A look at the notable moves by the seven Canadian teams on the opening day of the UFA market, as well as what some of them might still have in store.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford questions if Jason Garrison, whom the Canucks inked to a six-year deal worth $4.6 million per, is worth the investment.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a gamble since Garrison only had one good season in his short NHL career. My guess is GM Mike Gillis expects a good return when he trades Roberto Luongo.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke defended his decision not to make any significant moves in the opening day of the UFA market, suggesting he’ll go the trade market to address his team’s needs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burke caught some flak for appearing in Toronto’s Gay Pride parade yesterday to honor his late son, rather than working in his office yesterday. Those critics ignore the fact Burke has a capable staff, especially assistant GM Dave Nonis, and kept in contact with them during the Parade. They also overlook the Leafs signed a player (Jay McClement), contacted the Brodeur camp, and made inquiries about Zach Parise, so it’s not as though they did nothing. Burke’s performance as Leafs GM is fair game for criticism, but appearing in the Pride parade to honor his son is not.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators bowed out of the bidding for Zach Parise and Rick Nash, turning instead to signing Guillaume Latendresse and shipping Nick Foligno to Columbus for defenseman Marc Methot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Senators fans are upset over Foligno being dealt, but Methot is a very good defenseman, and in my opinion a suitable replacement for Filip Kuba.
LA PRESSE: The Montreal Canadiens added grit to their lineup by signing Brandon Prust, Colby Armstrong and bringing back Francis Bouillon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Habs fans were complaining about these moves. While they overpaid for Prust, these moves addressed the Canadiens lack of skilled grit in their lineup.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Jets signed Alexei Ponikarovsky and made bids for Zach Parise and Jordin Tootoo yesterday. They’ll be in the market for a backup goalie, having lost Chris Mason and Jonas Gustavsson to free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re not on Parise’s short list, but it was worthwhile to make an offer. Tootoo opted for the Red Wings.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed Ryan Smyth just prior to the start of free agency yesterday, as well as re-signed Darcy Hordichuk to a one-year deal.
CALGARY SUN: The Flames lost David Moss to free agency yesterday, but so far made no acquisitions. It’s expected things will pick up for the Flames once Zach Parise and Ryan Suter make their decisions over where they’ll sign later today.