The opening weekend of free agency had a mix of your usual flurry of activity, along with some discounts and quick signings that reflect the flat cap and general pandemic uncertainty.
Rather than waiting for the top names to sign before other things fall in place, the top forward took a shocking (but lucrative, full NMC-protected) one-year deal in Buffalo while the top defenseman’s home franchise declined to engage in a game of chicken.
The Islanders? Pretty quiet, by necessity, as has been much discussed around here. Unless or until Lou Lamoriello finds a taker for some of his cap baggage, he’ll have to remain focused on the edges and on how to find agreement with his three key RFAs.
It’s a weird year, a weird offseason, and we’re in October and Canadian Thanksgiving with no home opener in sight.
One year ago tonight, the #isles were outshot 19-40 (first time in franchise history( and lost 5-2 in Carolina. They won’t have a chance to lose again in October until 2021. The club-record 17-game point streak started the next night. #Skinny
— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) October 12, 2020
- Faced with a pandemic and no windfall options, top free agent forward Taylor Hall signs short-term…in Buffalo? One year, $8 million. [NHL | Post]
- Vegas remains the wisely seen frontrunner for Alex Pietrangelo, whose Blues chose to move on rather than wait for him to finish pacing around the pool. [TSN] (Amusingly, this video includes Darren Dreger saying of Hall, “It has to be a very strong NHL team, otherwise he’s not going to consider it.” Oops.)
- The Blues moving on after he declined their latest offer “caught Pietrangelo off guard.” [Athletic]
- Again, we don’t know what the next season (slated for Jan. 1, with a big asterisk) will hold, but it’s reasonable to expect it may include some temporary realignment to reduce travel. [Post]
- After the shunning of Corey Crawford and yesterday’s trade of Brandon Saad, the remaining core members of the Blackhawks are, shall we say, miffed. Jonathan Toews speaks in measured but certain tones for the group. [Athletic | NHL]
- Similarly, Crawford was “devastated” to hear the Hawks were moving on from him. [Post]
- The Saad trade in question: Another offensive weapon for the Avalanche. [NHL]
- Count Larry Brooks among those puzzled by the Rangers’ approach to free agency, and Jack Johnson. [Post]
- The Leafs cleared some more cap space by dealing Andreas Johnsson to the Devils, who expect him to be in their top six. [NHL]
- #AllAboutThePajamas: The Leafs also added Lightning Cup winner Zach Bogosian on a tidy one-year, $1 million deal. [NHL]
- Kyle Dubas’ moves there represent a shift to “harder to play against” and “painful cap realities.” [Sportsnet]
- Former Wild captain Mikko Koivu is looking for team success by signing with the Blue Jackets. [NHL]