Brad Richards is in a New York state of mind this morning after he decided to sign with the Rangers. The best player in this years free agent market made his choice just a little while ago after listening to multiple GM’s yesterday who lined up to pitch their offers for his services. The contract will keep Richards in New York for 9 years and during the course of his stay he will be making $58.5 million.
The interesting thing to note is the fact that the Calgary Flames offered Brad Richards a deal for 9 years, $65 million. Don’t feel bad Brad, we wouldn’t want to play in Calgary either.
Now that Richards is off the market the top free agent left available is goaltender Tomas Vokoun. Dale Tallon stated yesterday in a press conference that the Panthers made multiple offers to Vokoun but he overvalued himself, causing Florida to cut ties with him after four years. It will be interesting to see where the former Panthers netminder ends up, especially since there are not a lot of teams in the market for an expensive starting goaltender.
It’s finally National Hockey League free agency day! All thirty NHL General Managers will be looking to add players to their clubs to help them improve in the 2011-2012 season. Sunshine State Hockey will be live blogging all of the rumors, trades, and signings today from 12:00 PM EST to 5 PM EST.
11:42 AM – It looks like the party has already started so we might as well get the live blogging going. There are a couple re-signings/signings to report before noon.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed James Wisniewski to a six year deal worth $33 million.
The Minnesota Wild have re-signed Josh Harding to a 1 year contract for $750,000, so scratch him off the Panthers list.
Detroit re-signs both Patrick Eaves and Jonathan Ericsson to three year contracts.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have withdrawn their contract offer to Jaromir Jagr.
We will be back in twenty minutes for the official start of free agency.
12:02 PM – The free agent market is officially open. Here we go folks. Also worth mentioning that the Canucks re-signed Salo and Higgins before the market opened.
12:04 PM – Penguins have re-signed Tyler Kennedy to a 2 year, $2 million deal.
12:08 PM – We don’t see Brad Richards agreeing to a deal today, especially since GM’s are actually lining up to talk to him. It’s being reported that Detroit is out of the Jagr sweepstakes.
12:24 PM – Someone from the Denver post reported on Twitter moments ago that Colorado has contacted the Tomas Vokoun camp.
12:27 PM – Detroit re-signs Drew Miller to a 2 year deal.
12:38 PM – Devils hold on to Andy Greene by re-signing him to a four year contract.
12:43 PM – Tampa Bay has signed UFA goalie Mathieu Garon to a two year deal and agreed to an entry level contract with Brett Connolly.
12:51 PM – Two tough guys off the market. Chicago signs Jamal Mayers and Edmonton signs Ben Eager. One year contract for Mayers, three years for Eager.
12:53 PM – Florida Panthers have signed goalie Jose Theodore to a 2 year deal. This would make us think that the Panthers and Vokoun are finished.
1:06 PM – Dallas signs Adam Pardy for two years.
1:11 PM – The Florida Panthers have signed Scottie Upshall to a four year contract worth $14 million.
1:20 PM – The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Jaromir Jagr.
1:25 PM – Some minor signings to announce. The Blues re-sign Matt D’Agostini to a two year deal. Phoenix signs Mike Smith, Boyd Gordon, and Raffi Torres. Washington signs Jeff Halpern to a one year deal.
1:32 PM – The Stars sign former Panther Radek Dvorak to a one year contract worth $1.5 million while Jan Hejda joins Colorado for four years.
1:34 PM – The Jagr to Philadelphia deal is for one year, $3.3 million. That’s a bit expensive for someone at the end of his career.
1:35 PM – Panthers bring back former Cat D-man Ed Jovanovski for four years, $16.5 million. 1:47 PM – The Panthers have made one of the biggest splashes in the free agent market during day 1 by signing Jose Theodore, Scottie Upshall, and Ed Jovanovski.
1:50 PM – Blackhawks sign forward Andrew Brunette.
1:54 PM – The Ed Jovanovski contract breaks down like this: $4M, $4.25M, $4.25M, $4M. 1:57 PM – Florida Panthers sign Marcel Goc to a three year contract.
2:02 PM – It seems we have our first trade of the day. The Washington Capitals have traded goalie Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche for a 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick in either 2012 or 2013.
2:07 PM – A lot of people are wondering what’s going to happen to Tomas Vokoun. Some say Florida still might be in the mix, but we doubt that.
2:08 PM – Marcel Goc’s contract is three years, $1.73 million each year.
2:18 PM – This one got lost in the frenzy. The Flyers signed former Panthers D-man Andreas Lilja.
2:21 PM – The three biggest names on the market are still available even after all these signings. Brad Richards, Tomas Vokoun, and Tomas Kaberle all still looking for places to call home.
2:26 PM – Radim Vrbata re-signs with the Coyotes for $9 million over three years.
2:31 PM – Max Talbot signs with the Philadelphia Flyers. With Jagr and Talbot choosing Philly over Pittsburgh the rivalry gets a little more heated.
2:34 PM – Reports claim that the Colorado Avalanche have signed Semyon Varlamov to a two year deal worth $5.5 million. The contract for Max Talbot in Philly is five years, $9 million.
2:37 PM – Only 8 of the top 30 free agents ranked by the Fourth Period have been signed.
2:38 PM – The Winnipeg Jets make their first signing of the day and it’s hometown boy Derek Meech. The contract is a two way deal for one year.
2:48 PM – Carolina Hurricanes sign goalie Brian Boucher for two years at $1.9 million.
2:52 PM – Peter Budaj signs with Montreal for two years.
3:00 PM – Rangers sign Mike Rupp to a three year deal worth $4.5 million.
3:06 PM – Red Wings sign Mike Commodore.
3:11 PM – We are taking a ten minute break. Hopefully nothing crazy happens while we are gone.
3:27 PM – We’re back with some updates. Steve Sullivan signs a one year deal with the Penguins. New York Islanders sign Marty Reasoner to a two year deal. Washington locks up Joel Ward and Roman Hamrlik. Ward for four years, Hamrlik for two.
3:34 PM – Erik Cole has signed with the Montreal Canadiens. The deal is for four years at $18 million.
3:37 PM – Edmonton signs Darcy Hordichuk and Cam Barker. Alex Auld signs with the Ottawa Senators for one year. Two former Panthers netminders working together in Ottawa.
3:44 PM – New Panthers: Ed Jovanovski, Marcel Goc, Scottie Upshall, Jose Theodore. Panthers leaving Sunrise: Darcy Hordichuk, Marty Reasoner, (Tomas Vokoun?).
4:00 PM – The Florida Panthers have acquired Kris Versteeg from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 2nd round pick in either the 2012 draft or the 2013 draft and a 3rd round pick.
4:10 PM – Edmonton trades Kurtis Foster to the Ducks for Andy Sutton.
4:12 PM – The Buffalo Sabres have signed Ville Leino to a six year deal worth $27 million.
4:18 PM – Another signing that slipped through. The Boston Bruins have signed Benoit Pouliot to a one year deal.
4:20 PM – Marco Sturm signs with the Vancouver Canucks for one year, $2.2 million. A bit overpaid for Mr. Sturm’s services.
4:22 PM – Hurricanes sign forward Alexei Ponikarovsky.
4:25 PM – The league is taking notice that the Florida Panthers mean business. This tweet just came in from Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan:
“Anybody feel like FLA is winning the race today? Tons of action! Some good pickups too.”
4:34 PM – Sheldon Souray has signed with the Dallas Stars for one year.
4:35 PM – San Jose realizes it’s the first day of free agency and signs Jim Vandermeer to a one year deal.
4:40 PM – 20 minutes until our live coverage of day one comes to an end. It’s been fun.
5:00 PM – Last deal of the day to end our live coverage on is one for the Florida Panthers. The Cats have signed Tomas Fleischmann to a four year deal worth $18 million.
A big thanks to everyone who joined Sunshine State Hockey for our live coverage of the first day of free agency. As soon as we hear any more news about the Florida Panthers, Brad Richards, Tomas Vokoun, or any other top free agents we will publish it.
In a time when the Florida Panthers have a lot of money to spend would it be wise to dump a good chunk of that change on one player? Some fans would say yes because they finally want a true #1 star on the team while others will say no because they want a team of equally talented individuals compiled through building from within. If Tallon decides that this team does need one player with a skill set better than the rest then the following NHL star may be just the guy he is looking for.
#3 – Brad Richards
If Florida wants a true #1 center to anchor the top line they should seriously consider soon to be UFA Brad Richards. The guy has proved that he has what it takes to be the number one player on a team by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2004 with the Lightning and posting a career high 91 points in 2009-2010 with the Dallas Stars. Richards also brings some solid leadership skills to the table, giving the Panthers another option for captain if they decide not to give the C to Stephen Weiss.
Currently Brad Richards is making $7.8 million a year with the Stars, so if Florida wants his services they are going to pay a high price. Another issue that the Cats will face when trying to sign him is the competition from other NHL clubs. Many believe that the New York Rangers will be making a strong push to sign Richards come July 1st, and everyone knows how they like to throw big money at star players. If the Panthers want a shot at Brad Richards we predict that they will have to offer a 4-5 year contract that will pay the Murray Harbour native $8 million per season.
Be sure to keep checking back for the next installment of our five day series that will take a look at five different pending UFA’s for the Panthers to consider signing when the calender strikes July 1st. If you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them below or send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.