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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.

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Free Agent Insanity

Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Shane Doan, Jaromir Jagr, Jason Garrison. That reads like a potential line for an NHL All-Star game, when in reality it could be a new line for one of the league’s 30 teams, if they want to spend that kind of money. Having players of that caliber available at this time of year could only mean one thing, free agent frenzy.

The National Hockey League’s free agency period kicks off today at 12:00 PM EST and all 30 NHL GM’s will be looking to improve their respective clubs while also filling the holes created by UFA’s who decide it is time for a change of scenery (or a chance at more money). Speaking of filling holes, that may be the theme of New Jersey’s free agency, especially if they lose both Zach Parise and Martin Brodeur. Shockingly that is a very real possibility considering the team’s current financial issues. It must be a tough time to be Lou Lamoriello.

While there are plenty of big names on the free agent market there are also just as many on the trading block. Columbus continues to try and find a trade partner that will take superstar Rick Nash off their hands but the Jackets are having a tough time doing so because of their understandably high asking price. The Canucks are in a similar position in regards to goaltender Roberto Luongo, but at this point the return they are asking for my not be justified because of his big contract. There are teams interested in Luongo’s services, including the Florida Panthers, but Canucks general manager Mike Gillis will have to lower his asking price before a deal gets done.

Speaking of the Panthers, they have come up in many conversations on the eve of free agency. Florida is rumored to be interested in such names as Ray Whitney, PA Parenteau, Jiri Hudler, and even Martin Brodeur. We would have to believe that the Cats signing Brodeur would only happen if Tallon and Co. remove themselves from the Luongo talks. At this point it is too early to tell what the Panthers plans are entering free agency, but one thing is certain. It is definitely exciting to hear Florida mentioned with the likes of Brodeur and Luongo. This just goes to show that having good ownership and management goes a long way in earning respect from the other 29 teams in the league and the players.

Marc’s take:

If anyone would have told me at the end of the playoffs that the Panthers would be involved in talks regarding Roberto Luongo or Martin Brodeur I would have laughed in their face. Now there is a very real possibility that one of the two superstar goalies (or both?) will end up in South Florida. Bringing in either netminder would be good for business in the sense of ticket sales, but if I were in the position Dale Tallon is in I would easily choose Brodeur over Luongo. While it may be a fun novelty to some to have Roberto return to Sunrise let’s not forget that there is this 22 year old goaltender in San Antonio named Jacob Markstrom that has been pegged as “the best goalie not playing in the National Hockey League” waiting for his turn between the Florida pipes. Martin Brodeur is the better choice at this time because of Luongo’s long contract, unless the Panthers have given up on Markstrom because of his recent injuries. That would be an entirely different, and highly disappointing, situation. No matter what happens between now and the start of the 2012-2013 season we all just have to remember “in Tallon we trust”. Right?

The following links are from various sources regarding free agency. We figured that this would make it easier on everyone to follow the insanity that is about to unfold. Be sure to keep checking back with Sunshine State Hockey for updates during this very busy time for the Florida Panthers and the 29 other teams in the NHL.

Top 30 UFA’s – The Fourth Period

Open For Business – On Frozen Pond

Eastern Conference Free Agents – TSN

Western Conference Free Agents – TSN

Free Agent Tracker – TSN

Don’t forget to tune in to the NHL Network’s live coverage of the first day of free agency starting at 12:00 PM EST.

Source(s): TFP, Miami Herald, TSN

Western Conference Quarterfinals Locked Up

The Western Conference Quarterfinals for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs are now set after the Sharks defeated Los Angeles 3-2 in OT. Round one in the West will see these following match-ups as teams look to win their way into the Semifinals:

Western Conference

1.Vancouver Canucks
8. Los Angeles Kings

2. St. Louis Blues
7. San Jose Sharks

3. Phoenix Coyotes
6. Chicago Blackhawks

4. Nashville Predators
5. Detroit Red Wings

As we stated in our post for the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals the scheduled times will be released live on the NHL Network at 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, April 8th.

Source: NHL.com
Image Credit: Detroit Red Wings

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Are Set

The Eastern Conference Quarterfinals for the 2012 National Hockey League playoffs are officially finalized. The following teams will battle in round one to determine who moves on to the Semifinals:

Eastern Conference

1. New York Rangers
8. Ottawa Senators

2. Boston Bruins
7. Washington Capitals

3. Florida Panthers
6. New Jersey Devils

4. Pittsburgh Penguins
5. Philadelphia Flyers

The Western Conference Quarterfinals will be locked up later tonight after the  Los Angeles/San Jose game. The scheduled times for the first round will be announced live on Sunday, April 8th at 1:00 PM EST on the NHL Network.

Source: NHL.com
Image Credit: Florida Panthers

Panthers Select Huberdeau 3rd Overall

The first round of the 2011 NHL entry draft has come and gone and the Florida Panthers picked Jonathan Huberdeau with their 3rd overall pick. Huberdeau, a center from Quebec who played junior hockey in New Brunswick said he is excited about the opportunity to join the Panthers.

The New Brunswick forward joins the Cats with some impressive credentials. Huberdeau was named the Memorial Cup MVP after scoring 105 points in the regular season. Some believe that he could earn a spot on the Panthers roster as soon as this season, but only time will tell.

Of course Florida wasn’t the only team making selections at the draft. The Edmonton Oilers drafted Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1st overall after rumors swirled that they were considering swapping picks with the Panthers. After the Oilers made their choice Colorado surprised everyone when the picked Gabriel Landeskog at number 2 instead of defenseman Adam Larsson. Most people in the hockey community believed that the Avalanche would select Larsson after trading John Michael Liles to Toronto but that was not the case.

Below is the complete list of players selected in the first round of the 2011 NHL entry draft. Round two begins tomorrow at 11 AM EST and can be seen on the NHL Network in the United States, so be sure to tune in.