[NHL] On The Blue Line

The Second Annual NHL Sale began as soon as the free agent doors opened on July 1st when, without having a discount of any kind, the Boston Bruins signed the biggest free agent available as they lured Zdeno Chara with a 5 year deal worth $37.5 million. This doesn’t necessarily make the Bruins contenders but it sure doesn’t hurt as bait for other free agents to want to play in Boston. The Bruins bought out the contracts of Travis Green and Shawn McEachern and then signed another top free agent in center Marc Savard, who signed for $20 million over four years. Talk going around the league today now has Brendan Shanahan mumbling about wanting to play in Boston because he’s from Mass. and maybe because new head coach Dave Lewis is an old buddy from Detroit?

Shanny will surely miss his other old friend, Steve Yzerman, who announced his retirement this morning after 23 NHL seasons, a Selke Trophy, a Conn Smythe, 9 All-Star appearances, 3 Stanley Cups and ranking 6th all-time in NHL career points with 692 goals and 1063 assists for 1,755 points in 1,514 career games. The man had his number retired by Team Canada, too.

Yzerman’s retirement, while being a huge loss for the league itself, will be a true test for the Red Wings who will now, for the first time in nearly a decade, will be moving on with new players that played under Yzerman, Shanahan, Hull and all the other veterans that the Wings would sign in lieu of having their own prospects come up. Stevie Y won’t be around to wear the ‘C’ and take control of things in the lockerroom.

This might leave Chris Chelios as the man to take over as the Wings prepare to hand over flagship of the team to two of the best youngsters in the game in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Nicklas Lidstrom has re-signed which can do nothing but good.

Ducks and Oilers make the deal

Scott Neidermeyer and Chris Pronger together On The Blue Line?

We’re going to get to see it as the newly dressed Ducks have acquired Chris Pronger from the Oilers for Joffrey Lupul, prospect Ladislav Smid, Anaheim’s first-round choice in 2007, a conditional first-round pick and Anaheim’s second-round pick in 2008.

This probably marks the end of the Ducks moves for the off-season but what a move. After Chara signed with Boston and Rob Blake signed with the Kings, everyone focused on Edmonton and the very public talk that Pronger wanted to be traded. Most thought a move back to St. Louis would happen as the Blues and their new ownership clearly want to win now with the signings of Dan Hinote, Jay McKee and Doug Weight but the Ducks came in and pretty much offered a perfect deal with guys who can play now and giving up a boatload of picks, which has been the Edmonton staple since free agency tore apart their nucleus of stars.

Pronger and the Mrs. got what they wanted and the Oilers will have to convince Peca to stay by making him an offer that the Sabres and Islanders (Peca’s former clubs) can’t match.

Who went where?

These aren’t the Minnesota Wild that I once knew! After trading for Pavol Demitra at the NHL draft the Wild have gone out and overpaid for Mark Parrish but made some good moves and signed Keith Carney and Kim Johnsson (sorry Philly!) to help out on defense. That surge certainly makes up for doing nothing last year but is it enough to get Marian Gaborik to commit to the team?

The Senators, coming off of 3 consecutive years of “What Could have Been” have parted ways with Dominik Hasek and signed Martin Gerber to take over in the net. Losing Chara hurt but they managed to re-sign Redden and pluck Joe Corvo from the Kings. Corvo is a guy who can work the powerplay, can skate very well and has a good shot from the point. Turnovers, he’s apt to them, but he’s still a young kid and the Sens made a good move in picking him up.

Ed Jovanovksi signing with Phoenix has Brett Hull in Phoenix written all over it. It’s a nice pickup but the team still isn’t going anywhere.

Patrik Elias signed a SEVEN year extension with the Devils and why the hell not? The Devils have proven that they’re not done being contenders.

Anyone got a couple of million for Hasek? If Jason Arnott can get five years at $22.5 million overall from Nashville, surely Hasek can get a couple of million for a season full of drama.

Goodnight, everybody!