There are two ways a general manager can approach Free Agent Frenzy:
1. They can sign marginal players for outrageous amounts and lengths in a desperate attempt to fix a problem that they know exists but can’t quite pin down (or as a bull-headed adherence to the particular ethos they have arbitrarily chosen to build the team around)
2. They can do nothing, which allows them to avoid making insane impulse buys just to prove that they’re doing something (as in option 1) but which will cause the fanbase to moan that they aren’t doing enough to improve the franchise (though that same fanbase will be moaning six months later when the reality of option 1 is apparent).
So what has GMGM done?
He has cunningly taken a third option: make minute, almost irrelevant signings so that no one can complain he is doing nothing, nor can they accuse him of impulsively making horrible deals. Maybe they could complain that he isn’t doing enough, but there’s plenty of time before training camp and the preseason, and the major free agents haven’t even landed yet.
So far McPhee has signed Joey Crabb (RW most recently of the Maple Leafs, 11-15-26 in 67) for 1 year, $950,000 and Jack Hillen (D most recently of the Predators, 2-4-6 in 55) for 1 year, $650,000 (numbers from CapGeek). Both are Americans and they were teammates at Colorado College.
These signings have essentially rounded out our bottom 6 and our secondary D, which is a nice enough feeling, but a glance at our roster shows we’ve still got some gaps. For example, our number 1 goal-scorer is Ovechkin. Number 2 is Jason Chimera. Much as I like the Mythical Beast, I’m expecting him to regress to the mean. We’ll be missing two of our top 4 scorers with Semin and Wideman gone, and as frustrating as either of them could be, we still need someone to produce.
The current plethora of d-men implies that maybe GMGM has a trade up his sleeve, not to mention the fairly generous amount of cap space we currently have (Mike Green and John Carlson’s raises notwithstanding). You know, we just acquired a coach from the Devils… maybe we could do with a player as well?
(P.S. The Training Camp roster and schedule has been released! There are a couple of familiar faces, such as Stanislav Galiev, as well as some new ones, like recent draft picks Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson!)