Well, today is the day. At noon EST, the free agency period will officially begin, and we all watch with bated breath to see what General Manager Glen Sather will do. Sather’s track record on July 1 post-lockout is, well, uh, bad. With news that Redden is almost certain to be waived unless he has a tremendous camp, that will give the Rangers an extra $6.5 million to play with come noon today. That also worries many of us. Most of the prime free agents are gone, but guys like Ilya Kovalchuk are still available, albeit to the disdain of Rangers fans.
Personally, I would like them to avoid any UFA defensemen on the market. There is incredible depth in the system, and signing any UFAs might make Ryan McDonagh avoid signing for this season. As for forwards, I would prefer the Rangers get someone like Pavol Demitra or Vinny Prospal for a year at a relatively cheap price as a stopgap for guys like Derek Stepan and Evgeny Grachev. For backup goalie, I would like to see Johan Hedberg. He’s competent, and a real Rangers killer.
I’ll be updating this until about 5pm EST, at which point I have to head out to play softball. At that point, either jurgenno or Jeremy will be updating. So stick around for all the big news. Rangers signings/news will be in bold.
Kicking things off was a trade that happened late last night, as Toronto acquired Kris Versteeg and the rights to Bill Sweatt from Chicago for Viktor Stalberg, Chris DiDomenico and Philippe Paradis.
Update 11:40am: Darren Dreger is saying that if he were a betting man, he would bet on Martin Biron to the Rangers.
Update 11:47am: Larry Brooks is reporting that Marty Biron will sign with the Rangers.
Update 11:50am: The Flyers have acquired Andres Meszaros from TB for a 2nd round pick.
Update 12:30pm: The Rangers have signed Martin Biron to a two year, $1.8million contract ($900,000 per). They have also come to terms with Erik Christensen at two years, $925,000 per. There are rumors of a NYR/CGY trade. Sergei Gonchar to Ottawa for 3 years, $5.5 million per year, at a 35+ contract.
Update 12:40pm: Alex Tanguay signs with CGY, 1/$1.7 million, NMC.
12:47pm: Anton Babchuk returns to Carolina for 1 year, $1.4 million.
12:51pm: Blues re-sign Alex Steen to a four year deal.
Update 1:02pm: TB re-signs Marty St. Louis to a four year extension at $22.5 million ($5.625m per). This will be a 35+ deal. Jesse Winchester re-signs with Ottawa for two years, $750,000.
Paul Martin Zbynek Michalek signs with Pittsburgh at 5/$20 million ($4 million per). Crap.
Update 1:30pm: Missed this, but Braydon Coburn re-upped with Philly for 2/$3.2 million. How’s Alexei Zhitnik working for you Atlanta?
Update 1:35pm: Alex Auld to Montreal, 1 year, $1 million. The Rangers saved $100,000 in cap room by signing Biron over Auld.
Update 1:38pm: Colby Armstrong to Toronto for three years $3 million per year (!!!), Antero Niittymaki to San Jose for $4 million a year for two years.
Update 1:40pm: Joel Perrault to Vancouver for 1 year, $510,000. Sean O’Donnell to the Flyers for one year, $1 million plus games played bonuses.
Update 1:50pm: Manny Malhotra to Vancouver for 3/$7.5M and a NTC.
Update 1:57pm: Derek Morris returns to Phoenix for 4/$11 million ($2.75 million per). That’s ridiculous.
Update 2:20pm: And I’m back after a quick conference call. Jody Shelley to PHI for 3 years, $1.1 million. Again, crap, but glad the Rangers didn’t give him that kind of money. Dan Ellis to TB on a two year deal, $1.5 million per.
Update 2:23pm: Joey Crabb to Toronto for two years.
Update 2:30pm: Paul Martin goes to the Penguins. So they lose Gonchar, and get Michalek and Martin. Crap.
Update 2:33pm: Larry Brooks is reporting that the Rangers are targeting Derek Boogaard.
Update 2:36pm: The Rangers have signed Derek Boogaard.
Contract details coming. Rumored to be Deal is 4 years, $1.65 million. That’s an awful lot for someone like Boogaard. (Update: On second thought, it’s only a $400,000 raise on last year for him. Though 4 years is questionable. Boogaard is an absolute monster though.)
Update 3:00pm: Toni Lydman to Anaheim, 3 years, $9 million.
Update 3:25pm: After a quick coffee break, Ray Whitney to PHX for 2 years, $3 mil, 35+ contract.
Update 3:55pm: Devils sign Henrik Talinder, 4 years, $3.375 per.
Update 4:00pm: Edmonton signs Kurtis Foster, 2 years, $1.8 million. That’s a great signing by them.
Update 4:10pm: Dan Hamhuis to Vancouver, 6 years, $4.5 million.
Update 4:20pm: Anton Volchenkov is headed to the Devils on a whopping six-year deal, $25.5 million total, NTC.
Update 4:26pm: Jeff Tambellini signs with Vancouver.
Update 4:30pm: Olli Jokinen to Calgary for $3 million per for two years (BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!!!!!). Chris Mason to Atlanta for two years, $3.7 mil total.
Update 4:40pm: Andrew Ladd has been traded to Atlanta for Ivan Vishnevsky and a 2nd round pick.
Update 5:08pm: The Rangers are apparently talking with Alex Frolov.
Update 5:11pm: Sabres sign Jordan Leopold to a 3 year deal. Rangers are closing in on a deal with Vinny Prospal.
Update 5:18pm: The Rangers have re-signed Vinny Prospal,
terms are en route. The deal is for $1 million base salary, with $1.1 million in incentives. It is a one year deal. This is a fantastic signing. Great contract.
Update 5:26pm: Johan Hedberg to the Devils, 1 year, $1.5 million (including bonuses), NTC.
Update 5:49pm: Anaheim signs Saku Koivu, 2 years, $2.5 million per, 35+ contract.
Update 6:25pm: Matt Cullen is signing with Minnesota.