In a year where unrestricted free agency in the NHL wasn’t as deep as any other years, after the frenzy of July 1st is over, the good ol’ question of which team had the best fish and have they made progress? With unrestricted free agency, you never really win or lose. You’ll lose only if you hire the players for too long and for too much. Teams did it before the cap was in place and it set them back years before getting back on track. The New York Rangers were a perfect example of that era.
What about today’s unrestricted free agency era?
Yesterday could be the start of a trend. Yesterday saw less players to hired on the first day of unrestricted free agency, less dollars to be awarded and finally shorter terms to be awarded. the perfect of example is the length Mike Green got from the Detroit Red Wings or the deal that Matt Beleskey got out of Boston or Justin Williams from the Washington Capitals. The salary cap governs everything in the short term, mid-term and long term.
So any winners from yesterday unrestricted free agency frenzy?
The winners are few but there are some. The first one that comes to mind is the Detroit Red Wings who got the defenseman they wanted at the term they felt was right despite the fact Green was looking for longer term. At 3 years and at the same price he was at last year, Green will bring nothing but good offense from the blue line and doesn’t commit the Wings with a contract they won’t be able to either extend as required or trade away when Green will be 32-years-old.
The other winner I would say are the Washington Capitals. Why the Capitals, you say? because they got a player in Justin Williams that knows how to win in the playoffs. In game 7 against the Rangers, they could have sure used Justin Williams playoff clutch. They got him him at a reasonable price and at a reasonable term. Williams signed with the Capitals for a term of two years at $3.25M cap hit. Again not a long term and at a reasonable price for a playoff clutch player.
One other winner are also the Calgary Flames by signing Michael Frolik who last year played with the Winnipeg Jets. Frolik signed a 5 year deal with the Calgary Flames worth $21.5M. This one is a bit more expensive but the quality of player Frolik is could be well worth it to augment the young players like Bennett, Monahan and Gaudreau. Frolik is an excellent defensive forward who can also score. He could do well as well on a line with Jiri Hudler.
Who didn’t really succeed?
In my opinion, the Edmonton Oilers paid a lot of money for Andrej Sekera with a term of 6 years at $33.0M. This is money for a no.2 or no.3 defenceman, which I am not sure Sekera can be for 82 games. The addition of Mark Letestu for 3 years to the one of Sekera may prove costly when McDavid, Schultz and Yakupov ‘s contract come up in three years. That will remain to be seen then.
My other questionable contract is the one awarded to Francois Beauchemin in Colorado. Beauchemin is now 35 and was awarded a three year deal worth 13.5 million dollars. Colorado needed defence on the right side but was it the right price to pay for a defensive defenseman? Only time will tell>
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