directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Live Bloggin "2008 UFA Edition"

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Live Bloggin "2008 UFA Edition"

Update: If I had to pick the biggest winner of the day I'd probably go with Chicago for landing Campbell although I'm not sure how you can justify having 12 million locked up in goaltending - something has to give there. Once again the rich got richer when the Rangers resigned Rozsival and locked up Wade Redden.

Biggest overpayments were Finger and Ryder. Lots are saying Commodore as well but I'm playing the homer card on that one.

Update: Michael Ryder to Boston on a 3 year 12 million dollar deal. Wow.. that may be the biggest overpayment of the day. Not sure how Ryder is worth 4 mil a year. Glad that one wasn't us.

Update: Mark Streit to the Islanders at 4.1 per over 5 years. I have a friend that will be extremely happy over that one and coincidentally enough his name is Mark.

That pretty much takes care off all the offensive d-men on the market besides *gasp* Ron Hainsey who I fully expect to sign with San Jose.

Howson is going to have to swing a deal or two.

Update: Redden details are 6 years 6.5 million. You know the Jackets offered and probably beat that deal. They lost out on Redden but it certainly wasn't from a lack of effort.

Update: Its certainly an odd day when Mike Commodore ends up being your 2nd highest paid player.

Stay calm though Jacket fans. Even though its kind of dissapointing now its a long offseason and Howson knows what's left to fill.

I do wish he would have made a bigger trade going into free agency though. I really think that could have helped the perception of this team/market.

Still 12 million to spend.

Update: Redden to the Rangers according to CRAP!!!

Signed: Commodore (Columbus), Rozsival (NYR), Vrbata (Tampa), Hagman (Toronto), Redden (NYR)
Left: Morrison, Orpik, Huselius

Not quite the day many of us were hoping for. I can't see the Jackets going after Orpik as the last thing they need is another defensive defensemen. Huselius is less likely with Torres added. Morrison is really the only guy on that list that I see as a viable target at this point.

There is also Mark Streit and Ron Hainsey. Neither guy does much for me. If I'm Howson I'm making the trade for Kubina now.

Update: Hagman goes to Toronto for 3 years at 3 per.

Signed: Commodore (Columbus), Rozsival (NYR), Vrbata (Tampa), Hagman (Toronto)
Left: Redden, Morrison, Orpik, Huselius

My confidence in landing Redden is diminishing. Bob MacKenzie said that SJ seems to be the front runner with the Rangers, Calgary and Columbus still in the mix.

Pierre Mcguire just ripped Columbus for their signing of Commodore and Toronto for their signing of Finger.

I think Howson may be done for the day but certainly not for the offseason. He must add another center and at the very least an offensive defensemen. Its looking more and more like that will have to come via trade.

Update: I just updated the salary page element. With the Commodore signing the Jackets have 30.62 million tied up 15 players. If they were to spend to 50 million that gives them 19.38 mil left to spend. If you remove 8 mil for Leclaire and Umberger we are looking at 11 mil left for UFAs.

The Commodore signing is an interesting one. Its not surprising as his name has been bandied about. He definitely fits the "competitve" mold the Jackets were looking for. He's 28 year old 6'5" 228lb right handed shutdown d-man who is certainly willing to drop the mits at any time to protect his teammates. Boll will definitely have a wing man next season. He makes this team tougher to play against.

What Commodore isn't going to do is score many points. His career high was 2 seasons ago in Carolina where he put up 7g, 22a for 29 points. He also racked up 113 PIMS that season.

Obviously this is overpayment but that's not a surprise - that was and is going to happen to lure any free agent to Columbus. The biggest thing for me is that this makes a guy like Rusty Klesla expendable. It also means that Howson has got to bring in one or two more puck moving types.

Speaking of puck-movers - Michael Rozsival just re-signed with the Rangers. That's one less bidder for Wade Redden and they were said to be in the mix.

In fact here is my updated list of Jackets targets:

Signed: Commodore (Columbus), Rozsival (NYR), Vrbata (Tampa)
Left: Redden, Morrison, Orpik, Huselius, Hagman

Couple of other names to watch for are Martin Straka and Mark Streit. Of course via trades Kubina and Boyle.

Still plenty of guys out there Jacket fans. Lets see what else Howson can do before declaring this day a success or dissapointment.

C'mon Redden!

Update: The Jackets sign Mike Commodore from the Ottawa Senators for 5 years at 18.75 million. That's an average cap hit of 3.75 mil per season.

Well its certainly not Wade Redden...yet....but Howson snags a guy from his list and at a pretty good reasonable price - overpayment of course for a 4/5 d-man but that's the name of the game in UFA. Another shut down d-men to a large group of shut-down d-men. Plenty more on Commodore to come.

Howson has got to close the deal on a puck-mover via trade or UFA. Wade Redden is still out there.

C'mon Wade!!

Update: Scratch Campbell off the list. He goes to central rival Chicago. He signed for 56.8 mil over 8 years which averages out to 7 mil a year.

Torres was just on 1460 the fan. He raised some eyebrows in terms of his injury basically saying that its day to day. From what we know the trade is not contingent on a physical.

Update: Raffi Torres will be on for an interview at 5:20!

Atlanta and Chicago said to be in a bidding war for Campbell with amounts at 8.5 mil per year. Whoa...

Update: Toronto media speculating hard that Kubina will be traded to Columbus for Dan Fritsche. Toronto will then sign Wade Redden.

I could live with that but the greed inside me says lets get both!!

C'mon Kubina & Redden :)

Oh..and Tucker to Colorado... big boys still out there.

Update: The first offer sheet has already dropped. Vancouver offered David Bakes of the St. Louis Blues 3 years at 7.5 total -- if signed the Blues would get a 2nd round pick.

That is probably the most surprising move of the day for me so far -- 'nuck breakin out the offer sheets this early in the game.

Update: Stillman to Florida for 3 years at 10.6 --- Huet goes to the Blackhawks for 5.6 over 4 years --- wow! that a lot locked up in goalies for the 'hawks - they must have something line up to deal Khabibulin.....

CBJ list still the same as of 3:50 p.m.

Signed: Vrbata (Tampa)
Left: Redden, Morrison, Commodore, Rozsival, Orpik, Huselius, Hagman

Update: According to the Jackets are close to signing Brendan Morrison. Another name to keep an eye on is Martin Straka. They also say Redden is receiving a lot of interest - you know we are one of those "interest".

Update: In a very bizzare signing the Maple Leafs have signed Jeff Finger to a 4 year 3.5 per year deal. If you didn't think Kubina or McCabe were on their way out before -- its a near certainty now.

Seems like a huge overpayment for a guy with only one full year in the league who is already 28. Ouch. Why not just keep Kubina for 1.5 mil more? Head scratcher.

Update: Torres comments in the Puck-rakers blog:

"It's all good, right?" Torres said. "I'm excited. It's a new spot for me and my family. I'm going to miss Edmonton, but it's time for a change. It'll be good to move on.

"My wife looked at my cell phone when it rang, and she could see the call was from (Oilers GM) Kevin Lowe. When we found out it was Columbus, we were both really excited. It's going to be great."

He said his surgically repaired knee is right on schedule, that he hopes to be back on skates in about two weeks.

"I have good days and bad days (with the knee)," Torres said. "But that's normal. That's what all the doctors say. That's what the people say who've had this done before."

Sure it could be smoke blowing but damn it, the glass if half full me right now!! It sure does sound like he's ready to for a change of scenery and he's got the Howson and Hejda connection.

Update: For those reading the comments you'll see that our favorite blogger (no not me - har har) and Howard Berger from Toronto Fan590 have reported that the Leafs have interest in Dan Fritsche. Immediately the speculation is that Pavel Kubina would come the other way.

Puck-rakers has just reported that they've been told there are no talks between Columbus and Toronto.

As I mentioned in the comments (as well as Matt) and as Puck-rakers states that would seem to be a fall back option if their targets in free agency fall through.

Personally if all I have to move is Fritsche for Kubina I'm shoving people out of my way to get to the fax machine which probalby means it would take more than Danny-boy. That shouldn't stop us from targeting Wade Redden - in fact it may help us land him.

Also apparently Theodore got 4.5 million from the Caps. Yikes -- what will Leclaire want now.... another problem for another day... lets stay focused :)

Raycroft to Colorado. Conklin to Detroit. Saure to Phoenix.

C'mon Redden!!!

Update: Theodore to Washington. Looks like they couldn't get it done with Huet -- wonder where he ends up now? Big boys still out there....

....and down the stretch they come!!

Update: Hot rumor going around is that Brian Campbell's camp wants 70 million. I sure hope that's just a rumor. Thanks but no thanks Campbell.

Update: Well strike me down.... the Lightning just addressed something other than foward... according to the Fan 590 they have signed Olaf Kolzig. Not sure the term yet. Friggan Lightning are going nuts this offseason.

Update: Wow... according to Vancouver has offered Sundin 20 mil over 2 years. Dzzam.

Pretty quite right now. Big boys are all still out there deciding which millions to take and where.

C'mon Redden!!!

Update: Zidlicky has been traded from the Preds to the Minnestoa Wild for a 2nd round pick and prospect Randy Jones. Definitely salary dump by the Preds after locking up Suter and Weber. Zidlicky is signed for two more years at 3.5 per. Zidlicky instantly replaces Rolston on their PP on the point and combined with Burns that combo should be pretty lethal.

C'mon Redden!!

Update: Scratch Andrew Brunette off the list as he's signed with the Wild (terms to follow). For those like me that's a bummer but he didn't appear to be high on the Jackets radar. So far only Andrew Brunette off the names of UFAs the Dispatch provided has been locked up.

Signed: Vrbata (Tampa)
Left: Redden, Morrison, Commodore, Rozsival, Orpik, Huselius, Hagman

Update: Looking at the numbers more closely Torrest is scheduled to make 2.4 mil this year and 2.75 mil the following season.

I have updated the players signed page element - Brule and his .850 mil has been removed and Torres and his 2.4 has been added. In all the Jackets add 1.55 mil in salary in this deal. The Jackets as of now have 14 players signed for 26.87 million.

Update: More thoughts on Brule for Torres. Another trade with Edmonton which tells us Howson knows what he is getting in Torres.

I've seen a lot of questions asked if this would impact Howson going after another winger like Huselius -- it certainly could be but say for instance they plan on dealing Z then they need another winger -- I wouldn't rule it completely out. The Torres acquisition is a hedge against that though - here is Sportsnet's breakdown of him:

Has a strong lower body, which enables him to keep possession of the puck in the corners, and a nice scoring touch. Is developing a solid all-around game.

Needs more work on his skating. Won't be able to finesse his way to the big league so he needs to rely more on his power game.

Career potential
Top six winger.

Torres is a 26 year old left wing who can slide anywhere in the top 9. He gives us another hard hitting gritty player who has had consistency problems in Edmonton but has also proven himself at the NHL level and has more upside. Alot of people say he's just a more developed version of Gilbert Brule. He's had two season of 20 goals or more.

Again this is a move that adds a competitive piece to the puzzle. Torres can help us win now without giving up much for the future. His 2.5 mil is certainly manageable and allows a lot of flexibility to address other needs. It also adds flexibility in two years time when a certain guy by the name of Rick Nash is ready to re-signed.

Looking at the holes to fill where was Brule going to fit? He was going to get dealt. The writing was on the wall. Fritsche is in the same position.

I also want to wish Brule luck. He was handled very poorly under MacLean and brought along way to quickly. He'll get a fresh start in Edmonton with a very young team. I can certainly see him succeeding there but it just wasn't meant to be here.

C'mon Redden!!!

Update: So much for my Pitkanen dreams as he's dealt to Carolina for Eric Cole. One of our potential UFA targets in Vrbata just inked a deal with Tampa - man is Tampa re-loading or what? My quesiton though is how are they going to keep pucks out of their nets? Stuart re-signs with Detroit. Pandolfo stays with the Devils as well as Dupuis with the Penguins.

Still waiting for the big boys to drop. C'mon Redden!!!

Update: Brule now becomes the first ever 1st round draft pick traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Update: Raffi Torres has just been acquired from Edmonton for Gilbert Brule. Torres is signed for 2 more years at 2.5 per.

First reaction. Great trade as Brule no longer fit into the organizations plan and Torres is a top 6 gritty winger that fits perfectly into the Hitch style of team. The biggest question mark is his injury history.

I love the announcment of this deal right before free agency kicks in. Nice selling point for Howson and Hitch.

Much more to come on this acquisition.

Update: Bryce Salvador just re-signed with New Jersey at 4 years 11.6 million. That makes the Jan Hejda deal at 3 years 6 mil look fabulous as both are shut down d-men. Salvador had 11 points and was a +12. Hejda, 2 years younger, had 13 poitns and a +20.

Update: Just a little over 50 minutes until the frenzy begins.

Not much news yet although there are a couple of nuggets. It looks like Brian Rolston will test the UFA market today and not pull a "Malone". Also Caps blue chip defensemen Mike Green has re-upped with Washington to the tune of 4 years 21 million. Nice haul for a guy who only has one great year granted he's only 22 and that season he had a whopping 56 points.

Don't look for Leclaire or Umberger to get signed today as according to the Dispatch negotiations are on-going. I really think this Leclaire negotiation is going to get dicey. Today though its all about the unrestricted and not the restricted -- here's to hoping Howson can reel in a few big fish starting with Redden and Morrison who I think are targets 1A and 1B.



wizworm said...

I love this move! Torres is another great piece to the puzzle.

Best luck to Brule in Edmonton. I think this is exactly what he needs. A fresh start with a new organization. MacLean screwed up his development and killed his confidence by rushing him into the NHL.

Psycloud said...

Erm... Raffi Torres.

If he can find his game again, the CBJ could've just picked up a really good player. He's probably going to be pretty inconsistent, though.

Matt said...

I like it. Even on his "poor" seasons, Torres was still putting up 18-25 points. That's a hell of a lot more scoring than Brule ever managed.

I wish you luck, Gilber, but not too much. :>

wizworm said...

Pitkanen just went to Carolina for Cole. I guess that boat has sailed as well.

I really hope we manage to get an impact puck moving defensemen.

Anonymous said...

Love this deal. A great fit for the way the jackets want to play. Competitive, edgy, and can score 20-ish.

Brule: if he does ever pan out, good for him. We have Brassard, Voracek and Filitov who are actually legit 1st picks to take your spot!

Scott S. said...

Can anyone tell me what Tampa is trying to accomplish by signing Radim Vrbata? They have already sunk near 10-11 mill on filling our there forwards (Malone, Roberts, Prospal), now they spend 3 mill on Vrbata?!?! They're gonna be the same next year folks, scoring goals but being scored on just as much next season. Now c'mon Jackets management reel in some of those big fish.

LTL said...

Scott -- Before I read your comments I just added some comments into my post saying the same thing...

What's even more confusing is that they want to deal Dan Boyle...

I don't get it.. really it seems like one big fantasy game to these new owners... I don't think they realize you have to play defense as well as offense.


wizworm said...

A buddy just called me and said he heard a rumour Toronto is looking to trade for Fritche.

Unfortunatley, it comes from a site I can't STAND and from a blogger who has no credibility in my mind.

Any thoughts on this ltl?

Matt said...

I'm not LTL, but if we could work Fritsche into a deal that brings us Kubina, I'm good with it.

Beyond that, if Fritsche goes to the Leafs and we didn't see Kubina come back, I'd have to wonder who we'd be looking at...Steen or Stajan maybe?

For what it's worth, I'm listening to the Fan590 feed at work and they just mentioned the Fritsche rumor, too.

LTL said...

Wizworm.. interesting.. haven't seen that one yet. Perhaps Kubina is back in play? Fitsche + for Kubina?

I think we have to strike out on the UFA market first before going there...

That said I can't see Fritsche in a CBJ uni at the start of the season. I think he's definitely dealt at some point.


wizworm said...

More details on that rumour about Fritche for you LTL...

The Fan 590 in Toronto is now reporting it and the rumour is that Kubina would be going to the Jackets.

Geez. Free Agent Day is starting to look more like the trade deadline...

wizworm said...

I'm watching the TSN coverage and Bob Mackenzie just announced Campbell has signed with Chicago. 8 years, $7.1M.

Damn. I hate to see a divisional rival add a #1 goalie and top defensemen.

Sean said...

wizworm got it right...Chicago got a major upgrade, the RedWings are the stanley cup champs and we're 1-14 against Nashville the past two years. I can't believe that Campbell went to the Blackhawks.

If we get Commodore first does that mean Redden doesn't want to play with his old teammate? What's the chemistry/precedent with that sort of a situation in the NHL?

vegtalam@aol said...

I'm excited about the upgrades...but like you LTL, I'm eagerly waiting on the Redden/Morrison shoes to drop!!! 4pd has me very curious reporting on "Blue Jackets trying to package offer for top-line center." Fritche & Z for center???

wizworm said...

LTL, it looks like Redden is out of the mix. Andy Strickland is reporting he's narrowed his choice down to two eastern confrence teams and he'll decide within the hour.

Pub said...

This ALL comes back to the 7 failed years of Idiot GM Doug MacLean. We have crap here. We finally have about 3 stars...but the rest are nothing but bottom 6 and 4,5,6 defensemen. We have NEVER been able to sign a real free agent. We traded for a old bag of shit Russian that sucked for 3 years. Im sure as hell Howsen tried his ass of to make a splash. But couldnt so far. Who wants to play for losers? Not Campbell. Not Redden.

I still think we are already better in the upcoming year than last year...but hey...I have said that like 234234 times in the past 8 years.


markislander said...

Well just wanted to say making that trade for Torres was a good move,I agree Brule didnt have a chance Thanks Maclean being an Islander fan i know what you guys are going thru.But at least you didn"t have Milbury trading everything for nothing but i know CBJ has to make the playoffs this year.Like you guys knowone want"s to come to long Island because we are rebuilding but we did land Mark Streit very happy about that will help our powerplay just what CBJ needs,there are still some good guys out there so hang in there.

DJ Davy B said...

Its just not going to happen this year. We can't continue to blame DougieMac anymore. SH spent too much time planning and waiting. This team should have been gutted at the trade deadline. If we sent any message then it was we are afraid. Name any top line UFA that want to come to a team where the GM is afraid to make the big move. Heck now anybody on this team knows the worst place they will be traded is Edmonton. Blah blah blah we still have 12 million to spend. Whatever. Trade Z and whoever for a #1 center. It does not matter. Unfortunately this is how I saw the day playing out. The big fish going elsewhere. I really did not expect some of them in our division.

Pub said...

Tell me what you would Gut there DJ Dave?

Nash???? Leclaire???

Give me your grand plan gutting. Would LOVE to hear it.

DJ Davy B said...

Well sure Pub...
We can keep Nash and Leclaire. Theres gutting and then there is stupid. Not sure if you know the diff.
Going back to trade deadline...
Chim Chim
That would have been a good gutting at that point and sent a clear message in addition to Feds and Foote. Do WE really care what happened in Syracuse last year? Send them packing and we start fresh. Instead unless SH dumps a few more its same ole same ole with a few new sprinkles. We *should* be better, but how many times have we heard that? On second thought Chim Chim can stay. What you gonna keep these guys?

Pub said...

Im sure every one of those players was on the block. Trouble have to have a team that wants them..and you cant just give them away just so you can be "gutting". Manny for a 7th round pick. Does that help this team? Who replaces him? Brule? Has been awful since he has been a Jacket...think there was a good market for him at the deadline? Nope.

Its supply and demand. Our supply is garbabge....and people dont need garbage for a playoff push...they need good players. We have a team full of bottom six guys minus Nash and Z. Some say trade Z. Good...then we have 1 top six player.