The first day of free agency has come and gone and Ottawa looks about the exact same as they did the day before. I was hoping that Dany Heatley would help out Bryan Murray in handcuffing him enough that he wouldn’t be in a position to make any bad moves or be trigger happy and overpay on anyone. Sadly that was not possible, he tried and he tried but in the end Murray did manage to find the time to make 1 bad decision and over pay on money as well as term on Chris Neil. 4 years and $8 million. I would much rather have a sub $1mil on a Cody Bass or someone of that nature. I fear that this was a knee jerk reaction to Bryan Burke and his moves to get bigger and a little tougher on defence with his moves as well as trying to keep him away from Burke getting him in a Leafs jersey as well. After seeing how the Kadri situation on draft day went between the two teams, I just hope the deal wasn’t made out of spite even if it was just a little.
As far as the Heatley situation goes I am not in the majority of calling him out as much as everyone else. Sure I am a little disappointed that nothing came from all the talk and speculation about going to Edmonton but only a little. After looking further into the deal it began to look less and less great from an Ottawa perspective. I was never a Penner fan, and questioned the offer sheet that he was signed to by Kevin Lowe, Smid is a decent young player and a nice piece coming back and Andrew Cogliano is a decent player but I have been looking at him with Maze and Gold coloured glasses from his Michigan days and thinking that he is a better player then what he is.
The $4 million bonus that has had to be paid to Heatley sucks from an Ottawa perspective but maybe it allows the Sens to get a bit better of a deal and be able to either get a better player or pick or maybe move out a little more money by throwing in a Jason Smith, Chris Kelly or Christoph Schubert contract into the mix and freeing up and recouping some of the $4 mil. If that doesn’t happen then either another team needs to step up or there will have to be some major Reconstruction to the bridge that was burned to have him back in Ottawa at the start of camp.
In an update on the 2 team showdown of my Western Conference favorite between the St. Louis Blues and the LA Kings there is little to report just yet. Both teams were very quiet yesterday with the Blues only adding Ty Conklin in net. LA still has a lot of space left which is important going forward but showed good restraint in not spending money recklessly and overpaying on either risky guys or over hyped players. Having a plan and sticking to it is impressive. Sometimes the move not made is the best move. I will give it a little longer as there are still lots of mid level free agents left out there that may sign but also may come at more of a reasonable price.