In part 1 of our NHL free agency recap we discussed some of the “bigger names” and pricier contracts that have been handed out this summer. Today we will shift gears and focus more on the contracts that have been given out to role players.
Sheldon Souray (D) to the Anaheim Ducks for 3 years, $3.6 million cap hit
This contract is great for Souray, who can now be closer to his girlfriend WWE star Kelly Kelly, who is apparently based out of So Cal when she’s not strutting it in the ring. As far as Anaheim is concerned, I am not sure what they were thinking with this deal. Souray is 35 years old and put up 20 pts last season for Dallas after being Wade Redden’d in the minors for two years.
I will give him credit. Sheldon took his demotion like a man instead of throwing his skates in the Hudson River. However, from an organizational perspective, the years and the dollars just don’t make sense. Sheldon is coming off a 1 year $1.6m deal with Dallas, which is what I figured he would be getting paid at his age and current output.
Anaheim has really had such a precipitous decline after winning the cup in 2007 and this contract is reflective of that.
Brad Stuart (D) to the San Jose Sharks for 3 years, $3.6 million cap hit
Brad Stuart is a solid stay-at-home guy who also puts up around 20 points per season. He’s returning to the Sharks after spending the last several years with the Red Wings. Both sides are familiar with each other and that’s probably the reason he’s slightly overpaid. Stuart will slide in nicely on the second pairing of the Sharks blueline, which already boasts Dan Boyle, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Dougie Murray. That’s a pretty stacked defense.
Steve Sullivan (F) to the Phoenix Coyotes for 1 year, $2.6 million cap hit
This is a decent move for the Yotes who are always bargain hunting. When healthy, the 38 year old is still a pretty good playmaker, having put up a pro-rated 40-50 points the last several years. Having lost Whitney and potentially Doan, Phoenix is going to need Sully to stay out of the trainer’s room.
Brandon Prust (F) to the Montreal Canadiens for 4 years, $2.5 million cap hit
I don’t want to sound duplicative after Dave did such a great job breaking down the Prust vs. Asham signings, but this is a lot of money for a guy who scored 5 goals and 17 points last season. Prust is a great locker room guy, a solid penalty killer, and one of the best fighters in the league, but even if MTL uses him in a more offensive role, I can’t see him clearing 30 points playing with guys like Moen and Eller.
Greg Zannon (D) to the Colorado Avalanche for 2 years, $2.25 million cap hit
Zannon was one of the available stay-at-home guys that I wanted the Rangers to look into signing this summer to round out our bottom pairing. Perhaps Sather is confident Stralman will return, Sauer will make progress, or perhaps Bickel will take a step forward. This is a good deal for the Avalanche and Zannon got paid exactly what I figured a veteran defensive defensemen would get paid on the open market.
Tomas Vokoun (G) to the Pittsburgh Penguins for 2 years, $2 million cap hit
At this stage of the game Vokoun is no longer a starting goaltender. He had a decent year for the Capitals putting up a 2.51 GAA and a .917 SV% while playing in 48 games. Still, with Fleury continuing his inconsistent ways, you have to wonder if this signing was just as much about lighting a flame under Fleury’s ass as it was about finding a solid backup.
Jordin Tootoo (F) to the Detroit Red Wings for 3 years, $1.9 million cap hit
This is probably one of the better deals so far this offseason. Jordin Tootoo is one of the best agitators in the NHL, he plays with an edge, can dig in the corners, and he’s coming off a 30 point season. Considering Avery was being paid $4 million and what Clarkson ($2.6), Tuutu ($4.7), etc. are making, this looks like the right kind of money for a guy with his skill set.
Ruslan Fedotenko (F) to the Philadelphia Flyers for 1 year, $1.75 million cap hit
We all know what Feds brings to the table and it’s a fair deal for him, but I’m not upset we didn’t bring him back. I’ve been saying all year our third line spent way too much time pinned in our end zone and I don’t think Feds was helping in that regard. You can spread the blame to Boyle and Prust and I wouldn’t argue, but at least those guys can hit, forecheck, block shots, etc.
Zenon Konopka (F) to the Minnesota Wild for 2 years, $925K cap hit
Another guy I wanted the Rangers to target this offseason. This contract is a steal. Konopka won 59% of his draws last season, plus he can forecheck, kill penalties, and is one of the best fighters in the league. For more on Konopka, check out a post I wrote up last month.
*Also, here’s my analysis of last offseason’s second tier free agent signings. It’s always fun to look back and see which players lived up to their contracts and which players did not.