Corey Abbott

In The Crease

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East Free Agent Ratings

Thursday, July 05, 2012


Eastern Conference teams weren’t nearly as busy as those in the Western Conference but there were moves made of some significance and certainly more will follow.

 

Read Ryan Dadoun's take on the Western Conference here

 

Here some of the key roster adjustments thus far:

 

 

Boston Bruins

 

Added: Chris Kelly

 

Lost: Greg Zanon, Joe Corvo

 

The Bruins didn't take part in the free agent spending, but lost a pair of defensemen in Greg Zanon and Joe Corvo to the open market.  Blueline prospect Dougie Hamilton is slated to step into the NHL next season to fill the void, though, so they organization has much more to gain and they didn't lose all that much.  Boston's focus was mostly on retaining their own players, as they gave potential unrestricted free agents Chris Kelly, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille contract extensions.  Goaltender Tuukka Rask was also handed a one-year contract to prove his worth as an NHL starter in 2012-13. 



Grade: C

 

 

Buffalo Sabres

 

Added: Steve Ott, John Scott, Adam Pardy

 

Lost: Derek Roy, Brad Boyes

 

Buffalo signed behemoth defenseman/forward John Scott to a one-year, $600,000 contract on the opening day of free agency and allowed Brad Boyes, who signed with the New York Islanders, to test free agency.  Boyes didn't supply much offense during his time with the Sabres and while Scott won't be an improvement in that regard, he does add some versatility and toughness to the team in a depth capacity.  Buffalo also swung a big trade recently by sending center Derek Roy to Dallas in exchange for Steve Ott and Adam Pardy.  Ott is another tough player but he is much more offensively adept than Scott, while Pardy will likely be a reserve defender.  The loss of Roy to the team's top-six group is a tough pill to swallow, though, because it leaves the club fairly thin down the middle, at least for the time being.

 

Grade: C- 

 

 

Carolina Hurricanes

 

Added: Joe Corvo

 

Lost: Bryan Allen

 

The Hurricanes made their biggest off-season move on draft day when they acquired Jordan Staal from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Brandon Sutter, prospect Brian Dumoulin and the eighth overall pick.  Staal was slated to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2012-13 season, but then Carolina promptly took care of that unpleasant possibility by locking him up to a 10-year, $60 million contract extension.  The Canes allowed Bryan Allen to test the free agent waters and he agreed to terms with the Anaheim Ducks.  They attempted to fill his absence by bringing back Joe Corvo.  Corvo has played parts of three seasons with Carolina and is capable of contributing a modest number of points from the back end.

 

Grade: C+

 

 

Florida Panthers

 

Added: Filip Kuba, George Parros

 

Lost: Jason Garrison, Mikael Samuelsson

 

Jason Garrison was a pleasant surprise for Florida this past year with 16 goals and 33 points in 77 games.  His 16 markers were the second highest among all defensemen in the league and he parlayed that success into a six-year, $27.6 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks.  The Panthers prepared themselves for Garrison's departure by signing former Ottawa Senators defender Filip Kuba to a two-year, $8 million contract earlier in the day.  Kuba enjoyed a strong bounce-back year in 2011-12 and is capable of putting up respectable numbers from the point.  Mikael Samuelsson played well for the Cats when he eventually got healthy, but he chose to return to Detroit via free agency.  Florida is hoping that top prospect Jonathan Huberdeau can be a focal point of their offense next year, so Samuelsson's exodus isn't surprising from that point of view.  The Panthers also added enforcer George Parros to the fold and he should mix it up physically on nights when he gets into the lineup. 

    

Grade: C+

 

 

Montreal Canadiens

 

Added: Brandon Prust, Colby Armstrong, Francis Bouillon

 

Lost: Brad Staubitz

 

Montreal lost and added toughness at the beginning of free agency.  Tough guy Brad Staubitz ended up signing with Anaheim, but the Canadiens brought in gritty players like Brandon Prust, Colby Armstrong and Francis Bouillon to the organization.  Prust can drop the gloves and play a solid two-way game, but a four-year deal worth $10 million is an awfully big commitment to a bottom-six player who is good on the penalty kill.  Armstrong's one-year, $1 million deal is a low risk deal on a forward that has something to prove.  He endured an injury-plagued tenure in Toronto that resulted in him being bought out by the Maple Leafs and should be motivated to show he can still play.  Bouillon plays a feisty game despite his small frame, but he doesn't have any fantasy value.  The Habs clearly wanted to bring some snarl to their lineup and they accomplished that in free agency.  They also gave number one goalie Carey Price, who was  a restricted free agent, a six-year, $39 million contract, which is bold, considering the cap hit but it is also warranted given his talent level and value to the organization. 

 

Grade: B

 

 

New Jersey Devils

 

Added: Martin Brodeur, Bryce Salvador

 

Lost: Zach Parise, Alexei Ponikarovsky

 

The Devils entered July 1st faced with the legitimate threat of being devastated by free agency.  The loss of captain Zach Parise to Minnesota is a serious blow in its own right, but if they were forced to wave goodbye to long-time keeper and future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur as well, it would've been a nightmarish off-season for New Jersey.  Fortunately, the team signed Brodeur to a  two-year contract worth $9 million to spare themselves the indignity of slamming their heads against the panic button.   Unfortunately, they lost a potent scorer and the future face of the franchise in Parise and his loss will be incredibly hard to replace.  The Devils also allowed Alexei Ponikarovsky to test the open market and he landed with the Winnipeg Jets.  The team managed to sign playoff breakout star Bryce Salvador to a three-year, $9.5 million deal and they kept backup netminder Johan Hedberg in the fold with a two-year, $2.8 million agreement.  They also retained the services of their fourth line by re-upping with Ryan Carter , Steve Bernier and Stephen Gionta

 

Grade: C-

 

 

New York Islanders

 

Added: Brad Boyes, Matt Carkner, Brad Staubitz

 

Lost: P. A. Parenteau, Al Montoya

 

The Islanders lost their third-leading point getter from the 2011-12 campaign when  P. A. Parenteau took his career-high 67 points to the Colorado Avalanche on the strength of a four-year, $16 million contract.  New York also didn't keep goaltender Al Montoya, as Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro are projected to carry the load for the team next season.   Montoya will serve as the number two option in Winnipeg during 2012-13 after inking a one-year, $601, 000 deal.  The Isles were able to bring in physical blueliner Matt Carkner, a potential scorer in Brad Boyes and an enforcer in Brad Staubitz.  If Boyes gets a chance to play on a line with John Tavares and Matt Moulson then he might have some fantasy value next year, but right now he appears to be a serious downgrade from the underrated Parenteau. 

 

Grade: C- 

 

 


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Corey Abbott is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him Twitter @CoreAbbott.
Email :Corey Abbott



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