- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy7 hrs ago
So the Washington Capitals have been pretty bad in Game 7s since 2008. They need someone with experience, someone who can finally take them further than they’ve gone in Game 7s past. Enter Justin Williams – Mr. Game 7 himself!
Washington signed Williams to a two-year $6.5 million contract. The Caps had gone 3-6 in their Game 7s since 2008. If Washington goes far the playoffs next season, it’ll totally be because of Williams. Not really, but his experience certainly helps.
This monetary value is actually a drop from Williams’ previous contract – a four-year $14.6 million deal that just ended.
"Justin is a proven winner and we feel he will be a great addition to our club," general manager Brian MacLellan said. "We felt it was important for our team to add someone of his caliber, as a hockey player and as a veteran leader."
And so the Kings lose a vital piece of their championship puzzle, albeit an aging one, at age 33. Last season he had 41 points in 81 games.
The Capitals get some guy who simply ‘knows how to win’ as shown with his ability to be awesome in big games – like when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy for the Kings in 2014.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy9 hrs ago
Day 1 of NHL free agency is in the books. Yay! And much happened. Players were signed. Long-time general managers stepped down. There was even a major trade of an NHL superstar.
We took a look at the day that was and who/what won and who/what didn’t quite come out victorious.
1. Phil Kessel
He gets to leave the Toronto market. Huzzah! Granted, it seems Kessel is better suited for a non-traditional spot with limited media coverage than Pittsburgh. But He doesn’t have to be ‘the’ guy with the Penguins. Plus, potentially playing on Evgeni Malkin’s wing should probably make Kessel a happy man. Losing James Neal last offseason probably stung Malkin a bit. Offensive players like to play with offensive players, and Kessel is as dynamic as they come, even if he is a little doughy.
2. Jeff Gorton
- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy10 hrs ago
Perhaps the most surprising part of Matt Beleskey's free agent saga isn't that he signed with the Boston Bruins, but that the contract was for a reasonable amount of money.
Darren Dreger of TSN broke the details of the deal:
5 yrs, $19 mil total for Beleskey in Boston. Aav of $3.8 mil. No move clause in first two years.
(As the message came across social media, you could hear the clanking of pitchforks hitting the ground in Boston. Can you blame them? It's been a tough week.)
Whatever Bruins GM Don Sweeney is doing in Boston appears to be in a strange quasi-rebuild due to the salary cap. Does the moves they've made in the past week make them closer to winning? Probably not. So why would Beleskey leave a Ducks team that is a heck of a lot closer to success than the Bruins are at this point?
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy10 hrs ago
Antoine Vermette got his Stanley Cup, and now he’s going home … to Arizona on a two-year $7.5 million contract.
Vermette scored three game winning playoff goals with the Blackhawks on their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup and won 58.9 percent of his face-offs. He was considered one of the top unrestricted free agent center targets and hoped to cash in on his playoff success, and he sort of did, getting the same type of contract monetarily as he had in his prior five-year $18.75 million contract.
Per Elliotte Friedman, Vermette has a no movement clause in his contract, which is so funny since it was a trade to Chicago that enabled Vermette to become a postseason hero. Two of his game winners came in the Stanley Cup Final.
This is phenomenal – simply because it hardly happens, when a team trades a pending UFA player, that guy wins a Cup and the player goes back to the team that traded him in the offseason.
If Vermette has a home in Arizona, and the money made sense, then why not?
For a 32-year-old two-way center, that’s a solid deal. But I’m just imagining Vermette rocking his Cup bling in front of his Coyotes teammates next season. Shane Doan may rip his head off.
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- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
The Chicago Blackhawks have needed to think differently about the free agency period than most teams. See the trade of Brandon Saad to Columbus as a prime example.
Tasked with keeping a highly-priced championship-level core together, the salary cap strapped Hawks went to Russia to sign 2008 Phoenix Coyotes first-round draft pick Viktor Tikhonov, who has been in the Kontinental Hockey League since 2011-12. Last season he had 24 points in 49 games for SKA St. Petersburg.
The contract is for one year at $1.04 million
And if the name sounds familiar, it should – because he is the grandson of legendary USSR hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov.
In the NHL, he had 16 points in 61 games in 2008-09 with the Coyotes. His last North American season with the San Antonio Rampage he had 33 points in 60 games.
The Blackhawks have to spend their money wisely this summer. At one year and $1.04 million that’s a decent deal for a 27-year-old who has played pro hockey before.
What’s his overall potential in the NHL?
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
The 2015 NHL Free Agent Frenzy lived up to its name, although it wasn't a signing but a trade that stole the show.
Here are Greg Wyshynski and Sean Leahy of Yahoo Sports' Puck Daddy blog, revealing their favorite moves, their least favorite moves and a breakdown of the trade that saw Toronto Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel go to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a blockbuster deal.
Check out Puck Daddyfor complete coverage of Day 1 of the Frenzy.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
Toronto won’t have Phil Kessel to kick around anymore, which means we might have to pitch in and get Dave Feschuk a ball or a can or Dion Phaneuf or something, since the annual target of his indignation is now a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
How to describe Feschuk’s coverage … well, it was as if all the criticism of Kessel became sentient, took on human form and acquired a byline in the Toronto Star. There was the TRADE KESSEL column of June 2013. There was the time he used an assistant coach’s comments at an offseason clinic to crucify Kessel as un-coachable. He confronted Kessel with that theory when Randy Caryle was fired; Kessel called him an idiot and stormed out of the dressing room.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
Chris Pronger isn’t the only inactive NHL player to be switching teams this summer. Marc Savard, or more accurately, Marc Savard’s contract has been dealt to the Florida Panthers along with Reilly Smith from the Boston Bruins in exchange for current restricted free agent Jimmy Hayes.
Florida had been in on the discussion for Pronger’s $4,941,429 cap hit during the NHL Draft, but instead they’ll add Savard’s $4,027,143 number to help keep them well beyond the salary cap floor. The key for the Panthers is that Savard is only owed $575,000 in salary in each of the next two seasons.
Savard suffered two concussions nine months apart and has not played in the NHL since February of 2011.
"We have a lot of cap space. It made sense,” said Panthers GM Dale Tallon. “They probably wouldn't have done the deal otherwise."
The move was a precursor to the Bruins signing forward Matt Beleskey to a reasonable five-year, $19 million deal.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
Former New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather will always been intrinsically linked to Edmonton. Even if he’s spent his last 14 seasons in Gotham.
And he referenced the current Oilers situation on why he decided to officially hand over the Rangers’ general manager spot to long-time assistant GM Jeff Gorton rather than stepping down and watch the Rangers hire someone outside. Sather will retain his title as president – but it sounds like more of a ceremonial spot.
“A lot of times just like you saw in Edmonton when somebody goes into a place they change the personnel and I didn’t really want to see that happen here,” he said.
A shot at Peter Chiarelli for his (understandable) slash and burn tactics of the old boys network who ran Edmonton into the ground? The guys Sather brought to the Oilers as players? Sure. But when you’re one of the oldest of the old boys on the way out, you’re allowed to speak your mind.
“I’ve pretty well spent my life doing this, playing, coaching and managing,” Slats said. "The clock moves for everyone.”
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
Brad Richards got a raise but is he going to a contender?
The former Chicago Blackhawks center signed a one-year $3 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings. According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the deal could be worth up to $4 million with playoff bonuses.
Richards spurned higher offers last summer to sign a one-year $2 million contract with the Blackhawks. He did this because he believed the Hawks gave him the best shot at a Stanley Cup. Richards was bought out by the Rangers earlier in that offseason from his nine year $60 million contract.
With the Red Wings he joins an aging, but effective, core that includes Pavel Datsyuk (36 years old), and Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall (both 34). Detroit also lost coach Mike Babcock to Toronto earlier in the off-season, though the team did sign high-end UFA defenseman Mike Green.
Said Winging it Motown: