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Free Agent Frenzy 2015: Live Blog

MGreen

Sunshine State Hockey will be live blogging from 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM EST during the first day of NHL free agency. Stick with us all day for updates on the biggest signings and possible trades.

11:32 AM – We are officially live and just 28 minutes away from the start of free agency. Some early reports indicate that more than eight teams are interested in Joel Ward, including his current team, the Washington Capitals.

11:40 AM – David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reports that the Bruins and Red Wings are in the mix for Mike Green. On the trade front, it seems Calgary and Toronto have talked about a deal for Phil Kessel, but nothing incoming yet.

11:45 AM – The Calgary Flames have re-signed goalie Karri Ramo to a one year contract. That takes him off of our top 30 UFA list.

11:52 AM – A highlight reel of the good and bad free agent signings from 2014 is being shown on the NHL Network. Dave Bolland was the first player shown on the bad list.

11:57 AM – The Penguins are currently the front runners for Phil Kessel.

12:00 PM – Free agent frenzy begins now!

12:02 PM – Blackhawks have signed newly acquired forward Artem Anisimov to a five year contract. Anisimov was traded to Chicago in the seven player deal for Brandon Saad.

12:10 PM – Toronto signs Matt Hunwick

12:11 PM – The signings are rolling in. Colorado signs Beauchemin to a three year contract. Goalie Thomas Greiss has signed with the Islanders for two years, $1.5 million per year.

12:14 PM – Adam Pardy re-signs with Winnipeg for one year while Washington signs Taylor Chorney.

12:21 PM – Just a reminder for Panthers fans. Scottie Upshall, Tomas Kopecky, and Brad Boyes are all free agents and will not be brought back to Florida.

12:27 PM – Hearing both Mark Letestu and Andrej Sekera are close to signing with the Edmonton Oilers.

12:38 PM – Paul Martin inks a four year deal with the San Jose Sharks.

12:41 PM – Andrej Sekera and Mark Letestu have signed with the Edmonton Oilers. Sekera will receive $5.5 million per for six years.

12:45 PM – Forward Blake Comeau goes to Colorado for three years. Chicago brings Viktor Tikhonov back to the NHL.

12:47 PM – TSN’s Bob McKenzie reporting that Michael Frolik might be heading to Calgary, nothing official yet but it seems to be a long term deal.

12:48 PM – David Pagnotta reporting that Michal Neuvirth has signed with Philadelphia.

12:49 PM – Brad Richardson and Steve Downie have signed with the Arizona Coyotes.

12:51 PM – Panthers seem to be searching for a backup goalie. That market is shrinking fast.

12:54 PM – Phil Kessel has been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Kasperi Kapanen, Harrington, and a first round pick.

12:58 PM – Michael Frolik to Calgary is now official.

1:02 PM – Goalie Anders Lindback signs a one year contract with Arizona.

1:05 PM – Panthers quiet so far today. George Richards reporting that Tallon is working on a new contract for Huberdeau.

1:13 PM – Vancouver signs Matt Bartkowski to a one year contract worth $1.75 million.

1:16 PM – Barret Jackman moving from the Blues to the Predators for two years, $4 million per year.

1:19 PM – Florida Panthers sign three minor league players, goaltender Mike McKenna, forward Shane Harper, and defenseman Sena Acolatse.

1:21 PM – Zbynek Michalek is heading back to Arizona on a two year deal.

1:29 PM – Another backup goalie off the table as Jhonas Enroth signs a one year deal with LA.

1:31 PM – More pieces to that Phil Kessel deal. Details still coming in but Nick Spaling is heading to Toronto as part of the trade.

1:37 PM – Alex Burmistrov is coming back to North America, and back to the Jets on a two year contract.

1:51 PM – Rangers sign Diaz.

1:53 PM – Tampa Bay Lightning sign Eric Condra to a three year contract.

2:08 PM – Cody Hodgson signs with the Nashville Predators.

2:14 PM – Vancouver trades Kassian and a 5th round pick to Montreal for Prust.

2:19 PM – John Moore heads to New Jersey for three years.

2:26 PM – The finalized Phil Kessel trade can be seen on Sunshine State Hockey by clicking here.

2:27 PM – Senators sign Zack Stortini.

2:33 PM – The Flames sign Derek Grant, former Ottawa center, to a two way deal.

2:40 PM – We lost one in the shuffle of this frenzy. Toronto signed P.A. Parenteau.

2:42 PM – Aside from those minor league trades earlier in the day Florida has been completely silent so far. It is possible that they make no moves this year, which puts pressure on the young guys to carry the Panthers to a playoff berth this year.

2:52 PM – TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting that Viktor Stalberg is now a member of the New York Rangers.

2:54 PM – The Buffalo Sabres have signed 2015, 2nd overall pick Jack Eichel to a three year, entry level contract.

3:01 PM – Ruslan Fedotenko signs a two way contract with the Minnesota Wild.

3:10 PM – Blues LW Vladimir Tarasenko has received an offer sheet from the Dallas Stars for six years, $45 million, reports are that St. Louis will match.

3:11 PM – Carolina inks TJ Hensick.

3:14 PM – Mike Kostka signs a two way deal with the Ottawa Senators.

3:30 PM – We will be live blogging for 30 more minutes. It seems the signings and trades are starting to slow down.

3:31 PM – Former Blue Jackets player Brian Gibbons has signed with the Rangers.

3:41 PM – Penguins sign D-man David Warsofsky to a one year contract.

3:46 PM – George Richards just tweeted this quote from Panthers GM Dale Tallon: “We would have signed someone if it was a bargain. We weren’t going to overpay and block one of the kids.”

3:51 PM – The biggest signing of the day, Detroit inks defenseman Mike Green to a three year contract. Green was listed as our top available free agent.

3:56 PM – We will be live for just four more minutes. There are still plenty of big names available for the taking, such as Martin St. Louis, Justin Williams, and Joel Ward. Be sure to check all the major NHL news networks for any breaking deals after 4:00 PM. If the Panthers make any moves after 4:00 PM we will report them as soon as they happen.

4:00 PM – It is time for us to sign off for the evening. Thank you for joining us today and we hope everyone enjoyed our coverage of the 2015 free agent frenzy.

Oilers Win Third Straight Draft Lottery

The Edmonton Oilers may have issues winning on the ice but they certainly know how to win when it comes to the draft lottery. The NHL held their annual draft lottery earlier this evening and the Oilers came out on top for the third year in a row, even though the Columbus Blue Jackets had the best chance of winning. After tonight’s lottery the draft order for the bottom 14 teams shapes up like this:

2012 NHL Draft Order

1. Edmonton Oilers
2. Columbus Blue Jackets
3. Montreal Canadiens
4. New York Islanders
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
6. Anaheim Ducks
7. Minnesota Wild
8. Carolina Hurricanes
9. Winnipeg Jets
10. Tampa Bay Lightning
11. Washington Capitals (From Colorado)
12. Buffalo Sabres
13. Dallas Stars
14. Calgary Flames

The remaining draft order of the first round will be determined after the playoffs are finished.

Fleischmann Nominated For Masterton

The Florida Panthers announced earlier today via their Facebook page that forward Tomas Fleischmann has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The Masterton is annually awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game of hockey.

“The Flash” is an obvious choice for the Panthers because he’s been able to put together a career year while battling a serious blood clot condition. Fleischmann has notched 52 points so far this season, passing his best total from 2010 when he was a member of the Washington Capitals. For those who don’t know Tomas discovered that he had two blood clots in his lungs after being traded to the Colorado Avalanche in 2011. He has to constantly monitor his health, take blood thinners, and even take special precautions when traveling. Fleischmann has appeared in all 71 games for the Panthers this season, a great accomplishment for someone with such a serious medical condition.

We speak for all Panthers fans when we say that we hope the Flash takes home the trophy on June 20th during the annual NHL Awards show in Las Vegas.

NHL Trade Deadline 2012 – Live!

Welcome to Sunshine State Hockey’s live coverage of the 2012 National Hockey League trade deadline. There are so many big questions to be answered today. Will the Columbus Blue Jackets trade Rick Nash? Will Toronto get their goaltender? How will Florida react to being buyers for the first time in years? All of these questions and more will be answered by 3:00 PM EST, so keep checking back.

10:30 AM – Good morning everyone. It is time to get our live coverage of the 2012 NHL trade deadline started. There hasn’t been any moves yet but we are sure the action will pick up soon.

10:35 AM – Rumors right now have Andrei Kostitsyn being dealt to Nashville, stay tuned.

10:45 AM – Who are some players that could find a new home today? Rick Nash – CBJ, Jonathan Bernier – LAK, Josh Harding – MIN, Jaroslav Spacek – CAR, Paul Gaustad – BUF.

10:45 AM – The first trade of the day: Nashville trades a 2nd round pick and a conditional 5th round pick in 2013 to Montreal for Andrei Kostitsyn.

10:50 AM – Some bad news for the Capitals as Nicklas Backstrom has been placed on long-term IR.

10:52 AM – Here’s a picture of the Panthers trade “war room” tweeted earlier by Florida’s official Twitter account. http://ow.ly/i/tPNJ

11:02 AM – The word out of Florida right now is that a lot of teams are interested in Jason Garrison. Tallon will not move him though unless he get’s a very good return.

11:25 AM – Here are some good twitter accounts to follow for all of your trade deadline day needs: @SSH_Marc, @OnFrozenPond, @DarrenDreger, @Real_ESPNLeBrun, @TSNBobMcKenzie

11:30 AM – Very slow start to the day. We all can only hope for more deals soon or else this is going to be a long day.

11:50 AM – Here is TSN’s list of trade bait for today’s deadline: Trade Bait.

12:00 PM – It is now noon which means that there are only three hours left before the deadline. There has still been only one trade made today, so let’s hope that changes.

12:05 PM – The Jets have claimed Grant Clitsome off of waivers from Columbus.

12:45 PM – Everyone still awake?

12:46 PM – We have our second trade of the day. The Red Wings trade Mike Commodore to Tampa for a conditional 7th round pick.

1:00 PM – Oilers trade Tom Gilbert to the Wild for Nick Schultz.

1:01 PM – This deadline is so slow that TSN’s live trade tracker has died.

1:10 PM – Minnesota Star Tribune writer Michael Russo just tweeted that “Nick Schultz wasn’t even told by #mnwild that he was traded before #oilers tweeted it. Pretty ticked off organization here”. Yikes.

1:15 PM – Time to make some lunch. Our live coverage will be back at 1:30 PM unless a trade breaks in the next 15 minutes.

1:35 PM – We are back and haven’t missed anything.

1:37 PM – Toronto has dealt Keith Aulie to the Lightning for Carter Ashton.

1:57 PM – The Avalanche trade Daniel Winnik, TJ Galiardi, and a 7th round pick to San Jose for Jamie McGinn, Mike Connolly, and Michael Sgarbossa.

2:00 PM – Ottawa trades Brian Lee to the Lightning for Matt Gilroy.

2:04 PM – The Blue Jackets trade Sami Pahlsson to the Vancouver Canucks for two 4th round picks (years TBA).

2:08 PM – Johnny Oduya has been traded by the Jets to Chicago for a 2nd and 3rd round pick in 2013.

2:10 PM – Things are starting to heat up with 50 minutes left before the 3:00 PM deadline, including talks about Rick Nash.

2:30 PM – 30 minutes left before the deadline.

2:50 PM – 10 minutes remaining…

2:58 PM – Brian Rolston and Mike Motteau have been traded from the Islanders to Boston for Yannick Riendeau and Marc Cantin.

3:00 PM – The deadline has passed.

3:01 PM – Paul Gaustad and a 4th round pick sent to Nashville from Buffalo for a 1st round pick.

3:10 PM – Panthers GM Dale Tallon says that he made a lot of phone calls but didn’t do anything. Dale is satisfied with the team he has.

3:11 PM – Bruins acquire Greg Zanon from Minnesota for Steve Kampfer.

3:17 PM – Confirmed: Rangers get John Scott from the Hawks for a 5th round pick.

3:24 PM – Toronto makes a minor league deal by trading Dale Mitchell to Anaheim for Mark Fraser.

3:30 PM – Brian Burke does not like phones going off during his press conference.

3:35 PM – Buffalo acquires Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer from Vancouver for Zack Kassian and MA Gragnani. There still might be more.

4:00 PM – Canucks get Andrew Gordon from the Ducks for Sebastian Erixon.

4:20 PM – Well folks we are going to cut our coverage of the 2012 NHL trade deadline ten minutes short. Today was something, that’s for sure. Check back with Sunshine State Hockey over the next couple of days for more coverage of this seasons trade deadline.

Fantasy Hockey Season is Upon Us!

Crosovi

First off I’d like to say hello to all of the readers since this is my first article I’m writing for SSH. I’d like to thank Marc for allowing me the chance to write and possibly improve on my skills for the future. That being said let’s get to this shall we?

The NHL season is approaching fast, and with that Fantasy leagues all over are beginning to open up. As you notice to the right we have a list of names that will be participating in the first ever Sunshine State Hockey League. I wrote another article on Fantasy Hockey a few weeks ago for www.litterboxcats.com but I was looking to dive further into fantasy hockey in this article to give a few tips to, in some ways, level the playing field. Obviously since I’m participating myself I won’t give away too many of my secrets or “sleeper picks” but I hope this helps those of you who may not have a lot of experience when it comes to drafting your very own fantasy team. For those of you who don’t know a “sleeper pick” is basically a selection where you take a player who may not have done well in past seasons which gives him a low ranking, but he’s due for a breakout season. An example of this would be Michael Grabner for the Islanders last season, I don’t think anyone could have predicted he would score 34 goals.

As I’ve told people in the past, there are no loyalties in fantasy hockey. Sure there’s always one or two players who are our personal favorites that play for the home team but that doesn’t mean Stephen Weiss should be taken first overall. As much fun as I’m sure we’re all going to have in the SSHL I know that everyone will have even more fun when they’re doing well. A good strategy I’ve noticed that works well is taking an offensive player with your first two picks, however there are a few exceptions to this rule. If it comes to your second pick and there is an offensive player you’re not too sure about, such as him being injury prone or the fact that he was traded to a bad team, then by all means select a goaltender. Their stat categories do count toward your overall points too after all.

Now obviously in just about any league the first three or four picks can be predicted. They could be in no particular order: Steven Stamkos, Daniel Sedin, Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby. The big question out of these four obviously would be Crosby. I’m sure we can all agree that if healthy he is one of the best in the league at what he does. Concussions knocked him out of play last season (no pun intended) and it’s still been a question as to when he’ll be ready to return, but I assure you that once he does he won’t be a wasted pick. After these picks it becomes really a matter of preference. Henrik Sedin has always been strong like his brother and there is also last years leading scorer Corey Perry. However in the early to middle of the first round some of you may want to consider Bobby Ryan, it’s always been said that he’s more skilled than Perry and the odds of Perry repeating his performance last season aren’t very high. Someone has to pick up the slack for this right? Ryan is expected to have a breakout year, he hit a cold streak last season where he only had 4 goals in a 30 game span yet still scored 34 on the season.

Moving into the bottom half of the first round and top half of the second sometimes leads to some uncertainty, and as I stated above if you’re not certain on your pick then by all means grab a goaltender. Luongo despite his playoff woes often proves to be a solid pick for the position in fantasy leagues, and one of our favorites Tomas Vokoun looks to have a “breakout” year as he’s now playing with Washington, so consider him for this pick as well. A big question mark leads us to the Stanley Cup defending Boston Bruins and Tim Thomas. He’s yet another year older and could face the dreaded “Stanley Cup Hangover”, so take some caution while drafting him. It’s safe to say that Thomas will slide down the ranking a little here so don’t jump the gun and draft him early. Another good thing to look at in these spots would be a defenseman. Shea Weber seems to be the top ranked D-man in the fantasy world and rightfully so, the guy does put up monster numbers. Let’s also not forget Big Buff being one of the top ranked defenseman.

Stammer

Let us move on to later picks as the next few rounds are basically self-explanatory. (you’ll see what I mean once the draft begins and those rounds come up, a lot of the players are so close in stats and equally as good you should have no problem selecting a ‘good’ pick. Basically you can’t go wrong!) As I said going with offense is one of the best strategies you can take, so you may in the later rounds find yourself lacking good defensive picks that are going to get you numbers. Look to draft someone like Tobias Enstrom from Winnipeg somewhere around round eight, he finished with 51 points last season. John-Michael Liles was recently traded to Toronto, he was a 46 point getter last year on a “bad” Colorado team. Cam Fowler the rookie from Anaheim scored 40 points last season and will be playing with Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan again this year. As you may not have noticed these are my later round “sleeper picks” I told you about earlier. That’s right, I’m giving away my own secrets!

Also make sure not to forget that in these late rounds we’ll need to fill in bench slots for replacements encase someone in your regular lineup is injured or just happens to have an off night (I’ll explain this shortly). A good late round pick you can snatch up is the previously mentioned Grabner who is very skilled and could possibly repeat his 30 goal season from last year. Clarke MacArthur from Toronto should also be available in the later rounds, this guy scored 21 goals last season and had 61 points, not too shabby! Also sticking with the Leafs would be Nikolai Kulemin (30 goals 57 points). Some of you may ask “what about the rookies?” unless you know for sure they’ll be playing this season, steer clear of them. Gabriel Landeskog for Colorado and Adam Larsson from New Jersey are almost sure picks to start the year with their respective clubs, so if you want to take the risk on them by all means feel free to but wait until round 12 or later.

So I’ve had a few name drops as far as later round ‘sleeper picks’ and have given you guys some of my secrets, I did this to hopefully give everyone an equal chance in the league. Obviously I’m no expert or else I’d be working for Central Scouting, and even then they’re not right all the time. By no means do I expect everyone to take my advice, I just simply offer it to help out. Now getting back to some tips, the most important thing to stress when taking fantasy leagues serious is SET YOUR ROSTERS! At any given time you could have most of your regular lineup sitting because their team doesn’t play that night. This is why we have reserves to swap in if their team happens to be playing on such a night because this basically ensures you the maximum amount of points you could potentially earn in the season. This is also why you want to be sure not to take both Theodore and Clemmenson as your only two goaltenders. If one is playing the other won’t be, and if Florida isn’t playing neither of them will be, so try to select two goaltenders, preferably starters, from two different teams. Also, if you have a player who is injured and will be out for an extended period of time (months or possibly the season) don’t hesitate to drop him and pick up a replacement from the free agent list.

I’m hoping this article helps some of you when it comes to your drafts and Fantasy Leagues. Hockey is my passion, I live for it and to a lesser extent fantasy hockey, I don’t ever play for money, I do it for fun so writing this wasn’t intended to make me sound like some type of cut throat ‘player’. If my team flops and I come in last place (it’s happened before) I don’t get upset or act like a sore loser so I apologize in advance if it came off as such while you read this. I look forward to this season and hope we all have a great time playing together! By the way one last prediction for you guys, Florida with 93 points this season, let’s get back to those playoffs!

playoffs!