Islanders/NHL Free Agency [open thread]

Reverend Nelson gathers all of us together for a very special day.

IT'S ALL ABOUT LEBRON!  ... Or not. Consider this our day-long live NHL Free Agency blog and open thread. Prior (and on-going) discussion of what the Islanders should do is in the depth chart post and the overview post, but this here thread is for league-wide moves and scuttlebutt that happen today. You can catch coverage at tsn.ca (or their insider tweets) or on TV or who knows where, and chime in here as you see fit.

I will update this post with major moves as time allows, but this is also where your help is requested: By all means, post updates you hear in comments -- WITH SOURCE (and, preferably, a link). You can post rumors if you want (I'm not much of a rumor guy, but on a day like to day they are good for strategy discussion). But please: If you're posting a rumor, have the decency to tell us out of which foul spigot that rumor poured forth. (e.g. "My housekeeper's brother," or "some guy on Twitter" etc.) If this is anything like the trade deadline, this thread can be a lot of fun.

Predictions: The Islanders do something unexpected, but maybe not today. Whoever signs Marty Turco overpays for yesterday's goods. Nabokov doesn't get his money -- and if he does, that makes two goaltender mistake signings. A segment of Leafs fans think they have won the Cup because they have Kris Versteeg.

Chronology of today's signings and our, um, "varied" dialogue in comments after the jump.

 

***SIGNINGS TICKER***

12:05 -- Martin Biron signs with the Rag$ for two-years, $875,000 cap hit. Oh, how the starter status holders have fallen. Call him Market Correction Biron

12:20 -- Ottawa leaves the A-Train and Andy Sutton behind, signs Sergei Gonchar (who is 35+) to a 3-year, $5.5 million per deal -- with a no-trade clause. Per Darren Dreger. ... Meanwhile, Bob McKenzie says RDS La Presse puts Alex Tanguay in Calgary for $1.7 million, with a NTC.

12:30 -- Not only have the Flyers acquired Andrej Meszaros from Tampa for a 2nd, they've re-signed Brayden Coburn at $3.2 million per. They have half of Comcast's net worth tied up in defensemen.

1:15 -- Zbynek Michalek (oh, how I'd love another "Z") to Pittsburgh for 5 years, $20 million, according to multiple sources. That's two big D fish out of the water, though I can't imagine how many were willing to bid as much as the Sens did for the aging Gonchar.

1:35 -- Several minor signings: Alex Auld to Montreal ($1 million), Colby "Tool" Armstrong to Toronto for 3 years/$3 million, and a great, gutsy signing according to the Ken Holland theory of goalie value: San Jose takes Antero Niittymaki for 2 years, $2 million. Also, Philadelphia adds Sean O'Donnell. They're blueline now makes more money than the GDP of half of the FIFA World Cup participants.

1:55 -- A big but probably unrealistic bottom-six target for some of us here: Manny Malhotra takes a 3-year, $7.5 million ($2.5 annual) deal with NTC from the Canucks, per Bob McKenzie. Pricey for his production, but the former 1st rounder logs the tough minutes.

2:30 -- From multiple outlets (TSN, ESPN, Sporting News): Dan Ellis is in Tampa Bay for 2 years, $1.5 million per. Jody Shelley gets 3 years, $1.1 million per from Philly (why not just re-sign Asham?), sending Larry Brooks into a fit. But the big fish of the hour: Paul Martin lands in Pittsburgh, giving the Penguins two of the most coveted UFA defensemen. Now about those gaping holes on the wing...

3:00 -- Ladies and gentlemen, reports of Glen Sather's sanity have been greatly exaggerated: Derek Boogaard for 3 years, $1.65 million per year. That's right, Sather has just spent three times Frans Nielsen's salary on a goon who can neither skate nor score, and manages to bleed goals at four times the rate of even an average forward in under six minutes a night. Thank you, Glen: You're the best.

5:00 -- End of the "work" day but not the hunting season, and all the big-name D-men are off the market: Anton Volchenkov to the Devils for 6 years, $4.25 per {sob, sniff, weep}. Dan Hamhuis goes to Vancouver for 6 years, $4.5 million per. Even Henrik Tallinder to the Devils for 4 years, $3.375 per, while Kurtis Foster goes to Edmonton -- even EDMONTON is attracting free agents. Edmonton! -- for 2 years, $1.8 million per. And in rather Sather-esque news (though Daryll Sutter has become Sather West), the Flames brought back Olli Jokinen.

5:45 -- Matt Cullen has signed with Minnesota for 3 years, $3.5 million per.

Coliseum jinx? If Garth Snow was in on any of the top five $4 million+ D-men, they all chose teams that could be described as contenders, with new buildings. Andy Sutton remains out there, and at least one MSM reporter tweeted that Carlo Calaiacovo had been contacted by the Islanders, among many other teams.

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