Welcome to our semi-live free agency blog. We're getting off to a late start given the Penguins moves earlier.
-Jagr went to the Flyers. Yes. Really.
-Max Talbot is now a member of the NWO Flyers.
-Mike Rupp has joined the Rangers.
-The Penguins have signed former Predators forward Steve Sullivan.
Note: We'll make separate posts for any Penguins-related transaction and post links at the top.
Note two: Pretty much all figures attributed here are from TSN.
-This move actually happened before noon. The Blue Jackets signed one of the top unrestricted free agents remaining on the market when they inked defenseman James Wisniewski (right) to a six-year contract worth a total of $33 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $5.5 million. Columbus acquired his signing rights from the Canadiens in a trade earlier this week.
Wisniewski, 27, appeared in 75 games last season and scored 51 points (10 goals, 41 points).
EN Says: The money for Wisniewski might seem a little high, but that's just a symptom of how lean this market is. He's a nice top-four defenseman but hardly elite. Yet, he has a salary cap hit which isn't too far off of what Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom ($6.2 million). Wisniewski offer a nice offensive presence on the blue line and has a good shot which can cause havoc for goaltenders. He can play upwards of 23 minutes a game and is a solid skater. He has a physical edge but doesn't offer much defensively.
-Another pre-noon deal. The Canucks re-signed forward Chris Higgins (right) to a two-year contract worth a total of $3.8 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $1.9 million.
Higgins, 28, appeared in 62 games last season and scored 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists).
EN Says: This is a solid cap hit for a nice two-way third-liner. Higgins is a strong defensive player and can chip in some offense. He was a significant part of Vancouver's Stanley Cup run.
-The Lightning adds another former Penguin.
Goaltender Mathieu Garon (right), 33, late of the Blue Jackets, has joined the Lightning on a two-year deal worth a total of $2.6 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $1.3 million. He will serve as a back up to starter Dwayne Roloson.
In 36 games with the Blue Jackets last season, Roloson was 10-14-6 with a 2.72 goals against average a .901 save percentage and three shutouts.
He was a member of the Penguins' 2009 Stanley Cup championship team.
EN Says: With a 43-year-old Roloson as the start, the Lightning needed one of those "1A" back ups who will play a heavier workload than your standard back up. If they can get at least 30 starts out of Garon, that will provide an ideal amount of rest for Roloson heading into the postseason. Garon is an ideal goaltender for that type of role having been a part-time starter in the league.
-Another goaltender is off the market. The Panthers have signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Jose Theodore (right) to a two-year contract worth a total of $3 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $1.5 million.
In 32 games with the Wild last season, Theodore, 34, went 15-11-3 with a 2.71 goals against average, .916 save percentage and one shutout. A former Vezina and Hart Trophy winner, Theodore is joining his fifth NHL team.
EN Says: With Tomas Vokoun presumably moving on, the Panthers needed a No. 1 goaltender. Theodore was at one time, one of the elite goaltenders in this league. He's past his prime, but he can still carry a team in the regular season. He's not much of a postseaosn preformer with a 19-28 career playoff record, but the Panthers aren't there yet. They need to focus on just reaching the postseason first.
-The Oilers have signed unrestricted free agent forward Ben Eager (right), late of the Sharks, to a three-year, $3.3 million deal. He will have a salary cap hit of $1.1 million.
Eager, 27, appeared in 68 games and scored 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) and recorded 120 penalty minutes.
EN Says: The Oilers jettisoned some tougness this past week by not re-signing guys like Zach Stortini and J.F. Jacques. Eager replaces some of that. And he has some skill as well as a Stanley Cup ring to boot. He is prone to some moments of undiscpline, but he's a talented tough player.
-The Sabres have re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Cody McCormick to a three-year contract worth a total of $3.6 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $1.2 million.
McCormick (right), 28, appeared in 81 games last season and scored 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) while recording 142 penalty minutes.
EN Says: The Sabres didn't have a lot of toughness last season but McCormick was one of the few sources of it. He likes to hit and he will fight anyone. For a third or fourth-liner, he's a solid player.
-Another former Penguins winger returns to Tampa Bay. Former Penguins forward Michel Ouellet has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Lightning.
Ouellet, 29, appeared in 39 games last season with the Hamburg Freezer of the DEL in Germany and scored 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists).
No word yet if Tampa Bay will hire Michel Therrien as an assistant coach.
-The Capitals have traded the signing rights to restricted free agent goaltender Semyon Varlamov (right) to the Avalanche in exchange for a first-round pick in 2012 and a conditional second-round pick in 2012 or 2013.
Varlamov, 23, appeared in 27 games last season and went 11-9-5 with a 2.23 goals against average, .924 save percentage and two shutouts.
EN Says: A good move for both clubs. The Capitals didn't have a place for Varlamov with Michal Neuvirth emerging as the starter and Braden Holtby emerging as a potential starter as well. Varlamov is a legit prospect with some playoff experience. For the Avalanche, it needed a new goaltender after dealing Craig Anderson at the trade deadline.
The biggest question with Varlamov is his health as he missed several games due to various lower-body injuries.
-The Blackhawks have signed former Wild forward Andrew Brunette (right), 37, to a one-year contract worth $2 million. In 82 games last season, Brunette scored 46 points (19 goals, 28 assists).
EN Says: A nice addition for Chicago. He's a less physical version of Mike Knuble. He's a savvy veteran who just knows how to play around the net. He'll mesh well with the skilled guys like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in Chicago. And at a pretty cheap price.
-The Coyotes signed former Canucks forward Raffi Torres to a two-year contract worth a total of $3.5 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $1.75 million.
Torres, 29, appeared in 80 games last season and scored 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists).
EN Says: Torres is as tough of a forechecker as you'll find in the NHL. While some of his hits skirt the lines of legality, he is a presence all defensemen need to be wary of. And he can chip in some offense. This is a nice salary cap hit.
-Catching up after all the Penguins-rlated moves. The Capitals signed former Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik (right) to a two-year deal worth a total of $7 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $3.5 million.
In 79 games last season, Hamrlik had 34 points (five goals, 34 points).
EN Says: This boosts a somewhat troublesome blue line for the Capitals. Even before defensemen Mike Green and Dennis Wideman suffered injuries, the Capitals had some issues with their power play. Hamrlik will provide a boost in that area having scored 15 points on the man advantage.
Additionally, he plays in all situations, including the penalty kill. While he is a little long int he tooth at 37, he is a legit top three defenseman.
-The Capitals also signed former Predators forward Joel Ward (right) to a four-year $12 million deal. He will have salary cap hit of $3 million. In 80 games last season, he scored 29 points. Ward had a strong playoff run scoring 13 goals in 12 games (seven goals, six assists).
EN Says: Ward, 30, is a nice blue-collar player but $3 million is a bit much for his services. But in this lean market, he was a guy who was going to cash in. Especially after a strong run in the postseason. He'll definitely increase the Capitals' grit factor.
-The Canadiens signed former Hurricanes forward Erik Cole, 32, to a four-year deal worth $18 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $4.5 million. In 82 games last season, Cole scored 52 points (26 goals, 26 assists).
EN Says: This is a decent deal for a guy who is a consistent 20-goal threat. He'll fit in well with the Canadiens' stable of fleet top-six forward. Additionally, he brings tons of playoff experience.
That said, at 32, Cole is on the back nine of his career.
-The Panthers brought back an old face by re-signing former defenseman Ed Jovanovski (right), late of the Coyotes, to a four-year deal worth a total of $16.5 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $4.125 million.
Jovanovski, 35, appeared in 40 games last season and scored 14 points (five goals, nine assists). He spent parts of the first four seasons of his career with the Panthers and was a member of its 1996 Eastern Conference championship team.
EN Says: The Panthers have a ton of salary cap space to work with, but this is a waste of money. Jovanovski is well past his prime. He was at one point a legit top-two defenseman but that was a long time ago. Additionally, he's coming off a season in which he dealt with a head injury. That said, he does improve a pretty lean roster. He's a guy who has been in just about every situation on the ice and knows how to react. He's a leader too. From a hockey sense, this improves the team. It's just not a good move from a financial sense.
-The Panthers signed former Avalanche forward Tomas Fleischmann (right) to a four-year deal worth $18 million. He will have a salary cap hit of $4.5 million. In 45 games last season, Fleischmann scored 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists).
EN Says: Fleischmann was one of the more skilled players on the market. After an early season trade with the Capitals, he appeared in 22 games for the Avalanche and scored 21 points.
But he's a big question mark having missed the final 36 games of the regular season due to blood clots. If he's healthy, this is a good signing for the Panthers.
(Photos: Wisniewski-Mike Ridewood/Getty Images; Higgins and Brunette-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Garon-Christian Petersen/Getty Images; Theodore-Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images; Eager-Victor Decolongon/Getty Images; McCormick-Rick Stewart/Getty Images; Varlamov-Rob Carr/Getty Images; Hamrlik-Paul Bereswill/Getty Images; Ward-Rich Lam/Getty Images; Jovanovski-Dale MacMillan/Getty Images; Fleischmann-Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)