Yesterday was Day One of NHL free agency, and every Bruins/hockey fan spent the day refreshing Twitter to see what the latest moves were. In the first big move of the day, the Penguins acquired Phil Kessel, because of course they did. Then the top free agents started signing, with many potential fits for Boston coming off the board:
1. Andrej Sekera: 6 years, $33M with Edmonton with a NMC (Peter Chiarelli giving a NMC? You don’t say…)
2. Michael Frolik: 5 years, $21.5M with Calgary (Calgary is gonna be goooooood)
3. Mike Green: 3 years, $18M with Detroit (Would have been an interesting replacement for Dougie Hamilton, also would have driven Claude Julien to drink heavily)
So it looked like the Bruins would be quiet on Day One, further angering and disappointing the fan base. And then, new GM Don Sweeney struck.
The first domino was LW Matt Beleskey, signing a 5 year, $19M deal ($3.8M cap hit). Beleskey had a career high 22 goals last year (8 more in the playoffs) giving him a total of 30 in 81 games, which would have been far and away the team lead for the Bruins last year. The knock on Beleskey is that he was a one-year wonder and benefited from playing with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. While this is true, he also had to actually, you know, put the puck in the net which isn’t easy, as any Bruins fan should know if you watched one game last year.
The other move was trading for Florida’s Jimmy Hayes for, and I get giddy just getting ready to type this, Reilly Smith and Marc Savard’s contract. Trading Jimmy Hayes for Reilly Smith is the greatest trade in the history of sports. Smith’s contract was everything that was wrong with the Bruins, which Sweeney acknowledged by dealing him at the first chance he got.
So these moves A. give the Bruins some sorely needed forward depth, and B. give the fan base the ability to take a deep breath and think that maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a hockey season of note around here.
There is still work to be done however. Hayes is a RFA, as is Brett Connolly, and the B’s still need a defenseman or two (Cody Franson, please please please). But things are definitely looking up.
Also, Ryan Spooner signed for 2 years at a $950K cap hit, which is a perfect deal for him.
All in all a good day for the Bruins and Don Sweeney.
There are still some interesting names on the board, both forwards and defense. Michael Del Zotto, Franson, Johnny Oduya, Joel Ward, etc. Another interesting name is David Schlemko, if only for this goal.
Elsewhere in the NHL yesterday:
- Greg Campbell got 2 years at $1.5M per from Columbus. And Don Sweeney is the idiot.
- Matt Bartkowski got a one-year, $1.8M deal from Vancouver. Good for him, he is someone else’s problem now.