The ridiculousness of free agency is now a week behind us, and a whole lot has happened. Not much with the Rangers, mind you, but that is more or less a good thing. The Blueshirts brought in Michael Grabner, Nathan Gerbe, Nick Holden and a couple AHL signees. Most of the heavy lifting appears to be done, and as you can imagine, I have some thoughts…
- I can’t help but wonder if Jeff Gorton was aiming for some sort of actual return for Marc Staal and Dan Girardi. I am painfully aware that the number of cap floor, analytically-averse teams are dwindling rapidly and that there simply may have been no interested parties. This could explain why no one has signed Kris Russell yet. Point is, I hope Gorton would have jumped on the opportunity just to shed the salary and not hoped for an actual return.
- Sticking with the blueline conundrum for a second, it still needs to be fixed. Adding Holden and Skjei to replace Boyle and Yandle is not going to end well. Expecting returns to form for Girardi and Staal is going to end worse. Too bad Florida already took all the good defenders. Looking ahead, a buy-out of one of the two (hopefully Girardi) is a no-brainer, as being forced to protect both players in the expansion draft is pure insanity.
- Speaking of Florida, they have had a very impressive off-season thus far. They added two of the top defensemen available in Yandle and Demers, extended a couple of franchise cornerstones, fleeced Vancouver and added platoon insurance for a slightly long in the tooth Roberto Luongo at a reasonable cost. Savvy.
- On the other side of the coin, man, that David Backes deal was bad. Like, disaster in year two bad. It’s probably the Yankee fan in me, but I have an irrational hatred of the Bruins and Don Sweeney has consistently impressed me with his ineptitude since he took over the job.
- Sticking with the garbage pile, the Islanders got gutted on 7/1. Losing Neilson, Martin and Okposo and compensating for those losses with a 7-year deal for Andrew Ladd? Yikes. Between the terrible venue they play in and the significantly reduced talent level, it could be a long year in Brooklyn. Also, can someone explain to me how Jack Capuano is still employed there? He is the prototypical “sure, coach the team while they suck and we will replace you when we turn the corner on the rebuild” type coach. Yet, the Isles never brought in an actual replacement. Weird.
- I know the skill sets read similar, but let’s not try to compare Michael Grabner and Carl Hagelin. It will just make you sad. Grabner is a broke man’s Carl Hagelin.
- Money cannot buy you intelligence, unfortunately. Until owners can exercise some restraint, July 1 is going to be an exercise is valueless, bloated excess. If you look at sports where footwork and foot speed is the foundation of elite talent (think soccer, tennis), you will see that the aging curve is decidedly young. Hockey is trending in this direction. As the concept of speed and skating ability begin to be the dominant indicators of success, the productivity curve is going to skew the prime years younger. Lavishing 32 year-olds with Brinks trucks full of money is
going to bea very bad way to do business. Most of the GM’s who hand these deals out won’t be around for the end of them, so it will be up to the owner’s to run a more efficient model. The weird thing is, they presumably were cunning businessmen to acquire enough wealth to purchase a pro-sports franchise. Why do their brains go out the window once they own one? It’s not like free agency overspending is a new concept. There is plenty of evidence to support its lunacy.
- Speaking of lunacy, how about those Oilers? The mental gymnastics their beat writers have attempted have been something to behold with both the Lucic signing and the Hall for Larsson swap. They paint the front office as having been backed into a corner with the mandate to go something, anything to change course from the past few seasons. I’m sorry, but massively overpaying for a solid, but unspectacular defenseman and giving max term and $6m to an aging goon/power forward is not a defensible strategy. Even in the “something, anything” department.
- I’m sick of every old school justification about how Shea Weber is the player you want over PK Subban. Just sick of it. Wouldn’t it be the most ironic thing for PK to get run out of a progressive, quasi-European city in Montreal, then be embraced in the American south?
- Oh, and I agree with Chris. The Rangers won’t sign Jimmy Vesey. Also, the Kyle Palmieri extension is a perfect model for a Chris Kreider extension. Go use it, Rangers.
- On a personal note, I went to see Independence Day 2 with the old man last night. So. Much. Stupid. It made Batman v Superman look like Citizen Kane. Sorry, just had to be said.
Did I miss anything? I feel like I covered most of the mayhem. Let me know if you have any thoughts on the last week of nonsense in the comments below.