What’s So Free About Free Agency?

There are some very interesting players in this year’s free-agent crop. New York Ranger Sean Avery is expected to hit the open market, with Avery supposedly asking for between $3 and $4 million per year. Now I don’t know what NHL GMs think about Avery, but on sports talk radio, blogs, and message boards, fans are asking how an enforcer can possibly be worth that much money under a salary cap. The only stat Avery’s people really have is that the Rangers have a dramatically better record with him in the lineup (50-20-10 in; 9-13-3 out).
Sharks defenseman Brian Campbell is a similar type of free agent. He’s supposedly asking for $6.5 to $7 million per year. Mike Harrington wonders if he’s worth it. I’m sure Campbell will get his money, but it’s a lot to tie up in an offensive defenseman who can’t transition to a stay-at-home defenseman when needed. One of the things that most impressed me about the Red Wings in the post-season is that while they have a lot of offense on their blue line, all of those guys know when to put it away and just hold the zone. I’m not sure Campbell can do that yet.
I’m hoping Avery and Campbell will help at least a few GMs to stop looking at names and start thinking about value when it comes time to sign free agents.
Speaking of Avery, here is how he spent his internship at Vogue. Reading it, part of me wonders if he even wants to play hockey anywhere next season. He really seems to enjoy fashion.
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Tampa is getting ready. They signed Vinny “Boomerang” Prospal to a four-year, $14 million deal. Four years is a long time. Prospal will probably be traded at least three more times. And two of those trades will probably involve Tampa Bay.
The Lightning are also expected to name Barry Melrose as their new head coach today. Melrose last coached in the NHL in 1995. That’s a long time to be out of the game. I feel like no one even matched lines when Melrose last coached. I hope he’s not surprised when he notices that happening.