The NHL free agent market opened up this past Friday July 5th and it did not disappoint. It also seems as though that the GMs forgot there was strike with a lot of money spent on the first day. I am not going to talk about all the signings that were made that will take forever, but I will talk about a few signings and explain why I think they are good, or bad deals.
Let’s start off with Ryan Clowe, he played for two teams last year the San Jose Sharks and the New York Rangers. In the 40 games he played last season he had 3 goals and 19 points, but in San Jose he scored none of those goals. Clowe can play the right wing and the left wing and he is 6’2 weighing 225 pounds, in a league where height is the new obsession, he fits the bill. He was a highly sought after FA and the New Jersey Devils won, signing him to a 5 year deal worth 24.25 million dollars. That is an average of 4.85 million a year. For me that is way too much money for a guy who only scored 3 goals, yes he has size, but so do a lot of other people. Maybe I am wrong and last year was just one bad season and he will rebound and prove he is worth that, but with the cap going down I do not think it was worth spending that much money on Clowe, hopefully he can prove me wrong.
The Pittsburgh Penguins got a bit busy signing Rob Scuderi to a 4-year 13.5 million dollar contract, averaging $3.375m a year. I like this signing, heck I wish my team had landed him. The LA kings really wanted him back as well, he is not a defense man that lights the lamp, but he is a great defender. Scuderi is a solid veteran who is a bit older, but knows what he has to do to earn ice time. The year the Pens won the Cup he and Hal Gill were a deadly defensive duo and after seeing some of the games the Pens played in the playoffs they can use a defense man like Scuderi, I deem it a good signing.
David Clarkson a lot of you had to be expecting me to mention him and do not worry I am. I hated this signing, not because of the team that signed him; because of the amount of money and the length of time they gave him. Clarkson the big right-winger who had a lot of teams after him signed in Toronto for 36,75 million dollars for 7 years at 5.25m a year. That is way too much money for a guy who scored 30 goals once his highest point total is only 46 points. Yes he is big and was really impressive in the playoffs for New Jersey, but that is way too much and way too long for just a guy who plays big. The term is ridiculously long too; Toronto could easily get tired of this guy and will be stuck for him no matter what. That kind of contract is usually given
to a guy who produces 20+ goals on average with 60+ points a season (on average) not a guy like Clarkson, too much money and too long a contract, I clearly think it is a bad one.
Back to New Jersey they made a decent deal that day too, signing Michael Ryder to a 2 year, 7 million dollar deal, averaging 3.5m a year. Why I think this is a good deal, well its simple everyone was expecting him to want a 4-year or longer contract for a lot more money. A lot of people felt that because Ryder is 33 years old that he would want one more long term deal and two years is not very long. The cap hit is also a very kind him for the Devils which is needed because of the Clowe deal. He is a natural scorer and still has gas in the tank, minus his playoff performance for the Habs last year, he still has stuff and hopefully he will produce for the Devils, I deem this contract good.
The final contract I shall talk about is insane, Nathan Horton signed a 7-year, and 37.1 million-dollar deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Horton will make 5.3m a year on average. Why is this a bad contract, yes I know he has size and yes he can score, but 7 years for a guy who is severely injury prone is why I hate this deal. The deal is way too long for a guy who has concussion issues and shoulder issues. He is only 28 and yes he can score, but Columbus is taking a huge gamble with Horton, because none of us know how long his body can handle the NHL grind especially with an 82 game season coming up. Yes the Jackets are in the east now, but still I am not sure Horton will last 7 years without getting really hurt. Let’s just wait and see I suppose, but for now it’s a bad contract.
So who won the free agent frenzy? Personally I think the teams that did not do any huge signings won, because they did not over spend like some of the teams I mentioned. It seems like no one learned from the last lockout and do not understand the salary cap, because way to much money was thrown around for guys whom a good players, but not superstars.
Ottawa won in my mind after shockingly losing Daniel Alfredsson to Detroit; the Senators did not panic and made a fantastic trade that shocked the hockey world. Ottawa traded Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and a 2014 first-round pick for Bobby Ryan. Ryan who was clearly tired of Anaheim got his wish and has gone to a young team where many disgruntled players have thrived, remember Kyle Turris. Ottawa got a lot better by adding Ryan and he is only 26 so he has many great years ahead of him and if he likes it in Ottawa then a lot of players who get fed up with their team might set up shop in Ottawa too. I deem this a great move by the Senators and look forward in seeing how they perform this season with a healthier team.
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