Goodbye Lappy: News and Notes From NW's Free Agent Day One

JoeyCorrespondent IJuly 1, 2009

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 28:  Ian Laperriere #14 of the Colorado Avalanche shouts at the New York Rangers bench as linesman Steve Barton #59 restrains him during the game on February 28, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Well, unfortunately we all knew that it was going to happen.  That doesn't make it any easier.

We'll miss you crooked-nosed, forehead kissing fiend.

You couldn't fight, but you sure tried.  And your French-Canadian accent was adorable, but it was time to say goodbye.

We had to move down—in price and age—but we sure will miss your misguided lefts and your courageous bouts with guys twice your size, but Philly doesn't know what they got. 

You and Pronger sure are gonna give Sid the Kid something about which to whine.


In Other News...

The Avalanche have attempted to fill their obvious goaltending problem by signing Craig Anderson to a two year, $3.8 million deal, while in return giving Anderson his first try at a true starting goalie job after backing up Tomas Vokoun for several years.

Anderson, 28, put up great numbers last year; he was third in the league in save percentage with a 92.4 percent and 15 wins in 27 games, a better win percentage than his boss, three shutouts, and a 2.17 GAA. 

This is a huge step from last year, where it was a lucky night for either Avalanche goaltender if they stopped 90 percent of shots and where the Avalanche starter, Peter Budaj, put up one fewer shutout in 29 more games.

While it's not a sure thing that "Andy" can step in and solve the crisis at net, it should be reassuring that the last goalie out of Florida with a notably high save percentage turned out to be one of the best goalies and captains in the league, Roberto Luongo.  Whether or not Anderson has the same raw talent as Luongo, he has been noted to have great leadership skills and above-average talent.

The Avalanche definitely made a great step in this signing.

Not only have the Avs signed Anderson today, they have signed David Koci from the Tampa Bay Lightning to a one year, $575k deal.

The 29 year old, 6'6", 238 lb LW has two points in 64 games and an additional 297 penalty minutes.  It's obvious that he's not out on the ice to score.  This guy can fight, as evidenced by this brawl with Derek Boogaard of the Minnesota Wild:

Not only does he fight, which is something Lappy did very often, he wins.  Certainly this is a good replacement for that part of Laperriere's game, but Koci is more a replacement for Scott Parker.  He is not going to play every game, but he will play against big energy players like Joe Thornton or Chris Pronger.

The Avalanche are still looking for someone to step into Laperriere's fourth line full time scoring roll, but I have to give it to Sherman—he's made a few under-the-radar moves without tying the Avalanche up in the salary cap department.  Giguere's biggest mistake was his overpriced free agent defensemen and over-the-hill grit scorer Darcy Tucker for multiple years.

Sherman is relying a lot more on the system for future players, a true businessman who trusts in the minors and the rebuilding process.  It's going to be a tough couple of years for the Avalanche, but the pieces are beginning to fall into place.


Northwest News and Notes...

So far several big moves have been made about the division that will greatly impact the Avs schedule next year:

Calgary has upgraded its blueline with Bouwmeester over Leopold.  This might seem scary with Phaneuf and Regehr also in tow, but with their loss of Cammalleri to Montreal they may have taken a step back. 

Their defense was already good, but there seems to be no real threats up front with the exceptions of Iginla, Jokinen, and Langkow on a good night.

Edmonton has lost Roloson but added Khabibulin.  The 'Bulin wall may be getting old, but that hasn't stopped him from posting a good record against the Avs over the last couple of seasons.  This is the only difference so far for the youngster movement team.

Minnesota has made only one move in signing Greg Zanon from the Nashville Predators for three years.  He was +8 with 11 points on a sub-par team last year; great stats for an underrated $1.17 mill/yr defensemen.  Still, Minnesota lacks significant scoring threat and have lost (in my mind) one of the greatest coaches in the game.

Vancouver continues their dominance over the NW division with the resigning of the Sedin twins.  Even so, they lost stalwart Mattias Ohlund to the Tampa Bay Lightning and underrated third liner Lukas Krajicek.  This puts them in slightly worse position, but there is plenty of time in free agency left.