[Editor's Note: We'd like to officially welcome Prashanth to our staff here at WIIM. He's been doing great work around the Wings' blogosphere and we consider it an absolute steal to bring him aboard. Give him a follow on Twitter @iyer_prashanth]
Day one of NHL Free Agency has come and gone and boy was it a wild one. Despite the class being considered weak in terms of star caliber, most teams were able to find good value. Without further ado, let's go team-by-team and recap their first day.
Signed: Matt Hackett, G; Chris Mueller, F; Joe Piskula, D
Overall, the Ducks had a pretty quiet day. Their big splashes came in the days prior, acquiring defenseman Kevin Bieksa, forward Carl Hagelin, and goaltender Anton Khudobin. Overall the Ducks have slightly improved and should again be Stanley Cup contenders.
Signed: Dakota Mermis, D; Zbynek Michalek, D; Brad Richardson, C; Dustin Jeffrey, F; Dylan Reese, D; Steve Downie, F; Anders Lindback, G; Antoine Vermette, F
The Coyotes made a number of moves...none really all that significant. The return of Zbynek Michalek will certainly help the 3rd-worst defensive team from a year ago. The Coyotes still need to spend at least $4.85 million more to reach the salary cap floor. I expect the Coyotes to make a deal to bring in some salary in the coming weeks.
Signed: Matt Beleskey, F
Traded For: Jimmy Hayes, F
It's been a turbulent week for the Bruins as they dealt forward Milan Lucic and defenseman Dougie Hamilton and then turned goaltender Martin Jones back to California for a 2016 1st round pick and Sean Kuraly. Today, the Bruins were able to land Beleskey for far less than anyone initially thought, coming in at five years and $19 million (AAV: $3.8 million). Beleskey scored 22 goals this past season and Boston will hope that the combination of Hayes, who was acquired for forward Reilly Smith, and Beleskey will be able to replace the offense lost by dealing Lucic.
Signed: Jack Eichel, F; Matt Donovan, D; Jason Akeson, F; Cal O'Reilly, F
Like Anaheim, the Sabres made their big moves in the weeks prior, acquiring Ryan O'Reilly, David Legwand, and Robin Lehner in various trades. The Sabres locked up the future of their franchise today. It's never a bad day when you do that.
Signed: Michael Frolik, F; Karri Ramo, G; Derek Grant, F
Calgary was one of my top winners for the day, locking up Michael Frolik for five years at $4.3 million per season. Frolik scored 19 goals and 42 points for the Winnipeg Jets last season and will bring some his solid overall game to a rapidly improving Flames team.
Signed: T.J. Hensick, C; Riley Nash, F; Rasmus Rissanen, D
The 'Canes really didn't do much, with their big move being to buy out Alex Semin's contract and acquire defenseman James Wisniewski and goaltender Eddie Lack. The 'Canes will be slightly better than last year, but it's still not going to be pretty down in Raleigh.
Signed: Artem Anisimov, F; Viktor Tikhonov
We knew the Blackhawks were going to have to make moves, but boy did they ever shock the hockey world by dealing Brandon Saad. Today they locked up their biggest piece of the return for five years and $22.75 million. The Hawks still have plans to move Patrick Sharp and/or Bryan Bickell so stay tuned.
Signed: Francois Beauchemin, D; Blake Comeau,
The Avs added the veteran Beauchemin at a whopping $4.5 million per year for three seasons. That's a higher cap hit than Kevin Shattenkirk, Roman Josi, Jake Muzzin...and yea that's a horrendous contract. Beauchemin's contract might be the worst of the day but is on par with what the Avs doing, having given Brad Stuart two years and $7.2 million just last year.
Signed: Gregory Campbell, F
The Blue Jackets really didn't need to do much after landing Brandon Saad in a surprising trade with the Blackhawks. The key will be getting him signed. Campbell fills a hole for the Jackets as their fourth-line center.
Signed: Curtis McKenzie, F; Patrick Eaves, F
The Stars did very little, electing to stand pat in a year where the pickings were slim.
Signed: Tom McCollum, G; Mike Green, D; Brad Richards, F; Andy Miele, F
The Red Wings were the big winners of July 1st, signing top defenseman Mike Green to a manageable three-year contract and adding veteran Brad Richards on a one-year deal. Richards provides insurance in the event that Datsyuk misses a significant portion of the season and Green significantly bolsters the blue line. The key will now be clearing up the logjam via trades.
Signed: Mark Letestu, F; Andrej Sekera, D
While both signings fill needs for the Oilers, the Andrej Sekera signing may come second to only the Beauchemin signing as the biggest overpayment of the day. Sekera's cap hit of $5.5 million is the same as Duncan Keith's. The Oilers are desperate to get better quick, but this may be a deal they regret in a couple of years.
Signed: Brent Regner, D; Cameron Gaunce, D; Sena Acolatse, D; Mike McKenna, G
Traded For: Reilly Smith, F; Marc Savard, F
As I mentioned before, the Panthers big splash involved dealing for Reilly Smith. Smith struggled a bit last season, but should be able to help the Panthers contend for a playoff spot. It's laughable that Marc Savard's contract can be traded, but it's keeping par with Chris Pronger's from a week ago.
Signed: Jhonas Enroth, G
After dealing Martin Jones to Boston, the Kings were able to go out and get a cheap backup in Enroth. Enroth struggled mightily for Buffalo last season, but showed flashes of improving after being dealt to the Dallas Stars.
Signed: Marc Hagel, F; Zac Dalpe, F; Ruslan Fedotenko, F; Ryan Carter, F; Nate Prosser, D; Mikael Granlund, F; Mike Reilly, D
The two big signings are Granlund and Reilly with the rest of the signings being for depth. Not sure if any of those really pan out, but Reilly will be able to step in and add to an already potent blue line. By the way, Ruslan Fedotenko??? What year is this?
Signed: Mark Barberio, D; Joel Hanley, D
Traded For: Zack Kassian, F
The Canadiens decided to swap Brandon Prust for Zack Kassian. Ultimately, this is a slight upgrade offensively, but the real key is that the Canadiens also managed to get a 5th round pick from the Canucks. Solid trade for the Canadiens, but don't know if this puts them over the top next season.
Signed: Mike Ribeiro, F; Barret Jackman, D; Cody Hodgson, F
If the Red Wings were the big winners, then the Nashville Predators are my big losers. After a promising 2014-2015 season, the Predators downgraded defensively by adding Jackman and losing Cody Franson. In addition, the Predators elected to stick with Ribeiro despite the most recent allegations.
Signed: John Moore, D; Paul Thompson, F; Jim O'Brien, F
Nothing to see here, move along. In all seriousness, the Devils really haven't done anything to make fans think that they are coming out of the cellar any time soon.
Signed: Thomas Greiss, G; Thomas Hickey, D
The Islanders quietly are putting themselves in fantastic cap position while still remaining competitive. The Islanders still have more than $9 million in cap space with all of their key players aside from Brock Nelson under contract. They are setup well to deal with Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo, and Frans Nielsen being free agents next season if they elect to keep all three.
Signed: Raphael Diaz, D; Jayson Megna, F; Viktor Stalberg, F; Brian Gibbons, F
The Rangers really made depth moves today, with Diaz being a potential sleeper steal at just $700K for one season. The Rangers should remain Cup contenders once again next season.
Signed: Zack Stortini, F; Mike Kostka, D; Eric O'Dell, F
After dealing David Legwand and Robin Lehner, the Senators haven't really made many moves to improve their team and day one of free agency was consistent with that. The addition of the Colin White with the 21st pick was nice, but unlikely to impact the Sens in any meaningful way for at least 2-3 years. I don't expect this team to return to the playoffs next year.
Signed: Michael Neuvirth, G; Davis Drewiske, D; Tim Brent, F; Chris Connor, F;
The Flyers have quietly had a fantastic offseason, jettisoning much-maligned Nicklas Grossman, Hall of Famer Chris Pronger's contract (don't get me started), and Zac Rinaldo while adding a 3rd-round pick and Sam Gagner. The addition of Neuvirth will allow the Flyers to give Mason a bit more rest during the regular season.
Signed: Sergei Plotnikov, F; Kevin Porter, F; Steven Oleksey, D; Kael Mouillierat, F
Traded For: Phil Kessel, F; Tyler Briggs, F; Tim Erixon, D
I'm betting most of you couldn't care less about the players the Pens signed today. In perhaps the biggest surprise of the day, the Pens were able to land forward Phil Kessel who will join Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as perhaps the top offensive trio in the NHL. Opposing team's defenses will have to deal with that three-headed monster who could easily combine to score 100 goals this coming season.
Signed: Paul Martin, D
The Sharks added their main target in Martin, who will join Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Justin Braun on what will be a solid top-4. Now if only the Sharks could fix the rest of their team...
Signed: Pat Cannone, F; Chris Butler, D
After toying with the idea of blowing up the team, the Blues elected to literally do nothing between draft day and the first day of free agency. Literally. Nothing. It still remains to be seen if the Blues will be able to move one or more of T.J. Oshie, David Backes, and Patrick Berglund.
Signed: Erik Condra, F; Matt Taormina, D
The reigning Eastern Conference champions managed to make a sneaky addition of Erik Condra who has quietly made significant impacts on his teammates during his time in Ottawa. The Lightning's offense will be very scary as Condra most likely slots in on the 3rd line.
Signed: Matt Hunwick, D; P.A. Parenteau, F; Mark Arcobello; Daniel Winnik, F; Richard Panik, F
Traded For: Kasperi Kaspanen, F; Nick Spaling, F; Scott Harrintgon, D
The Kessel deal is obviously the big news of the day and while the return for him was not ideal, the Leafs really didn't have much of a choice due to Kessel's contract. Winnik's deal is a very good one and Kaspanen has the potential to be a top-6 forward in this league. Overall, not a terrible day for the Leafs.
Signed: Yannick Weber, D; Matt Bartkowski, D; Taylor Fedun, D; Richard Bachman, G
Traded For: Brandon Prust, F
I'm not a huge fan of the moves made by the Canucks. Neither Bartkowski nor Weber are great offensive players and I don't see them assisting the Canucks offense a whole lot. I think the Canucks lost big in the Prust-Kassian deal, especially by throwing in a draft pick. Canucks may be forced to scrap plan early into next season.
Signed: Aaron Ness, D; Mike Moore, D; Sean Collins, D; Carter Camper, C; Taylor Chorney, D; Stanislav Galiev, F
Nothing big for the Capitals today. Joel Ward still remains un-signed. Just a pretty quiet day in America's capital.
Signed: Alexander Burmistrov, F: Adam Pardy, D; Matt Halischuk, F
Jets basically just re-signed their own guys but lost out on Michael Frolik who joined the Calgary Flames. Not a bad day overall from the Jets but they will have to find a way to replace Frolik's offense.