Wednesday, May 23, 2018
free agency

Losers Of The NHL Free Agency Period

There are two sides to every story and the NHL free agency period is no exception. There were winners, but plenty of losers too. There wasn’t a ton of money thrown around on July 1st – at least not as much as we’re accustomed to – but there were still plenty of bad decisions that we saw. Here are the teams that made regrettable moves.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Losing Nick Bonino and Chris Kunitz doesn’t mean much in the way of numbers, but the Penguins are also losing a wealth of experience that helped them to their third Stanley Cup in the Sidney Crosby era. The Penguins also let Marc-Andre Fleury go in the expansion draft and signed Antii Niemi, who had a 3.30 GAA and a .892 save percentage last season. The Penguins need to hope that Matt Murray can stay healthy because if not, it won’t look good between the pipes.

Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens definitely made a good move to lock up Carey Price in goal for eight years and $84 million; he is the best goalie in the NHL and could be for the next five years, at least. They also brought back Alex Galchenyuk for three years and $14.7 million. However, Alexander Radulov is gone to Dallas, and $23 million over five years seems like a lot for Karl Alzner, and they still haven’t re-signed Andrei Markov. Markov is still a fine defenseman at 38 years old, which is probably why Montreal is stalling, but they’d better move a little quicker.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks are confusing. They should be tanking for the lottery and letting Ryan Miller go to Anaheim was a good move in that direction. But then they sign Sam Gagner to three years and $9.45 million, and Michael Del Zotto to two years and $6 million, not to mention Anders Nilsson to two years and $5 million. None of these players are All-Stars, but they’re likely going to make the Canucks a little better and that’s probably not the route in which they should be going right now.

Arizona Coyotes

Shane Doan, the last player left from when this team moved from Winnipeg, is gone. The Coyotes still don’t have a coach. Radim Vrbata is gone to Florida, as is Chad Johnson to Buffalo. The biggest signing that Arizona has made was Andrew Campbell for two years and $1.3 million. Oh yeah, the Coyotes still don’t have a coach, did you know that? It’s hard to sign anyone when incoming players don’t know who the coach is. Arizona has some decent young pieces, but overall, they’re a mess.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche signed Jonathan Bernier for a year at $2.75 million, and he isn’t very good anymore. Nikita Zadarov is a restricted free agent that hasn’t been signed yet and possibly the worst move of all, the Avalanche still haven’t traded Matt Duchene, who can be an unrestricted free agent next year. That means the Avalanche can lose him for nothing, and that would be the worst move of this year’s free-agency period and next year’s as well. Putting Colorado here might be a preemptive move if they don’t bring down the asking price.

Winnipeg Jets

You know you’re in trouble when you’re shopping for a goaltender off the Philadelphia Flyers roster. The Flyers haven’t had a good goaltender in at least a decade and if you’re trying to “address” you’re own goaltending woes by “stealing” theirs, you’re in trouble. That’s what the Jets did by signing Steve Mason. This is a goaltender who has never proven himself to be a quality No. 1 goaltender and he’s coming off a season in which he lost more games (29) than won (28). He had a lousy .908 save percentage along with a below-average 2.66 GAA. This basically seals the Jets fate for next season in terms of them not being a playoff team.

Their other move was to ink defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, who told a reporter in February that he feels like an old man. Kulikov is 26 years old, by the way. He had just five points and a minus-26 rating in 47 games last year. He’s been a top-four defenseman in the past but the Jets are taking a gamble here.

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About Geoff Harvey

Geoff Harvey has been setting his fantasy rosters since his days in the womb, just don't ask him how he used to get his waiver-wire reports back then. He's a lifelong fan of sports, especially the fantasy and betting aspects.

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  • Timothy James

    Have you paid attention at ALL to what the Yotes have done this offseason? Their biggest acquisitions were Stepan and Raanta and Hjalmarson who will be their 1C, Starting goalie and top line Dman to pair with OEL. Those are massive acquisitions. Sure they weren’t free agents, but there’s more than one way to build a team. And the only way Campbell counts as their “biggest signing” is if you literally have no idea of any of their other signings. Clendening, Latta, Etem and Cousins were all free agent signings that were “bigger” than Campbell. Campbell probably won’t even make it out of the AHL. They made all those signings without needing a head coach.

    It’s one thing if you don’t like the Coyotes. But there is no need to use demonstrably false lies to try to put them down.

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  • Timothy James

    By what standard was Andrew Campbell the biggest free agent signing for the Coyotes? He’s probably not even going to play on the NHL team, and be stuck in the AHL. The Yotes signed 4 free agents in Clendening, Etem, Latta and Cousins who will all almost certainly play at least some NHL time.

    It comes across as poorly researched.

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