Here are some of my thoughts on the free agent signings so far.
1. I want to give the finger tor all those who are outraged at the Jeff Finger signing and who have seen him play fewer than two games. Yes, that is pretty much everyone. As a Leaf fan I am a little skeptical of the Finger signing but I am going to reserve judgment until at least December when we will have seen him in action for a couple months and that is what all you Leaf fans should do. It astonishes me how many people will call it a bad signing without even knowing a thing about the player being signed.
2. Wade Redden for 6 years at $6.5 million has to be one of the worst signings of this off season. Redden has some skill but he has been pretty weak the past season or two and while a change of scenery might help him, I am almost certain he won’t come close to living up to that contract.
3. The best signing so far has been Brian Rolston by the New Jersey Devils. Not only will Rolston add some much needed offense to the Devil’s lineup, having played with the Devils previously and the Wild the past several seasons he will fit in perfectly to the Devils defensive system. Now if the Devils could just improve their defense crew they will be back to a Stanley Cup contending team.
4. Whatever happens with the Finger signing, I think Leaf fans will be pleased with the Hagman signing. He’ll add some much needed speed and defensive ability to the Leafs lineup. Just don’t expect 25 goals from him, but 15-20 is certainly possible. The Leafs won’t be as bad as everyone thinks/assumes.
5. The most active teams this off season have been Tampa, Edmonton and Columbus though I am not sure any of them are significantly better, particularly if Tampa goes and trades Dan Boyle. Columbus signing of Mike Commodore for 5 years at $3.75 million is a contender for worst signing this off season. It would not surprise me if all three missed the playoffs again.
6. Detroit is scary good, but you already knew that didn’t you.
7. Can everyone please stop asking “why did we have the lockout when we are seeing these crazy high salaries once again”. Whoever says that should immediate walk the stupidity plank because they don’t have a clue. First, the salary cap rising to $56.7 million only did so because the revenues are there. That is called linkage which the owners demanded and got. Second, pre-lockout players were getting up to $10-12 million contracts and second tier players like Bill Guerin and Bobby Holik were getting $9 million per season. The high end salaries now have not caught up to pre-lockout levels.
8. It might take another season but the Phoenix Coyotes are assembling a very good team with a mixture of size and skill.