It’s been nearly two weeks since free agency opened and most of the big fish have landed, which means it’s time to evaluate the winners and losers of free agency. There’s still some great players out there that can help teams, but the bulk of signings have already been made so right now is a perfect time to see how each team has done so far.
Usually, grading a team’s offseason in July is a fool’s errand because a lot of things will change during the season, but with recent advances in hockey analytics, it’s possible to get a reasonable estimation. Just like our post before free agency began, we used wins above replacement from war-on-ice.com over the last three seasons to project what a player will do next season. Using our off-season movement tracker, we looked at who’s in and who’s out for each team and added up their WAR totals to get wins added (or lost) from this offseason.
Of course, wins aren’t everything in the offseason, especially in a salary cap league. The value of the wins added is important too. With that in mind, here’s all 30 teams’ wins added compared to how much salary they added. Above the red line means a team got less for their money, while below means teams got more. (Keep in mind that WAR is generally skewed towards forwards and goalies so a team that added a big-time D-man, like Calgary, won’t look as great as they should here). Read more
The Chicago Blackhawks made their much-anticipated trade of left winger Patrick Sharp on Friday, shipping him and prospect defenseman Stephen Johns to the Dallas Stars for defenseman Trevor Daley and left winger Ryan Garbutt.
While the Blackhawks cleared Sharp’s $5.9-million annual cap hit from their books, they’re not out of cap hell yet. They took on Daley’s $3.3-million cap hit over the next two seasons, along with half of Garbutt’s $1.8-million cap hit through 2016-17. That puts the Hawks under the $71.4 million salary cap by less than $1 million.
The addition of Daley suggests the Blackhawks won’t be bringing back unrestricted free agent rearguard Johnny Oduya. CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers reports GM Stan Bowman isn’t ruling it out, claiming the situation remains fluid and “there are a lot of factors at play.” Read more
With 3:35 left in Game 7, Matt Frattin had a chance to bury the Bruins. Taking advantage of a fumbling Dougie Hamilton, Frattin stripped the Boston defenseman at the Toronto blueline and charged up the ice with the opportunity to extend what was already a shocking 4-2 lead for the Maple Leafs. But Frattin’s backhand attempt went wide of Tuukka Rask’s net, and the Bruins weren’t dead yet.
You know what happened next.
Boston scored twice in the waning minutes to send the game into overtime, then broke the hearts of Leafs Nation when Patrice Bergeron pounded a rebound past a prone James Reimer. The Bruins, heavy favorites entering the series, narrowly escaped a massive first-round upset. Boston went on to lose in the 2013 Stanley Cup final. Read more
Five days ago, Phil Kessel became a Pittsburgh Penguin in a trade that brought Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington, Nick Spaling and a first-round selection back to the Toronto Maple Leafs. But even though it’s been nearly a week, it appears the trade still stings the 27-year-old Kessel.
According to poker star Daniel Negreanu, a Toronto native who has become friends with Kessel, being shipped out by the Maple Leafs was an emotional experience for the goal-scoring winger.
“I spoke to Kessel and he’s obviously sad because he really loves Toronto,” said Negreanu in an interview with PokerListings.com. “But I look at it as a great opportunity for him…He’s going to be able to play with (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin.” Read more
Following his career year, Shawn Matthias didn’t cash in quite as big as Matt Beleskey, but the 27-year-old winger did earn a healthy raise Monday, signing a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, worth a reported $2.3 million.
Matthias earned $1.85 million in 2014-15 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks and took his chance on the free agent market this off-season. It paid off, as less than a week after his nearest comparison, the aforementioned Beleseky, signed a five-year deal with the Boston Bruins worth $3.8 million per season, Matthias has himself a considerable raise. Over his career, Matthias has notched 69 goals and 131 points in 408 games.
With the Canucks this past season, Matthias scored 18 goals and 27 points, the best single season totals of his career, which is impressive considering 17 of his tallies came at even strength, second on Vancouver behind only Radim Vrabta’s 19. Even though Matthias spent a mere 7:15 total on the power play over the course of his 78 games this past season, his only non-even strength goal came with the extra man. With numbers like that, if he can find chemistry with the right linemates, this could be a tremendous signing for Toronto. Read more
For Nazem Kadri, the 2015-16 season could be the biggest of his career. If nothing else, the pressure to perform will certainly be there.
Sunday afternoon, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced they have signed the 24-year-old center to a one-year, $4.1 million deal that will keep him in blue and white next season. But after a 2014-15 campaign and off-season in which Kadri’s name had been mentioned in trade talks and potential rebuilding of the club, the one-year contract is significant in that it could mean it might be Kadri’s last deal as a Maple Leaf.
Kadri was a restricted free agent heading into this off-season and signing the one-year deal helps the Maple Leafs and their young, potential star center avoid lengthy and possibly tenuous contract talks. It also shows the Maple Leafs are willing to give Kadri at least one more shot at becoming the player Toronto has hoped he would become. Read more
The Kevin Shattenkirk trade speculation that surfaced during the recent NHL draft gained momentum during the opening day of free agency. Jeremy P. Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the defenseman’s agent denied claims his client was being shopped, but it did little to quell the rumors.
It remains to be seen how the speculation will be affected by the Blues recent trade of winger T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals. If they’re still fielding inquiries about Shattenkirk, Rutherford suggests the 26-year-old blueliner’s contract could be the issue. Shattenkirk has two years left on his deal at an average cap hit of $4.25 million. The Blues already have considerable long-term contracts invested in blueliners Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester. Rutherford notes they won’t part with Pietrangelo, while Bouwmeester’s struggles last season could hurt his trade value. Read more
Toronto Maple Leafs left winger Leo Komarov, 28, has reportedly found himself in some legal trouble back in his home country of Finland.
According to the Helsingin Sanomat, a daily subscription newspaper in Finland, and based off of a loose translation, Komarov has been slapped with two traffic charges and two fraud charges in Espoo District Court.
The charges, according to the report, stem from an alleged incident of dangerous driving and Komarov reportedly providing false information about his income to authorities. In Finland, traffic tickets and other fines can be based on income, which has resulted in some pricy punishments in the past, like a 39,000 euro ticket Teemu Selanne was hit with in 2000 for reckless driving. According to the Sanomat, Komarov’s alleged traffic crimes could be punishable, “by fines or up to six months in jail,” whereas the fraud charge can carry up to three months behind bars. Read more