On the NHL calendar, July 1st is the busiest day in terms of transactions with teams throwing bags of money at free agents, hoping they can be the missing link(s) needed to build a championship squad. On the other hand you have teams like Buffalo, who'll be signing guys to bloated deals just to make it to the cap floor.
Last year, the Jackets made a huge splash in signing Nathan Horton. This year they don't figure to be as busy, after trading for Scott Hartnell and signing Simon Hjalmarsson from Europe. They also have a handful of rookies and prospects who could push for a roster spot. The fourth line needs to be constructed, with many of us expecting Jack Skille and Derek MacKenzie to get signed. However, with Corey Tropp and Matt Frattin receiving RFA qualifying offers, it seems as though the latter pairing is destined to be signed.
If MacKenzie ends up hitting the market and signing with another team, color me as disappointed. He's the definition of Blue Jacket, and his energy and occasional goal endeared him to fans. That kind of impact was not seen from Frattin in his brief tenure with the Jackets. The team obviously thinks more of him. Tropp makes sense.
Aside from building the bottom half of the roster, the team also needs to round out the veterans required to mentor the prospects in Springfield next year. One of those vets- Frederic St.Denis, was re-signed this morning to a one-year, two-way deal.
The Jackets could surprise, but I think this will be a day of light activity for the CBJ today. The big task is getting Ryan Johansen signed.