NHL Free Agency

Winners and Losers of Free Agency Day 1

Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche signed Matt Calvert to a 3 year 2.8 mil and Ian Cole 3 years 4.25 mil. They lost Blake Comeau, Nail Yaukupov and Jonathan Brenier at the moment. The Avalanche added a lot more than they lost. Calvert may not be a superstar but at 28 years old with the ability to produce around 30 plus points a season is a solid addition. He also helps a ton with depth and brings a solid physical and gritty presence. Ian Cole being added to the blue line is big, a Stanley Cup champ and a player that helps mold and mentor some of those young defenseman on Colorado is big. Cole is a solid number five defenseman, played major minutes in Pittsburgh when they dealt with their blue line injuries, he’s proven to be durable and a guy you know what you are going to get.

St. Louis Blues: Tyler Bozak 3 years 5 mil AAV, David Perron 4 years 4 mil AAV and Ryan O’Reilly in a recent trade. The Blues did in fact let go of one of their best prospects in Tage Thompson, a hopeful top six forward in Vladimir Sobotka and a solid forward Patrick Berglund plus a 1st and 2nd round pick. The Blues did give in a lot but they are clearly going all in. With the addition of O’Reilly, Perron and Bozak the Blues top six(if everyone is healthy) is now… Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn, Bozak, O’Reilly, Perron. I mean that is solid in itself plus the fact you still have Robby Fabbri and Alexander Steen in the mix to make that forward group of 8 that deep is very, very good. A bit much on the Bozak contract a bit much on the O’Reilly trade but still the Blues improved significantly.

Arizona Coyotes: Coyotes lock up Oliver Ekman Larsson to an 8 year, 8 mil contract add depth and speed in Michael Grabner for 3 years 3.5 mil AAV. The Coyotes now have Alex Galchenyuk, Derek Stepan,  Clayton Keller, Christian Dvorak, Richard Panik, Dylan Strome and Grabner. Nothing crazy but hell of a lot better than what they had in the past. They made the right moves, and locked in their two top defenseman in Hjarmlsson and OEL, which is big while also adding Grabner is a very solid first day.

Chicago Blackhawks: Adding Cam Ward for when Corey Crawford is out or needs a break is huge. Brandon Manning may not be the best defenseman but anything on the back end is better than what the Blackhawks had last year. Chris Kunitz may be a fourth line addition but with the aging core, and younger players coming in the league, Kunitz is a very solid veteran to have on the team.

Philadelphia Flyers: Adding James Van Reimsydk the New Jersey native back to their roster is big. JVR spent his early days of his career in Philly, and now he is reunited with Cladue Giroux. JVR spent 3 seasons in Philadelphia totaling 99 points in 196 games. JVR was a 1st round, 2nd overall pick by the Flyers in 2007, now the Middletown, New Jersey native gets to head back home to win back Flyer fans once again.


New York Islanders have to be clear losers after day one, with losing John Tavares and adding Vlatteri Filppula and Leo Komarov as well as signing back Tomas Hickey, the Islanders faced their low point this free agency. But look at the positive, Matt Barzal is a stud, you got rid of Jaroslav Halak, Garth Snow is gone and you have Bary Trotz and Lou Lamiorello doing the business now. Plus your first round picks in 2018 are going to(hopefully) be great. Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson now have a ton of pressure on them even more without John Tavares there. Islanders grade with two small additions, losing Halak, adding Hickey back, I’d say a solid B-.

New Jersey Devils clear losers after losing John Moore and only adding Eric Gryba is a very bad move. John Moore their captain, and veteran defenseman and only Gryba who may not even make the team is a terrible decision on the Devils part. A big blow on the Devils management, it is not a HUGE loss but when you lose a veteran defenseman like that in the locker room to help the Devils young guys is the biggest lose. Solid F by the Devils.


NHL Free Agents

Cam Ward, Jonathan Bernier, Carter Hutton signing news as July 1st approaches

Cam Ward is said to be signing with Chicago soon. The Blackhawks have reportedly been in constant contact with Ward. After Corey Crawford dealt with some major injuries and the Blackhawks missed the playoffs due to goaltending issues and some poor defensive depth. At least the Blackhawks have at least addressed one area of concern. Crawford is set to also be a UFA (unrestricted free agent) in 2019-20. Ward is now 34-years-old probably looking for a 2-3 year deal. The terms and conditions have not come out yet but it is Ward is set to be a Blackhawk soon.

Jonathan Brenier is set to be a Detroit Red Wing upon free agency. Brenier is 29-years-old emerging in the NHL on the Los Angeles Kings, and then bouncing around between Toronto, Anaheim and now Colorado. Brenier is probably coming in to compete with Jimmy Howard for the starting job. Brenier is coming off a playoff appearing season and one of his best years with a 19-13-3 with a 2.85 GAA and .913 SV percentage. Bernier’s best year came in 2013-14 starting in 49 games with 26-19-7 record a 2.69 GAA and .923 SV percentage. Again terms and conditions have not come out yet but it is said he will be a Detroit Red Wing soon.

Carter Hutton is said to be rumored to Buffalo soon. Buffalo is going after Hutton for their starting goalie role. Hutton at 32-years-old now gets his first staring job. Hutton played for St. Louis as the back up for 2 years, before that he was a back up in Nashville for 3 years. Hutton is coming off his best season starting in 26 games posting a 17-7-3 a 2.09 GAA and .931 SV percentage. Hutton will now be another Buffalo test, Robin Lehner failed, so let’s see if Hutton can be the savior in Buffalo…

NHL News

Cam Ward to hit free agency, Oilers open to moving #10 pick

Cam Ward has spent the last 13 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, winning the Conn Smythe the year the Hurricanes won their last Cup in 2005-06. Ward spent a little of last year on the disabled list but once he got healthy again he quickly took over the ranks from young goaltender Scott Darling. Ward for sure surged the Hurricanes to be near contenders last season. Posting 23-14-4 record with a 2.73 GAA and .906 SV percentage. There has not been an immediate reason as to why Ward does want to leave and hit free agency but it could be due to a different face in Carolina, the Hurricanes not being a successful team in recent years and some things coming to change in the locker room in Carolina. Plus Ward is 34 nearing the end of his career, for sure a paycheck, in a comfortable spot, where he doesn’t have to battle for a starting role is what he wants. Ward’s career numbers are 318-244-84 with a 2.70 GAA, .909 SV percentage and 27 shutouts.

Where can we see Ward land? 

The New York Islanders are in the hunt for a starting goalie, Ward is a perfect fit, two-year deal and someone who can be a quick fix right now. Buffalo Sabres as Robin Lehner is leaving the team in a few weeks to test the market as well, Buffalo could bite at Ward. Vancouver is a possibility, with no real solid number one goaltender, the veteran skillset, and experience Ward has would be a perfect fit for the Canucks if the Canucks were to be in the market for a goalie. Same goes for Colorado, while Varlamov is a solid goaltender, I am sure Colorado would have liked to have a more experienced and trustworthy goal towards the end of the year when Varlamov was battling injuries. All in all, I’d be surprised if the Islanders don’t jump at Ward.

Edmonton moving #10 pick…

Edmonton wants to move #10 pick? Yeah me neither I don’t get it. They are looking to move Milan Lucic already, which while we are on that topic, he does have an NMC(no movement clause) he already said he’ll waive so will the Oilers and it all it really comes down to is how much of his salary the Oilers will eat. Anyways, the Oilers are ACTIVELY looking to shop the number ten overall pick in this year’s draft. What they may be looking for is probably either a top-four forward or top four defenseman. The Oilers need some offensive support to help Leon Drastali and Connor McDavid. But they also need someone to fill the void of the number four on the team, and really any top-four role in Edmonton. The Oilers have Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera(out last year), Adam Larsson, Kris Russel and Darnell Nurse(RFA) but none of these defensemen have really stepped into a top-four role and solidified themselves. In the end, the Oilers are really looking to do something with this #10 pick, they obviously do not need whoever they are going to get they think so a team that is willing to part ways with a top-four player forward/defenseman, this will be a draft day deal. Probably chatter will be going on all day about this and a deal will get done when its the Oilers turn to pick.

Edmonton fans keep in mind the Oilers most recent trades though

Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall (Hall just won the Hart trophy btw…)

Ryan Strome for Jordan Eberle (Cap reasons, yes but still sheesh)

Al Montaya for a 4th round pick 

David Desharnais for Brandon Davidson (Davidson later moved for a 3rd this year)

Justin Schultz for a 3rd round pick 

Griffin Reinhart for a 1st and 2nd round pick

Need I say more, Oiler fans do not expect to come away a winner in this deal.