For that matter, either was last year’s OR next year’s. I wonder if we’ll start to see more RFA’s get poached because of this. Anyway…
None of this means I’m not looking forward to this like a kid on Christmas Eve. This time of year is always fun. This year might be more fun than normal because of everything going on around free agency. The cap is up again and teams are going to have to spend to reach the floor. The RFA class might be the best ever. The league has already been littered with trades of great significance and rumors are flying that those could just be the beginning.
I don’t really need to build this up anymore. If you are reading a blog about hockey, you’re clearly a fan and have already heard all the noise leading to noon eastern today. So, I’ll just ask you to check back often as I’ll be updating ‘live’ throughout the day. Sit back and enjoy, and good luck to your favorite teams. Except the Flyers, Bruins, Leafs, Canadians…
I quickly wanted to touch on the Ehrhoff signing. I’ve read a couple schools of thought on the Twitter-verse regarding the very un-old-Sabres-like deal Darcy Regier and Terry Pegula dreamed up. The first is that they are cheating. I am fine with that school of thought. Offering a guy $40M, $18M in the first two years of which $12M is ‘bonuses’, definitely smells a little fishy. I wouldn’t be a fan of this contract if I were a fan of another team, and I imagine deep-pocketed owners around the league are trying to figure out if Brad Richards would bite on a similar deal. However my owner's pockets drag on the floor behind him when he walks, so I love it. Also, the Sabres have been ‘blessed’ with two previous owners who keep their checkbooks in safes, at the bottom of the ocean, guarded by sharks, so… we’re due.
The other school of thought is that the Sabres overpaid. Read this next part closely, and notice how it doesn’t contain the words ‘I think’ or ‘in my opinion’. That is flat out, 100%, dead wrong. This point of view must be coming from jaded Sabres ‘fans’, which are less fun to listen to than arguments about politics, Mac vs. Pc, PS v. Xbox. These fans scoff at every move their teams make, so they can say ‘I told you so’ at the end of every non-Cup season. I could write a whole article about this type of person though, so I’ll move on.
The only other people who could think he got overpaid must’ve wanted him on their team and are trying to justify why it’s better they didn’t get him. That sentence can’t be grammatically correct but it gets my point across. Currently (before the FA market opens) there are 34 other Defenseman with a cap hit of $4M or more. Ehrhoff’s contract means he takes up 6% of the Sabres cap space, an incredibly reasonable number. If the idea is merely that he isn’t worth $18M the first two years, let me remind the pessimists, that isn’t your money. Also, if he decides to walk away from the last three years he only leaves $3M on the table. On the flip side, if he isn’t performing Buffalo can easily buy out those last years. The FACT is the number is very fair cap-wise, and that’s the only dollar amount that should matter to fans.
And by the way, the above is the correct spelling. His name, incorrectly spelled
Erhoff, was actually trending on Twitter last night. Let’s be better than that hockey fans!
Anyway, I’ll stop for now and give the ol’ fingers a rest until noon. Be sure to check back!
Live NHL Action:
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5:10 Trade deadline blogs and the like are a bit easier to stop since there is a cut and end. Free Agency just keeps going. I'll call it a day here and come back if Richards signs soon. Thanks for reading today, it was fun! And let's go Buff-a-lo!
5:10 Sabres never went to Mississauga and are out on Brad Richards. Leino apparently was the backup plan to play center. I'm not thrilled about guys that play multiple positions. How many great centers spent time on the wing too? I love what they've done, and I don't dislike Leino, but I still hope a trade is in the works. That said, Darcy has basically stated that this is our team right now.
4:24 So, Michelle adds a new bit of wisdom. I was wondering aloud about what the Sabres are going to do. She asked what I meant. I told her the Sabres have so many wingers and Ville Leino who they just signed, is also a winger. Her response (and note the quotes) "like, a defensive winger?" I've failed as a husband.
She also wanted to add, knowing I'd be typing this, that she is excited by how much TSN is talking about the Sabres as contenders. She really does have a decent grasp on hockey, more than her knowledge of the positions would suggest.
4:13 TSN segues from a segment, by saying "speaking of big names" and then announce that Benoit Pouliot has signed a 1 year, $1.1M deal with the Bruins. Weak, TSN.
While typing that, Sabres sign Ville Leino. 6 year deal for $27M. Slightly overpaid, but a nice player that has played well in the playoffs. My guess is it would take them out of the Richards race, but they are still without a number one center. The fact that they signed a winger at all is weird. They must have a deal in the works. What a fun time to be a fan of the Blue and Gold!
3:12 I'm running out of steam. I'm home now, so not having to pretend to work is a plus, but still nothing substantial is happening. I wonder how many trades will kick off once Richards finds a home? I'll keep blogging, so check back often, but hopefully the action (or even just the rumors) picks up soon. And hopefully Richards signs before I head to the bar. Gotta celebrate Canada Day (Buffalo is practically Canada).
2:18 @RealKyper tweets "Hearing rumblings #NHL teams presenting to Brad Richards are pitching 12.8M max offer in years 1 and 2. Crazy money out there."
Wow. That said, I guess I'm still in. Get the cap hit down to 7 or 8, and make the last three years very buy-outable, and there isn't too much risk. Again, it's not my money.
1:52 Ed Jovanovski to Florida is (relatively) old news now, but the numbers just rolled in. Four years, $16.5M. Again, PLEASE try to tell me the Sabres overpaid for Ehrhoff.
Also, Jagr gets $3.3M from the Flyers. Nice work Philly. I can't believe I complimented your organization.
I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
1:31 While I was typing that informative hard-hitting update, news broke that Philly signed Jagr. I mentioned in my last blog that I loved the moves Philly made up to this point, but this one is a huge head scratcher. You get rid of one guy in Mike Richards that showed a bit of immaturity in the playoffs and bring in Jagr? What type of example is he going to be for Schenn? That said, I'm glad the Flyers are making moves I don't like. Call it sour grapes.
1:28 I'm back. A few middle of the road players got signed to small contracts, but nothing major. Check out Steve's blog if you want more detail on those signings: Here
However this DID happen during lunch... the following are texts I got from my lovely wife, Michelle. She said she was going to watch the NHL network because she heard the news talk about free agency, and she knew I'd be blogging. The following are her exact texts (only changes are a bit of spelling), mostly regarding Micheal Peca, one of my favorite players ever:
12:33 Pretty Peca is on NHL network. :)
12:34 Not nearly as animated as the other two, but much easier on the eyes. :)
12:35 Peca thinks a change in scenery for Connolly would help him.
My blog is awesome. She continues:
12:36 He's good.
12:37 Maybe I should blog. :) I'm good. :)
Regarding her early comment that Mr. Peca is "good":
12:37 Pretty men don't need brains tho. :)
Has a blog ever won a Pulitzer? She concludes with this insight:
12:39 We need Ovechkin. Not because he is good, but so he can make funny commercials with the Sabres. I like the one of him in the locker. :)
I'd read her blog.
12:15 Lunch time. Hopefully nothing happens right away. Check out Steve's blog while I'm out. Then come back to mine. It's way more awesome.
12:12 TSN reporting Pegula (and company) will be meeting Brad Richards and his agent in person.
Also some rumors are out there that Detroit is out on Jagr. Another podcast related prediction that I got wrong. I suck at this.
12:03 It officially begins. I won't report every signing and trade since that would be hard, and boring. But I'll get all the big ones and my take on them.
Drew Miller re-signs in Detroit. Relevant because it means he will not be joining his bro in Buffalo. There is no room for him anyway with Kaleta, Goose, Hecht, McCormick on the 4th line.
11:58 Higgins re-signs in Vancouver. The world somehow, is still spinning on its axis after being rocked by this news.
@krufrank has not totally backed off the Sabres/Stamkos rumor, but suggests it is either that OR a deal involving Roy. I'd be excited about either, assuming a center is coming back.
11:44 Jagr will not be a Penguin. Supposedly they are getting close with Kennedy. Maybe my prediction on the podcast (www.sports-casters.com) that he'd end up in Detroit will come true. They seem to be a nice destination for players in the twilight of their career (Hull, Hasek, Modano). @krufrank put Jagr in Montreal.
@krufrank is saying Leino to Philly is done. Maybe you all should just follow him on twitter with my endorsement. He's the best I've seen for rumors and literally only has 283 followers.
11:37 Not sure who this guy is, or who his sources are, but he is one of the most accurate NHL rumor guys I've seen. @krufrank on twitter mentioned last night that he believes the Sabres are preparing an offer sheet for Stamkos. His last two tweets "Late last night, before signing off I mentioned the possibility of an offer sheet for Stamkos coming from Buffalo - well...wait for it..." followed by "Buffalo about to break something big just after lunch today"
I don't want to read too much into rumors or give this guy too much credit, but like I said, he's pretty good. Interesting to say the least.
11:32 Brad May reporting Sabres signed Cody McCormick to a 3 year deal worth 3.6M total. A little pricy for a 4th liner, but he seems like a popular guy in the room and sticks up for teammates on the ice.
10:56 Columbus signs D James Wisniewski. Six years, $33M. I'd love to hear the argument again that Ehrhoff is overpaid. That said, I like that the Jackets are surrounding the main man, Rick Nash, with some talent. Jeff Carter, Wisniewski, attempted to get Brian Campbell... No reason this team shouldn't realistically compete for a playoff spot next year. Welcome to the NHL.
10:49 Waiting, watching the clock...
10:45 The waiting, is the hardest part...