Free Agent Winners/Losers

New story I did this weekend is now up on Maxhockey.com on the winners and losers of this summer’s free agency period. Teams covered are: Chicago, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, San Jose and Washington.

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Who’s left?

It has been one month and one day since free agency started and there are still some notable unrestricted free agent names who have yet to find a home. These are serviceable players, who if they find the right situation (i.e., linemate, coach, system), they can be a valuable asset to any hockey team and I’d be shocked if they are still not signed with a club…be it in the NHL or in Russia, Sweden, wherever…by September 1.
Here’s the best of who’s left:

PLAYER — OLD TEAM — THE LOW DOWN

Maxim Afinogenov — Buffalo — Could be headed to KHL, thought he’d fit well with Ilya Kovalchuk in Atlanta.
Marc-Andre Bergeron — Minnesota — Has one of the NHL’s hardest shots, but his defensive abilities are questionable at best.
Todd Bertuzzi — Calgary — Big Bert hasn’t gotten an offer from Calgary yet, and won’t. His size could be useful to a team like Detroit, for the right price.
Mike Comrie — Ottawa — After a midseason trade to the Sens, Comrie didn’t do much. Still, a few teams looking for a center could sign the 28-year-old to a one-year deal; he could work out in New Jersey if signed.
Manny Fernandez — Boston — Proved last season he can still tend goal in the NHL, but will he accept another backup role?
Mike Grier — San Jose — Solid, checking line, penalty killing forward is a hard worker who should be signed soon; preferably with the Devils, but could also help the Islanders or Toronto as well.
Robert Lang — Montreal — A risk coming off of a torn achilles at the age of 38, but most teams are in the market for a dependable center. Would Ottawa have enough cash to sign him to play on line two with AK-27?
Manny Malhotra — Columbus — I’m shocked he didn’t end up back in Columbus, as he seemed to really mature and develop under Ken Hitchcock there, but they also signed Sammy Pahlsson, who plays the same role. Would love for him to join the Devils though, Tampa could be an option too.
Miroslav Satan — Pittsburgh — His agent Twitted (or tweeted, whatever) that the Isles are interested, but not buying it. I say he goes to either Vancouver or the KHL. I’ve given up on the dream that Satan would join the Devils (for now).
Mats Sundin — Vancouver — Will he play, or won’t he? At 38, what does Sundin have left? If he isn’t going to give a full season, no one will want him after performing so poorly last season with the Canucks.
Petr Sykora — Pittsburgh — Has bounced around too much for a guy that can score when motivated or in the right situation. I’m thinking he lands in Minnesota or St. Louis.
Alex Tanguay — Montreal — The best of what’s left as far as I’m concerned. Will hate him less for his two-goal performance in Game 7 of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals if he signs with New Jersey. He’s only 29 and still has some productive years left. Join the Devils Legion Alex, join us.

Hopefully in the coming weeks, some of these guys find work, preferably with the Devils!

Depth Signing on the blueline…

The Devils have signed free agent defenseman Cory Murphy, who split last season between Tampa and Florida (what a hard season that must’ve been!). I doubt he will make the opening night roster, but if injuries occur he would be a nice option to go to…he has a decent shot from the point and could be used on the PP if he is around…

New Coach is an Old Friend

The New Jersey Devils have announced that Jacques Lemaire, who led the franchise to its first Stanley Cup in 1995, (and coached the team from 1993-98) will return as he successor to Brent “quitter” Sutter. Personally, I like the move, because I feel it will give the team some stability — after about 5 coaches in the last six seasons. Maybe he can fix whatever was wrong with Brian Rolston last season — Rolston enjoyed some of his best seasons playing for Lemaire’s Wild in Minnesota, but struggled mightily under Sutter, providing zero offense. John MacLean was passed over again for the head coach job, and now he will be the head coach for their AHL affiliate in Lowell. Good job Lou Lamoriello, now start adding some players!  Alex Tanguay is still out there, Mike Grier, Manny Malhotra, and Robert Lang are available too as unrestricted free agents….or swing a trade with Boston for Phil Kessel

You Know it’s a Slow Day When…

Nothing to report news-wise yet today, so in case you were wondering (I know you were…) two current New Jersey Devils have their own personal websites. Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias each have their sites as well as Kevin Weekes, who has been with New Jersey the last two seasons and is a free agent who may or may not be back for 2009-10. If you click on each player’s name here it will take you to their webpage where you can read about what they are up to, buy memoribilia, etc….Or the links can be found at the bottom of the main NHL.com page…Marty’s site also allows you the opportunity to view his pages in French as well as English…

View from the Ice

* The NHL’s free-agency period began on July 1 and with so many players involved in hockey’s version of musical chairs, at times it can be difficult to keep track of all of the movement. Here is a list of the biggest signings/trades that have taken place over the first seven days.

Old Faces in New Places:

Jay Bouwmeester Traded to & then signed with Calgary (from Florida)

Jordan Leopold — Traded to & then signed with Florida (from Calgary)

Scott Gomez — Traded to Montreal from NY Rangers

Christopher Higgins — Traded to NY Rangers from Montreal

Mattias Ohlund — Signed with Tampa (from Vancouver)

Colton Orr — Signed with Toronto (from NY Rangers)

Craig Anderson — Signed with Colorado (from Florida)

Marian Hossa — Signed with Chicago (from Detroit)

Ty Conklin — Signed with St. Louis (from Detroit)

Matt Walker — Signed with Tampa (from Chicago)

Dwayne Roloson — Signed with NY Islanders (from Edmonton)

Tomas Kopecky — Signed with Chicago (from Detroit)

Steve Montador — Signed with Buffalo (from Boston)

Mike Knuble — Signed with Washington (from Philadelphia)

Donald Brashear — Signed with NY Rangers (from Washington)

Brian Boucher — Signed with Philadelphia (from San Jose)

Jaroslav Spacek — Signed with Montreal (from Buffalo)

Nikolai Khabibulin — Signed with Edmonton (from Chicago)

Scott Clemmensen — Signed with Florida (from New Jersey)

Ian Laperriere — Signed with Philadelphia (from Colorado)

Michael Rupp — Signed with Pittsburgh (from New Jersey)

Hal Gill — Signed with Montreal (from Pittsburgh)

Mike Cammalleri — Signed with Montreal (from Calgary)

Pavel Kubina — Traded to Atlanta from Toronto

Garnet Exelby — Traded to Toronto from Atlanta

Greg Zanon — Signed with Minnesota (from Nashville)

Vernon Fiddler — Signed with Phoenix (from Nashville)

Mike Komisarek — Signed with Toronto (from Montreal)

Steve Begin — Signed with Boston (from Dallas)

Samuel Pahlsson — Signed with Columbus (from Chicago)

Mathieu Garon — Signed with Columbus (from Pittsburgh)

Marian Gaborik — Signed with NY Rangers (from Minnesota)

Brian Gionta — Signed with Montreal (from New Jersey)

John Madden — Signed with Chicago (from New Jersey)

Fredrik Sjostrom — Signed with Calgary (from NY Rangers)

Jason LaBarbera — Signed with Phoenix (from Vancouver)

Martin Havlat — Signed with Minnesota (from Chicago)

Nikolai Antropov — Signed with Atlanta (from NY Rangers)

Adrian Aucoin — Signed with Phoenix (from Calgary)

Karlis Skrastins — Signed with Dallas (from Florida)

Rob Scuderi — Signed with Los Angeles (from Pittsburgh)

Mikael Samuelsson — Signed with Vancouver (from Detroit)

Shane Hnidy — Signed with Minnesota (from Boston)

Ryan Smyth — Traded to Los Angeles from Colorado

Tom Preissing — Traded to Colorado from Los Angeles

Kyle Quincey — Traded to Colorado from Los Angeles

Tyler Arnason — Signed with NY Rangers (from Colorado)

Andrew Raycroft — Signed with Vancouver (from Colorado)

Alex Kovalev — Signed with Ottawa (from Montreal)

Jeff Taffe — Signed with Florida (from Pittsburgh)

Francois Beauchemin — Signed with Toronto (from Anaheim)

Jonas Gustavsson — Signed with Toronto (from Swedish Elite League)

Jeff Woywitka — Signed with Dallas (from St. Louis)

Stephane Veilleux — Signed with Tampa (from Minnesota)

Dany Sabourin — Signed with Boston (from Edmonton)

* Calling it quits…Next year: Both Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne and Boston’s Mark Recchi signed one-year deals this past week and then promptly revealed that next season will be their last in the NHL.

* Hero on the shelf: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Maxime Talbot underwent surgery to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder Tuesday, and his recovery is expected to take four to five months. The 25-year-old, who scored both goals in Pittsburgh’s 2-1 victory over Detroit in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, had played through the injury “for quite a while” according to GM Ray Shero. Talbot will miss training camp and the start of next season.

* “For how good the hockey team is and I really believe it has a chance to win the Stanley Cup. With the addition of (Marian) Hossa and the experience last year, it’s a group with a lot of skill and talent and hungry kids who want the Cup. They have all the elements of making a run at it for this year and years to come. I had no problem giving up security for a chance to win. Something the team needed was my experience and someone to do the job I’ve done with the Devils for the last nine years; I’ll do anything to help the team win.” — John Madden has high hopes after signing a one-year deal to play in Chicago.

* “It’s not the first trade for me. It’s just part of the life, the way I look at it. I don’t look at it like, ‘Oh, they didn’t sign me, I’m going to try to do damage (to them).’” — Alex Kovalev after leaving Montreal (who replaced him with Brian Gionta) to sign with Ottawa.

* “Nowhere, he’s an Ottawa Senator.” — Ottawa GM Bryan Murray in response to where Dany Heatley (who publicly requested a trade) is going.

* “I am very excited to be able to retire a Philadelphia Flyer and I am looking forward to many years with the Flyers logo on my chest.” — The newest Broad Street Bully, Chris Pronger meets the Philadelphia media after inking a seven-year extension.

Material from personal interviews, wire services, newspaper, and league and team sources was used in this report.
Dan Rice covers the New Jersey Devils & NHL for NYCSportsnetwork.com is a contributor to Maxhockey.com & IslesNation.com