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Well, I thought this post was going to happen last week, but apparently I didn’t realize at the time that Free Agency started this past Friday and not on Monday, like usual. I plan to talk about the trades, buyouts, and signings of the past week – not necessarily all of them, but all of the major ones. I’m not really going to talk about the draft itself because I don’t really follow that the season beforehand, so I don’t know much about the people picked outside of the top few. (I don’t claim to be a professional writer for the NHL or anything. I’m just a guy with a blog.)

Of course, the big story out of the draft was Vancouver finally solving their constant goaltending dilemma. Ok, I wouldn’t necessarily call it “solving,” but they finally did something. They traded Corey Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the 9th overall pick. (Bo Horvat). So, yes, they traded their better goalie for one draft pick. They must really like Horvat for that to be all they got. Edmonton was offering a lot more but they’re in the same division. After all of the Luongo trade talk, it came down to no one being able to accept his contract. Hopefully this pays off for them (Or doesn’t, because I hate the Canucks, but I’m trying to be unbiased!), but it was time they finally put an end to the goalie controversy in Vancouver. Now if we could just put an end to their constant dirty play, maybe all of the 29 other teams wouldn’t them. It’ll be interesting to see what happens now that John Tortorella is the coach instead of headhunter Alain Vigneault.

I suppose I’ll talk about the Blackhawks now considering this will be primarily a Blackhawks blog once the season starts again. The Hawks traded both Dave Bolland (to Toronto) and Michael Frolik (to Winnipeg). They also did not re-sign Viktor Stalberg or Ray Emery. They bought out Steve Montador and another guy who wasn’t relevant. They re-signed Bryan Bickell, Michal Handzus, Michal Roszival, and Nick Leddy. I didn’t hear anything about Marcus Kruger, but he was only an RFA and nobody would really go after him. They also signed Nikolai Khabibulin as a backup goalie again.

My thoughts on these events are varied. Part of me is very mad to see Bolland go (I got to wear my Bolland jersey to one damn game!), but another part of me knows he makes too much money to not be as good as he was in 2010. Outside of getting the Cup Winning Goal, he didn’t do all that much this season. That being said, he’s still a solid third line center – he’s not a second line center unfortunately, which makes me unfortunately wrong. At least he got traded to Toronto, my third favorite team, and we didn’t get Colton Orr in return so it’s all good. (I’d prefer he was on the Sharks, but oh well.)

Frolik, on the other hand, was a surprise. He was one of our best penalty killers, so I I didn’t see it coming. But I guess he was also making more than he should be solely to be a PK guy. Losing Stalberg kind of sucks, but considering he’s making $16 million in 4 years in Nashville (Yuck), he should be happily overpaid there. Outside of bringing speed to the game, he didn’t do too much. But he’s a lot better than playing Bollig.

Losing Emery probably sucks the most out of all of them. He was a strong backup and I would’ve liked that to remain. I guess he wants to be a starter which is why he returned to Philadelphia. (Unless they’re seriously considering Steve Mason…..) Getting Khabibulin again – we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out. He could be a solid backup, but I don’t think he could do what Emery did. If it’s not 100% clear to the Crawford haters that he’s the #1 goalie now, stop being a fan of the team. We don’t need you. I’m waiting for them to think Khabibulin’s going to be the #1. Lol, no.

I’m fine with the Handzus resigning. I don’t know why we still want Roszival, especially for two years.

Now, onto the most important thing – Bryan Bickell for four years for $16 million. I really hope this isn’t overpaying, but I feel like it is. Did he play very well in the playoffs and score some big goals? No doubt about it. But we can’t forget that he was useless in 2012. He’s going to have to play like he did during the playoffs often if he wants to earn that money.

I’m guessing we’re just going to be bringing up players from Rockford to fill the rest of the spots barring any other signings. Considering we won the Cup, it’s really “Why fix what isn’t broken?” We had to shed some salary to get under the cap again, but it’s nothing like 2010.

As far as next season goes, I’m hoping we don’t see Bollig playing 82 games now.

Anyways, moving on from Chicago now, I’m going to talk about the other big signings/trades that have happened. In all honesty, I don’t think there were too many as compared to other years.

Toronto bought out Komiserak, which was good, but then were stupid enough to buy out Grabovski. There’s a coach-player issue there of some sort. But they just signed Grabovski last year to a five year contract and now he’s gone. That made sense. Then they completely overpaid Tyler Bozak (who will now block me on twitter), and signed David Clarkson. Kessel doesn’t want to play without Bozak I guess. They also have to sign Bernier after trading for him, despite them already having a #1 goalie Reimer, and Bernier wants to be a #1.

Philadelphia bought out Briere and Bryzgalov. When Philly signed Bryzgalov for as long as they did and as much as they did, all I could do was laugh. They deserved what they got. He did have that one really good year, but for the most part he sucked. But to lose that contract and then sign Lecavalier to a huge contract was even funnier. Two steps forward, one steps back. But nothing will ever be as funny as when they traded us Patrick Sharp for a bag of pucks. Lol, thanks for the best unsung player in the league! Anyways, Emery will probably do better for them, but I don’t see there being too much of an improvement next season. Oh and Giroux got paid. Everyone who gets contracts like that got overpaid.

I’m trying to think of what the Penguins did outside of overpaying Letang……Oh, they got Scuderi again.

The Bruins lost a lot of players through trades and free agency. Nathan Horton signed in Columbus, Jagr is gone, and Tyler Seguin was traded to Dallas for Loui Eriksson. I’m not going to get into why I’ve heard Seguin was traded, just that this benefits Dallas more than Boston. But on the bright side, they finally landed Jarome Iginla! I bet they were happy about that! Now if they want to win the Cup next season, I can be happy that Iginla won a Cup without Crosby getting another.

Coyotes re-signed Mike Smith, despite him remembering that he’s irrelevant this season. Also, Phoenix re-signed the Coyotes for more painful ownership problems!!

Detroit signed Daniel Alfredsson for quite a bit of money, considering he’s 40. But he’ll probably do well for them. They also got Weiss. I suppose those are good signings, but considering their main issue is still defense, I don’t see the improvement. Oh well, not my problem.

Dallas should be better this season now that they have gotten Seguin and Horcoff. I don’t know why they’d want Dan Ellis though.

Nashville finally got their replacement for Ryan Suter in Seth Jones at the draft. They got Stalberg, but I don’t know how good he’ll do there. They definitely overpaid. A number of other signings too.

Matt Cooke to Minnesota. And no one cared.

Sharks got Tyler Kennedy. Also, still pissed they still have Torres.

St. Louis got Derek Roy and Maxim Lapierre. Nothing wrong with Roy, but Lapierre was on the Vancouver, so there’s that. You can take a player off the Canucks but you can’t take the Canucks out of a player.

Anaheim traded Bobby Ryan to Ottawa for a couple players, killing the fun of saying Bobby Ryan Getzlaf. Ottawa won that trade, though.

Ryan Clowe to New Jersey. Scneider should do well there, also.

Nathan Horton to Columbus. They definitely won’t be easy points anymore.

Anyways, that’s all I’ve got to say as far as team by team goes. Next season should be very interesting. I look at the trades so far and I definitely don’t see an obvious team to win the Cup. I’m not going to say the Hawks will definitely repeat just because they will remain mostly intact from this season – it’s definitely possible, but it’s hard to repeat. My expectations are to have a much better post-Stanley Cup season than the last one. I don’t want to be waiting until game #82 to see if we make the playoffs, lose, and then make it because we got help. (With the realignment, this shouldn’t be an issue. Also I highly doubt that’s going to be an issue as the team wasn’t decimated). I want to make the playoffs definitively and at least have a good, strong run. Basically what the Kings did this year. Another Cup would be great, but I’m not just going to sit here and pretend that it’s obvious that we should win. Hell, I would’ve called you crazy if you told me that the season would turn out like it did before it started. The fact that it seems like we’re at a completely new playing field, especially with the conference realignment, next season should be very interesting.

#LaterMarks #ButImNotWrong #BelieveInTheShield #StraightEdgeMeansImBetterThanYou #IsItOctoberYet?