Hossa becomes a Red Wing, Sundin still uncertain
Day 1 of the NHL's 2008 free agent signing period
This may have been the best time to ever become a NHL free agent player as NHL owners have spent close to $400 million in the last 36 hours. Big names have signed away to others teams while smaller names have gone here, there and everywhere. This year was very deep with talent and it has been a crazy day and a half to be a NHL fan.
Of my five big names available, three have signed, one has not been talked to and the last has been offered to be the highest paid player for two years.
My “best” free agent Marian Hossa has signed a one year deal worth $7.4 million with the Detroit Red Wings; the team that beat his Penguins in the Stanley Cup final. Instantly the Red Wings have made a strong team even stronger as it seems the rich get richer. This signing proves that Hossa wants a real run at the Cup as four other teams did offer numbers over $8 million a year that Hossa rejected. Detroit has also signed defenseman Brad Stuart for four years.
The Dallas Stars have gotten much grittier, annoying and hard working with the signing of Sean Avery. There were as many as seven team’s offering Avery money and he chose the best-fitting team for him, making him nearly $4 million for the next four years. The Stars did lose forward Niklas Hagman who signed with Toronto also for four years.
Money wise, Brian Campbell did exactly as I predicted. He signed long term with a very young team with a great future. Campbell has agreed to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks for 8 years in a contract worth $57.12 million. Remember, owners love spending money this time of year. Also, Chicago has signed a new #1 goalie in Cristobal Huet who surprisingly leaves the Washington Capitals.
With a signature, Mats Sundin can be the highest paid player in the NHL for the next two seasons. The Vancouver Canucks have offered the Swede a ridiculous contract for $20 million over two years. Sundin has secret offers from the Canadiens, Rangers, and Oilers but will not make a decision until he is ready.
With the Canucks offering all that money to Sundin, this leaves Markus Naslund’s career in Vancouver in deep jeopardy. I really thought many teams would jump on Naslund, but no offers have come.
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Other big-name defensemen to sign were Mark Streit, Wade Redden and John-Micheal Liles. Streit leaves a big void in Montreal after signing a five year deal with the Islanders worth $20.5 million. Redden is the newest New York Ranger agreeing on a $39 million deal over six years while Liles decided to re-sign with the Colorado Avalanche.
Besides Huet, there were seven other NHL goalies have found new cities to play in.
The other goalies on the move will all likely serve as backups next season: veteran Curtis Joseph returned to Toronto on a $700,000, one-year contract; Alex Auld signed with Ottawa for $2 million over two years; Patrick Lalime agreed to the same terms with Buffalo; Ty Conklin landed in Detroit for one year at $700,000; Andrew Raycroft inked an $800,000, one-year deal with Colorado; and Olaf Kolzig agreed to terms with Tampa on a contract that will pay him $1.5 million plus bonuses next season.
In other moves on Tuesday:
Darcy Tucker became a member of the Avalanche on a $4.5 million deal over two years.
Andrew Brunette signed a three year $7 million contract with the Minnesota Wild.
Vaclav Prospal shows that he was a “playoff rental” as he signs back with the Tampa Bay Lightning on a long-term contract. Terms undisclosed.
Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik both return to New Jersey. Rolston signed a $20-million, four-year deal while Holik got $2.5 million for one season. The Devils also re-signed defenseman Bryce Salvador to an $11.6-million, four-year contract and inked forward Jay Pandolfo to a $7.5-million, three-year deal.
For updates on your favorite team, be sure to keep checking ProHockey-fans.com for all offseason reviews, acquisitions and expectations.
The majority of players are gone and dealt but stay tuned for more to come.
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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