with a stagnating salary cap, NHL GMs produced their usual flurry of signings in the opening minutes of the NHL free agency period. My reactions

For fans of the NHL, the opening day of free agency is like Christmas morning–how many presents will Santa bring?!

For NHL GMs, the opening day of NHL free agency is like stealing Mom and Dad’s credit card–how much can I spend before people notice I’m spending irresponsibly?

While the deals came fast and furious, here’s my knee-jerk reactions to the noteworthy contracts of today’s frenzy.

  • Dale Weise, Flyers, $2.35m x 4 years
    • Not really a bargain, but worst case scenario Weise can plug away on the 3rd line
  • Boyd Gordon, Flyers, $950k x 1 year
    • Seems about right for defensive forward and faceoff guy
  • Matt Martin, Leafs, $2.5m x 4 years
    • An awful lot for 4th liner banger. Flyers got better deal with Weise at slightly lower cap hit
  • Kyle Okposo, Sabres, $6m x 7 years
  • Loui Eriksson, Canucks, $6m x 6 years
    • Would’ve been my preferred free agent target, but the Canucks are crazy to sign 30-somethings to long term deals given the state of their team. They’re not a contender, and throwing lots of money at 30-something Swedes (Sedins, Eriksson) is not a rebuild
  • Alex Radulov, Canadiens, $5.75m x 1 year
    • A 1-year deal can only do so much damage, but making a highly dubious trade of PK Subban for this upstanding citizen is indefensible

  • Andrew Ladd, Islanders, $5.5m x 7 years
    • Not awful, but would’ve rather kept Okposo at $6 mil
  • David Backes, Bruins, $6m x 5 years
  • Frans Nielsen, Red Wings, $5.25m x 6 years
    • And just like that, a player goes from under-appreciated to overpaid
  • Eric Staal, Wild, $3.5m x 3 years
    • Most interesting deal of the day, his production has nosedived recently, but his advanced stats are still pretty good. Could turn out to be a winning deal for Wild
  • Troy Brouwer, Flames, $4.5m x 4 years
    • Decent player, Flames paying normal premium/overpayment for free agency day
  • Jake Allen, Blues, $4.35m x 4 years
    • Interesting vote of confidence after going with now-departed Elliot in playoffs
  • Jamie McGinn, Coyotes, $3.33m x 3 years
    • McGinn was classic trap player of getting hugely overrated as free agent, but Coyotes not investing TOO much in player
  • Vernon Fiddler, Devils, $1.25m x 1 year
    • The most infamous guy to EA NHL HUT players. Now a Devil. Look for him in packs!
  • Viktor Stalberg, Hurricanes, $1.5m x 1 year
    • Hasn’t done much in recent seasons, but speedy, big, and I love cheap 1 year contracts (no risk)
  • Lee Stempniak, Hurricanes, $2.5m x 2 years
    • Hurricanes again looking for value in a guy no one ever wants, but usually performs
  • Milan Lucic, Oilers, $6m x 7 years
    • Not a fan of this player at this level of contract, but NHL GMs still love “old-school” players
  • Teddy Purcell, Kings, $1.6m x 1 year
    • Under-the-radar gem of deal for player coming off contract that paid him $4.5m per season and a solid possession middle-6 forward even if not scoring
  • Dan Hamhuis, Stars, $3.75m x 2 years
    • Great signing for rising power that needs defense, snapping up quality, reliable, right-shooting defense for cheap
  • Brian Campbell, Blackhawks, $1.5m x 1 year
    • Hawks bring back ageless defender for peanuts
  • Thomas Vanek, Wings, $2.6m x 1 year
    • I won’t predict Vanek find old form, but low risk high ceiling signing
  • Harry Zolnierczyk, Predators, $575k x 1 year
    • I always like Harry Z when he was with the Flyers, now reunited with Laviolette
  • Mikkel Boedker, Sharks, $4m x 4 years
    • Perenially over-valued, speedy, 1st round pick, and trap signing (see McGinn), but contract not too bad for middle-6 occasional offensive contributor
  • Ryan White, Coyotes, $1m x 1 year
    • Good luck, Whitey!