2012 NHL Free Agency: 10 Biggest Shockers of FA Period Thus Far
The NHL offseason is an opportunity for teams to get the first initial jump on everybody else by signing that elusive player that every other team wants. It just so happens that during this time, there are those moments that shock people.
The moments that redefine a team’s future.
The moments that make your heart sink because your team missed out on a player.
And finally the moments that make you understand why you have stuck by your team’s side for so long.
The 2012 NHL offseason has provided some of these moments and here is a look at 10 of the more shocking moves that have taken place.
1. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter Signing with the Minnesota Wild
You knew it was going to be on the list so let’s discuss it first.
Both top-20 picks in the 2003 NHL Entry draft, the pair have been stars at their positions almost ever since.
The Wild finished last in scoring this past season and some kind of change was needed if they were going to be able to eventually compete for a Stanley Cup. This is the kind of move that puts a team in position to do just that.
2. Bruins’ Tim Thomas Taking the 2012-2013 Season off
It isn’t too tough to see that Tim Thomas is old when his mask comes off, but when it’s on, you would think he was a young goalie.
Thomas has one of the most aggressive and acrobatic goaltending styles in the NHL and there hasn’t been much drop off in that style or his play as he has aged. This makes his sudden break that much more surprising.
As Thomas put it on his Facebook page, he’s taking the year off to focus on his, “Friends, family and faith.” It’ll be interesting to see if and when he decides to return to the game.
3. Alexander Semin Leaving the Washington Capitals
Alexander Semin was drafted by the Washington Capitals and has been one of their centerpieces since. Semin and Alexander Ovechkin provided much of Washington’s powerful offense so it was only natural for there to be a lot speculation on what Semin would do this offseason.
Still, though, it’ll be strange to see Ovechkin on the ice without Semin for the first time in seven years.
4. Predators Matching Shea Weber’s 14-Year, $110 Million Offer Sheet
So close, Philadelphia!
The Nashville Predators had already lost Suter to the Wild and their other defensive star was a restricted free agent. The problem for them was that they were unsure if they would have enough money to match a big offer sheet for the defenseman.
This move has left Philadelphia wondering what they are going to do at defenseman for this coming season.
5. The Dallas Stars Signing Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney and Derek Roy
They are looking for a Stanley Cup.
Getting three veterans that are either in their prime or past it has a short time for a payoff. You can’t rely on them to grow with the team as the years go by. They need results and they need them this year.
It looks like it might be a little too late for the Stars, though. These players certainly help, but there just is not enough help around them for the team to make that big of a run this year.
Try telling that to the guys finishing up their career, though.
6. Shane Doan Still Deciding on Who to Sign with
Shane Doan isn't thought of amongst the NHL’s elite, but he has been one of the most consistent players over the past 12 years, scoring at least 50 points in all but one of them. He has also been a member of the Phoenix Coyotes for all of those years.
He has seen Phoenix’s highs and lows. Being a focal member of a team for that long will obviously create some kind of connection towards the team and its city. It’s just surprising that he has taken so long to decide on if he wants to stay. The long wait could be a sign that he is on his way out.
7. Philadelphia Flyers Struggling to Land a Big Name
Sorry to rub salt in the wound, but this has to be talked about.
Philadelphia has been a hot spot for the past few years, yet this offseason, the team has not been able to sign a big name, leaving a feeling of uneasiness for fans.
The team’s glaring weakness is on defense and missing out on Weber will definitely hurt them.
It also feels like the team has some kind of addiction for signing a popular player. The Flyers were one of the teams rumored to be after Bobby Ryan even though they have other needs that could be viewed as more important.
The smart play is to trade for one or two veteran defensemen, but that would be too easy for Philadelphia. The Flyers need to find a way to complicate things for them to be interested.
8. Tampa Bay Finally Addressed Their Goaltending Problems
Last year, the Tampa Bay Lightning allowed 3.39 goals per game, the most in the NHL. For a team full of offensive firepower, the lack of goaltending was what really ended up shining.
Lindback backed up one of the NHL’s best, Pekka Rinne, for the past two seasons and appears to have learned a lot. He has 16 wins in 29 career starts and is about to get his moment to show the NHL that he is a legitimate No. 1 goalie. The Lightning have the kind of team that can help him make that possible.
9. Justin Schultz Signing with the Edmonton Oilers
Four years ago, the Anaheim Ducks selected Justin Schultz with the 43rd pick in the draft. Schultz went on to play hockey at the University of Wisconsin and left this summer because under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, he became a free agent.
Sounds like a lot of confusion, but one team saw through it all and made a big play to get him.
The Edmonton Oilers signed him to a two-year deal and he should certainly help a young Oilers team. It’s pretty amazing when you look closely at how he was able to go four years without playing for the team that drafted him, and then leave college and sign with someone else.
That is quite the move.
10. The Anticipation for a New Collective Bargaining Agreement
Halfway through last season, it wasn't too shocking to think about how there could be another NHL lockout for the 2012-2013 season.
With a month left for the two sides to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, the anticipation is growing and people are eager to see if the NHL will go into a lockout.
These days, lockouts are as common as catching a cold, but any hockey fan will tell you that they don’t want to see one take place. Hockey has rebuilt itself beautifully since its last lockout and it would be a shame for people to see them go through that again.
Only time will tell what happens, but expect to see this in the headlines during the rest of the NHL free agency period.