A More Interesting Second Day
LONDON--So the expected answers from Ryan Suter and Zach Parise didn't emerge on the second day of free agency.
But lots of interesting moves were made. In fact, Day 2 was more intriguing in some ways than Day1:
--Buffalo trades centre Derek Roy to Dallas for pest Steve Ott and defenceman Adam Pardy. No surprise that either Roy or Ott were moved, since both were mentioned heavily in the rumour mill last winter. Last summer, the Sabres spent their brains out under new ownership but didn't make the playoffs. This summer, it seems about being a more difficult team to play against, as the club also signed 6-foot-8 enforcer John Scott on Monday. Roy, meanwhile, replaces Mike Ribeiro.
An intriguing trade. But also a bona fide hockey trade. And gosh, won't it be fun to watch Ott and Patrick Kaleta running around together in Buffalo?
--Calgary replaces Olli Jokinen down the middle with Jiri Hudler, while Jokinen and his career minus-111 move on to Winnipeg for a remarkable 50 per cent pay raise.
With every move they make, the Flames make their intentions of continuing to play for today more and more evident. Hudler could be a good producer behind Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and others in Detroit. Now he has to be a featured pivot playing against the top defenders of the opponent. Will be interesting to see if he can meet the challenge.
And Jokinen? Gets back up to $4.5 million per and brings his six playoff games worth of experience to Manitoba. Not easy for the Jets to attract free agents, and its a short-term deal. Probably the best that can be said about it.
--The Canadiens finished dead last in the Eastern Conference last year, but goalie Carey Price was nonetheless rewarded with a six-year, $39 million deal. The Habs clearly believe in Price, and he was great at times last season. Still, the club has gone downhill since Jaroslav Halak left town. Many believe it was injuries that killed the Canadiens last season, and new GM Marc Bergevin has added grit and prospect Alex Galchenyuk since the season ended. With that big new price tag on Price, he'll need to start pushing Montreal upwards again.
--Marc Crawford is joining Paul Maurice in Europe next season, perhaps evidence that NHL coaching hopefuls are looking at the Bob Hartley model as a way to get back behind an NHL bench as opposed to working in a TV studio. Crawford is off to Zurich and Maurice has gone to Russia. New Oiler coach Ralph Krueger spent extensive time in Switzerland, and perhaps old prejudices that coaches have to primarily work in North America are dying.
--NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reduced Raffi Torres' suspension but didn't say why. Suddenly Torres' hit on Marian Hossa didn't look so bad? Bettman's decision certainly won't help dissuade the popular opinion that hanging judge Brendan Shanahan isn't being pressured to hand out smaller suspensions.
If there's hope for the clearly broken NHL disciplinary process, it may lie in the likely insistence of the NHLPA for change in this summer's CBA chats. That said, there's no guarantee that what the union will want will actually result in a system that makes any more sense.