What are the Sharks doing? They have nine experienced NHL forwards and $2 million in cap space – and that’s if they’re lucky in what they can sign Devin Setoguchi for. Add Logan Couture and perhaps Benn Ferriero and they still can’t ice four lines – and they have no room to anything more than two very cheap forwards. Then again, I guess the current situation I speak of below really helps teams in this predicament. They could add a Dawes and an O’Sullivan and squeeze under the cap just fine.
Chicago has signed four players, including re-signing Bryan Bickell and signing Hugh Jessiman to a one-year contract.
The Marc Pouliot signing is an indicator of what the remaining free agents are dealing with. Teams have painted themselves into a corner with the long contracts and with the overrated need to re-sign their current players and now there is just no money left. Not just in terms of cap space, but for a lot of teams their budget is somewhat lower than the $59.4 million salary cap. Most teams are feeling the pinch and are looking to sign good players to contracts as low as $1 million, and mediocre to fringe players to two-way deals. In the end, the NHL teams will win, or the players will Robert Nilsson their way over to the KHL.
So how full is the KHL now? If September rolls around and only seven or eight more NHL free agents get signed, will there be a mass exodus to Russia? And if so, would the KHL teams treat it as a buyer’s market and undercut the players a second time? If Alexander Frolov wants to go to Russia, perhaps a team will give him $4 million. But what if Alexei Ponikarovsky, Maxim Afinogenov, Evgeni Artyukhin, Patrick O’Sullivan, Marek Svatos and Nigel Dawes all announce that they are interested in going to the KHL as well. Would that mean that Frolov’s value to an interested KHL team drops to $3 million? The waiting game may not be the best strategy this time.
You can get a full list of NHL free agents here: http://www.forecaster.ca/thestar.com/hockey/ufa.cgi
Brian LaRose makes an interesting point on Carey Price – the longer his signing takes, the worse it will be for everyone. The team traded their playoff hero, and if the little-tested Price doesn’t sign as September approaches, fans and media may question his desire to play for Montreal.
Ryan Lambert makes a great point in Puck Daddy about athletes and their blandness, speaking of Paul Bissonette and his recent hurried departure from Twitter. Here is an excerpt:
Professional athletes are often criticized for being boring. So when one comes on Twitter, as Phoenix Coyotes enforcer Paul Bissonnette(notes) did recently, and starts being not-boring … well, people just can’t deal with that.
Within days of his starting a Twitter account, he was accused of misogyny (he very obviously joked that men were smarter than women) and took pictures with home