Posted on: July 8, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 8:01 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Outside of re-signing team captain Andrew Ladd to a contract extension earlier this week, the Winnipeg Jets' offseason has been a calm one. Perhaps even a little patient. The club hasn't jumped into a weak free agent class and has instead made only a couple of minor depth additions. On Friday, the club made a slightly larger move when it acquired forward Eric Fehr from the Washington Capitals in exchange for minor leaguer Danick Paquette and a fourth-round draft pick in 2012.
Fehr, who has to pass a physical by 5 PM Monday for the deal to become official, has had his career derailed by injuries since being selected with the 18th overall pick in the 2003 draft. In 52 games with the Capitals last season he scored 10 goals to go with 10 assists, after scoring a career-high 21 goals the previous season in 69 games.
Since making his NHL debut during the 2005-06 campaign Fehr has played more than 60 games just twice in his career. He is still only 25 years old and has enough ability that this is a worthy gamble by the Jets front office, especially given the relatively cheap price they had to surrender to make it happen.
The key aspect of the trade for the Capitals is getting Fehr's $2.2 million cap hit off the books for the upcoming season, as the club needed to clear cap space and still has to work out a deal with restricted free agent defenseman Karl Alzner. This should help, and given the offseason additions of Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer and Jeff Halpern up front, shouldn't hurt the on-ice product. Even if the return isn't all that impressive.
Paquette, a third-round pick by the Thrashers organization in 2008, spent the 2010-11 season playing for the Gwinnett Gladiators of the East Coast Hockey League where he scored 13 goals in 59 games. According to Hockey's Future, he has the potential "to be an effective energy line player and possible power play threat."
Posted on: July 6, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 12:11 pm
By Brian Stubits
Brouwer's rights were acquired by the Caps from Chicago at the draft a week and a half ago for Washington's first-round draft pick. Brouwer came over without a contract for next year, though, so a deal had to be worked out. But the fact that the Caps gave up a first-round selection to get him, you knew there was no chance they would let him walk away.
He will be a welcome sight in Washington as he brings a power game to the forward corps for the Caps. Much was made of Bruce Boudreau's transformation of the Capitals from a high-powered offensive machine that couldn't play a lick of defense to a responsible team in their own end that was subdued offensively. A player like Brouwer fits into the new mold and will help in the dirty department in D.C.
Brouwer, 25, scored 17 goals and had 19 assists last season with the Blackhawks, averaging 15 minutes per game of ice time. He is unlikely to be a top-six forward in Washington but will be a very nice contributor to the third line, if that is where he ends up.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: June 27, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 6:28 pm
Here we are, just days away from July 1, and Steven Stamkos still doesn't have a contract for next season. Come Friday, he will be a restricted free agent if no extension is reached with the Lightning before then. Stamkos says they're close, but as of yet no deal is done.
So will there be a stampede for Stamkos, a young superstar who has been the NHL's leading goal scorer over the past two seasons? Don't hold your breath.
If Stamkos is still unsigned comed Friday, teams will have the option of extending him an offer sheet, at which point Tampa Bay would have the option to match. And make no mistake, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman will match. He is indicated that there really isn't a level he won't go to to keep his star.
Perhaps you're thinking if a team has a ton of money, why not call Yzerman's bluff, see if he truly means it? If nothing else, you force Tampa Bay to handicap the rest of its roster by committing more than it had afforded to signing Stamkos. Take the Panthers, for example. GM Dale Tallon has to spend $26 million just to reach the salary cap floor, so he has a ton of money to throw around at this point. Couldn't he set out to damage his division rivals by either taking away their best player (and giving the Panthers a star of their own) or hampering Yzerman's efforts to build his roster by offering Stamkos, say $12 million annually?
The answer is of course he could, but it's unlikely he would. Or any other team for that matter. Why? In the hypothetical world where the Lightning don't match and let Stamkos go, they would still get compensation. For Stamkos, the going rate would be four first-round draft picks going back to the Lightning. Stamkos is elite, but that's a heavy, heavy price to pay, in addition to the money committed to paying Stamkos.
So there's a reason why nobody -- except Maple Leafs fans -- has their hopes too high for Stamkos. Then again, you never know what might happen.
Among the other top RFAs this season, both Nashville's Shea Weber and New Jersey's Zach Parise have dates with arbitration after the teams filed, meaning they are off the market while the teams try to negotiate contract extensions. It's hard to imagine either player going as far as arbitration, but if they do, it's even less fathomable the teams would decline to give the player the award. Point being, don't expect to see either guy in a new sweater any time soon, barring trade, of course. These are the types of guys that you imagine will do what they need to do so as not to lose such cornerstones.
Now just because Stamkos seems like a sure bet to remain in Tampa, that doesn't mean other RFAs can't be pried away from their current teams.
Here are the top restricted free agents (in alphabetical order).
Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky -- New York Rangers: The young Rangers all scored at least 18 goals for the Blueshirts last season, led by Dubinsky's team-high 24. The quartet could be described as the future of the franchise.
Drew Doughty -- Los Angeles: The 21-year-old defenseman has already reached All-Star status and is one of the better offensive defensemen in the league already.
Sergei Kostitsyn -- Nashville: The other RFA they have to deal with in Music City, Kostitsyn scored 23 goals and pitched in with 27 assists, having the best shooting percetage in the NHL out of those with at least 25 shots.
Andrew Ladd -- Winnipeg: Ladd was sent to Atlanta from Chicago after the cap-strapped Blackhawks couldn't retain him. In one season for the Thrashers, he had 29 goals, nine on the power play, and 30 assists.
Brad Marchand -- Boston: The rookie really broke out in the playoffs, when he scored 11 goals for the B's on their way to the Stanley Cup, the second most for a rookie in the postseason ever behind only Jeremy Roenick.
Keith Yandle -- Phoenix: A great puck-moving defenseman, he could perhaps be a target of the Bruins in his hometown of Boston. Yandle had 11 goals and a whopping 48 assists for the Coyotes last season.
Others to watch: Zach Bogosian (WPG), Troy Brouwer (WAS), Michael Frolik (CHI), Clarke MacArthur (TOR), Blake Wheeler (WPG), Mike Santorelli (FLA), Blake Comeau (NYI), Teddy Purcell (TB), Semyon Varlamov (WAS)
-- Brian Stubits
Photo: Getty Images
Tags: 2011 Free Agency, Andrew Ladd, Artem Anisimov, Blake Comeau, Blake Wheeler, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Brandon Dubinsky, Brian Boyel, Clarke MacArthur, Drew Doughty, Keith Yandle, Los Angeles Kings, Michael Frolik, Mike Santorelli, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, Ryan Callahan, Semyon Varlamov, Sergei Kostitsyn, Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, Teddy Purcell, Troy Brouwer, Tyler Kennedy, Winnipeg Jets, Zach Bogosian