July 1 is like a potent rum drink (can you tell I was in the Caribbean last week?): It can give you moments of joy, then knock you on your tail with a hangover that lasts days -- or years, if you're Glen Sather ($1.6 million per for a goon who can't skate or handle the puck? Genius!).
You bet I had mild hopes of the Islanders landing one of the 5-10 attractive free agent defensemen out there; of course I didn't expect to see high payroll teams like the Penguins and Devils squeeze in not one, but two each. The list of the day's signings is updated along with our comment thread of laughter and fretting. Anyway, people will shout, cry and complain because as of 6:30 p.m. EDT Garth Snow had zero announcements to make. But there are three things to remember about July 1:
- The prices are always stadium-beer high. (Nearly as big as the Islanders' room under the cap floor.)
- Just because your GM didn't win, doesn't mean he didn't try (ask yourself why Paul Martin or Anton Volchenkov would choose the still-young-and-building Isles over the division-dominating Pens and Devils?). Katie Strang says multiple sources say Snow went very hard after Martin and Dan Hamhuis.
- Just as often as not, the big spenders create problems for themselves later on. Spend wisely and carefully, or suffer the consequences of your impatience. Do a Streit, not a Yashin.
Anyway, as of early evening, Katie Strang tweeted that the Isles said there was "nothing brewing." Allan Walsh tweeted that he was talking to Snow about a "whole range of players" (Walsh's Octagon represents UFAs Willie Mitchell, Miroslav Satan and Jeff Halpern, among others). And Blues beatwriter Jeremy Rutherford said earlier in the day that UFA defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo had been contacted by the Islanders, among six other teams.
Meanwhile, what the Isles have "lost": Martin Biron went to the Rangers, with permission from Snow to speak ahead of time. Some guy who played for the Isles last fall that played for the Islanders last fall signed in Vancouver. Jeremy Reich went back to the Bruins. Tim Jackman signed with Calgary for two years at the veteran's minimum. (Nice to hear, that.)
Random names still out there: Pavel Kubina, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Frolov, Lee Stempniak,
Eric Nystrom (Minnesota, $4.2M over 3 years), Andy Sutton, Mitchell, Sean Bergenheim. More to come when ... someone comes.