Live Blog: 2014 NHL Free Agent Frenzy

UPDATE: 5:15 PM

As of 5:15 PM Central Time, the Nashville Predators have not added a single player, despite high hopes for finding a quality center during today’s proceedings:

Either Lavender or myself will be sure to keep Admirals Roundtable readers informed if something happens in regards to Nashville/Milwaukee in the coming hours or days. Thanks for reading and checking us out on a busy July 1, 2014 #FreeAgentFrenzy. It’s been an interesting afternoon to say the least!

UPDATE: 4:40 PM

Former Milwaukee captain Mike Moore was signed by the Washington Capitals today to a one-year, one-way deal. My guess is that Moore was one of the direct competitors to Joe Piskula for a contract:

The New York Rangers will have to continue to retool as one of the most underrated forwards in the NHL, Brian Boyle, signed in Tampa Bay:

UPDATE: 4:24 PM

Former Marlies defenseman T. J. Brennan, who played a big role in Toronto’s sweep of Milwaukee this past postseason, will not be back to the AHL this year. He signed a one-year, one-way deal with the New York Islanders:

UPDATE: 4:04 PM

One of the two UFAs on the Nashville Predators, Patrick Eaves, is off the market. He signs in Dallas, which has done a nice job of bolstering its club today. Only Michael Del Zotto remains available.

UPDATE: 3:58 PM

With Washington’s signing of Matt Niskanen, not only do the Capitals pick up their second ex-Penguin defenseman of the day, but my list of the 10-best free agents available is down to just one name: Radim Vrbata.

Defenseman Willie Mitchell, fresh off winning his second Stanley Cup, now goes to a team no where close to winning one, Florida via TSN’s Aaron Ward:

UPDATE: 3:39 PM

If the Nashville Predators want a top line center, the options via free agency are getting pretty thin. Sounds like Brad Richards is on his way to Chicago at a rock bottom price (aka less per year than Deryk Engelland):

UPDATE: 3:20 PM

A couple of minor signings to report as #FreeAgentFrenzy enters its fifth hour. Andrej Meszaros signed in Buffalo for $4.125 million. Calgary inexplicably (and likely because of Brian Burke) gave former Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland $2.9 over three years, per season. The New York Rangers gave $600,000 to defenseman Matt Hunwick on a one-way deal, while Philadelphia resigned goaltender Ray Emery for one year at $1 million.

Finally, goaltender Devan Dubnyk short run as a goaltender with the Predators organization comes to abrupt end as he signs with Arizona:

UPDATE: 2:30 PM

Bad news for Milwaukee Admirals forwards next season. Instead of protecting AHL standout goaltender Scott Darling, they will shooting on him, regularly, as he joins Rockford IceHogs/Chicago Blackhawks today:

With Darling moved on, goaltender Marek Mazanec has strenghtened his hold on the number three slot in the Predators depth chart, aka the top spot in Milwaukee, according to Joshua Cooper of the Tennessean:

UPDATE: 1:54 PM

After an eventful season that saw a first experience in the NHL playoffs and a Calder Cup ring with the Texas Stars, former Milwaukee Admirals forward Chris Mueller has found a new home with the New York Rangers, moving him much closer to his hometown of Buffalo:

UPDATE: 1:39 PM

Predlines.com is reporting via Hockey Buzz Eklund a possible imminent trade involving the Predators. Names mentioned are Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Thornton or Radim Vrbata. My completely uneducated guess would be Vrbata:

In completely unrelated news defenseman Anton Stralman signed for five years at $20 million plus with Tampa Bay:

UPDATE: 1:25 PM

After an extended run in Calgary, Jarome Iginla is moving on to his fourth team in less than two years. The first of the two soon-to-be Hall of Famers (including Martin Brodeur) on the free agent list signs in Colorado for three years:

Forward Leo Komarov comes full circle from the Leafs to the KHL and back to the Leafs for four years:

Plus there is a report about another failed Nashville trade yesterday involving the Predators and Vincent Lecavalier that has surfaced:

It seems the Predators were unwilling to eat all that was left on the former Tampa star’s contract after he scored just 37 points in 69 games with a minus-16 rating last year with the Flyers.

UPDATE: 1:12 PM

A thin free agency class is getting a whole lot thinner by the minute as Matt Moulson comes off the board. The forward picked one of his three teams from last year to rejoin, signing in Buffalo for five years at five million dollars annually:

As far as center upgrades for Nashville the notable targets left are a retread of David Legwand, Mikhail Grabovski and perhaps Brad Richards:

Martin Havlat signed for $1.5 million with New Jersey, and will actually make less per season than his buyout from San Jose will pay him:

UPDATE: 1:00 PM

The first two hours are in the books and here is a quick recap of the lesser deals. Former Milwaukee Admiral Michael Latta resigned with the Capitals. The forward took to Twitter to express his excitement about resigning:

The Calgary Flames who really needed an upgrade in goal, got one in Jonas Hiller:

Veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas signed in Toronto for three years at age 37, Winnipeg signed former Ducks forward Mathieu Perreault (3 years at $3M per year), Dominic Moore resigned with the Rangers and Tanner Glass leaves Pittsburgh to add toughness to the Rangers.

UPDATE: 12:55 PM

The second biggest prize in the free agency pool is off the table as Thomas Vanek signs his expected deal with the Minnesota Wild. More importantly for the Austrian forward, who played for three teams last season, the deal contains a full no trade claus.

UPDATE: 12:15 PM

It’s still quiet out of Nashville so far as a few more pieces come off the board. Blake Comeau and Thomas Greiss signed with the Penguins, while Florida paid a hefty price for center Dave Bolland.

Shawn Thornton adds to the new Panthers brigade, while former Montreal captain Brian Gionta joins Josh Gorges in Buffalo:

UPDATE: 12:05 PM

Ryan Miller signed in Vancouver for three years. Forward Ales Hemsky agreed with the Dallas Stars. Joe Vitale signed with Arizona:

UPDATE: 11:58 AM

Pittsburgh Penguins stalwart Brooks Orpik continues the exodus out of the Steel City, signing with archrival Washington according to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks:

Meanwhile, Montreal resigns defenseman Mike Weaver, who they traded for at the deadline last season:

UPDATE: 11:43 AM

More big names off the board: Dan Boyle to the New York Rangers, Mason Raymond to Calgary and Brad Stuart was likely traded to Colorado from San Jose:

UPDATE: 11:38 AM

Another big ticket center off the board in the first hour. Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri signs with the New Jersey Devils for five years at $5 million per year:

Forward Jusssi Jokinen is headed to Florida for four-years at $4 mil per year. Former Wisconsin Badgers defenseman Tom Gilbert heads to Montreal for two years at $2.8 million per year:

UPDATE: 11:35 AM

The biggest ticket on the NHL Free Agent Market, Paul Stastny is officially off the market. Stastny is heading home to St. Louis, joining a solid Stanley Cup contender in the Blues. Nashville had hopes of signing the big ticket center ice man:

UPDATE: 11:34 AM After refusing a trade to archrival Toronto, defenseman Josh Gorges accepts a trade to Buffalo. I respect Gorges a lot, but last time I checked isn’t Buffalo in the same division as Montreal, just like the Leafs?

UPDATE: 11:26 AM

Minor deals afoot: Forward Milan Michalek resigns in Ottawa for $4 million per year. Goaltender Chad Johnson signs with the Islanders for two years at $1.3 million per year:

UPDATE: 11:15 AM

The Edmonton Oilers enter the fray with signings of defenseman Mark Fayne (four years) and forward Benoit Pouliot on a whopper of a five-year contract:

UPDATE: 11:08 AM

The NHL #FreeAgentFrenzy stock market’s opening bell has come and gone with players already getting gobbled up. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and forward Manny Malhotra each have new teams. Ehroff signed for one year in Pittsburgh according to Bob McKenzie:

And Malhotra in Montreal on a one-year deal:

UPDATE: 10:07 AM

Sounds like the Ottawa Senators have decided to trade Jason Spezza to the Dallas Stars, and not the Nashville Predators, who coveted the Canadian center. A couple of sources are reporting it, but CBC’s Elliotte Friedman believes it is three forwards and a draft pick:

The trade would give Dallas the awesome one-two punch of Tyler Seguin and Spezza at center. Just updated per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Alex Chiasson, Alex Guptill, Nick Paul and a 2nd round pick in 2015 for Spezza and Ludvig Karlsson:

This clearly is not blockbuster material in the return from the Stars that the Senators are receiving. Ottawa did not get one first round pick out of this trade that they desperately wanted. Chiasson is a nice developing player, but I’m sure Bryan Murray would have prefered Patric Hornqvist/Nick Spaling and a first-round pick.

UPDATE: 9:00 AM

Starting at 12:00 PM Eastern Time, unrestricted free agents are free to sign wherever they choose, while teams have the opportunity to either match or receive compensation for signed restricted free agents. For more information on this, see article 10 of the NHL/NHLPA CBA. For a fun look back at the 2012 free agent class, and the pitfalls of signing free agents via Grantland’s Sean McIndoe, click here.

The 2014 free agency class this year is thin overall as NHL teams have tended to hoard their players for better or worse through longer term deals. Here is Predators General Manager David Poile thoughts on what is available.

Here is my list of the 10 most useful free agents currently available (aka best bang for your buck): Paul Stastny, Matt Niskanen, Thomas Vanek, Jarome Iginla, Dan Boyle, Ryan Miller, Radim Vrbata, Matt Moulson, Mike Cammalleri, Anton Stralman. Here is TSN’s list of the top 40 UFA’s of 2014.

In case you missed it yesterday, here is a list Nashville’s free agents courtesy of CapGeek.com: UFA’s are just forward Patrick Eaves and defenseman Michael Del Zotto (not qualified); In Milwaukee Bryan RodneyJoe Piskula and Charles Olivier-Roussel (not qualified). The RFAs for Nashville are Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm; In Milwaukee: Anthony BitettoTaylor BeckScott Valentine and Simon Moser. Both Joonas Jarvinen and Joonas Rask have already signed overseas.

A few moves of significance have taken place so far this offseason, namely Nashville’s trade for James Neal, who was welcomed as the newest member of the Predators yesterday.

Edmonton’s Sam Gagner was flipped twice, ending up in Arizona. Yesterday, a big swap involved Colorado and Montreal, as Daniel Briere was swapped for P.A. Parenteau plus a draft pick. A couple of significant former Admirals/Predators are also available, notably Matt Halischuk and David Legwand, as is one the NHL greatest all-time players, aging goaltender Martin Brodeur.

The Tennessean’s Josh Cooper believes that Poile is in the mood to deal:

piskula

(Joe Piskula headlines Milwaukee’s two-way UFAs. Photo courtesy of Scott Paulus)

UPDATE: 8:30 AM Central Time

Good morning and welcome to the Admirals Roundtable #FreeAgentFrenzy Live Blog on Canada Day. Throughout the day I will be checking in to provide updates on who is signing where out of this year’s free agent class. Feel free to comment about anything going on today, rumors you are hearing, and especially any big news out of Nashville/Milwaukee. I will check in from time to time with updates, especially on the significant signings and anything pertaining to Nashville/Milwaukee. Let the fun begin!

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5 Responses to Live Blog: 2014 NHL Free Agent Frenzy

  1. Pingback: Summer Ramblings, Vol. 6 | Admirals Roundtable

  2. Fan in the Falls says:

    Too bad the Ads will have to face Darling now, but good for him. He earned that NHL two-way deal. It will be interesting to see what role he fills as the Hawks have quite a number of goalies in their system.

  3. Fan in the Falls says:

    Remember, just because someone is on a one-way contract doesn’t mean they won’t be in the AHL. It just means they would get paid the same amount as if they were playing in the NHL. You can always get sent down to the developmental leagues by passing waivers.

  4. Jason Karnosky says:

    Fan in the Falls, thanks for your comments.

    You are correct on your assessment that one-way players can and do get sent down. However, there is a HUGE difference between a one-way and two-way deal (just ask any player playing on a two-way right now). One ways mean that a player has some job security in the NHL, being that they have to clear waivers in order to get sent down.

    If the contract is small enough, or the player has shown some promise at some point, opposing teams are often be willing to pick up another teams discards through this route, simply because the risk is minimal. Preds G.M. David Poile has taken advantage of this option a lot in previous years. That makes it dangerous to send a player down (like Carter Hutton last year when he was struggling, for risk of losing them). The other thing that happens is that some players will refuse to report to an AHL team when they pass through waivers. That doesn’t happen often, but occasionally it does and it results in messy situation for all parties.

    What it boils down to is that there is some NHL job security in a one-way contract. I’m sure T.J. Brennan and Matt Hunwick are happy campers today. My guess is that Chris Mueller’s contract with the New York Rangers is a two-way deal, but information was not disclosed.

  5. ONThere says:

    Jason,
    Mueller signed a one-way deal with NY.

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