I apologize for temporarily dropping our popular "Notes at Noon" feature, but I have been very busy with many other projects for the past couple of weeks and I didn't have time for this as well. Hopefully, we can get back to it a bit more regularly now.
Today, let's take a quick look around the league, with focus on the Southeast, and I'll share some thoughts.
Something that fans have been clamoring about for years might finally come to fruition. Mike Commodore confirmed on Twitter that he is considering wearing number 64 in Detroit. The defenseman was bought out of his contract with Columbus last month but then signed for one year in Mo-Town for $1 million.
Best of luck to the guy who made wearing bathrobes in public, fashionable around Raleigh.
Why fans should not be owners
New Buffalo owner Terry Pegula certainly made his presence known during his first crack at free agency. First he signed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to a 10 year, $40 million, front end loaded deal. Then he went out and signed Ville Leino to a $27 million, six year deal.
According to Erik Cole, early in the process the Sabres were also bidding for his services, but apparently $18 million over four years was too much for the free-spending Pegula to match?
Sabres fans certainly have valid reasons to feel good about what's going on in Buffalo this year. Pegula is obviously willing to spend the money, but is he spending it wisely?
Winnipeg Takes Different Approach
Taking the exact opposite approach as their fellow new owner in Buffalo, the Winnipeg Jets have done nothing to improve their team from last year, a team which failed to make the post season. They did not qualify Anthony Stewart and allowed him to be signed by Carolina. They cut loose a decent GM with creds in Rick Dudley and released the head coach as well, Craig Ramsey. As Ryan Kennedy points out in THN, their only new players signed are fourth liners. The replacements in the front office and behind the bench are not NHL proven, yet.
At least they did re-sign Andrew Ladd, but will this team be better than last year's simply because it is now located in Winnipeg?
Avs trade the farm to get Varlamov
In one of the more puzzling deals last week, the Colorado Avalanche traded a first round pick and a second round pick for unproven goalie, Semyon Varlamov. The Russian had hinted that he was going to bolt for the KHL, but did end up signing a deal with the Avs. Still, that seems like a steep price for a goalie who has won only 30 NHL regular season games in the last three seasons.
Vokoun "Plays For Free" in DC
The Caps good fortune continued during free agency as the most sought after goalie available, Tomas Vokoun, signed a one-year deal with Washington for a paltry $1.5 million. The goalie probably paid more in taxes than that last year.
The Caps got a proven, world class goalie, and remain comfortably under the salary cap. Problems solved? Maybe not.
Vokoun has a lifetime 3-8 record in the postseason. He should fit right in with his new teammates.
Meet the New Florida Panthers
You can smell the desperation in Sunrise, Florida. While some teams were active during free agency, Dale Tallon went absolutely bonkers. New head coach Kevin Dineen might have his work cut out for him creating chemistry among these newbies, but there is some talent here: Ed Jovanovski, Jose Theodore, Brian Campbell, Scottie Upshall, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Fleischmann, Matt Bradley, Marcel Goc, Sean Bergenheim, and Tomas Kopecky.
The Panthers should be interesting to follow, if nothing else.