You may not want to ask who signed, but who did not sign on he first day of the 2011 NHL free agency. A 1,500 point player returns to the NHL, to a surprise team, and many teams made addition, and subtraction.
And there are reports that top free agent Brad Richards has agreed to a nine-year deal with the New York Rangers.
Here is a look at the biggest moves in day 1 (in the order of when they signed):
F Sean Bergenheim: Signed with the Florida Panthers
Bergenheim made a name for himself with his impressive postseason. He lead the league in goals through the first three rounds. He is a former first round pick of the New York Islanders and is only 27. If he is used in the right way, being put with a play making line, he can flourish. Also note, the Panthers are doing a lot of their moves because they need to add money to just reach the ground floor of the salary cap.
C Michal Handzus: Signed with the San Jose Sharks
Handzus is still a solid third-line center. Someone that will work well with the youth and still has a touch with the puck. The biggest question with him is, how many years does he have left at age 34?
G J.S. Giguere: Signed with the Colorado Avalanche
Since the Avalanche acquired Semyon Varlamov for a first and a conditional second, Giguere will be a very capable backup out west. He will be able to help the Colorado team try to make the playoff and get out of the Draft lottery.
LW Tomas Fleischmann: Signed with the Florida Panthers
GM Dale Tallon might be the busiest GM in the NHL this offseason. And now he adds a left winger that is similar to a lot of the secondary players that he had when he rebuilt the Chicago Blackhawks. Fleischmann will help the youth that the Panthers will bring in, and give them a veteran leader that can also help if and when they make the playoffs.
F Alexei Ponikarovsky: Signed with the Carolina Hurricanes
Ponikarovsky signed a hefty contract when he went to the LA Kings. His offensive numbers were dismal, he was close to being non-existent for a Kings team that made the playoffs. If he can find his scoring touch, especially since the Canes lost Erik Cole, then he will be a bargain.
F Marco Sturm: Signed with the Vancouver Canucks
When the Capitals added Sturm at the deadline, he had barely played a game. But he was a pivotal pivot playing on both of the top-two lines of the Caps. The Canucks did want to get younger, but Sturm’s playmaking and leadership will be a welcome addition to an already powerful offensive team.
F Ville Leino: Signed with the Buffalo Sabres
6 years, $27 million are the numbers the Sabres are paying the young scorer. To me that says that they expect him to be a top offensive man, and someone that they will rely on to get them past the first round of the playoffs. They have lost offense since they let Danny Briere go to the rival Flyers. He made what could be called a smart move going away from the changing Flyers, but can he live up to the pressure?
RW Michael Ryder, RWr: Signed with the Dallas Stars
He is a player that will continually give you twenty goals and twenty assists a year. He is a speedy player that is reliable in any system. He is starting to get up there in age, but if his postseason was any indication, he still has something left in the take.
Mathieu Garon, G: Signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning
Put this in the same column as the JS Giguere signing. Dwayne Roloson re-signed for another year, and this gives them a more than capable backup. Garon was with Columbus last year, and he even took the starting job away from Steve Mason more some of the year. If Rolly doesn’t live up to what he did last year, then look for Garon to step in.
Mike Smith, G: Signed with the Phoenix Coyotes
The Yotes lost their all-star goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to the Philadelphia Flyers, and Jason LaBarbera is really just a backup right now. Mike Smith came in for the games that Roloson did not play well in, and was a rock. If he can up his game another notch, the Coyotes may have found a steal in a weak Goalie crop and they could forget about Bryzgalov’s departure.
Jeff Halpern, F: Signed with the Washington Capitals
Halpern used to be a dynamic goal scorer … and that was when he was in Washington. He is returning for a second stint in the nations capital, and if he can be like a Michael Ryder, then he will earn every cent that he signed for. Especially now that he is 35.
Andrew Brunetts, LW: Signed with the Chicago Blackhawks
He will be turning 38 in August, but he is an ice-time eater, averaging over 19 minutes a game. He has also had at least 46 points since prior to the 1999-2000 season. Quenville coached him during his time with the Avalanche, and he probably hopes that he can provide a veteran presence, and someone that has no question marks when it comes to what he can and cannot do.
Sean O’Donnell, D: Signed with the Chicago Blackhawks
He is turning 40 this October, but he is a reliable d man, and someone that will provide a physical presence that the Hawks have not had on the backend since Dustin Byfuglein was traded. Don’t expect him to put up a lot of offense, but he grit and experience is what they signed him to do.
Ed Jovanovski, D: Signed with the Florida Panthers
Put this signing in the same column as the Jeff Halpern signing. Ed Jovanovski made a name for himself in Florida and then when he moved to the Vancouver Canucks. Since the Panthers got rid of Bryan McCabe, they have been missing a big-time backend player. Jovanovski is a big-body who is no slouch handling the puck. He will provide immediate help for the Florida team, and will mentor their incoming rooks.
Maxime Talbot, F: Signed with the Philadelphia Flyers
Maxime Talbot score the game-winning goal for the Pens in 2009. He is a physical presence that is also a solid secondary scorer. The Flyers only gave him a total salary of $9 million, and he will be someone that they can count on in their new-look offense. But the loss of their top scorers, Richards and Carter, does mean that they might not be as potent as they were last season.
Marcel Goc, F: Signed with the Florida Panthers
The Panthers are the team that made the biggest splash, at least in the number of players that they signed (and they also signed solid players), and they got another solid player in German Marcel Goc. He was the pivot on the first-line of the Nashville Predators. He season was cut short by a shoulder injury, but if he stays healthy, he could be the center pivot of their offesnse.
Steve Sullivan, F: Signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins
If he stays healthy this could be the steal of the free agent class. A five-time all-star that has scored over 20 goals seven times in his career. he can be a person that plays with Sidney Crosby and Evegeni Malkin. This is definitely a risky move, but one that is worth the risk for the Pens.
Joel Ward, F: Signed with the Washington Capitals
The feisty forward who played with the Nashville Predators and was a physical presence. The only question is, can he become more than just a big body. He has only played three seasons, but has only scored 35 points in his best season. The jury is still out on this signing.
Roman Hamrilk, D: Signed with the Washington Capitals
The have Tom Poti, John Carlson, Mike Green, and now they have Hamrilk. This means that they have two solid lines of D and this will only make the Caps better. But how better? If they cannot make it to the Cup finals, then it means that all of the moves that the Caps did would be for not.
Erik Cole, F: Signed with the Montreal Canadiens
He is getting up there in age, but that does not mean that the 35 year-old does not have something left in the tank. He is a big body that will help out one of their top two lines. The only question is can he stay healthy, he has had some injury problems, but that does not mean that the Habs should not have made this move.