Its really too bad nothing of consequence happened on the opening day of Free Agency! Of course I kid, as the teams around the NHL wasted little time in throwing around boatloads of cash to the top end free agents available. I won’t go through every one, but here are some of the top stories.
- Ontario teams made the biggest headlines. The first big ball to drop was the bombshell that had Daniel Alfredsson leaving Ottawa for supposedly greener pastures in Detroit. While the city had a “The sky is falling” attitude with the news that was tempered somewhat by the acquisition via trade of power forward Bobby Ryan later in the day.
- Toronto got one of the two top options at forward locked up,getting hometown boy David Clarkson‘s name on a 7 year contract worth $36.75M. The Leafs also re-signed centre Tyler Bozak to a 5 year deal and got RFA goalie Jonathan Bernier signed for 2 years.
- Jarome Iginla, after spurning Boston at the trade deadline, figured if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, signing on for one year with a base salary of $1.8 with the potential for $6M total with bonuses.
- So much for the lockout signifying fiscal restraint. After spending just under $125M for players not to play hockey via compliance buyouts, there was close to $400M in contracts signed from the beginning of July.
- Some of the names not picked up on Day 1 include goalies Tim Thomas and Ilya Bryzgalov, Jaromir Jagr, Brad Boyes and Derek Roy. Damien Brunner and Mason Raymond are also still out there.
- Nathan Horton signed the biggest overall value contract. The former Bruins winger, who apparently wanted to collect a paycheck in relative anonymity, chose the Columbus Blue Jackets to be the recipient of his services. He signed for 7 years and $37.1M.
We will have more free agency and other NHL news as the summer progresses.