Saturday, September 10, 2005

Free Agent Signings and Trades for the Last Few Days

Since my last free agent post teams have continued to sign players and make minor trades to prepare for the start of training camp on Monday.

Pittsburgh resigned Mario Lemieux (How do those negotiatiations work? Does Mario argue with himself about how much he can pay himself?) and signed Sidney Crosby to an entry level contract. TSN's story is here.

Vancouver acquired Craig Darby in a trade with Tampa Bay for future considerations. TSN's story is here. I think this trade is forced by waiver rules. If any player in the minors makes more than $75,000 US (in the minors - he may have a two-way contract paying him significantly more in the NHL) is recalled from the minors, he will have to clear waivers before he can play in the NHL. Any player who fails to clear waivers will have half their salary counted against the cap for the team that lost him on waivers. This is a ridiculous restriction that will handicap team's abilities to send such players to the minors (if they don't think they will be able to come back from them). Darby is one such player. I guess Tampa thinks they would be forced to keep him in the minors all year and thus he is expendable. Vancouver may have other plans. At best Darby is a depth forward.

Toronto signs Brad Brown from Buffalo. TSN's story is here. He will provide depth on defence. Toronto also signed Mariusz Czerkawski from the New York Islanders. TSN's story is here. He will likely be a second or third line forward with the leafs.

Nashville acquired Kris Beech for a conditional draft pick in a trade with Pittsburgh. TSN's story is here. I think a player like Beech might also be a move to get around waiver rules, although he is probably a better player than most in this situation. He still has some potential ands may be a useful NHL forward for several years.

Jay McKee resigned in Buffalo. TSN's story is here.

Ruslan Salei was resigned by Anaheim. TSN's story is here.

Teams are preparing for training camp which starts on Monday. Final minor roster juggling trades are starting to be made to prepare for the season.

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