Best Moves – Summer ’06

So here’s my take on the best signings by teams this summer.  These may not be the highest profile, but will make the most significant impact to their teams:

Best Signings

5. Nolan Baumgartner – (Philadelphia, 2yrs – 2.4m) – Philadelphia was extremely slow on defense last year and in definitely cost them.  So with Clarke, hampered by the salary cap, went out and get the best puck moving defenseman he could afford.  He paid a handsome price for a career fringe player, but he got exactly what was needed on his team.

4.  Jarrko Ruutu – (Pittsburgh, 2yrs – 2.3m) – Jarrko is going to take a significant amount of attention away from Sidney Crosby, which will allow this super star to excel.  Imagine the hype when Ruutu pulls a Sidney Crosby penalty shot move (we saw that a few times last year).  There is no pest greater than superpest Jarrko, and he’s a great teammate to kick.

3.  Patrick Elias – (New Jersey, 7yrs – 42m) – He signed with the same team, but it was a free agent signing nonetheless.  Elias is a game breaker.  This deal is going to look like a steal in a few years with prices driving up the way they are.  Pronger’s deal last year is already a bargain, and you can consider this to be an even better deal.

2.  Andrew Raycroft (Toronto, 3 yrs – 6m) – okay, I know, this was a trade, but regardless Toronto got their man.  This was a win for both teams actually.  Boston moved an extra asset into a great blue ship prospect (Tuukka Rask), who some believe is can’t miss.  While Toronto gave up a high price to get Raycroft, they also got a talented youngster, who will thrive in the T.O. spotlight.  Sometimes you just have to pay a lot to get what you need.  And Toronto finally got a young goalie their team can have around for a long, long time.  A refreshing change for Toronto.

1. Roberto Luongo – (4 yrs – 27m) – Nonis did the impossible.  He pryed Luongo away from Florida (out of Mike Keenan’s hands no less), and signed the guy to a long-term deal with no promises from the Luongo camp before the trade was made.  Nice work Nonis.  There were so many teams going after this guy that it was near impossible to sort out fact from fiction during the past year.  Nonis did what Burke never could and that’s get the team a bonafide starter that doesn’t get injured every year.  Burke has two starters in Anaheim and I guarantee he won’t even have one by the end of this year.  He’ll trade the good one and the other will falter.  It’s Burke’s M.O.  Meanwhile, the Canucks are riding the best young goalie out their all the way to the finals.

The Chief Canuck

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