Just over 10 Hours into Free Agency, there have been some rather noticeable winners and losers. These are my top 4 in Both Catagories:
1. New York Rangers - The signing of Drury and Gomez are huge for the Rangers, close to the cap, if not over. But realistically looks like they may be a 2 line team, need to improve their defence. Goaltending is solid. (FREE AGENCY RATING: A)
2. Philadelphia - Picked up Briere at a HUGE Cost, but should be great for the Flyers in the long run, he's a great mentor and leader. Also the deal with Edmonton will be great for both teams. J.Smith should be a leader for the defensive corps. (FREE AGENCY RATING: B+)
3. Detroit Red Wings - Losing Schneider would have been a huge blow if it wasn't for the great negotiating skill of Ken Holland,, signing Brian Rafalski. Close to resigning Dom Hasek, and Bertuzzi if they can get him into a shorter term contract, for a reduced price. (FREE AGENCY RATING: B)
4. Edmonton Oilers - The may not have signed the big name free agent they wanted, but they did get the solid Defenceman they wanted in Pitkanen(2Mil) for much less then Kubina(5Mil), giving up the struggling Jofery Lupul and Captain Jason Smith. Edmonton still has a bit of cash to sign more forwards, and a 2nd solid DMan.
Still have lots to do, and can do it. (FREE AGENCY RATING: B-)
5. Colorado Avalanche - They won the Smyth Sweepstakes, still lots of work to do.
(FREE AGENCY RATING: B-)
1. New York Islanders - Bye Bye, Smyth, Blake, Poti, Kozlov, Zednik. They have TONS of work to do. (FREE AGENCY RATING: F)
2.Buffalo Sabres - Pretty obvious why, losing their top 2 players (arguably) and looks like Zubrus will go too. Looks to be trouble in the dressing room with no real leader left, look for the Sabres to be interested in Shanahan or another seasoned veteren forward to act as a leader. (FREE AGENCY RATING: D-)
3. Montreal Canadiens - Nothing seemed to go Montreal's way today, but there is always tomorrow. No one seems to want to play in Montreal. With the language barrier and the media, it can be a very rough environment. (FREE AGENCY RATING: D)
4. Los Angeles Kings - WOW, what can I say, I expected them to do something amazing today, with the money they have under the cap. To do basically nothing today was a complete shocker. They will most likely do something in the next week, but missed the Drury boat. Look for them to pick up Souray on Monday or Tuesday. (FREE AGENCY RATING: D)
5. New Jersey Devils - Lost Rafalski and Gomez, not a HUGE deal, but need a solid defenceman. Forwards seem strong, may want to pick up another center, defence needs work, goaltending is, well, Brodeur, no worries their. Still some work to do, but Lou should be able to work it out. (FREE AGENCY RATING: C-)