Monday, July 2, 2012

Day One: Not the greatest

Before I begin, I'd just like to again thank our outstanding Devil blogger Hasan for his extensive coverage of one of the biggest days of the year. July 1 is like Christmas for everyone. A chance to dream big. Anything can happen. In a way, I'm kinda glad Parise and Suter haven't made decisions yet. It's not easy to just field a zillion offers and then just say, 'I'm going here.'

There's a lot more that goes into it. Is the team the right fit? Relocation also plays a role. It's never easy to uproute a family. For Zach Parise, does he want to sign with a rival who plays in the same division? I know if it were one of our big stars, I'd be pretty antsy. If he leaves Jersey, it should be to go home and try to turn Minnesota around. When you hear $100+ million and 10+ years on the table for Zach and Ryan Suter, it is mind boggling. I get the urgency with uncertainty surrounding the future CBA. With the Pens locking up Sidney Crosby long-term, it throws everything out of whack. Not that the deal is so bad. But at what point is enough enough?

The Kings did the same with Conn Smythe hero Jon Quick, who agreed to a 10-year deal. Jordan Staal signed the same offer he spurned Ray Shero on, just wanting to have a bigger role while teaming with big brother Eric. We've seen this act before. I can only say that the way contracts are structured will be changing. How much nobody knows. So, my advice to the GMs, agents and players, take advantage while you can.

Regarding Canada Day, it was great. Especially being on a Sunday. Almost everyone could enjoy a day off and just flip on NHL Network/TSN for wall to wall coverage. All the rumors making for a circus including Matt Carkner, who wound up on the Island instead of the Desert. He got three years for $1.5 million-per-season. Comical for an extra D who also doubles as an enforcer up front if necessary.

That's the nature of the beast. Why else would Adam Burish get four years from San Jose? Not to take anything away from the former Hawk but come on. People laughed earlier when Calgary signed former Wing Jiri Hudler to a four-year $16 million deal. Why? At least he can put the puck in the net. He's also young with wheels unlike most of the old age home Jay Feaster's putting together. How else to explain them being already at $69.5 million? I want whatever he's drinking.

There were some good moves made. In no particular order:

Team     Player                  Years    Salary          Avg___________
Ana       Bryan Allen         3       $10.5 million  $3.5
Tor       Jay McClement   2         3                  1.5
Det       Jordin Tootoo      3         5.7               1.9
Col       P.A. Parenteau     4        16                4.0
Dal       Ray Whitney         2          9                4.5
Wpg     Alexei Ponikarovsky 1    1.8              1.8
Ott       Guillaume Latendresse 1  1.25          1.25
NYI      Brad Boyes          1          1               1.00
Car       Joe Corvo            1           2               2.00
NYR     Stu Bickel            2          1.5             750 K
Fla        Scott Clemmensen 2        2.4             1.2
Det       Jonas Gustavsson  2          3                1.5
CBJ      Adrian Aucoin       1           2               2.0

If you noticed, most of the signing I centered around were short-term. The only exceptions are P.A. ParenteauBryan Allen and Jordin Tootoo. I believe all three will give their new teams good bang for their buck. Parenteau should fit in nicely on an up and coming Colorado team that features Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Paul Stastny, Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn. The Avs added a skilled forward who can boost their power play. ... Allen was one of the guys I was hoping the Rangers would target. A stay at home D who flies under the radar but does the little things that win. Block shots. Hit. An intangibles guy who brings experience to the Ducks. Too bad they overpaid for Sheldon Souray off one first half. What was Bob Murray thinking? At least he got Allen at a decent price. ... The final player is the snarly Tootoo, who I've always admired. A man who's as tough as anyone. He'll take on all comers and brings needed grit that Detroit's been lacking. Think a smaller version of Darren McCarty. Tootoo can also contribute and will be a fan favorite. I'm curious to see how he is in Year 3.

Players I excluded are Brandon Prust and Jason Garrison, who both cashed in on Day One. With Prust, it's not so much that he won't help Montreal. But at four years for an average of $2.5 million, that's pretty steep. I love what Prust brought to our team and still feel Slats did a poor job Monday inking Arron Asham for two years.

Prust was much more than a fighter as he did this year due to Mike Rupp's ineptitude. Sorry Rupper. But your first year wasn't good enough. Prust played all 82 despite injuries and fought 20 times. Way too many when he should've been riding shotgun with Brian Boyle. One guy over on Twitter alluded to Prust's drop in production (5-12-17). That was out of necessity. He sacrificed for our team. It won't be easy to replace a guy who paced the Blueshirts in shorthanded goals (7) the past two years. My suggestion is keep Brandon Dubinsky and use our most versatile forward next to Boyle. I hope he stays.

Word on Garrison came down past 1 AM in the East with the former Panther agreeing on a six-year deal worth a cap hit of $4.6 million. Quite a chunk of change for the power play specialist who blossomed into a monster thanks to his lightning like shot. He's from British Columbia and returns home. A dream scenario. Will the pressure be too much or can The Sedins turn him into a 20-goal scorer? It's certainly an upgrade over aging Sami Salo, who went to Tampa.

The biggest issue with both Prust and Garrison is the length. Where will both be in the latter stages of those contracts? I can't blame either for signing. It's no secret I wanted Prust back but even I was floored by what he received. Again, the market dictated it. Best of luck to him with the Canadiens. Just not against us. Though it should be interesting the next time he sees Asham.

In truth, Asham isn't a bad guy despite the foolish cheap shot against Brayden Schenn he delivered that earned him a suspension. He'll serve the remaining game in Los Angeles when the Rangers watch the Cup banner get raised. I just can't for the life of me figure out why Sather gave a 34-year old vet two years. It's the same old story. The cost is fine. A million per. But two years when we have Rupp??? And then further complicating it was the addition of ex-Islander Micheal Haley. Now, I like Haley because he can do more than pummel the opposition. The question is is he just insurance or does the organization have plans? With Kris Newbury also re-upping for two more years, nobody knows.

It's a real eye scratcher. They also let Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (JAM) walk for nothing. I mean people who saw him down in Connecticut were impressed. Basically, he got the MZA treatment. He became an AHL All-Star notching 24 goals and 40 assists for 64 points along with four markers in the playoffs. So, the 21-year old went to Columbus, who rewarded him with an entry level contract. That's three years folks. Like it would've hurt to see what the kid has. I just don't get it sometimes. At least we have enough toughness to compete with the Islanders. :P

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