The NHL Free Agency Frenzy this year had big names and potential drama, but for the most part, the teams played it pretty close to the vest. Instead of rebuilding with key pieces, most teams opted for add-ons; good, consistent players in secondary roles who could be relied on to do the little things right.
Late re-signings stole most of the drama, with quality players being locked up by their own teams to some pretty stellar contracts: Crosby, Quick, and now Brodeur. There may yet be some drama ahead with Parise and Suter still out there, and the rumours around Luongo and Nash will keep the mill turning all summer long. For what was done on the day, there were no winners or losers, but the face of some franchises did change.
Carolina becomes the new city of brotherly love, locking up 3 of the 4 Staal brothers in Eric, Jared, and Jordan. This leaves Marc as the odd man out in Manhattan, which will make games between Carolina and New York Rangers incredibly interesting and Christmas incredibly awkward in the Staal household. Can the brotherly love translate into magic on ice? One would have to assume that they have natural chemistry. The thought alone of the Staals having some odd twin-like power like the Sedins should scare teams.
The Montreal Canadiens added grit to their lineup with Brandon Prust and Colby Armstrong. The bad news is that the Habs don’t have to look very far into their past to know that trades with the Rangers don’t generally turn out well, but the good news is that Montreal-Toronto games just got a whole lot more interesting for the fans of each team. The boo birds will be out in full force in Air Canada Centre, that’s for sure.
The Edmonton Oilers added yet more young talent to their roster, as we all know that young talent is what this team is lacking. Seriously, Edmonton is stocking up on young talent like there’s some hockey apocalypse coming that only they know about and all the youngsters will be transferred to an underground facility. Edmonton re-signed veteran Smith, but it’s going to take a lot more than that if they’re going to turn into a winning team. Not to mention that there’s something unfair and unhealthy about mentoring tomorrow’s young stars in the standings basement.
The Detroit Red Wings have been a busy team with the departure of the one and only Nick Lidstrom. Their team is getting older, but Detroit is in a great position right now, with plenty of cap space and proven winning record. Detroit’s reputation speaks for itself, and convincing players to sign with them is not going to be a hard task. They may be the big winners of the off-season, especially if they can nab some big fish in Parise and Suter.
Some teams have not been as busy as they could be, but they may yet be biding their time for bigger names. Chicago, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Vancouver have all been oddly silent. While big names already grace their rosters, these teams need some signings to become contenders next season, especially since some of their players have moved away on opening day. There is the feeling that these four teams could all contend next season and that they may be one signing away from a long Cup Run.
It could still be a very interesting summer. While some teams will stick to their formula of slowly rebuilding, other teams will have to take a chance on a big name. And it will be something to see how that turns out.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.