THE MADNESS BEGINS….

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?

QUICK HITS

  • 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.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

 

  • Quicksilver ballet

    You’d think with it being 2013, they’d have an easier to use phone invented by now. These rotary phones aren’t at all friendly to people with Turrets Syndrome. Anyone with a 7, 8, 9 or a 0, I just say screw that, that’s too much like work. I’m afraid of what dial up internet would entail.

  • Prudham's

    MacT announced that they really like Darnell Nurse today as reported by the Oilers website.

    Are the Oilers showing their hand?

    Or is MacT being clever and trying to get some team ahead of them to pick Nurse so they can pick up one of the Top 6?

    Telling who you want defeats the point of trading down.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Have you ever seen Nurse shoot live? Have you ever seen Nurse shoot on video?

        Well MacT has

        “I love that guy,” he said. “When you talk about building a culture in your organization, he’s the type of guy that you look to. He’s a very impressive kid on all levels. He’s got great toughness and there are a lot of other qualities to get excited about.

        “I asked him if he thought his physicality could translate to the pro level. He stared right at me and said, ‘100 percent.'”

        While Nurse is most certainly an intriguing prospect, MacTavish made it clear that there’s been no decision at this point. He agreed that the Oilers need to bulk up on the back end, but there are other positions of equal importance that need attention as well.”

        Oh tell us more Madjam

  • Prudham's

    Not sure Bryz is a lock for a buyout. If the Flyers don’t get someone to fill the void they can still retain him for one more season. Compliance Buyout him next offseason. With Holmgren, however, who knows.

    I’m not sold on Jones. Eye injury and all. Plus, there could be better options.

    48hrs after the finals wrap, the draft and FA should be fun.

    I wonder if some teams will wait until after the draft to use one or both of their comp. buyouts. See how things shake out first.

  • Prudham's

    Voynov’s 4.2 million/year contract is a comparable for Justin Schultz?!

    I know Schultz is highly touted, but he only has one year of experience and he’s still early in his development. His year was nothing like that of an established defender with holes in his defensive game for much of the season.

    I’m super pleased he’s on the team and I think he’ll be a great player, but I don’t understand why he’d already be anywhere near the cost of Voynov.

    • DSF

      Exactly.

      A this point, Voynov is an exceptional 2 way top pairing defenseman.

      Schultz is a PP specialist who needs to learn how to play defense.

      A couple of teams have already learned that overpaying for PP production while ignoring the rest of the game is a huge mistake.

      See Jack Johnson for reference.

    • Jason Gregor

      Voynov signed his after 45 points in 102 NHL games. Are you saying that Schultz won’t be close to that at the end of next season?

      If you think he will be great, why wouldn’t you sign him for 6 years at a decent cap hit?

      • Prudham's

        I’m not ‘saying’ anything. I’m asking, and giving reasons why my question arose.

        Schultz might hit those numbers, but he hasn’t done it yet. I’ve seen teams in the past assert that they won’t pay a player for something they haven’t done before and is only projection. But I guess with his skillset, he enters into a category of player where you just pay him so you can secure him. Is that a sure strategy with someone like him? Is there no element of ‘we want to see a bit more success before we pay out big long contracts’?

        Again… just asking.

        • Jason Gregor

          They don’t need to sign him now, but there is always a risk in waiting. He’ll get ample PP time next year, and what if he puts up 50 points? Then he might want more.

          You can wait and see if he produces, or you can hedge your bet that he’ll produce enough to be a $4 million D-man. I’d easily go with the latter.

          Paying him $4 million for 6 years isn’t a major risk. His offensive numbers should make him worth that, even as he tries to improve his defensive game.

        • BC BOY

          or you can do what Montreal did with Subban and sign him to a short term contract and watch him turn into a 7 million dollar defence man. If you have a chance to get good value on a young defence man on the rise your best bet is to do it.

  • RPG

    I completely agree with your opinion on Jones. Coming off a short season without the benefit of a training camp due to a freak eye injury, I’d say he deserves an opportunity to bounce back and contribute. He’s shown that he can be a solid depth player in the past, and has contributed with astute secondary scoring from almost anywhere in the lineup, and he’s cheap. Worth the risk IMO.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Not much attention has been paid to the resigning of schultz and rnh. After a poor season from the latter, and the voynov contract, we might be able to haggle on the precedent set by the hall/eberle contracts. Just less than 5 apiece?

  • 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.

    Just wanted to make sure this part of Jason’s article comes down to the hallowed comments thread. I know there’s some guys out there that think Klefbom is an auto-replacement, but there’s just no way. Ray.

    • The Soup Fascist

      You can get away with rushing forwards into the pros, for the most part. Not typically a good idea to rush D-men. The Drew Doughty types are the exception rather than the rule. Let’s get Justin Schultz’s defensive legs under him before we bring in another newbie.

  • T__Bone88

    I hope Eakins starts with a clean slate. Smith and Buchberger should be let go. They created no waves when they should have taken a stand. No Guts no Glory.

  • I’ve always had a soft spot for Jones, but he isn’t even in the same universe as Glencross. On top of which it looks like his eye injury has pretty much ended whatever effectiveness he had.

    • RPG

      Jones does not compete hard or play with passion. He basically says excuse me ,sorry when he bumps people along the boards. The third and fourth lines need people who will make the opposition feel their presence, and not for someone to feel bad for hitting them hard. You want the defence looking out for you, not looking for the break out pass. If the Oil cannot do better than Jones, then they will still have a long ways to go. Get someone who is serious, and will do what ever he has to, to win the game, to take Jone’s spot in the line up.

      • Prudham's

        Totally agree with your assesment of Jones………not sure what happened to him except he had a coach that really did not believe in him or give him quality minutes like Renny did.

        He is a good all around third line player, but since his visor wearing days began, he totally stopped hitting. TIme for a change……..a total change.

    • T__Bone88

      I agree 100 percent.

      He invariably cheated for offense too. If Eakins put a stop to that (and given his comments, I suspect he would), then the 17-18 goal level would be a lot harder for Jones to achieve, even without his injury concerns.

  • Buke

    Thank god LA did the Voynov deal and Nashville did Roman Yosi. The Gonchar and Streit deals were scaring me!

    I would be elated if the Oilers could sign Schultz to a long term value contract around $4M-4.5M per.

    • Prudham's

      I find all the deals scary. 7 years for Yosi who’s proved hes arrived with one good year, and Voynov done a bit more to earn the contract.

      Still contracts are being handed out on the basis of potential rather then actual accomplishment hoping the player plays to expectation.

      Gonchar and Streit’s contract are pure stupid, one way offensive defensive on the tale end of their career with huge holes in their game.

  • T__Bone88

    I thought with a compliance buy out which I assume Philidelphia would use on Bryzgalov and Briere that the team would have to pay the entire amount left owing to the player and not a percentage.

  • The Flyers look in a mess right now as well as the Wild and the Rangers……..each year teams overpay for UFA’s and invariably this never seems to turn out.

    I’m so happy that the Oilers have not been able to land overpriced/overhyped UFA’s ……..how would have Heatly helped us right now? Same goes for Streit.