The free agent frenzy officially began yesterday with reports the Flyers had signed Mark Streit to a four-year, $21 million contract. The Flyers can’t officially announce the signing until they shed some salary, which should happen when they buyout Daniel Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov.
Briere is an easy buyout. His cap hit is $6.5 million for the next two seasons, but he’s only owed $5 million in cash over both years. The Flyers can buy him out for only $3.33 million, while Brzgalov is a much larger hit at $23 million. Despite the massive payment to Bryzgalov you can expect the Flyers to eat that since they desperately need some cap space.
Briere will garner a lot of interest, but will Bryzgalov get another NHL deal?
I think a lot of teams will give Briere a two-year deal, and if Mike Smith doesn’t re-sign in Phoenix I could see Bryzgalov return to the desert.
Prior to his entertaining and not overly productive seasons in Philly, Bryzgalov was very good for the Coyotes. His SV% in his four seasons was .921, .906, .920 and .921. Bryzgalov is only 32, and while a KHL team could offer him more money, I suspect he feels he has something to prove in the NHL.
If Smith leaves Phoenix and Mikka Kiprusoff officially retires, would the Flames or Coyotes offer him a contract? The Flames are high on Kari Rammo, but would they enter the season with Rammo and Joey Macdonald?
- Streit is 35 years old and not a great defender, but he can move the puck and his contract illustrates that free agents will still get paid this summer. I suspect the most sought after guys will still get large contracts, but I’m curious to see if teams can show some restraint/patience and sign lesser-lights to more reasonalbe contracts?
- With Teemu Hartikainen signing in the KHL would the Oilers re-sign Ryan Jones? The two sides are expected to talk again next week, but at this point it seems like the Oilers will look elsewhere. The Oilers will be hard-pressed to find a guy who will score 17/18 goals for the same price point as Jones.
- Could Jones turn out to be the next Curtis Glencross? Glencross signed for $1.3 million/year for three years while the Oilers failed to sway Marian Hossa to sign in Edmonton. I’m not saying Jones will score 25, but considering the solid 3rd line players the Oilers have let leave Edmonton (or traded away) in the past five years it is a concern.
- David Krejci is one of the most underrated passers in the NHL. Watch him closely, his passing skills are incredible.
- Solid deal for the LA Kings. They signed Slava Voynov for $25 million over six years. Would you rather have Streit for the next four years at $5.25 or the 23-year-old Voynov. The Voynov and Roman Josi ($28 million over 7 years) could be good comparables for the Oilers and Justin Schultz.
- I don’t see any reason that Schultz should get much more than Voynov, unless Schultz has a huge season. Voynov’s two-way game is better than Schultz’s at this point.
- The Oilers need at least two significant upgrades on their blueline if they want to compete next year. At this point I wouldn’t put Oscar Klefbom in the "significant" category, mainly because it would be a big risk to have two players in your top-four with fewer than 50 combined NHL games.
- The Oilers haven’t had any luck landing UFA goalies. They’ve tried to sign Eric Hartzell (signed with Penguins), Antti Raanta (Chicago) and Joacim Eriksson (Vancouver), but couldn’t land one. They are looking to sign a #2 and #3 to build some organizational depth. Anton Khudobin, Tukka Rask’s backup is unrestricted and he’d be a great fit for the Oilers.
- Dallas Eakins wanted to spend last week talking with Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger to get a sense of their strengths and weaknesses and decide if they would be part of his staff. I’d be surprised if both were on his staff. He will add an associate coach with NHL experience, and most likely one assistant. It would make sense to announce the staff before the draft and especially free agency. I keep hearing Paul Maurice is a strong candidate.
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