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Busy First Day Of Free Agency Around The League

Teams in the Metropolitan Division and around the NHL are trying to improve while Carolina is happy with their core

Goalie Justin Peters has a new home in Washington D.C.
Goalie Justin Peters has a new home in Washington D.C.
Grant Halverson

July 1 was a busy day for most teams in the NHL as there were 90 player signings around the league.  The Carolina Hurricanes made three signings themselves, though one of those was to bring back restricted free agent  Jiri Tlusty for another year.

The Canes lost Manny Malhotra to the Montreal Canadiens and it will be hard if not impossible to replace his faceoff acumen.  But newcomer, Brad Malone should help with the physicality on the fourth line.  Malone had 79 hits in just 32 games last year in Colorado.

Carolina's other signing was goalie Drew MacIntyre, who should split time with Daniel Altshuller in Charlotte, if Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin stay healthy in Raleigh.

In yesterday's press conferences at the PNC, both Ron Francis and Peter Karmanos reiterated that they were happy with the current group of players on the club and they would not be making any big changes or additions.

"We have a very good team", said Karmanos.

Francis said that they might add another fourth line type of player and a depth defenseman, but that is what they were looking at for now.

"Fans might be scratching their heads, but we feel we have a good group here", said Francis.

The GM said they had made several calls about trading Cam Ward but were not happy with any of the offers.  "We still believe in Cam Ward", Francis said.

While the Canes might be happy with their current group, even though they have not been good enough to find their way into the postseason in the last five years, other teams are trying to improve themselves, even last season's playoff teams.

Things won't be any easier for Carolina around the Metropolitan Division.

The Capitals made two huge signings on the blueline by acquiring both Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen.  Their contracts are very, very high (5 years and 7 years respectively) and we will see if they end up being too much, but the Caps were weak on defense last year and undoubtedly addressed that need.

They also signed Justin Peters to a two-year deal to back up Braden Holtby.

The Penguins might have had the best signing of the day when they acquired Christian Ehrhoff, who was recently bought out by the Sabres.  The Pens also brought back Marcel Goc and brought in Blake Comeau.

Even though the Rangers went to the Finals, they are also trying to improve.  After buying out Brad Richards to free up some cap space, they signed veteran defenseman Dan Boyle and brought back utility guy, Dominic Moore.  They also signed Tanner Glass, who used to be in the Pittsburgh organization.

The New Yorkers made a couple of other minor signings but are not done by any stretch.

The Blue Jackets were quiet yesterday but made trades prior to that to try to improve.  R.J. Umberger wanted out of town so they traded him for Scott Hartnell, who has always been a tough guy to play against.  They also brought in Jerry D'Amigo from the Leafs.

The Devils signed Martin Havlat and Mike Cammalleri who should help their offense and brought in Scott Clemmensen to be their back up goalie.

The Flyers were also quiet, but you know they won't be for long.

Finally, the Islanders fans were a bit disappointed yesterday although they did add Cory Conacher, who might be a nice pick up and fit with them.  They also signed goalie Chad Johnson and defenseman T.J. Brennan.

While we all can argue about which signings were over-priced or worth it, I don't think there is any argument that these teams are trying to improve, whether they made the playoffs or not last season.

It will be a long summer and every team will have the opportunity to make more signings and try to better themselves, including Carolina.  We will see what happens and see if the Hurricanes strategy works.