Free Agent Frenzy!

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July 1 will most certainly be a hectic day for GMs as the NHL’s free agency period gets under way. Our primary concern this off season here at The Heap is Vincent Lecavalier.

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It’s no secret to the hockey world that my beloved Tampa Bay Lightning were bought by absolute amateurs. Oren Koules and Len Barrie are running the team into the ground. It began with trading away Dan Boyle, perhaps one of the premier defensemen in the game. Not one of my favorite players, but, as they say, you don’t know what you had until it’s gone. Of course, the greatest blunder? Hiring Barry Melrose as the head coach. The season was lost before it began.

The Bolts had a decent off season in 2008. The fan base was lulled into a false sense of… “Well maybe these guys KNOW what they are doing!” They brought back fan favorite Vinny Prospal (for like the 3rd time). They were able to get Ryan Malone and Mark Recchi from the Pens (Who recently received Stanley Cup post cards n the mail!). Evgeny Artyuhkin returned from a stint with CSKA Moscow. Even Adam Hall and David Koci paid dividends.

Questionable moves: Gary Roberts, Olaf Kolzig (Olie is one of my favorite goalies… was weird not seing him in Capitals garb) Radim Vrbata.

It’s past 12 am, and the city is not on fire, so I presume that Vinny has not been traded. He has probably made a million dollars in these 15 minutes thanks to the contract extension whch just went into effect. Good move… for now. Though I agree with arguments on both sides. Vinny’s been the face, but is it Stamkos’ time? Does Vinny deserve to play with a supporting class of what had become a glorified AHL team?

Or, can we rebuild in time, perhaps by the 2010-11 campaign. We need to make a splash in FA, particularly on defense. If I have to see Mike Smith face 40 shots every game again, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Hedman will hopefully be able to make immediate contributions, but we need to get some experience as well. Vaccines against the injury bug would be nice too…

So I’ll keep you up to date with anything big that goes on.

So far: Boumeester to the Flames, Pronger to Philly, and Scott Gomez to the Habs.

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