NHL

Free Agent Frenzy is GO — Updated Throughout

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By Brian Metzer

We are roughly an hour away from what is akin to Christmas Day for hockey fans — the league’s FREE AGENT FRENZY.  A case can be made for the trade deadline, but the day itself hasn’t necessarily lived up to the hype in recent years, so I bestow that title on the start of unrestricted free agency.

Today’s frenzy should be an interesting one that sees a number of deals signed right after the window opens, as it was the first that allowed teams to contact perspective signings two days in advance. Many of them could have actually come to terms, though they were technically not allowed to do so.

We have already seen a handful of players that received compliance buyouts sign with new teams – Vinny Lecavalier left the Lightning and signed with the Flyers, Keith Ballard left Vancouver and signed with the Wild, while Dany Briere left the Flyers and signed with the Canadiens.

Another high profile player is primed to join a new team for the first time in his career, as Daniel Alfredsson is reportedly leaving the Senators for the Red Wings after spending his entire career in Ottawa. It is a bit of a shocker, but I can’t wait to see and hear what caused the move to happen. It isn’t often that a player leaves his comfort zone like that unless his hand has been forced a bit.

There has been much activity leading up this day. The Stars and Bruins completed a big swap yesterday that sent Tyler Seguin to the Dallas and Loui Eriksson to Boston. Five other players were also included in the deal.

The Penguins may be a bit quiet this afternoon, as general manager Ray Shero did most of his work over the past few weeks. He locked up his head coach, Dan Bylsma, extended Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz and re-signed UFA-to-be Pascal Dupuis. There are some rumblings that he might have placed a call to the representatives of former Penguin Rob Scuderi, but there doesn’t seem to be enough room to add the rugged D-man, but we shall see.

Scuderi, or the Piece, as we like to call him in the Burgh, wasn’t able to take a home town discount in 2009. He was hitting unrestricted free agency for the first time and had to cash in when the Kings came calling. He won another Stanley Cup out west and is probably better situated to take a bit less to come back this time around. It will be a very interesting situation to monitor, as most in the league seem to believe that the Penguins never really offset the loss of he and Hal Gill (who incidentally is also available, albeit older, slower and more injury prone).

We will be here all day long bringing you up to date info on all of today’s activity, so stay tuned.

This blog will be updated throughout the Frenzy!

11:28 — Darren Dreger now reporting that Rob Scuderi could indeed be headed back to the Burgh — more to come.

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According to multiple reports, goaltender Ray Emery will rejoin the Philadelphia Flyers.

Emery spent the 2009-10 season in Philadelphia, but was dealing with a debilitating injury. He has since worked himself back and had an unbelievable year in Chicago. Though he didn’t get any time in the playoffs en route to winning the Stanley Cup, he was instrumental in helping the team to the Presidents Trophy.

The 30-year-old went 17-1 in 19 starts, posting a 1.94 goals against average, .922 save percentage and three shutouts. He and Steve Mason will likely work in tandem, but Emery has the pedigree to take the job. Many Philly scribes are lauding this move as the one that puts them back in the playoff conversation after missing the dance this past season.

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Shawn Mattias and Lauri Korpikoski re-up with the Panthers and Coyotes respectively.

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Though he was not good in the playoffs, Evgeni Nabakov has re-signed with the New York Islanders. He was instrumental in their success and return to the postseason this past season.

Keeping Nabby allows the team to bring along one of their youngsters a bit slower…

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Daniel Alfredsson deal to Detroit is official. He will earn $5.5 million for one year in salary and performance incentives.

I am not a huge Alfredsson fan, but this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Alfredsson is the Senators, seeing him pull on a different sweater just doesn’t feel right. Stinks for all of the fans in Ottawa who were ushering in a new era of success under Paul MacLean.

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Miss a signing? TSN has all signings updated on this chart as they happen… CLICK HERE to view

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Some folks, including Oilers radio PxP guy Bob Stauffer, are reporting Clarke MacArthur could be in conversations with the Penguins. Our pal Rob Rossi has checked in with the team and they report that there is nothing to that talk. We shall see…

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Mike Komisarek has inked a one-year — $700,000 deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes could use that player, but not sure he has much game left. Going to be interesting, definitely worth a flyer on that salary though.

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The Arizona Coyotes look like they might have lost Boyd Gordon to the Edmonton Oilers, but they have reached a contract agreement with Mike Ribeiro, who will likely become their top center upon arriving in the desert. He was one of the best players for the Capitals throughout the season last year, notching 49 points (13 goals) in 48 games.

Nice get for the Desert Dogs…

The TSN crew also confirmed the Gordon move to Edmonton. Scratch him off your wishlists Penguins fans…

Ribeiro gets 22 million over four years in Arizona. That should turn his wifey’s frown upside down. She was pretty upset about being uprooted from Dallas, only to spend only one shortened season in Washington.

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The Penguins bolster their defense by bringing in a familiar face — Rob Scuderi — the Piece, is back in the fold. Inking a four year contract that will bring an AAV of $3.375 per season.

The Columbus Blue Jackets lock up Nathan Horton as they continue to move towards respectability! Gaborik/Horton give them two of the best wingers that they have ever had (not counting Rick Nash of course)… seven year/$37.1 million deal for Horton, who had hoped to sign in an market that brought some anonymity.

In a bit of a head scratcher, Ryane Clowe inks a five year deal with the Devils that will pay him $24.25 million. He could offset the loss of David Clarkson, but he is not all that young and had injury issues in recent years.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs appear to have gotten their man. It has not been officially announced, but it looks like they have signed or are very close to signing David Clarkson. We’ll keep you posted on that…

It looks like they might have locked up Tyler Bozak as well. We shall see if that comes to pass.

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The TSN Panel just announced that the Bozak deal is final…. Locked him up for five year.

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Darren Dreger just confirmed that Toronto gets David Clarkson… seven year deal. Money yet unknown. Safe bet that it is a bit too much…

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Detroit just added Stephen Weiss. Fairly conservative dollars as well… four year contract, AAV comes in just under five million per year. He joins Daniel Alfredsson as the Wings make a splash.

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Matt Hendricks and Victor Stalberg both headed to Nashville… still not going to help them score goals, but they can certainly help stop them.

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The Anaheim Ducks ship Bobby Ryan to the Ottawa Senators for Jakob Silverberg, Stefan Noesen and a 1st round pick. Huge price to pay for Ryan, but each side gets something that they wanted… I think at the end of the day Anaheim wins this by a landslide, but for today, Ryan is going to do some great things for the Sens.

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About Brian Metzer

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live and co-host of PensWeek on the Penguins Radio Network, serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, does similar work for TSN 1050 in Toronto, is a contributing writer for NHL.com, the Beaver County Times and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

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