Day 1 of Free Agency is in the books and the hockey world is all a buzz.  Plenty of players landed in new places, an old face resurfaced in the NHL (Philly signed Jagr), and as of this writing Brad Richards has yet to sign.  Here at Guys Nation, we’re always ready (and very wiling) to put our opinions and thoughts out there – giving you a different perspective on sports and the NHL.  Today is no exception as we’ll discuss the yesterday’s activities in the NHL.  Here we go!

3 Teams moves I liked:

3 – Florida.  They had plenty of cap space and really used it wisely.  They didn’t overpay and really addressed some needs.  They bring Ed Jovanovski back where he started his career, a couple of physical forwards in Goc and Kopecky, and a replacement for Vokoun who is sure to leave via Free Agency.  We can argue that Theodore isn’t the greatest replacement but Vokoun didn’t really set the world on fire last season that and a nagging back injury kept him out of several games the last 2 seasons.  Overall, I liked the moves.

2- Colorado.  They had needs across the board and signed guys in key positions.  Goaltending was the real downfall to the Avs last season.  They bring in 2 guys who have been #1 goaltenders with playoff experience.  Surely, there will be a battle for the #1 spot here.  Kobasew can play either left or right wing and the addition of Hejda adds toughness to the blue line.  Still, the Avs have a lot of cap space to play with and I don’t think they’re done.

1 – Buffalo.  Yeah, I’m a homer but you can’t overlook what they have done.  With a extremely young core at defense, they added 2 players (Regehr & Ehrhoff) with playoff experience to bring stability to the back line.  The late afternoon signing of Leino was a steal.  The guy single handily eliminated Buffalo from the playoffs last season.  With the subtraction of some sub-par players (Montador and Mancari for starts) and the addition of the new players, the Sabres have really improved.

3 Teams moves I didn’t like:

3- Chicago.  Funny, I was talking to a fellow Sabres fan about Montador (Montadork as I call him) and how excited we were when we “stole” him from Boston several years ago.  If you don’t watch him and just look at his numbers you’d think he was this amazing defenseman.  Ohhhh how wrong you’d be.  Too bad the NHL doesn’t keep stats on individual turnovers because our boy here would lead the league.  That move in conjunction with signing knucklehead Dan Carcillo puts them on my list.

2 – Washington.  Sorry Caps fans but what in the WORLD is this team doing?  They sign Joel Ward ($5 for anyone in the DC area that EVER heard of him) to a whopping 4 year $12mil deal! Ummm … why another winger?  This team needs centers … and they sign Potulny (again, another $5 for anyone who knew this guy) who played exactly 10 games last season.  Yes, they did bring back fan favorite Jeff Halpern and they did get Roman Hamrlik who will help.  Overall, the needs of this team are being ignored (quality centers, blueliners and a starting goalie).

3- Toronto.  Someone call the Maple Leafs front office and let them know free agency started YESTERDAY!  Holy cap space Batman!  This team has the 9th MOST cap space in the league and they signed … NO ONE!  Last time I checked, the Leafs haven’t made the playoffs since Gordie Howe was still playing for the Red Wings.  At one time, this was the place to play.  One of the original 6 teams … a model hockey franchise with a storied history.  How the mighty have fallen.  Let’s say they land Brad Richards … which I think they have NO chance at but just play along … who is he going to play with?  I can’t understand, with the money this team has the ability to utilize, they signed no one.  Thank you Toronto … one less team my Sabres need to worry about next season.

Where in the world will Brad Richards land?

My gut is saying the Rangers.  They have the money to throw at him and it’s NYC!  I know Calgary and Toronto have rolled out the red carpet for him but just can’t see him playing in a town like Calgary.  He’s gotta see how Toronto has handled themselves this off season and can’t be thrilled with those prospects.

Ok … your turn.  Let me know what you think of the moves so far!

Other GuysNation Reactions:

From Nathan:
Brad Richards: I knew it was going to be the Rangers. They are the one NHL team to throw cash around in order to fix their deficiencies, like the Yankees. Only the Yanks actually win championships and divisions with their cash. Richards will put up points and will make the team better, but time will tell if that translates to a Cup.

Likes:
Ehrhoff to Buffalo –  A massive 10 year deal for one of the most underrated D-men in the league. He was an important piece to Vancouver’s Cup push and should benefit the Sabres greatly. Though the deal is long, but the $4 mil yearly average is low compared to other D of Ehrhoff’s caliber.

Cole to Montreal – I was shocked that he didn’t return to Carolina. The Habs gain a big, powerful forward that can score 30+ goals while parking himself in front of the opposing net. He oozes leadership and should be able to handle the increased pressure of playing in Montreal.

Gagne to LA – He is a savvy veteran forward that will bring leadership and experience to the Kings and help out their young forwards. LA is an emerging team that can only benefit from the addition of Gagne.

Dislikes:
Jagr to Philly – This will sure bring some buzz to the Flyers, but one has to wonder if Jagr will be able to contribute at a high level or he will be a secondary player. I mean he’s 39 and not alot of players are at a high level at that age, unless of course you’re Super Lidstrom.

Connolly to Toronto – This is obviously the Leafs’ consolation prize after missing out on Richards and may have a knee jerk signing. Though Connolly is talented, he has missed all of one season and most of another to injury, plus he hasn’t played a full season consistently. The fan and media patience will be much, much less in Toronto, which could play a factor.

Bergenheim to Florida – All the credit in the world should go to Bergenheim for cashing in on a great postseason. One has to wonder if he will be able to live up to the contract. Florida had alot of cap space, though I believe it could have been spent on more proven players.