9 Days In…

A lot has happened since the dawn of free agency last weekend. Time for catch up:

-While I was on 4th of July vacation…yeah we know what happened. My phone nearly was tossed into the water when I read that news. But just remember, there is a little thing called karma that I am a firm believer in…and in my opinion, this contract will come back to haunt our former captain when towards the middle of the deal he’s no closer than he was this postseason to touching that Cup.

-But, it wasn’t all bad news. Both Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg locked up the New Jersey goalie spots for the next two seasons. However, it does create an interesting situation down on the farm. Essentially you have four goalies for two spots in Albany and 1 or maybe 2 spots in the ECHL depending on what the Devils do for an affiliation next season (they had an agreement with Kalamazoo, but still sent a few players to Trenton). It may look like Jeff Frazee and Keith Kinkaid have their positions here back. However, you have prospect Scott Wedgewood about to start his first pro season, and also Maxime Clermont waiting in the wings. I’m curious to see how this straightens out come training camp.

-While the likes of Wilkes-Barre and Hershey are starting to load up, New Jersey helped out the farm a little bit by re-signing Jay Leach and Tim Sestito to 1 year deals. With Stephen Gionta looking like he’s graduated to the big club, could Leach step up as the next Albany captain? Who better than a veteran player who just happens to be from the Capital Region? Still early yet, but we’ll see. As for Sestito…everyone in Jersey get their Red Bull ready.

-Add two more players to the Moving On category: Matt Taormina is off to Tampa Bay (or, more likely, Syracuse) after signing a 1 year contract on Friday, and Vladimir Zharkov is going home to Russia, signing with CSKA Moskva for the next 2 seasons. As a restricted free agent, New Jersey retains his NHL rights.

2012 Player Tracker

Signed for 2012-13:

Keith Kinkaid
Mattias Tedenby
Brandon Burlon
Mike Hoeffel
Eric Gelinas
Alexander Urbom
Mike Sislo
Dan Kelly
David Wohlberg
Maxime Clermont
Harry Young
J.S. Berube
Chad Wiseman
Steve Zalewski
Jeff Frazee
Matt Anderson
Kelly Zajac
Harri Pesonen
Stephen Gionta
Peter Harrold

Restricted Free Agents:

Matt Corrente
Vladimir Zharkov

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Matt Taormina
Tim Sestito
Brad Mills
Jay Leach
Joe Whitney
Darcy Zajac
Mike Banwell
Bryan Haczyk
Myles Stoesz
Kory Nagy

Moving On:

Nathan Perkovich (signed in Austria 5/11)
Timo Pielmeier (signed in Germany 6/1)

Sources: CapGeek, Elite Prospects

Another Year at CBGBs…

2 days to go till free agency. While everyone is waiting on whether Zach Parise or Martin Brodeur are re-signing, New Jersey took care of a few unrestricted free agents, signing 5 players for next season: the entire CBGB playoff line of Ryan Carter (2 years), Steve Bernier (2 years), and Albany’s captain Stephen Gionta (2 years, first year 1 way second year 2 way), Cam Janssen (1 year, 2 way), and Peter Harrold (unknown terms). Four out of the five all contributed to the Devils Stanley Cup run…and why Janssen was re-signed, I have no idea. He did not get a lot of playing time, basically being scratched except for Rangers games, and instead of sending him down here where he most likely would have been in the lineup, he sat.

In other news, for those that missed it yesterday the AHL wrapped up their annual Board of Governors meeting in South Carolina with a few minor tweaks:

-The Western Conference was sort of realigned for next season: Abbotsford moves from the West to the North Division, Grand Rapids switches from the North to the Midwest Division, and Charlotte gets bumped to the new South Division, which includes Oklahoma City and the three Texas teams (Houston, San Antonio, Texas). Since the River Rats relocated to North Carolina, the Checkers have switched divisions three times: East, then Midwest, and now South.

-A few rules changes involving handling the puck (it is now a penalty if a player closes their hand on the puck as an opponent tries to play it), faceoffs (both players cannot bat the puck with their hand or face a delay of game penalty), and an experimental run with hybrid icing till mid November.

-But the biggest move of all? VIDEO REPLAY! Finally, finally, goals are subject to video review starting next season. If only there was a war room like the NHL does in Toronto…

Unless there’s any more signings tomorrow, next time you hear from me blog wise will be the free agent tracker Sunday afternoon.