Thursday, July 06, 2006

Free Agency Day Five/Edmonton Exodus

A little more done today in the free agent market. Of course, arbitration could bring another level to the whole ordeal, plus some trades going down today brought another interesting day at the wires.

LOS ANGELES: The Kings sured up their goaltending as they traded for Dan Cloutier from Vancouver. All the Kings had to give up was two draft picks. Cloutier will be coming off a knee injury which kept him out the duration of the '05-'06 season. It should be interesting to see what GM Dean Lombardi does with Mathieu Garon and Jason Labarbera.

CALGARY: The Flames were able to get Alex Tanguay under contract for three years at about 5M per. Also, the Flames added some depth with the signing of Jeff Friesen. Now, Friesen had a horrendous '05-'06 campaign, but if Darryl Sutter has proven anything-- he can get the best out of a bad player.

DALLAS: A day after signing Matt Barnaby, the Stars continued their veteran kick by signing Jeff Halpern. Halpern had been in the Capitals organization for his entire career up until today. Halpern should bring more leadership into the room. Also, Steve Ott re-signed a deal with the Stars.

BUFFALO: All was not rosy for the Sabres, but I'll touch on that later. The Sabres, however, did sign Jaroslav Spacek to a multi-year deal. Spacek is the second defenseman of the week to sign away from Edmonton. Though he won't replace Jay McKee, but Spacek could help out the offense in the Buffalo blueline.

RE-SIGNINGS: Plenty of re-signings as Marian Gaborik (Wild), Erik Cole (Hurricanes), Antero Niittymaki (Flyers), Ray Emery (Senators), and Andy McDonald (Ducks) all re-signed with their club. Emery and Niittymaki signed one year deals while Gaborik, Cole, and McDonald signed three-year deals.

ARBITRATION: A total of 69 players filed for arbitration this year, 12 of them coming from the Buffalo Sabres. Teams have until tomorrow at 5 PM ET to take players who made over 1.5M to arbitration. Hearings will be held from July 20th to August 4th.

What's the deal with people wanting out of Edmonton?? Chris Pronger was very vocal after the season, Michael Peca voiced his displeasure during the season, and according to other sources, Jaro Spacek was a player who had an issue with Edmonton as well.

I don't know if it was the city or the team itself, but there could be something fishy going on if it's not. We know Pronger's issue with his family, but I'm unsure with the other two. I do know one thing, there has to be something deeper to the situation, mainly because of the run that the Oilers made last season, you'd think everyone would want to come back to try and get back there.

As someone living in Calgary, I'm not really a fan of Edmonton; but I can't help but feel bad for the fans. With all these guys getting out of there after what happened is a shock. Then to hear that some either had a problem with the city or the team is definitely a blow to the fans who have lived and cheer for the team for the longest time. Here's hoping it's just something to do with internal chemistry and not the city itself, because I know I would be furious if anyone talked about my hometown badly....of course, it's Glen Burnie, MD and that place ain't that good to begin with....but still, it's the principle of it.

Needless to say, the Oilers will need to find some help on their blue line either from their prospects or through trades or maybe some UFAs out there, but if something doesn't get fixed up, it could be a long season for the Oilers and their fans.

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