Jagr is going to Omsk because he has affinity for teams with four letters and one vowel. Former Penguin/King/Panther/Ranger/Islander/ Senator Marty Straka is heading off to some EU team. Perhaps ZKZ Plzen, a team he played for in '94-'95. He can spare them an A and become Marty Strka playing for ZKZ Plazen.
So Jagr, Straka, Backman, Malik, Shanahan and Tyutin are all gone from the Rangers. You see massive roster churn from a lot of contenders year to year. And yes, I do realize that statement could be turned right back around on the Pens.
Speaking of which, Rayjean signed Matt Cooke to the two-year deal he wanted Ruutu to take and for even less money, $1.2 million per. See what patience can get you?! Cooke is just as much of an agitator, so he's the perfect replacement for Ruutu. If he also wants to pipe my friend after meeting her at the Pittsburgh Bottleshop, he'll be a total replacement. The Pens also signed Janne Pesonen who is another replacement for Ruutu in that he's Finnish. He had 78 points in 58 games for Karpat, leading Karpat in the Finnish National League. You always want a guy to have well over a point a game in some minor league before joining the NHL. Like when Crosby had 168 points in 62 games for Rimouski. Or when Lemieux had 282 points in 70 games for Laval, over 4 points a game. Four! So that's the good news. The bad news might be that he's a former 9th round pick who made it to age 26 before he made it to the NHL. Still, he has a two-way contract, so maybe he can teach Finnish to the kids in WBS.
The Sabres traded for Craig Rivet. He can give decent PP numbers if he gets the ice time and will add some penalty minutes, which is still seen as a positive for defenseman for some reason. He instantly becomes Buffalo's slowest player, most likely.
The Rangers kept Paul Mara, who was maybe their best defenseman last year. One year, $1.95...which...I think is less than he made last year.
The Canucks traded for Steve Bernier. He would've been better on the Sharks because he could've been another young, talented Sharks forward who doesn't score as much as he should. Wait, he did that for the Sharks already until he was part of the Campbell trade. Maybe if he can get some quality Sedin time, his numbers will go up.
Man, after losing in the conference finals two years ago, Buffalo is just crumbling. Maybe losing Drury was like pulling out the keystone that makes the whole arch fall. I'm sure the Rangers would be happy to give him back at this point.
There was also a handful of minor signings that don't even warrant pixels. Yes, transactions more minor than trading for Craig Rivet.
Then there was the Dan Boyle trade. On Thursday, I wrote I'm still avoiding speculation and rumor because it usually goes nowhere, but when asked about trading Dan Boyle, Tampa Bay owner Oren Koules said, "We think [Boyle's] the best puck-moving defenseman in the league." First off, he's not. Nobody's better than Lidstrom and Gonchar and Niedermayer and some other guys are maybe even better than Boyle. Second off, that statement is exactly how a Hollywood movie producer would deny a pending deal. Compliment you, then cut you. That's how it's done out here.
So what happened? They traded him two days later. It's almost like I know things. Like I don't even have to see people speak to know they're lying. And on top of that, according to Dan Boyle, "I understand business is business and I would not have taken it personally if it was done the right way, and when threats are involved and my personal character and work ethic is questioned; when those things get personal, that's not the way to do business." Apparently, Boyle was also threatened to be waived outright and end up in some hockey wasteland like Atlanta. (Colby Armstrong: "Hey!")
Threatening to waive a player when he won't call off the no trade clause you gave him earlier this year. Signing so many forwards that you need to move your best defenseman, "the best puck moving defenseman in the league", because his $6.667 million annual salary is too expensive. The very salary you gave him at the same time you gave him a no trade clause. Denying everything the player says and topping it off with "We wish Dan all the best, and we think he's going to have great success running the Sharks power play." Building a roster so your goalie is either Olaf Kolzig or Mike Smith and your best defenseman is either Matt Carle or Shane O'Brien. Sending a draft pick to Minnesota for the rights to Brian Rolston and then watching Rolston sign with New Jersey. That is one hell of an introduction to your era of rule. It's going to be a long, tough, losing five years in Tampa. I'd offer some sympathy to the Lightning fans, but there is no such creature living in the wild.
Lastly, after being a part of the rumor mill for every FA forward in the league and not getting any of them, the Wild signed Owen Nolan to a two-year deal. When that deal is up, Nolan will be 38. He's so old that he played for Quebec. Minnesota also had Alexandre Daigle at one point, so maybe their taste for former #1 overall picks will lead them to Bryan Berard's door next summer.
Speaking of Owen Nolan, I looked up his 1990 draft class for a tangent and it spun off into a whole new post. Tomorrow: Footnotes On Owen Nolan!
11:04am - The Flames signed Bert Bertuzzi to a one-year deal for $1.95 million. That's a decent amount of money for a guy who hasn't been the same since back surgery. Or since attacking Steve Moore from behind and ending his career. Only a one year deal, though, so if his back gives out, whatever.
11:06am - There's a decent amount of talk that the Pens want to trade Darryl Sydor and Sydor wants to be traded. Could be a perfect situation except...every team the Pens talk to say if they take Sydor, the Pens need to include Scuderi as a sweetener. Basically every team in the league wants Rob Scuderi. Think about that the next time you say he's no good.
1:35pm - The Blue Jackets traded for R.J. Umberger and now they've given him a new contract. 4 years, $3.75 million per year. In his best year, Umberger had 50 points. In his worst year, 2006-2007 when the Flyers were a total abomination, Umberger had 28 points in 81 and went -32. -32! He is now the third highest paid Blue Jacket. In fairness, he might be the third best Blue Jacket. Since he's now in the Campbell Conference and not playing the Penguins eight times a year, he probably won't crack 40 points next season.
1:39pm - The Flyers, fearing they were short an agitator, worried that Steve Downie and Scott Hartnell and Riley Cote just weren't enough, signed Aaron Asham to a multi-year deal. The season cap will be $56 million. The summer cap is $63 million, giving teams a chance to bring guys into camp and see who works out. The Flyers are almost over the summer cap!