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2010 NHL Free Agency: Winners and losers after day one

After one day of free agency, you start to get a sense for just who the “winners” and “losers” will be free agency. And today, it looks like there’s more losers than anything as teams grossly overpaid for mediocre players. Our list:


Pittsburgh Penguins - The Penguins lost Sergei Gonchar, but arguably upgraded on defense anyways. It came with a price however. The Penguins landed two of the top defensive free agents as they signed Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek for $9 million between the two players. Both signed five-year contracts, with Martin’s ($25 million) worth more overall than Michalek’s ($20 million). Neither will produce the same offense as Gonchar, but the Penguins now have two relatively young defensemen locked up as the cornerstone of their defense for the next few seasons.

Vancouver Canucks - Dan Hamhuis took a bit of a discount to head to Vancouver, where he was promised top minutes and the chance to play with a team that always has the opportunity to head deep into the postseason. Hamhuis could have certainly signed elsewhere for more, but settled for a six-year, $27 million contract with Vancouver. Hamhuis might not have been the big free agent target in other years, but this summer the deal that Vancouver got for him has to be a positive.

Atlanta Thrashers: Nothing earth shattering happening down in Atlanta today, but two nifty moves by Rick Dudley definitely helped the team. First, the Thrashers traded prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy to Chicago for RFA Andrew Ladd, who they should have no problems signing. Dudley says that Ladd is the scoring winger they’ve been needing, and consider him a big piece of the team moving forward. They also acquired Chris Mason for a steal, signing the goaltender for almost half of what he was about to make in St. Louis.


Calgary Flames: Don’t ask me what Darryl Sutter was thinking today. I have no clue. But he signed two players today that have been wholly disappointing the past few years, and who have both spent time with Calgary in the past. Yes, Ollie Jokinen and Alex Tanguay are back in Calgary, which has to be the most head-scratching decisions I’ve seen in a long, long time. I don’t even know how to opine on this. Ridiculous.

New York Rangers: Good job in signing Martin Biron to be Henrik Lundqvist’s backup. Horribly bad job in giving Derek Boogaard a four year contract worth $1.65 million per season. Every year there is one contract handed out that ruins it for the rest of the NHL, completely skewing the market and opening the door for horrible contracts all over the league. For some reason, it seems that it’s the Rangers that do this every year.

St. Louis Blues: It seemed the Blues were on the cusp of being big spenders in free agency, and were poised to do so. They have nothing but massive amounts of room under the salary cap, but other than extending Alex Steen and signing Vladimir Sobotka to a one-year contract, were very quiet and didn’t make any noise in the first day of free agency. Perhaps they were spooked by the big contracts being handed out to fringe players, but the Blues needed to make some moves -- especially on defense -- in order to get the team back to the playoffs next season. Still some time over the next few days, however.