Beauts and Bums - Free Agency Edition

by Tyler Hickey, 7.15.18

Beauts:

 

1. Toronto Maple Leafs:

John Tavares, the best free agent available and one of the elite players in the NHL since being drafted in 2009. JT took a little bit of a pay cut to come home and now the Maple Leafs arguably have the best top three centers in the league.

2. LA Kings:

The Kings are all in plain in simple. With most of their core over 30 years old they are putting their future on the line for a couple more kicks at winning the cup. They signed one of the biggest free agents out there, Ilya Kovalchuk, to a three year deal with a cap hit of $6.25 million. He may not be the 35+ goal scorer anymore but he should still hit 25-30. The other big move was locking up franchise defenseman Drew Doughty to an 8 year extension. After Islanders fans saw John Tavares leave them this summer, Kings fans can go through next season with ease of mind.

3. James van Riemsdyk:

After being on one of the best contracts the past six years he finally got paid. 5 years and $35 million to go close to his hometown and to the team that drafted him. I do not like this deal from the Flyers prospective. At age 29, JVR will be hitting the downturn of his career soon and a $7 million cap hit will look bad when they have to sign the likes of Ivan Provorov and Nolan Patrick. This deal basically spells the end of Wayne Simmonds tenure in Philadelphia, who is due for a big raise next year.

4. St. Louis Blues:

The biggest move Doug Armstrong made was trading for Ryan O’Reilly from Buffalo. While giving up 5 pieces for him,  Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka were role players and Tage Thompson wasn't one of their best prospects. O’Reilly is one of the best two-way centers in the league, combined with Brayden Schenn and the newly signed Tyler Bozak.  The Blues have three strong centers to compete in the rough Central division. They also, brought David Perron back for his third tenure and Patrick Maroon to increase their scoring depth.

 

Bums:

 

1. Detroit Red Wings:

For a team that is need of a rebuild, Ken Holland is still keeping the Red Wings running on fumes. They have some good young players: Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and the recently drafted Filip Zadina.  But, they have aging players and long term and big money contracts. Bringing back Mike Green and Thomas Vanek for over a combined $8 million, has left them in a cap crunch with a little less than $3 million and still have to sign Dylan Larkin.

2. NY Islanders:

When you lose your franchise player, it is an altering experience. It was too little too late trying to convince John Tavares that the team was on the right path to success. To make matters worse, Lou Lamoriello traded for Matt Martin, to reunite the best fourth line in hockey…from 2016. Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck and Martin have a combined cap hit of $9.35 million for the next two years. Lou then brought his old buddy from Toronto, Leo Komarov for a whopping 4 years and $3 million cap hit. Lou topped off his moves so far by giving a 4 year contract to a left winger who has played a total of 25 NHL games. Ross Johnston is his name if you want to find out who he is.

3. Vancouver Canucks:

Another team who is putting off an essential rebuild spent big money on role players for the second straight offseason. Jay Beagle and Antoine Roussel both signed identical 4 years $3 million cap hit deals, at half that price, both are quality players.  Bo Hovart and Brock Boeser need young skilled players around them, not overpriced role players who are third liners at best.