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Bringing Hexy Back • 42 Years Old • Male

Mid-Term Summer Grades

Posted 9:35 AM ET | Comments 18
Now that we're a full week into free agency, some of the contracts handed out still stagger me.

Still, that's not to say that the signings will not help their new teams, just that I feel GM's were fast and loose with the checkbook.

Here's a team by team look at the East and How I grade their FA work:

Atlanta: D-
Re-signed Johan Hedberg and added Ron Hainsey, after being spurned by Brian Campbell.

The Thrashers did painfully little to improve a non playoff team. Far and away the best move they made was hiring John Anderson as their head coach. I don't think that cuts it.

Boston: C
When your biggest move is vastly overpaying for Michael Ryder, you need to make some smart, smaller moves. Re-signing Mark Stuart is a solid move, but the Bruins are another team that has done very little to improve themselves. Of course, they were better than Atlanta, so they needed less work.

Buffalo: C+
Basically, they traded Brian Campbell for Craig Rivet and a 1st rounder. Not that bad a move. Re-signing Gaustad was a smart move, too. After the adventures with Thibault last year, getting a solid back-up in Lalime was crucial, even if they did overpay for him.

Carolina: C
I love the Tim Gleason contract. But I really wonder if Joni Pitkanen is worth Erik Cole and $4mm per season.

Florida: C+
I think they failed to get enough for Jokinen, even though I really like Keith Ballard. However, perhaps those "Jokinen as cancer" stories simply became too commonplace to get value for them. Still two years ago, this team was built around Jokinen, Luongo and Bouwmeester, and all it has to show for that is Bryan Allen, Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton. Change this sucker to a F if they lose Bouwmeester for pocket change.

Montreal: A
Needed toughness up front-check, Needed an experienced back-up goalie-check. Got good value from their draft picks-check. Montreal is the best team, on paper, in the East. They did little but improve so far this summer.

New Jersey: C
Rolston and Holik will be good additions, and certainly will solidify the forward corps. But two things bug me. 1. Rolston's 4 year deal. That deal is on the Devils' cap for all 4 years. If Rolston gets hit by a bus tomorrow, they still have his cap hit. 2. The Devils' biggest need was defense. They added nobody. Brodeur will get them in the playoffs, but without a good defense, they won't get far.

New York Islanders: D
They did help the PP, but adding Mark Streit makes the team defense worse. Doug Weight is a double edged sword-he showed nothing last year in Anaheim and St Louis, but if he finds rejuvenation, he's a unwieldy cap hit.

New York Rangers: B
The Rangers did some really good things this summer: I love Redden, even if it is too long a contract. Adding Voros somewhat replaces Avery's contributions without the theatrics. Keeping Rozsival and adding Redden and Kalinin enabled them to trade for the enigmatic Nik Zherdev-who did pot 27 goals last year in Columbus. I think the Naslund contract is a loser, but otherwise, the Rangers did pretty solidly.

Ottawa: F
Did nothing but shed talent, and tread water, Sure they may have cleared some so called bad apples, but they didn't add an established starting goalie, replace Redden, or do anything else. Well, that isn't true, they also lowered the public opinion of Bryan Murray.

Philadelphia: C-
The Flyers needed to trade RJ Umberger to create cap room. They did meet their stated goal of having a more mobile blue line, but they didn't add anyone close to being an established top 4 defenseman. I like the guys they did add, but due to cap constraints, Paul Holmgren has a lot riding on unproven players.

Pittsburgh: C
They get this grade mainly based on who they locked up, not on who is in or out. Based on that, they get a D-, at best. Hossa, Malone, Laraque, Ruuttu-gone. Fedotenko, Satan and Cooke in...Serious downgrade. However, they keep Malkin, Fleury, Dupuis, Orpik and Eaton, and considering the doom and gloom prognostications, that is a pretty solid job by GM Ray Shero.

Tampa Bay: C-
I don't like the Barry Melrose hire. I don't like the Boyle trade. They made a lot of changes that added good players, but their defense is a big question mark. This team could be a more exciting version of last year's non playoff team.

Toronto: F
I could beat the Jeff Finger deal to death-They're using Joel Quenneville, the guy who buried Finger on the depth chart after the Adam Foote trade, to sell the deal to Leafs fans? They lose Sundin, buy out guys like Tucker(and get a six year cap hit) and engage in public pissing contests with guys like Bryan McCabe. Guess it's OK, they still have Jason Blake.

Washington: B
I like what the Caps did-they kept their key guys,even if I feel Green was overpaid. They refused to pay a slightly above average NHL goalie stud money and adequately replaced him for less. And they made a good deal, getting a late first rounder from Philadelphia for a guy that was buried on their bench. Now, if they can avoid rancor with Brooks Laich, they should bump to a B+.
Filed Under:   Jsaq   East grades   beer  
July 6, 2008 11:49 AM ET | Delete
Don't forget the Flyers are adding Simon Gagne and Claude Giroux to their team this season. They also signed a great veteran in Glenn Metropolit who played top 9 play for the Bruins last season. He's a Michael Handzus type player and that is awesome to have on the 4th line. The Flyers added young puck movers, hopefully Eminger can blossom. If Homer likes him, I like him. He may be worth the pick we give up for him. As for the off-season plan, mine was to just sign Carter and Homer did that. The Flyers are a better team without question heading into next season and should battle the Habs and Pens for the top spot in the East.
July 6, 2008 12:18 PM ET | Delete
I always enjoy your comments J. Good analysis and to the point...great job.
July 6, 2008 12:48 PM ET | Delete
Good job! Agree with your points, especially regarding the Rangers (cause I am a Ranger fan :) ). You can't judge any of these contracts until next season obviously, but let me ask you this: If you are Sather, and you already paid what you had to to get Redden, do you choose Naslund for 2 yr. at 4 mill each, or go to Jagr for 2 yr. 7.5 (that's what Jags wanted supposedly)? I love Jagr, but I totally agree with what Glen did. Naslund is a big question mark, but I feel like he has a chance to score 30 this year playing with Gomer.
July 6, 2008 4:17 PM ET | Delete
Who did Montreal get for a vetran goalie?
July 6, 2008 4:31 PM ET | Delete
I expected a little rip on the Pens before i even started reading it and sure enough it was there. Get out of journalism while you still can.
July 6, 2008 4:32 PM ET | Delete
Bad blog. I really don't like your disrespect toward the Ontario clubs.. especially Toronto. Finger may have not been worth that kind of money, but at least give him a chance. Very biased, but good effort..
July 6, 2008 6:35 PM ET | Delete
Can't see how paying 1m less for a serious downgrade in goal can net Washington a B while Toronto, although overpaying for Finger, snagged very solid players in Mayers, Hagman and a veteran backup for cheap in Curtis Joseph and was scored with a failing grade.
July 6, 2008 7:20 PM ET | Delete
Toronto deserves the F .. for Finger and the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate award .. their Fate being doomed to losing yet again. other than that .. sure glad you aren't marking my papers :)) I think Tbay and Pitt deserve C
July 6, 2008 8:01 PM ET | Delete
and C respectively
July 6, 2008 8:02 PM ET | Delete
July 6, 2008 8:02 PM ET | Delete
Message PostedI give up .. it won't post the plus sign :P
July 6, 2008 8:21 PM ET | Delete
I don't think Montreal met their goal of adding toughness upfront (I think Laraque will be a HC on many nights due to all the talent they have). I think they would get an A if they end up signing Sundin.
July 6, 2008 10:54 PM ET | Delete
C- is a little Harsh for the Flyers I think JS.Homer locked up Carter and Jones plus found a way to make our blueline younger, bigger and more mobile.Going into next season, I'm happy with Homers Rational moves. I would bump them up to a B- considering the cap situatoin Homer was dealing with.
July 6, 2008 11:11 PM ET | Delete
pens871...first of all this is not journalism, this is blogging. two totally different things. secondly, it seems whenever someone criticizes the pens ever so slightly on this site, you take personal offense to it. this is one man's opinion, and imho, JS is one of the most unbiased flyers fans on here. he always has interesting things to say. the pens are not perfect. no team in the nhl is. not even the red wings, tho they are darn close. and what he said was not even that bad. read it again. he ripped other teams, even more than the precious pens.
July 7, 2008 1:52 AM ET | Delete
Yea, I know your stance on the Pens dude, but it still doesn't mean they did a good job. They seriously downgraded a lot of spots and nearly lost a 1/4 of their team from last season, that included grit players like Laraque, Ruutu, and others plus top 6 guys like Ryan Malone and an all-star in Marian Hossa. Sure you kept Orpik and Dupius, but you didn't even need Orpik, you have 8 D men signed under NHL contracts already. I think Shero should've given Malone some cash or more to Hossa.
July 7, 2008 2:35 AM ET | Delete
Toronto deserves atleast a C IMO. Hagman instantly helps their PK, Finger helps their D by being a defender who's willing to clear the front of the net (big contract but people are focusing on this WAY to much, his play is what matters at the end of day -- unless it was over 5mil of course) and Grabovski adds some depth to a prospect pool that is weak but getting stronger (he's got good potential too). Losing Sundin is a positive, because at this point they need to get worse to get better. As good as Sundin is, it's time for him and the Leafs to turn a new page. The Leafs did pretty good this off-season IMO...... good blog JS.
July 7, 2008 8:30 AM ET | Delete
Some of the grades may seem harsh, but I based them on a few criteria: 1. Did the team improve itself based on the transactions it made this summer. 2. Did the moves made make sense. 3. Public opinion on the moves-what fans of the team feel about the moves from what I have read. There's no bias here-if there was the Rangers, Devils and Pens all would have gotten F's.
July 7, 2008 11:22 AM ET | Delete
Good Blog, I think Tampa would have gotten an A until they moved Boyle
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