NHL Free Agency Winners and Losers

Though there are some moves that may yet be made, and a couple of big-name free agents that remain on the open market, the NHL free agency frenzy has all but wrapped up. As usual, some players locked up huge contracts and plenty of players moved on to a new franchise.

Some teams found a lot of success during the free agency period, while others were left scratching their heads as their players were snatched away. Here is a further look at some of the winners and losers of NHL free agency.

Winners

Anaheim Ducks — The Ducks made a big splash during free agency by trading Chris Pronger to the Philadelphia Flyers. Pronger's loss will definitely hurt the Ducks, but they did get great value in return. Anaheim acquired Joffrey Lupul, who scored 25 goals last season and first round draft picks for the 2009 and 2010 entry drafts, plus a conditional pick in either 2010 or 2011. To replace Pronger, the Ducks brought in defenseman Nick Boynton from Florida. In another big splash, the Ducks added Saku Koivu from the Montreal Canadiens. Since the Ducks were able to re-sign most of their key free agents, and add some depth, they should be able to contend next season.

Chicago Blackhawks — Though I'm not sure it was the best move for Marian Hossa, his signing in Chicago bodes well for a young Blackhawks squad. Hossa wasn't cheap, as he is set to make 5.23 million a year for 12 years. But Hossa not only adds skill to the Blackhawks' lineup, he adds veteran leadership to a team with plenty of young guns such as Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Chicago was also able to add gritty forward John Madden, which should make the team tougher. The Blackhawks did lose goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and forward Martin Havlat.

Vancouver Canucks — The biggest move for the Canucks during free agency wasn't really who they added, but who they re-signed. The Canucks were able to ink the Henrik Sedins to a contract extension, keeping two solid players in Vancouver. Vancouver got Mikael Samuelsson from Detroit. Samuelsson had 40 points last season and should be solid in Vancouver. The team was also able to add some backup goaltending in Andrew Raycroft.

Losers

New Jersey Devils — The Devils were ravished during the free agency period. New Jersey lost two solid players in Brian Gionta and John Madden. Gionta scored 60 points last season and Madden's presence will be missed. Luckily, New Jersey was able to re-sign Travis Zajac.

Pittsburgh Penguins — The defending champs didn't have the best luck during free agency. The team lost two key components of their blue line in Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi. Though the team still has a lot of talent, it will be interesting to see if they bring anyone in to sure up the blue line.

Ottawa Senators — The Senators didn't make much noise during the free agency period. I'm sure fans definitely expected more out of the Senators after their horrific '08-'09 season. Ottawa failed to add any top defensemen to their roster and dealt with Dany Heatley trade talks all throughout free agency. Ottawa did add the aging Alex Kovalev, but it was all in all a disappointing free agency.

Not Quite Sure

Montreal Canadiens — Montreal added some quality players, but also let some quality ones go. Montreal was able to add forwards Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta, but also let forwards Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev walk. After losing defensman Mike Komisarek to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal brought in Jaroslav Spacek and Hal Gill. We'll have to see if the players Montreal brought in were worth the ones they gave up.

Detroit Red Wings — Detroit was able to re-sign Johan Franzen to a contract extension, but they did lose some key players. Marian Hossa left Detroit for the Blackhawks, and Mikael Samuelsson went to Vancouver. Backup goalie Ty Conklin also left for St. Louis.

Comments and Conversation

July 24, 2009

Andy Shapiera:

can’t say I agree with your assessment of Montreal. the plan was clearly to add mobility to the back-end - Mara and Spacek- and to change the chemistry in the dressing room. the guys added up front all have been called character players with their former clubs. character was something Montreal lacked big time last year. IF Carey Price bounces back from a dreadful second half the Habs will surprise many and could be among the top-four in the East.

July 24, 2009

Jonathan Hamelin:

Good points Andy. I agree that Montreal could very well contend in the East this season, I just think its hard to tell if they won or lost in the free agency period, since they lost players like Saku Koivu , Alex Kovalev and Mike Komisarek.

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