With two days until Free Agency, several high profile potential UFAs were snapped up yesterday, with Joni Pitkanen taking a new three year deal in Carolina, while Christian Ehrhoff's rights were traded to the New York Islanders - though if they can sign him by Friday is an open question.
Also, this mornng, the Panthers announced that Tomas Kopecky, the former Blackhawk whose UFA rights they traded for just after the draft, has accepted a three year deal from Florida.
The waiver wire was also active, with the Minnesota Wild placing Cam Barker on waivers to see if there was an interest, as preparation for a buyout, while the Rangers will announce the buyout of Chris Drury today, per Larry Brooks of the New York Post. They were able to skip the waiver process for Drury because of the no movement clause in his contract.
Columbus has been expected to buy out Mike Commodore before Free Agency opens on Friday - I would expect to see him on waivers today, just to check one final time for any interest, before a buyout on Thursday (unless we can convince a team trying to make the cap floor to take his contract...)
Oh, and I hear the Penguins offered some old geezer a contract. Jag-something. This will be...interesting.
Over at Icethetics, they've got their latest jersey watch out, including the latest pictures or scoops on new jerseys and patches we'll see around the NHL.
Normally this is the point in the conversation where I'd point out some excellent stories at the Dispatch about Ryan Johansen's progress this summer and the fact that Jan Hejda is getting more and more negotiating leverage in his attempts to stay in Columbus rather than going to free agency because of the recent deals for Pitkanen, Bieksa, et al, but the Dispatch web servers appear to be getting hammered this morning. Instead I'll just suggest you go look at Puck Rakers and BlueJackets Xtra later today.
The 2011 Hockey Hall Of Fame class was announced, and while there were some truly worthy names, (though I think we're almost as stunned as Ed Belfour that he made it on the first try) but I cannot help but feel disappointment that Fred Shero and Pat Burns were left out of the hall again. Joe over at PHT argues that the Hall needs to consider admitting more than four a year, and I agree. At the very least, I think the number of selections for players should NOT affect the number of builders allowed into the hall, especially when you consider how many exceptional players remain on the doorstep, and how many will begin to be eligible next year.
Over at DBJ, Gallos considers the impact of Jeff Carter and Rick Nash on the same line, and is excited to see how they fit, while Rob Mixer has a look at Carter "joining the family", as it were, at Bluejackets.com
Chalk one up for equal rights: After Uptown Hockey's anti-gay comments via Twitter and in the media, Andrew Brunette has dropped them and signed with a new agent.
LTL has his 10 most wanted free agent D-men, and it won't surprise you who is on top of his list. We'll have more of our own suggestions later today - please take a look!
Apparently Amstel Light is offering to cater a Canada Day / 4th of July party for whichever Bruins Player bought a bottle at their epic stanley cup celebration. Puck Daddy has some guesses on who the culprit might be.
Finally, check out this look at an SPHL game with Tapeleg at JAHL. I'm fascinated by the differences in various levels of Minor League hockey, and thought this was a great read.