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2012 NHL Offseason Thread


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With the playoffs now over, it's time to get the offseason thread going to discuss signings, trades, hirings, rumours, etc.

Today, we saw Vancouver take Mason Raymond to arbitration (likely in an attempt to slightly lower his salary) although there is some risk. In most arbitration cases teams can walk away from the award but because it's club-elected, they're stuck with whatever he's awarded.

We've had some re-signings in recent days as well. The biggest shocker to me was Chris Kelly in Boston, 4 years at $3 million per year with a full no-trade clause. For a guy who is thought of as a good 3rd liner, that's a bit on the expensive side.

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With the playoffs now over, it's time to get the offseason thread going to discuss signings, trades, hirings, rumours, etc.

Today, we saw Vancouver take Mason Raymond to arbitration (likely in an attempt to slightly lower his salary) although there is some risk. In most arbitration cases teams can walk away from the award but because it's club-elected, they're stuck with whatever he's awarded.

We've had some re-signings in recent days as well. The biggest shocker to me was Chris Kelly in Boston, 4 years at $3 million per year with a full no-trade clause. For a guy who is thought of as a good 3rd liner, that's a bit on the expensive side.

Looks like the NHL thought so too; they rejected it.

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Looks like the NHL thought so too; they rejected it.

The NHL only rejected it because it would have put the Bruins over the current 64 mill cap hit.

On July 1st at 12:00 the salary cap will be 70 mill. At 12:01, Kelly will sign his contract with the Bruins.

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The NHL only rejected it because it would have put the Bruins over the current 64 mill cap hit.

On July 1st at 12:00 the salary cap will be 70 mill. At 12:01, Kelly will sign his contract with the Bruins.

Long live the tagging rules...Matt Carle in Philly has reportedly re-signed as well but tagging prevents them from announcing it yet.

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Tampa gets their goalie...Anders Lindback from the Preds. Going the other way are a couple of 2nd's, a 3rd, plus the completely useless rights to Sebastian Caron (who I think is signed overseas already, that smells like a 50-man roster throw-in).

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Tampa gets their goalie...Anders Lindback from the Preds. Going the other way are a couple of 2nd's, a 3rd, plus the completely useless rights to Sebastian Caron (who I think is signed overseas already, that smells like a 50-man roster throw-in).

This looks like a solid move by the 2 teams. I give the edge to Tampa. Lindback should be pretty solid for TB and have a significant impact right now, vs the picks, despite being good picks, we never know the outcome.

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A lot of Twitter talk that Luongo to the Leafs is nearing finalization but it'll likely be announced at the draft. Talk is that there is big pressure on Burke from the front office now for the first time since he has come in to get the team into the playoffs. Nearly the entire Leaf forward corp is UFA next summer so they have a lot of room to trade rentals to teams. Toronto has a lot of trade flexibility and I'm honestly expecting them to sell major assets this year for Luongo and Nash (though the talk is that the Leafs are cooling on Nash).

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I think Luongo could be in big trouble if he goes to Toronto, mentally I mean.

He'll immediately struggle with the fact he's dealing with a weak defence. Every Leaf blueliner is prone to two or three boneheaded plays in a game. Some have the excuse of age like Schenn and Gardiner but Phaneuf is now 27. He's supposed to be their leader and it's sad when guys like Gardiner outplay him. Phaneuf/Schenn/Liles/Gardiner is no Bieksa/Edler/Hamhuis/Ballard and Luongo will realize that very quickly.

Another issue is that Toronto has a weak bottom six. Their top six is more than manageable and they get some good things out of them but their bottom six never gives much pressure. There are good pieces there (Steckel, Armstrong) but the rest is a mish mash of barely NHLers and guys who shouldn't be told to shadow.

That all said, I think Luongo would be good in the long run for Toronto. He would be a stabilizing goaltender like Joseph and Belfour was. If the Leafs want to make the playoffs they need someone to get them out of their slumps and Luongo is the type of goalie who can definitely steal games for them during a slump. Reimer will make an excellent backup.

I think we'll see MacArthur, Gunnarson and a 2nd go for Luongo, maybe a first for next year or one of the Leafs better prospects added. Leafs believing they'll get him for a song are dumb. If they get the trade done in the next few days I expect Toronto to draft a blueliner with the 5th Overall pick instead of what everyone assumes in a forward.

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Barret Jackman gets 3 years, $9.5 M from STL.

Brad Stuart gets 3 years, $10.8 M from SJ.

And the defence FA market gets a whole lot thinner. For the Habs, I wouldn't be surprised to see them try and take a run at acquiring Niklas Hjalmarsson from Chicago. He fits what they're looking for in a stay-at-home guy and might be able to offset a bit of salary in going the trade route.

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Barret Jackman gets 3 years, $9.5 M from STL.

Brad Stuart gets 3 years, $10.8 M from SJ.

And the defence FA market gets a whole lot thinner. For the Habs, I wouldn't be surprised to see them try and take a run at acquiring Niklas Hjalmarsson from Chicago. He fits what they're looking for in a stay-at-home guy and might be able to offset a bit of salary in going the trade route.

I'd love to see him in a Habs jersey, but I'd hate to have to type his name on a regular basis.

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I'd love to see him in a Habs jersey, but I'd hate to have to type his name on a regular basis.

You're a writer, you'd get used to it. I find it pretty easy to spell for some reason.

In other news, Angelo Esposito will go unqualified by Dallas (his 4th team already). And I thought his stock had already fallen as far as it possibly could.

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You're a writer, you'd get used to it. I find it pretty easy to spell for some reason.

I guess once I added it to my dictionary, it'd just show up on spell check anyway.

It does look like Chicago could afford to shed some D, especially with Leddy coming along. But who/what do you figure MTL has to pry Hjalmarsson out of Chicago?

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It does look like Chicago could afford to shed some D, especially with Leddy coming along. But who/what do you figure MTL has to pry Hjalmarsson out of Chicago?

I think a younger, cheaper D would be something they want for that 3rd pairing. That's likely Diaz. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

The guy to steal is Douglas Murray out of San Jose now that they signed Stuart.

If you can, of course.

I think Demers will be the guy they look to move but Murray would be a terrific fit.

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He'll immediately struggle with the fact he's dealing with a weak defence. Every Leaf blueliner is prone to two or three boneheaded plays in a game. Some have the excuse of age like Schenn and Gardiner but Phaneuf is now 27. He's supposed to be their leader and it's sad when guys like Gardiner outplay him. Phaneuf/Schenn/Liles/Gardiner is no Bieksa/Edler/Hamhuis/Ballard and Luongo will realize that very quickly.

Another issue is that Toronto has a weak bottom six. Their top six is more than manageable and they get some good things out of them but their bottom six never gives much pressure. There are good pieces there (Steckel, Armstrong) but the rest is a mish mash of barely NHLers and guys who shouldn't be told to shadow.

That all said, I think Luongo would be good in the long run for Toronto. He would be a stabilizing goaltender like Joseph and Belfour was. If the Leafs want to make the playoffs they need someone to get them out of their slumps and Luongo is the type of goalie who can definitely steal games for them during a slump. Reimer will make an excellent backup.

I think we'll see MacArthur, Gunnarson and a 2nd go for Luongo, maybe a first for next year or one of the Leafs better prospects added. Leafs believing they'll get him for a song are dumb. If they get the trade done in the next few days I expect Toronto to draft a blueliner with the 5th Overall pick instead of what everyone assumes in a forward.

My guess is Bobby Lou will thrive in TO. This is a guy who wants to win so badly that he tends to get rattled when victory is in sight - he wants it TOO much. This, compounded with some pretty insane fan pressures in Vancouver, made him arguably an imperfect fit for that environment, which really calls for a cool-headed, easy-going, water-off-a-duck's-back type (a la Brodeur). In Toronto, the D may be questionable, but because the Cup is not an option and because the media and fans are almost comically uncriticial, the pressure will not be anything like it is in Van. He flourished in Florida behind mediocre teams and I'd expect the same here; watch him pull the Leafs into the playoffs and become a 'national' hero as per the CBC.

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watch him pull the Leafs into the playoffs and become a 'national' hero as per the CBC.

Remember the 2009 summer when Gainey cleared house and signed several UFAs? Expect that next summer. Seven forwards will be UFA and I'm betting Burke will see that as a huge opportunity to make some big signings. He'll have room to get any one of Getzlaf, Staal, Perry, Horton, Ribeiro, Eriksson, Morrow, Filppula, Weiss, Zajac, Clarkson, Hartnell and Crosby (lol). The Leafs could have their Miami Heat moment and sign Getzlaf and Horton for example while talking about how they are going to change their entire team dynamic. Burke needs the Leafs in the playoffs for next season so teams will be more willing to sign with them. Having Luongo might bite a bit into their cap but trust me, he sees the UFAs and knows he could have the opportunity to pick the best possible UFA summer and turn the Leafs into a powerhouse like he has claimed he would.

This Luongo deal I see getting done. It's all about pushing Gillis to go lower on the cost and when Gillis stops budging, he'll pull the trigger on it.

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