NHL Free Agency (so far)
In one of the surprises in a free agent frenzy that’s actually amounted to a series of pretty reasonable deals, it sounds like the Capitals landed Justin Williams at a very reasonable price. The two-year pact is worth just $6.5 million (a $3.25 million cap hit in each season).
Williams was on his way to winning the 2014 Conn Smythe Trophy, the playoffs MVP. This seems like an absolute steal for the Capitals for the talents they are getting. There’s no denying that Williams, 33, fell short of having a strong contract year.
The Kings missed the playoffs and basically faced one disaster after another. Williams saw a slight decrease in regular season production (from 43 points in 2013-14 to 41 last year) and his outstanding playoff performances must have faded from some minds. Even so, Williams is more than just a guy who scores big goals. He’s frequently been a possession monster, even standing out on a puck-hogging team like the Kings.
With the Pittsburgh Penguins making a splashy trade to get Phil Kessel and the Caps, as well as adding Williams for a cheap amount, the Metropolitan Division is shaping up to be fascinating for the 2015-16 season.
Speaking of Phil Kessel, the Pittsburgh Penguins made the best decision they could to make their team better. Kessel did not have the best season last year, as he ended with multiple career lows. With that being said, Kessel is another player added to make those Penguins just that much better to be championship contenders.
The Arizona Coyotes made their own splash with Antoine Vermette. Funny thing; Vermette was a coyote earlier in the season. Arizona dealt Antoine Vermette away to the Blackhawks around the trade deadline.
He won his Stanley Cup with Chicago and then returned home for two years at $3.75 million per. It was a win for the Coyotes, who got a first-round pick from Chicago. Let’s hope Vermette continues his scoring streak for the Arizona line like he did with the Blackhawks.
Finally, the Blackhawks have been one of the losers of the off-season so far when they traded away Brandon Saad, the one guy you assumed this cap clearing summer would be all about, as he was dealt to the Blue Jackets.
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