While I was out of blogging commission Saturday night, a series of significant signings were made. Not very many of them, but they were pretty big.
The Penguins got another name-brand player when they signed right wing Ziggy Palffy to a three-year, $13.5M deal. Fans should not be concerned about Ziggy's right shoulder, which kept him out of 42 games with the Kings in 2003-04. During the lockout, he tallied 40 points (21/19)in 41 games for Slavia Praha of the Czech Extraleague. He also scored 13 points (10/3) in 8 games for Skalica of the Slovak Republic Extraleague.
This is kind of out of the clear blue sky. There were lots of rumors about Palffy, but none of them involved the Penguins. Most rumors saw him going to The Rangers, Flames or Sabres
The Avs were active on Saturday, securing two brand-name players. They re-signed right wing Milan Hejduk to a five-year $19.5M deal. According to the terms, the 2002-03 Rocket Richard winner will get $3.7M this season, $3.8M the next, and $4M in each of the following two seasons. If you ask me, this is a very good price on a player of this caliber. The 'Lanche also picked up winger Andrew Brunette, signing him to a two-year deal. The sound but unspectacular wingman won't even come close to filling the void left by Peter Forsberg, but it's still a great addition. Even without Forsberg, I think the Avs should be in great shape. They've made some very solid and very economical deals this off-season.
Finally, my Hurricanes made another offensive acquisition. We signed left wing Ray Whitney to a two-year, $3M contract. The two-time All-star tallied 43 points (14/29) in 67 games with the talent-laden Red Wings during the 2003-04 campaign. One of his upsides is that he's very effective on the power-play. This is a recurring theme with our new additions, and thankfully so. Our power play production has been paltry, to say the least.
I really like this pickup, and I LOVE our other offensive signing, Cory Stillman. We haven't spent a lot of money, and we haven't picked up any superstars, but we should be able to field a very competitive team. With these additions, and assuming that we'll re-sign Erik Cole, Josef Vasicek, Kevyn Adams , and Justin Williams, we'll be in good shape. Re-signing ALL of those guys is crucial, though. They've all been offered qualifying sheets, which is a start, but I won't be able to rest easily until they're inked. Caniacs everywhere have been losing sleep over the horrifying possibility that Pavel Brendl (AKA "Krispy") might make our opening night roster. Thankfully, these moves have virtually assured that he'll find himself in Lowell. Brendl has made a bad name for himself by grossly under-achieving, by his exceptionally poor conditioning habits, and by his fondness for the doughnut. During the lockout, he was booted from no less than four European clubs for his attitude and his conditioning habits. I was really surprised to see him receive a qualifying sheet, but I guess JR still sees something in the kid.
I'd still like to see the Canes pick up one more recognizable offensive name, but I'm very happy with what we've done so far.
3 years ago