2011 NHL Free Agency Day One Recap

As expected, the Minnesota Wild were quiet in the free agent "frenzy." With only a handful of roster spots open, and hoping to enter the season with a competition amongst the young players in Houston to fill them, the Wild avoided the idiocy that overwhelmed the NHL. GM Chuck Fletcher made it clear at the draft that the team needed to get "younger and faster," so when the aging "star" players available at the start were not signed by the Wild, no one panicked. 

The big prize, Brad Richards, remained unsigned as of the writing of this post, but that did not stop the madness from kicking in and insane amounts of money from being thrown at free agents with only mediocre skill. Several players were well overpaid for what they offer their teams, raising more questions about whether or not the lock out that killed the 2004-05 season was really worth anything at all.

Make the jump for further discussion of day one.

Wild Signings

Josh Harding - 1 year, $750K - Great morale signing by the Wild. From reading tweets from Russo and other NHL media, it sounds like Jose Theodore had a healthy amount of interest, and good for him. Seeing Harding's name back on the roster will be welcome for many Wild fans, as Harding attempts to re-establish his health and his value to NHL teams. Some won't like it, but it was a classy move by the Wild to bring him back, and a comforting move for the fans. 

Kyle Medvec - 2 years, Terms not disclosed - The Wild signed their fourth round pick from 2006 to an entry level deal. The big defenseman has been underwhelming in the times I have seen him play (NCAA tournaments), but it is good to see the Wild sign some defensive help for the Aeros. Maybe some pro hockey will develop him, but be warned, he has a solid touch of traffic cone in him. 

Colorado trades a 2012 first round pick and a 2012 (or 2013) second round pick  for Semyon Varlamov - Let's just say... Uh... WHAT?!? The Avs trade away what will likely be a lottery pick and a second rounder for a goalie who has never even started 25 games in a season. Stupid, stupid move by a desperate team. Disgusting that a GM would be willing to give up that for a second tier goalie. At least the picks went out east.

NHL Notables

Jonathan Ericsson - Re-signed with Detroit for 3 years at $3.25 million per year. He was one of the players we felt the Wild could have targeted, but the Red Wings, we feel, over paid for someone they are comfortable with. 

James Wisniewski- 6 years for $33 million with Columbus. The Blue Jackets have made a splash this off season, but this move is a bit boggling. They must feel the cap is just going to continue to rise. This could be an ugly contract if the next CBA goes south on them. 

Christian Erhoff - 10 years for $40 million in Buffalo. Long contracts like this terrify me, especially for fringe 3-4 defensemen. THis is one of those deals that teams will point at in the next CBA negotiation as what caused them to lose "cost certainty." Once again, the teams have done this to themselves, so I feel little sympathy.

Ed Jovanovski - 4 years for $16.5 million with Florida. Florida had a solid day. They made progress toward the cap floor, and brought in some good players. They'll still be terrible next year, but hey... they're rebuilding with an aging D-man with injury issues. Good an ya, FLA.

Matt D'Agostini - 2 years for $3.3 million. One of the more reasonable contracts of the day. Too bad the Wild couldn't get in on that. 

Erik Cole - 4 years for $18 million with Montreal. This seems to be about right, maybe a little long on the term, though. Montreal got a good player, but a little over priced, and at least a year too long. 

Darcy Hordichuk - 1 year with Edmonton. Really? I mean... really?

Former Wild Players

Benoit Pouliot - 1 year with... get this... Boston. Dear lord, B's. Why would you do this?

Jose Theodore - 2 years with Florida.  He could make that team much better than it should be. Good for him signing on with a team rebuilding. This seems like a love of the game deal to me.

Chuck Kobasew - 1 year with Colorado. Couldn't have happened to a better team. 

Joel Ward - 4 years for $12 million with Washington. This contract is a reach. I mean, good on ya, Joel, but the Caps vastly overpaid for him. I like Joel Ward, and I like his game, but at $3 million per, I'm just not sure that fits. 

Eric Belanger - 3 years with Edmonton. I never minded Belanger much as a player. He is a whiner, and is consistently miserable for a man making over a million buck a year to play a game. I think the kids in Edmonton will have fun listening to him yell about his lawn.

Anton Khudobin - 2 years with Boston. After not being qualified, the B's brought Borat back into the fold. 

Andrew Brunette - 1 year with Chicago. We'll miss you, Bruno. Enjoy Chi town and go win your Cup. 

Cam Barker - 1 year for... amazingly... $2.25 million with Edmonton. The Oilers make my head hurt. They traded Kurtis Foster away and brought in a shadow of a man in Cam Barker to replace him. Enjoy Barker, Oil fans. I know we'll enjoy you having him. Especially at that price tag.

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