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Lace 'em up. Time for the Morning Skate.
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NOBODY WANTS KRIS RUSSELL
It’s amazing, isn’t it? Free agency opened up on Friday at noon and essentially seemed to end a few hours later. So many big targets got swept up within the hour:
- Edmonton got Milan Lucic.
- Vancouver got Loui Eriksson.
- Buffalo got Kyle Okposo.
- Boston got David Backes.
- Florida got everyone else. Well. Sort of. But pretty much.
Every top target is off the market. Except for Kris Russell.
Rumors swirled the first few days that teams were in bidding wars for the former Flames and Stars defenseman. None of those came to fruition. Even when it seemed the Leafs were about to open their wallets for him, he remained available.
We make fun of teams every summer for signing bad players to huge contracts. Look, here’s an example. But the fact nobody is tripping over themselves to sign a defenseman lauded solely for shot blocking while railed against for his terrible possession metrics is a pretty good sign for those of you who wish front offices would get smarter about that kind of stuff. A light in the darkness.
Of course, now that I’ve said that, I expect Russell to get a long-term deal within hours.
Vacation’s over. Time to get caught up on all the big news from free agency. If only there was a convenient place to find every single free agency signing. Wink.
Also, here’s our grades for every big signing last week. I almost decided to grade every small move too, but then realized I have a family who likes spending time with me. Who knew! Expect a full grades roundup by team later this week. Always hard to gauge when something else will come down, though. (Looking at you, Tyler Seguin trade on the Fourth of July three years ago.)
RUMOR NEWS REACTION CORNER
Some of our team blogs are quite pleased with what happened last week.
- Litter Box Cats loves the Panthers’ offseason. As they should.
- Die By The Blade thinks Kyle Okposo is a nice back-up plan after missing Stamkos.
- The Lightning went from uncertainty to a ton of certainty in hours.
- Brian Campbell was an excellent move by Chicago.
- Defending Big D thinks Dan Hamhuis was an inspired signing.
- Devils fans are still celebrating Taylor Hall.
- Surprisingly, the Rangers made some good moves.
- Five For Howling can’t complain about Arizona’s moves in free agency.
And others, well ...
- Wings fans are not happy with Ken Holland.
- The Matt Martin contract in Toronto is stupid, and it should go away.
- Habs fans are trying to be positive about Shea Weber.
- OK, but when are the Bruins getting a good defenseman?
- Wild fans are a little cynical about the Eric Staal signing, and rightly so.
- Blues fans aren’t sure what the next season will hold after a mass free agent exodus.
- Are the Islanders better today than they were before the draft? Lighthouse Hockey doesn’t think so.
- The Oilers are better but management is still stupid.