Holmgren’s moves, inflation hits the free agent market, and what the future holds
Flyers acquire: Glen Metropolit, Osmo Vaananen, Nate Raduns, Sean Curry
Flyers give up:Denis Gauthier and a 2009 2nd round pick.
Solid additions across the board for Paul Holmgren. Metropolit may not have quite the faceoff percentage provided by Jim Dowd (compare 49.4% to 53), but he’s a better two-way player and much quicker on his feet. Osmo Vaananen is a Finnish blueliner spent last year in the Swedish Elite League after tours of duty with Phoenix and Colorado. He could be described as a larger, more physical version of Lasse Kukkonen.
UPDATED: Randy Jones has signed a 2-yeard deal worth a total of $5.5 million (2.75 cap hit). Holmgren also announced that the Flyers would not pursue signing Jason Smith.
I don’t care what Cliff Fletcher tells the rabid Toronto media tomorrow – Jeff Finger at $3.5 million is not a steal, a bargain, or even comparable to paying a little extra for bonafide Fair Trade Coffee as opposed to Folgers. That’s too much for an unproven, midgrade D.
And as for Wade Redden and Brian Campbell, well, the price of NHL defensemen seems to bear much in common with the escalating price of fuel for my car.
Anyone notice that we’ll see Campbell and Ty Conklin face off outdoors yet again on New Year’s?
Michael Ryder watched the Boston Bruins from the Montreal Canadiens’ section of the press box during the 2008 playoffs. At $4 million per season over the next three years, you can bet Claude Julien will at least have him put on the jersey and lace up the skates in the postseason.
Is Chicago looking for Cristobal Huet to be an upgrade on Lalime or Khabibulin? I’m not entirely sure he’s a replacement for either. And that $12 million the Blackhawks have invested in goaltending can’t last forever.
Good luck to Joni Pitkanen as he heads to Carolina. Maybe he’ll finally figure out that it takes more than skill to be successful in the NHL. It also takes a few smarts. Unless you work in the Florida Panthers management.
And am I the only person in the rational world who realizes that Mark Streit’s 62 points came primarily while he was playing offense for the Canadiens last season? Good luck getting that sort of production from Streit as a full-time D-man.
Free agency continues tomorrow – a few things to consider:
1. Riley Cote, and Patrick Thoresen are not yet officially signed. And remember you need to leave cap space in case of injuries, etc.
2. With the addition of Vaananen, the Flyers open the door to trading Lasse Kukkonen. If Holmgren can find someone willing to offer prospects and/or picks, he sheds salary off the cap and adds to the stockpiles for the future.
3. The so-called free agent period last from July 1 to the trade deadline. This is just the beginning.
4. UPDATED: I have seen rumor from Eklund, the anonymous hockey blogger, that suggests the Flyers may be trying to trade from Dan Boyle of the Tampa Bay Lightning. How that will fit in the cap and who would be offered up in return, I don’t know. And whether Boyle is truly recovered from that severed tendon in his wrist? I don’t know.