Best and Worst off season moves…

Just wondering what everyone thinks are the best and worst off season moves made so far this summer. Here are some of mine.

Best Moves (in no particular order):

-Minnesota trading for Pavel Demitra. Minnesota needed offense and Demitra will provide that and can also make the players around him better.

-Nashville signing Jason Arnott. $22.5 million over 5 years is a lot of money but Arnott is the kind of 2-way player that will fit into the Predators lineup nicely and he’ll provide some nice leadership for Nashvilles younger players.

-Atlanta signs Steve Rucchin. Rucchin is no Marc Savard but he is a solid leader and great on the faceoffs. He’ll certainly help the Thrashers reduce the number of goals against.

-Calgary trades for Alex Tanguay. The Flames were very deep on defense but desperately needed some additional offense. Ideally they would have gotten a playmaking centerman but Tanguay is an excellent addition in his own right. Finally the Flames have someone to help out Iginla on offense.

Bad Moves

-Kings signing Scott Thornton for 2 years at $1.5 million per year. Nothing against Scott Thornton because he plays a role and does a decent job at it but that is a lot of money for a 35 year old 3rd line winger.

-Ottawa signs Martin Gerber for $3.7 million per year for 3 years. That’s a lot of money for a goalie who was 18th in goals against average and 17th in save percentage who floundered in the playoffs and who has just 114 games of NHL experience. He has shown spurts of excellence (as in the Olympics) but overall he seems to be just an average goalie. All that money goes to Gerber and yet the goalie with the 3rd best goals against average and 8th best save percentage still sits out there on the open market (Legace). And Hasek would have returned to Ottawa for about $3 million per year less.

-Tampa trades for and signs Marc Denis for 3 years and $8.6 million. Tampa seems to think that Denis will resolve their goaltending woes but Denis is only marginally better. His 3.25 goals against average and .900 save percentage are nothing to write home about. And Manny Legace is still sitting out there on the open market with no where to go.

-Minnesota signed Kim Johnssonto a 4 year $19.4 million deal. Yikes!! That is a big commitment to a guy coming off a concussion riddled season. Johnsson is a good defenseman but I am not sure even a healthy Johnsson is worth that kind of money.

So, what do you all think? What are the best and worst off season moves?

Posted in NHL

This article has 28 Comments

  1. The Brendan Shanahan 1-year deal with the NYR is a great move…adding a good scoring winger at a decent price and for only 1 season.

    The a whole, their moves are poor. They overpaid Sillinger based on an outlier year… and the Leafs overpaying for their entire defense.

  2. Best- Chara to the Bruins. Lots of well spent money.

    Second Best – Firing Garth Snow as backup goalie. Dude couldnt play hockey, much less spell hockey. ; )

    Worst – Arnason to Avs. Who thinks this is a good idea? Might as well sign Garth Snow as a GM. Oh.

    Second Worst – Starting a hockey blog. I’m an idiot.

  3. Although I agree that Gerber was a bad move, I don’t think it’s fair to judge Denis or Legace by their stats. You seem to think Legace is great, but he played behind an amazing team. Vice versa for Denis. There is more to a goaltender than his stats, and there is more to a goaltender’s stats than the goaltender.

  4. Detroit was a good team playing in a pretty easy division, not an amazing team. Legace isn’t a great goalie but I think he has shown that he is a pretty good one and more deserving of getting a contract than he seems to be. Marc Denis has never proven himself to be any better than an average goalie. Good goalies are capable of taking bad teams and making them decent ones. He hasn’t done that.

    I accidentally deleted Jim Clarke’s comment about Canucks getting Luongo. Yes, that was a very good move and probably should be included in my list. It will be a better move in the long term because I still think they need to improve the rest of the team in front of him especially defense depth and a #1 center to be a top tier team.

  5. While Legace’s numbers look quite good, keep in mind that he only played 51 games over the course of the year (and it’s harder to keep up good numbers the longer you play), and he benefitted from 15 games against the four worst offensive teams in the league (Calgary, Columbus, Chicago, St. Louis) – teams that Gerber did not have the luxury of playing even once.

    And he had Nick Lidstrom in front of him.

    I agree that Legace’s play is worthy of a contract somewhere though…

    I would maybe add Raycroft in as a bad move, as for the same price Toronto might perhaps have had Legace’s services – likely a safer bet than Raycroft.

    I don’t think Denis is great, but I think you’re being a bit hard on him. If good goalies make bad teams decent, why has Florida never made the playoffs with Luongo? I’m sure we’d all agree he’s one of the very best.

  6. By no means do I think this is season saving type move, but I thought Pittsburgh picking up Ekman and a prospect for a 2nd round pick was pretty good. Everyone will say that his mediocre stats were inflated because of Thornton, but he did pretty much the same the season before and it can’t hurt to play with Crosby. Plus, for cap consideration, he’s a good deal at only a 1.1 mill.

  7. Good to be back.

    Those are all good and bad moves David. Has everyone forgot the obvious tho? The Toronto Maple Leafs?

    By far the one team in my opinion who did the most to better their squad for the upcoming season.

    Opting not to bring back Belfour, Khavanov, Berg, Domi, Richardson, Lindros and mostly Pat Quinn in my opionion is the best summer moves so far. Clearly. Bravo to John Ferguson, you just might get to keep your job.

    New additions of Paul Maurice and his 3 assistant coach staff, Peca, Kubina, Gil and Raycroft will defenetly benefict the Leafs in the areas that plauged them last season, defense and goaltending. Hoping of course, Raycroft plays like his old Calder Trophy winning self. If not, I feel Aubin is still a great goalie with a lot of potential.

    However, not re-signing Allison a very productive offensive player, especially on the power play is definetley a bad move. Allison’s absence should be felt quickly on a team now without a proven sniper. Losing a playmaker like Allison does not help the situation.

    Overall, the Maple Leafs clearly made the best off season moves to date so far. They did a few of them….take your pick.

  8. The Leafs? Uhhh, I would say they’ve had an average-to-fairly poor offseason – and I am one of the few non-Torontonians to actually not mind the Leafs.

    I suppose calling the decision to not bring back the above-mention players ‘good decisions’ is somewhat reasonable, but really, those players all fall into either one of two categories:

    1) Players that shuld never have been signed – in which case opting to not re-sign them (again) is less so much a ‘good decision’ as it is the correction of a ‘poor decision’; and

    2) Low-impact players or easy decisions – do you credit a team with having a good off-season for opting to not re-sign players who should clearly not be re-signed. For example, are the Flames having a great off-season for not re-signing Calle Hulse?

    Further, I am not so nearly as impressed as you with the new additions to the Leafs roster. Kubina and Peca are two good players, but for $7.5M? Hal Gill is not only useless, but he is taking a roster spot away from one of the Leafs many defensive prospects – Harrison, White, Coliacovo.

    Finally, for a team that had a real problem scoring even strength goals last year, relying heavily on the PP – I believe they scored the fewest even strength goals of every team in the league, signing Peca for $2.5M seems a little odd – only 11 players in the entire NHL scored fewer P/60 then Mike Peca did last year.

    I believe one of the more improved teams from last season is the Vancouver Canucks.

  9. Kubina and Peca are two good players, but for $7.5M?

    Who would you rather have: Kubina *and* Peca or Zdeno Chara?

    I don’t think Gill is that bad of a signing either when you consider what some of the other defensemen got. Willie Mitchell, another defensive minded defenseman, got $3.5 million per year for 4 years. Brendan Witt got $2.5 million per year for 3 years. Nolan Baumgartner, who was a career minor leaguer until last years Canucks were desperate for defensemen, got $1.2 million per year. Hal Gill isn’t a top tier defenseman but he isn’t making a ton of money, can play 18-20 minutes and will allow the Leafs to have a physical presence in the lineup without having to dress a ‘goon’ who can’t really contribute in any other way.

    I think the Leafs will score more even strength goals this year because they won’t rely on McCabe, Kaberle, Sundin and their other top players to play both the PP and the PK. McCabe, Kaberle and Sundin should be able to play more 5 on 5 and be more rested while doing so. But ultimately giving up too many goals was the Leafs biggest problems and Kubina, Peca, Gill and Raycroft will all help there. The Leafs should be a much better and more consistant team this year.

  10. i think the sens made a good move getting rid of havlat and smoke they were just taking up places on our roster and i think i would rather have chara then kubina and peca Chara can play 30 minutes easily and can keep players like alex ovechkin from scoring 5 games straight and as the same if not better offensive abilities then peca.

  11. What wins Stanley Cups in the salary cap ers is “bang-for-buck”.

    So Chara’s signing isn’t going to win Boston the Cup. Neither will Tampa’s signing Richards, or Calgary signing Iginla (last year).

    Every team will have their $7 million dollar star(s). Every team will have their $500K grinders. It’s the players in the mid range that will make the difference. Can you find a $1M winger who scores like a $2M winger? Can you sign a goalie for $3M that plays like $4.5M? Or a $4M defenceman who plays like $6M?

    I like what Edmonton did with Ales Hemsky. $4M/yr for 6 years could end up being the steal of the year, should Hemsky live up to his 100+ point potential.

    Gerber can play like $5M, but he’s inconsistent. His playoff performance was badly affected by the flu bug, so it’s not fair to judge him on that. Now that he has more NHL experience, and a Stanley Cup ring, Muckler’s gamble could pay off.

    Toronto signed Peca for $2.5; his leadership and experience in the playoffs could be worth twice that — if the Leafs make the playoffs.

    The best signings are the ones nobody knows about yet. GMs will make or break their reputations on picking underrated talent out of the free agent pool. So Joe Corvo at $2.5M could be a flop, or he could be the ideal mobile defenceman in the “new” NHL. Joe who, you ask? That’s my point.

    And by the way, did anyone tell Lou Lamoriello that there *is* a salary cap this year? That he just can’t keep collecting players like kids collect hockey cards? If he signs Gomez and Gionta, he could be $8M over the salary cap at the start of the season. And it won’t be the also-rans he has to trade away to get under the cap. Really, who will take Alexander Mogilny at $3.5M a year? There just may be a fire sale in Jersey this year….

    Trading with salary caps: I’ll give you my first round draft pick if you’ll take Mogilny’s contract with it!

  12. Actually, Lamoriello got shafted last year when he signed Mogilny and Malakhov to 2 year contracts that he now has stuck counting against the cap. The interesting thing with Malakhov is that he supposedly has retired. This means that his contract counts against the cap but that the Devils won’t have to pay him. So the Devils could trade him to any team with cap space (i.e. Washington, Pittsburgh and numerous others) and it wouldn’t cost the other team a thing. This it shouldn’t be too difficult to ditch that salary. Then they could either trade McGillis or demote him to the AHL to get his salary off their books. Doing that would free up $5.8 million pretty easily. They still probably need to dump Mogilny to keep Gomez and Gionta though.

    The thing is, once the Devils get through this off season I think they will be in great shape having Elias ($6 million per year), Brodeur ($5.2 million per year), Colin White ($3 million per year), and Langenbrunner ($2.8 million per year) all locked up to very long term very reasonably priced contracts. If they can lock up Rafalski and one of Gionta and Gomez long term under similar deals they will have an excellent core locked in with enough cap space still available to build a solid team around them. They may very well trade Gomez to stock up some quality young talent to fill out the roster.

  13. what about the habs dumping zednik, bulis and sundstrom and replacing them with samsonov, mike johnsonn plus a spot for a rookie (probably Kyle chipchura, team canada junior captain last year), Gainey is doing a great job of turning this thing around, all s that missing is a true 1st/2nd center to play with samsonov and kovalev and we ll have two scoring lines (koivu-ryder-higgins), a great checking line (bonk-begin-murray) and a youth line with johnson playing with plekanec and perozoghin. Huet and Aesbischer probably top 3 1-2 combo goalies in the league and a defence corps thats pretty solid ( even with Souray who cant stop anyone 1-on-1!)

  14. Zednik for Johnson is a bit of an improvement since Johnson will be a bit better defensively but Johnson is another ‘soft’ player.

    In Bulis for Samsonov you trade a two-way 20 goal scorer for a one-dimensional 25 goal scorer. The Last time Samasonov scored more than 23 goals was 2001-02 and he has never scored 30 goals. Not really much of an upgrade. Samsonov just costs a lot more. If anything signing Samsonov would go in the bad move category (much like signing Kovalev, another one dimensional 25 goal scorer, to that huge contract last year).

    I consider Gainey’s moves this summer to be nothing more than minor tweaks. They aren’t really any better than last year.

  15. I definitely like Calgary’s trade for Tanguay. As you said they were (and still are) deep on D, and needed the help up front. Tanguay is one of the top left wingers in the league. Now they just need a top center. Watch out for Calgary this year. Their D to me seems even better than last year’s, which was pretty good, their offence is improved, and their goaltending is at least top 3 in the league. I’d like to see them deal for Chris Drury in Buffalo who might have salary issues due to the # of players they have seeking arbitration. Buffalo could use some more depth on D and Calgary certainly has it to offer.

  16. “Who would you rather have: Kubina and Peca or Zedeno Chara?”

    At $7.5M, neither. Chara for $7.5M is too much, and Kubina and Peca for $7.5M is too much. I will say that of all those signings, I like the Kubina signing the least – the last thing the Leafs needed was another offensive-minded defenceman.

    The difference between Hal Gill and Willie Mitchell is simply that Willie Mitchell can skate, and I would take Willie Mitchell at $3.5M per season all day long – I believe that to be one of the value signings of the summer, along with Ales Hemsky’s deal, and a few others.

  17. Willie Mitchell is a better defenseman than Hal Gill but the Canucks are paying him 67% more than the Leafs are paying Gill. Is he 67% better? I am not sure he is. We are talking about comparing a #3 defenseman (Mitchell) with a #4/5 defenseman (Gill). I think Gill’s salary is pretty reasonable considering the market place.

    As for Kubina, he is more than an offensive minded defenseman. He is more of an all-round defenseman who has excellent size, can quarterback the second PP unit, kill penalties and play 22+ minutes per game. In McCabe, Kaberle and Kubina the Leafs had 3 #1/#2 defensemen. Not many teams in the NHL can stake that claim.

  18. Willie Mitchell is more the Canucks #1B or #2 defenceman behind Mattius Ohlund – he was the #1 guy in Minnesota, and the #2 guy in Dallas (behind Zubov). On the Canucks he’ll be expected to be the shutdown defenceman, the guy facing the oppositions top-line each night. Now, in absolute dollar terms, is $3.5M for a top-two defenceman a better buy then $2.05 for a #5 defenceman (as a #5 defenceman is really what Hal Gill is)? I do think so. In fact, I think you would be fairly hard pressed to find another #4/#5 defenceman being paid that high of a salary. Further, using your above example and Nolan Baumgartner whom you mentioned above – is Hal Gill 60% the player Baumgartner is? For your reference, here are Baumgartner’s and Gill’s stats from last year, respectively:

    Baumgartner: 5G, 29A, +11, 30 PIM
    Gill: 1G, 9A, -4, 124 PIM

    I also disagree with your description of Kubina as an all-around defenseman. He is an offensive, and not an overly good offensive defenceman at that. Last season’s 38 points was a career high and it was also a season in which he was -12. The guy is a career -98 in the NHL. $5M for a defenseman who is a career -98 and average roughly 34 points a season seems extremely high to me. Hell, Baumgartner’s stats were just as good last season, if not better.

  19. I dont agree with the “Gil is usless” comment. I dont think a huge, aggressive 20+ MPG is usless. Gil will definetley take strain off McCabe and Kaberle , and even Kubina for that matter.

    I look up and down this line up on paper and I have to admit Im very pleased with this Leaf line up going into this season. Sure, they have holes like any other NHL team strapped by the salary cap. This Leaf line up looks similar to last seasons, will a few tweaks for the better. To think the Leafs will do worse than last year I think is far fetched. The Leafs were not even a “bad” team last year for that matter. A few bad stretches here and there, it happens. What fans saw in the last 11 games of the season is what I expect from this upcoming season. If you look at the Eastern Conference, that entire league is up for grabs (well on paper at least). No way Ottawa will repeat the season they had last year minus Chara, Anarson, Hasek, and Havlat. Picking up Gerber isnt such a great move in my opinion personally. Carolina of course is defending champions and will be expected to be fighting for the division crown…thats a no brainer. Other than that, what Eastern teams are power houses, or even look better on paper than the Leafs. Not many if you ask me. A lot of criticism here in Toronto last few weeks people saying the Leafs will have a poor season again. I strongly disagree, not because I am a Leaf fan, but because they actually put a pretty good mix of players together this off-season. People under estimate how much good Maurice will do for the Leafs, and how well his young players will step up. Many of these guys played under Maurice in the AHL learning his system, his play style. Now what these kids learned in the AHL years ago and thrieved on will now be with them at the NHL level. This goes on long way. This team may not be the best in the NHL on paper, but heart and a passion to win and succeed for home town boys goes a very long way in this game. I expect good things this season from the Leafs.

  20. Mr.Hockey,

    Have you actually watched Hal Gill play, yes he is huge, but he is not agressive and if you think he’ll be playing 20+ minutes a night – good luck to the leafs. Gill will spend about 12 minutes a night on the ice and 4+ minutes in the box, be a minus player on a good team and leave you wondering why he doesn’t learn how to skate.

  21. I completely disagree with you on this topic RJ. Ive watched many Bruins games and yes I have seen Gil serval times actually. Gil is huge and he is aggressive in the sence he is a stay at home defensive and usually makes sound defensive plays. He avg. I believe about 18mins a game last season and was over worked by a bad Bruin team. He is definetly a #4-5-6 type of defensemen who was pressured into a #2 role in Boston…mistakes were bound to happen. He is a great penalty killer, keeps players to the outside a lot of times. Gil will avg about 15mins a game and take a load of McCabe, Kaberle, and Kubina especially on the PK. Gil has avg. 78 games a season in his career which proves he does not get hurt very often which is EXACTLY what the Leafs need. A defensivemen who doesnt get hurt. Gil hasnt been known to be a minus player in his career…to judge him by his -4 last season on a bad Bruin team is unfair. Gil will not be minus this season. He’s only been minus I believe twice in his career and he was slightly minus. To also say Gil will spend 4+ minutes in the box a night is incorrect as well. Gil is not an enforcer! He has never put up ridiculous penalty minutes in his career, and I dont expect him to start this season. He has a huge wingspan for a guy whos 6’7″ 250lbs. He may be slow but that doesnt mean hes not good…he serves his purpose and is a situational defensive on the Leafs. Brought in for Penalty Killing, his size, shot blocking ability, durabilty, and above all…an experienced Dman to relieve pressure off McCabe Karberle and Kubina. Great pick up for the Leafs.

  22. ok I actually took a minute to look into this. Gil played 80 games last season and recieved 124 mins in penalties. Thats 1.55 penalty minutes a game. Not too shabby. There are many more defensivmen who averaged a lot more, most notably Witt, Commodore, Souray, and even Chara. Yet no one takes that into account right? Gil had 4 major penalities and 52 minor penalities. This may sound like a lot but taking a minor penalty to prevent a goal is not always a bad idea or a bad stat for that matter. Smart Dmen know when to take smart penalties. The Bruins were shit last year so im sure Gil took several “smart” penalties. So when you look at it overall…Gil is really not as bad a player as you make him out to be RJ.

  23. My point was that in today’s NHL his skating hampers him more than it did a couple years ago, and with the way the game is being called it seems that there is at least one minor a game called against Chara, Gill, etc. for clean hits because of their size. By the second half of last year Chara wound up so confused by the ridiculous penalties that were called against him for clean hits that he stopped his aggressive play and became a liability in the defensive zone (except when killing penalties). In my opinion (we’ll see if I am right at the end of the year), the leafs overpaid for a 5/6 defenseman with so many smooth gifted D-Men in Harrison, White, Bell and Carlos Orr, I also believe that the Bruins vastly overpaid for Chara in today’s game. He’ll be good but not the same as two seasons ago. Sorry about getting off topic with Chara.

  24. All this talk about Gil and Kubina has made everyone seem to forget about what this new NHL focuses on in regards to winning. GOALS! No longer does the defensive styled team dominate like the Devils of old. Todays game is fast paced and aggressive. Now Toronto went out and stocked up on defence and are paying over 18 million for their top 4. Add another 2.5 million for the defence minded peca and you have about 21 million or over half their salary. Yet when you look at their offensive pickups we see Antropov. Mats Sundin is a great player and an even greater player by not demanding a trade to a team with a proven goal scorer to help him get from the constant 80 pt per year to easilly over 100. The Leafs will never learn how to draft/trade/or sign properly. It’s a sickening thing to watch.

  25. “All this talk about Gil and Kubina has made everyone seem to forget about what this new NHL focuses on in regards to winning. GOALS! No longer does the defensive styled team dominate like the Devils of old.”

    It still comes down to stopping pucks that wins. The bottom 8 teams in goals against average in the playoffs were:

    NY Rangers

    How did those teams do in the playoffs?

    The 10 teams who hade the highest goals against in the regular season were:

    St. Louis
    NY Islanders
    Los Angeles

    How many of them made the playoffs?

    BTW, Toronto was in the top 10 in scoring goals last year. Stopping goals is what Toronto had to improve, not scoring them.

  26. Have people forgotten about Luongo?! Come on, there has to be some strong opinions out there about this one! I strongly support the move for several reasons:

    1. The Canucks shipped out a cancer in Bertuzzi. I’m sure he’ll do amazing things in Florida, but he was expensive dead weight in Vancouver.

    2. The Canucks lost Auld, but Nonis et al didn’t seem to really believe in him anyway. He’s a good to great backup, but a starter? I don’t really think so.

    3. In exchange for Allen (a slow but physical stay-at-home d-man), the Canucks received Krajicek (a much more mobile d-man with a bigger offensive upside; this is absolutely necessary in today’s NHL).

    4. Luongo. How often do you get the chance to aquire a goalie with the potential – according to most “experts” out there – to become the next Brodeur or Roy? Obviously, he has not proven himself capable of that yet, but he has never had the chance to prove himself in the playoffs either. And boy is he ever hungry to get there!

    How do you not consider this a great trade from the Canucks standpoint? Gone is dead weight (Bertuzzi), a goalie management doesn’t believe in (Auld), and a slow d-man (Allen). In return, a more mobile d-man (Krajicek) and an all-star goaltender (Luongo).

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