Hawks sign a pair of busts... guess who's injured?... Pavelec, Foligno & Perron sign... Kovy signs for life, NHL has doubts... Gagne lands in good spot, hopefully in good health... Bobby Mac tweets-on about Kid Rock
The Blackhawks have re-signed RFA forward Jack Skille to a one-year deal, the former 7th overall pick in 2005 has turned himself into a decent AHL player with 49 points in 63 games last season but we've pretty much given up on his chances to do much at the NHL level... we don't think he has what it takes. He has learned a thing or two about contract negotiations though as he signed a cheap one-way deal which means that he'll be with the big club this coming year... oh boy.
Speaking of busts, the Hawks also signed UFA Hugh "Huge Specimen" Jessiman to a one-year, two way-deal, no fantasy impact here just an FYI for those who are fans of the 12th overall pick in 2003... that sound you just heard was Rangers fans throwing up in their mouths.
Normally there is no injury news to discuss during the off-season... you know, because there are no actual games and all. But somehow Sami Salo managed to find a way to tear his achilles tendon and is out 3-4 months. He picked up the injury playing floorball (which is not floor hockey, btw). Many, many jokes can be made but we'll leave that up to somebody funnier than us. When he plays, he's good for around 0.4 ppg which are nice numbers for a 4th d-man, but with him missing the first couple of months of the season we're not even sure he's worth a roster spot now.
Tampa Bay signed former 1st rounder (2003, 22nd overall) Marc-Antoine Pouliot to a one year, two way contract. Last year he had 14 points in 35 games with the Oilers. He's a defensive player so look for him to battle for one of the checking line roles in T-Bay. He's had some productive AHL (47 points in 55 games) and junior (114 points in 70 games) seasons so there is some scoring upside here.
Fabian Brunnstrom agreed to a deal and thus avoided arbitration. The fact that he's taking a paycut with the new contract shows just how much his stock has dropped the last two years. The good news is Fabs will be in the NHL all season, the bad news is he only had 11 points in 44 games last year. Pass.
Ondrej Pavelec signed a two year deal with the Thrashers. Last year he picked up a very ordinary 14 wins with a 3.26 gaa and .906 sv%. With the newly acquired Chris Mason we don't expect to see much Pavelec between the pipes. We wouldn't recommend you pick him up in your league unless it's protection for Mason.
The Senators re-signed RFA winger Nick Foligno on a two-year deal. We like this kid as he has the potential to help out in a number of categories but he's coming off a down year in which he was overtaken on the depth chart by Peter Regin and could only manage 26 points. All the spots in the Senators top 6 are probably spoken for so it's likely going to be difficult for Nick to find enough minutes & PP time to put together a breakout season this year.
RFA winger David Perron has re-signed with the Blues, look for some growth in his production this year as he's been hovering around the 50 point level for the last two seasons but has the talent to really explode in his fourth year... but the Blues have a few guys like that so it's hard to figure out who's going to make it happen.
An arbitrator, who was obviously on some happy pills, awarded Clarke MacArthur a one-year $2.4 million deal... well the Thrashers said "thanks but no thanks" and walked away from a guy who maxed out at 35 points last year and was a minus-16. So he becomes a UFA and will likely find work at a cheaper wage but we're not big fans of this guy and have our doubts that he'll ever be worth your time in fantasy leagues.
UPDATE: The NHL finally did the right thing by growing a pair and rejecting Kovalchuk's ridiculous deal... who knows what's going to happen at this point but we'd guess that the Devils will alter the contract slightly, a few less years and a few less dollars, and the league will give in, since they have before, but stranger things have happened so Kovy's status for next season might still be up in the air.
It's over!... Ilya Kovalchuk re-signed with the Devils on Monday and if reports are correct then its a 17-year deal... not sure how the Devils can justify a contract that runs until a player is 44 to the NHL and not sure how the NHL can approve this?... another question is, why only 17 years? Why not sign him to a 50-year contract, this CBA loophole doesn't seem to be closing & the league seems too afraid to step in. Oh right, we're a fantasy blog, on to the fantasy ramifications... Kovalchuk is a goal scoring machine, one of the best in the league and we don't see that changing. Yes, the Devils are not fond of offense and yes, he wasn't that great after joining them last year (10+17=27 in 27 games) but he should find his rhythm now that the rest of his hockey career has been settled and he's playing with superior talent in New Jersey. We'd expect a big year from Kovy and this also gives a boost to whoever centers the "2nd Line", be it Arnott, Elias or Zubrus as that should be as dangerous a unit as the Parise-Zajac-whoever line.
The Flyers off-loaded Simon Gagne on the Lightning Monday and took back another dman, Matt Walker, in return. This should be a decent spot for Gagne to land as he'll likely line up with Vinny Lecavalier in what should be a pretty high-powered Guy Boucher led attack. But there's always a catch and with Gagne its the fact that he's only averaged 54 games over the past three seasons. We'd bet on a bounce-back season for Gagne as he still shoots the puck a lot and, when healthy, is good for around 35+ goals.
The Hurricanes signed Riley Nash to an entry level deal, after they just acquired him at the draft from the Oilers. He's had three productive seasons at Cornell and looks like a decent prospect but hasn't shown enough to get us too excited. This is a step in the right direction if you've been waiting for the 2007 1st rounder to provide you some return on your investment but keep your expectations in check.
What's distracting us this week?
- NHL.com put together a nice little list of breakouts. We love our breakouts.
- If you haven't been following Paul Bissonnette's twitter account (@PaulBizNasty) you must have a read through this Puck Daddy post. Absolute gold, shame he's puttin' it to bed.
- Thanks to our friends over at the great Sacramento Gold Miners Fan Club we get a summary of news that Bob McKenzie is breaking over the summer months... which would seem to be that he had one too many beers at the cottage and is fawning like a school girl over Kid Rock... yeah, really... check out his tweets.