It’s been one exciting week, mostly for Sens fans, but some other fan bases got a taste of the joy and disappointment of the first day of free agency. While there are many interesting names remaining on the FA lis,t like Nazem Kadri, the first day saw its fair share of interesting splashes.
- Johnny Gaudreau was perhaps the biggest name on the free agency list and the Flames really tried to retain their star forward. While many teams were listed as possible destinations for Gaudreau, the hockey world was shocked by his final decision to join the Columbus Blue Jackets. It seems the Flyers, who were a team he allegedly preferred, were not able (or not willing) to make the necessary room for him. He also took a huge discount to join the Blue Jackets even though the Flames offered a lot more money. I guess he really wanted a change.
- Another bizarre event from yesterday was the Las Vegas Golden Knights trading one of their tops forwards in Max Pacioretty and depth defenceman Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations. The move was meant to be a salary dump of some sorts because they were tracking at $2.5 million above the salary cap but it really makes no sense that they could not have gotten any return for Pacioretty. Shortly after, the team re-signed veteran Reilly Smith to a 3-year contract.
- Another big FA name was Darcy Kuemper who signed a 5-year deal with the Washington Capitals. The newly minted Cup champion had many interested suitors but the Caps will surely be a good fit for him.
- Toronto Maple Leafs fans who were hoping to land Ryan Strome were hugely disappointed last night when he decided to sign a 5-year deal with with the Anaheim Ducks.
- The excitement of signing Claude Giroux was very evident yesterday, and Sens fans will probably be excited about the potential of the team all summer long. Alan Neal from CBC’s All In a Day was gracious enough to invite Shaila Anwar and myself for some thoughts on the signing; the excitement from both of us is quite audible.
- Take a look at Claude Giroux and his son Gavin as they are officially welcomed home by the Ottawa Senators on a new episode of breakaway.
- Would you like to see Jaromir Jagr back in the NHL? The hockey legend joked about being a free agent and stated while he’s a bit slower these days, he’s still got the talent!
- Edmonton Oilers Duncan Keith has officially announced his retirement. His glory days were with the Chicago Blackhawks but in more recent years, his impact was less noticeable. The Oilers brought him in for some veteran presence, but he struggled mightily at times. Keith played 17 seasons in the NHL and finishes his career with 3 Stanley Cups, all won with the Blackhawks.
- Scotty Bowman has decided to move on from the Blackhawks. He described the past year as “uncomfortable” after his son Stan was investigated for his knowledge of the 2010 sexual misconduct allegations. The Blackhawks seem to be a plagued team at this point and the more new blood they bring, the easier it is for them to rebuild the respect of the organization.