There will still be lots of quality defensemen around when the free agent "frenzy" starts tomorrow, but Liles is the one that Canes fans have been salivating over for almost a year now.
Meanwhile, down in the City of Tampa, they've gone wild with their signings and acquisitions. They signed both Ryan Malone (7 years/ $31.5M and Gary Roberts (one year $1.25M + bonuses). They have also acquired the rights to Brian Rolston. They have Vaclav (who I still refuse to call "Vinny") Prospal back under contract and there is talk of making Vincent LeCavalier a "Bolt for Life".
Somehow, amongst all of this, the Lightning aren't really in danger of coming near the cap ceiling. The trouble is, they're going to have to go all out and spend too much money on a goaltender.
Carolina has their work cut out for them. They need at least one defenseman out of the free agent pool. Some fans are clamoring for the return of Mike Commodore. I'm not crazy about that idea. They will also need at least one forward. A fourth line winger.
It seems likely that Chad LaRose will accept his qualifying offer and stay on for one year. He is scheduled to become a RFA, but because his salary will fall below the $863,156 mark, the Canes would receive no compensation if he signs elsewhere.
While the Canes bloggers have been relatively active during this extremely dead time, we haven't heard a word from the professional journalist. What gives?
Tomorrow's the big day. Paul Kukla had a great line about tomorrow, the beginning of the free agent signing period:
"Have plenty of food by your side, you won’t want to leave the computer. While your family and friends are celebrating Canada Day or a long Fourth of July holiday, you will be ridiculed, laughed at or just ignored. But don’t give in to their request to join in on the holiday fun, you see, this is our hockey holiday."
In a cruel twist of fate that only the famous ironist O. Henry would appreciate, I don't have to "work" tomorrow, which is the perfect day to have off. However, I have to tag along with the owner of my restaurant so I can assure him that I can handle the paperwork aspect of things while he's on vacation next week.
Happy Canada Day! Happy Free Agent Day!