With Lidstrom signing at $7.6/year for two years, the defenceman free agent bonanza is down to two. I'm not going to say that Lidstrom is heavily overpaid at $7.6, but I'm not sure he's worth over a million more a year than Pronger. Certainly this deal makes Pronger look fairly paid at worst, and the fact that Redden, Mccabe and Lidstrom have signed shows that teams have more money in their pockets for quality defenceman than I'm sure they let on to Lowe when the Pronger issue hit town. At this point, anything less than a quality forward (think Gagne), a top prospect and a pick would probably be a loss for Edmonton. But remember, they only have to get someone approximately equivalent to Brewer to even out completely in the deal.
It appears Tampa has found their #1 goalie in Denis. It will be interesting to see how Denis handles the pressue in Tampa. He did fairly well in Columbus and often kept them in games the team wasnt competitive. In Tampa though, the expectation will be to win. Of course, the Lightning organization may simply be overjoyed with average goaltending, especially considering what they dealt with last year (the 25% rule according to Tortarella). Their last #1 goalie of course, left for the same salary that Luongo is making.
In the trade, Columbus gets a real quality forward with Modin, and a guy I dont really know much about in Norrena. The Columbus organization however, is starting to fill out with a ot of talent. Nash, Federov, Modin, Zherdev, Vyborny, young kids like Klesla and Balastik, and a great leader and one of the top defenceman in the NHL in Foote (who apparently is only worth about half of what Lidstrom gets...if you can figure it out please tell me...) Obviously they feel very confident in Leclaire, who at this point is still just a kid. They might not be a contender this year, but if they stay patient its only a matter of time.
Friday, June 30, 2006