Yesterday hockey fans held on to their mobile devices tightly as they watched the NHL free agency frenzy play out. Over $660 million was doled out in contracts around the NHL involving at least 120 players. The entire league was involved in either a trade and/or signing, except for one team, the Anaheim Ducks.
As the day wore on yesterday the anticipation of Anaheim making a move wore off and irritation set in amongst many. News of free agent players that played in Anaheim or San Diego last season were announced as they signed with other teams. David Perron signed with St. Louis, Jamie McGinn went to division opponent Arizona, and Chris Stewart went back to Minnesota meeting up with Bruce Boudreau again. Anton Khudobin, who originally planned to go to the KHL, went back to one of his former teams in the Boston Bruins. AHLer Chris Mueller signed with Arizona and Harry Zolnierczyk landed in Nashville. The players that didn’t sign else where by the end of the day were Shawn Horcoff, Brandon Pirri, and Mike Santorelli.
As players left the Anaheim organization, so did the chances to bring in replacements at left wing or goalie. Milan Lucic went to Edmonton, Andrew Ladd signed with the New York Islanders, Loui Eriksson went to division rival Vancouver, and Mikkel Boedker went to California rival San Jose. Potential backup goalies Carter Hutton, Jonas Gustavsson, Chad Johnson, Al Montoya, and Jeff Zatkoff all signed with new teams yesterday.
Some may have thought GM Bob Murray wasn’t active yesterday based upon the results, but that’s not the case. He tried to re-sign David Perron, but couldn’t get a deal done without possibly compromising the re-signing of Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell. Murray isn’t usually very active on July 1 when free agency opens up, but not having Lindholm and Rakell re-signed didn’t help the situation yesterday. Additionally, Claude Lemieux represents Lindholm and is a shrewd negotiator. Lemieux is fairly new to the scene in representing players and is in the process of trying to obtain more clients. He succeeded in getting Frederik Andersen a five-year $25 million deal in Toronto, which will help Lemieux’s cause. He is likely trying to get Lindholm a substantial contract as well.
If a move is to be made in Anaheim for a left-wing, then it’s likely going to come from a trade. The Detroit Red Wings have an excess of forwards and need help on the blue line. They would be a good trade partner for Anaheim as the Ducks have the opposite problem, an excess in defensemen and not enough forward depth. The Ducks have also talked to Colorado, who first inquired about Lindholm, but Murray ended that discussion quickly. Colorado has also expressed interest in Cam Fowler. Other teams to be rumored in discussions with Anaheim include Edmonton and St. Louis.
In regard to the goalie situation, Montreal picked up Al Montoya yesterday, so Mike Condon might be a back-up goalie trade option for Anaheim. Jhonas Enroth, Karri Ramo, and Ben Scrivens are also free agents that Anaheim might want to consider.
Anaheim remains quiet for now, but it won’t be for long.
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