Ahh, Free Agency...one of those “Christmas morning” feelings made even better because it’s on a Friday.
This has always been a favorite day of mine when it comes to hockey. It’s fun to see where guys go and all the wheelin’ and dealin’ that happens. The best part? The anticipation you have for your team and what they might have up their sleeve...
Zito has started to put his stamp on the Panthers. It started with getting out from under that brutal Matheson contract when he traded both Matheson and Sceviour to Pittsburgh in exchange for the tough veteran Patric Hornqvist.
He then moved Josh Brown to OTT for a fourth-round pick (95th overall) in this year’s draft.
And just yesterday, he traded AHLer Cliff Pu for CBJ defenseman Markus Nutivaara, who has 244 career NHL games under his belt (all with Columbus), where he produced 60 points (17G, 43A). I like this trade because it links Zito’s successful past in the CBJ organization, so there must be something he likes in Nutivaara - which is a good thing.
Big Bill also had a nice draft, restocking some needed areas:
Round 1 (12th overall): Anton Lundell (C)
Round 2 (43rd overall): Emil Heineman (RW)
Round 3 (74th overall): Ty Smilanic (F)
Round 3 (87th overall): Justin Sourdif (RW)
Round 4 (95th overall): Michael Benning (D)
Round 4 (105th overall): Zachary Uens (D)
Round 5 (153rd overall): Kasparov Puutio (D)
Round 7 (198th overall): Elliot Ekmark (C)
Round 7 (212th overall): Devon Levi (G)
Obviously, Zito and the front office have a plan, but when it came to qualifying offers for RFA players, I was a disappointed with two names.
Not Qualified (will become FA):
As you know, I’m a big Dryden Hunt fan. I just think he has a solid North-South game that fits in well with this team. He keeps it simple, puts the puck on, and goes to the net. I was surprised they didn’t qualify him.
I was also surprised to see Wallmark was not qualified, especially since Center depth is needed.
Who knows...like I said, there must be a plan there, so we’ll just have to see how things come together.
2020 Free Agency
We’re only a few hours away from the Free Agency and will update this section as signings/trades come in (hopefully).
It’s a shame the Cats couldn’t have held out a year, because there are a lot of goalie options out there. Still hoping to land a legit defenseman - bummed to see Dillon resigned with the Caps - and/or solid forward.
What are you hoping to see the Cats do?
Get ready for the madness..!
Check this out about Weegs:
Radko Gudas to Panthers - wasn’t expecting this, but he brings toughness that’s sorely needed. Just hope he keeps it under control at times.