Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Now That The Dust Has Settled

With all the "big name" UFA's off the market other than Sheldon Souray, we can now take a step back and reassess the landscape of the Free Agent market and offer some more commentary on the moves that were made.

First of all, when one looks around the first impression that comes to mind is just what in the world was the lockout for? The players who did hit the market made a killing versus the players who stayed at home and signed extensions before the market opened up. The only saving grace is that teams who spent wildly, will have to withdraw from the market in order to pay closer attention to their own RFA's and hope that they don't end up in cap jail instead of continuing the arms race and driving salaries further upward.

For instance, the Rangers signing Scott Gomez and Chris Drury allowed Michael Nylander to come back to the Caps because there was no more room for him. In the old days, the Rangers would have been able to keep Nylander along with getting Gomez and Drury into the fold with little problem.

Yesterday's signings gave us a great headline on TSN.ca Thrashers Beef Up Blueline With Klee which quite frankly, comes straight out of the CNN spin room. If Ken Klee is an upgrade for the Atlanta defense, then the Thrashers are in bigger trouble than anybody realizes.

But as I said on Friday, we're sorting through the reject bin here. Nothing made this clearer than the moves made by San Jose and Calgary at the start of the "frenzy" when the Sharks gave an extension to Joe Thornton. Calgary reportedly gave an extension to Jerome Iginla and actually giving one to Robyn Regehr. The two biggest potential forwards and one defenseman for the UFA market NEXT summer are off the market before this summer UFA season got going. Smart moves by the Sharks and Flames.

Though it is too early to predict who the winners and losers are in this sweepstakes. Being crowned "Champions of the Offseason" means absolutely nothing once the puck drops for real in October. With "B,C, and D List" UFA's left to pick through now, we will have fewer absurd contracts to ponder now as teams prepare themselves for their RFA's to file for arbitration which must be done by Thursday. Arbitration can kill a team looking to stay under the cap.



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