Today at noon begins what promises to be the craziest free agency period any sport has ever seen. There are plenty of rumors to get to, but first, the news and transactions of the past few days, starting in Washington.
- The Caps have re-signed Jeff Halpern and Brendan Witt, and have signed 2003 first-round pick Eric Fehr and have allowed Jason Doig and Trent Whitfield to become UFAs. Good decisions on all five, though the team will have to be somewhat active in the free agent market to be able to have six defensemen in uniform on opening night. WaPo article here.
- Florida bought out defenseman Mathieu Biron.
- The Avs waived center Chris Gratton.
- St. Louis picked up it's option on goaltender Patrick Lalime.
- Atlanta acquired defenseman Shane Hnidy from Nashville.
- Brendan Shanahan excercised his option to stay with Detroit.
- The Rangers bought out Ridiculous Contract poster boy Bobby Holik.
- The Wild bought out winger Matt Johnson and picked up center Todd White from Ottawa.
- Carolina picked up defensemen Mike Commodore and Andrew Hutchinson from Calgary and Nashville, respectively, and granted Jeff O'Neill's wish by sending him to Toronto.
- The Blue Jackets bought out blueliner Scott Lachance and center Andrew Cassels.
- Anaheim acquired winger Todd Fedoruk from the Flyers for a pick.
- The Stars re-signed stud defenseman Sergei Zubov.
- The Blackhawks did not tender offers to defensemen Bryan Berard and Stephane Robidas, making them UFAs.
- Buffalo let Miro Satan become a free agent.
- Bruins GM Mike O'Connell is working on a "potential 'huge' trade," according to the Boston Herald, which will either happen or be dead by C.O.B. Monday. It has been rumored that the Bruins were looking to move Joe Thornton to the Rangers for Jaromir Jagr, and that would certainly qualify as a "huge' trade. Stay tuned.
- Florida covets Chris Pronger, and will be looking to add a scoring forward, with names like Glen Murray, Ziggy Palffy, Alexei Kovalev, Peter Bondra and Gary Roberts coming up repeatedly. [Palm Beach Post]
Adrian Aucoin rejected the Isles' offer and is now a UFA. Montreal, Philly and Atlanta are interested in him, while the Isles will look to replace him, perhaps with some combination of Brian Rafalski, Bryan Berard, Adam Foote or Mike Rathje. [Newsday]. Those same defensemen (except Rafalski), as well as Derian Hatcher, seem to be on Booby Clarke's wishlist too. [Camden Courier-Post]
- Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports a handful of rumors here.