There were a lot of signings on day 1 of the NHL free agency and teams were moving fast and furious on the players they wanted. There were teams in my mind that real stuck out and made some solid signing to make their team better now and in the future to come.
1. Buffalo Sabres
Today Buffalo had a strategy of going out and finding veteran leaders that could help their team rebuild but most importantly guide the young talent they have coming up in their organization. Going out and finding talent with tremendous leadership skills isn’t easy but the Sabres did it today. Need leadership? Why sign the captain of the Montreal Canandiens, who were just in the Eastern Conference Finals. Signing Brain Gionta is great for Buffalo. It gives them a proven captain and veteran player with talent left in the tank. They also sign Matt Moulson to a five year deal. It is players like these two that will become the center piece to rebuild Buffalo and show younger players, like recently drafted Sam Reinhart, how to become a great player in the NHL.
2. Dallas Stars
You want to look for a team that is going to put up a lot of goals next year? Look no further than the Dallas Stars. Dallas Stars made a trade and signings today that will make their offense explode with goal scoring. Already having a star center in Tyler Seguin, the Stars added Jason Spezza as a playmaking, goal scoring, and solid number two center. Playing next to Spezza this year will be another signing of the Stars, Ales Hemsky. With a first line consisting of Benn and Seguin, and a second of Spezza and Hemsky, Dallas will be scoring machine, that will be hard for any team in the NHL to slow down.
3. Florida Panthers
Trade deadline time Florida made a move to get All-Star goalie Roberto Luongo. Today they got players to put the puck in the net in front of him. Dan Bolland a solid two way forward that will help the Panthers out. To put some pucks in the net Jucy J (Jussi Jokinen) is a 20 goal scorer that will create plays for the Florida offense. It gets better for the Panthers. They also signed recent Stanley Cup winner Willie Mitchell from the LA Kings. Adding a solid defenseman like that, will make Luongo very happy. How about some toughness to the sunshine state? They picked up fourth line grinder/fighter Shawn Thornton. His physical play will show everyone else in the NHL that Florida means business this year!
4. Minnesota Wild
This year the Minnesota Wild struggled with scoring goals. They go out in free agency and get the best natural goal-scorer available, Thomas Vanek. They knew Vanek want to come to Minnesota and the got him for the right price. They bring Vanek back to Minnesota, where he starred for the University of Minnesota. The former Gopher wants to win a cup and the boost he gives Minnesota puts them right near the top in the NHL. I don’t think Minnesota is done yet though. They still need goaltending. Watch for them to sign a veteran goalie sometime tomorrow. (Cough cough Marty Brodeur cough)
5. St. Louis Blues
You can’t go with out talking about the free agent frenzy with mentioning the Blues signing the best player in Paul Stastny. The St. Louis Blues are all really a great team and adding a dynamic player like Stastny makes them a favorite for the cup next year. In the playoffs the Blues got up through the middle of the ice and them getting Stastny fills a need to make them a better team.
Lots of signing today and more to come tomorrow. The NHL offseason is just heating up. Thanks for reading Bicks Blog!