NHL Free Agency Quick Hits: Pouliot, Bolland, Cammalleri

Mike Cammalleri, the newest member of the New Jersey Devils.
Mike Cammalleri, the newest member of the New Jersey Devils.

Today, I will be posting some quick hits, or my thoughts on some of the signings we have seen during free agent frenzy this afternoon, which is living up to its nickname. We have seen a lot of deals so far, some good, and some bad. Here are three of them:

Benoit Pouliot to Edmonton (5 years/ $20 million)

Though he had a career year in points scored last season (15-21-36), the journeyman Pouliot was immensely and grossly overpaid by the Edmonton Oilers today, a team that has no choice but to throw the checkbook at free agents in order to sign them. Pouliot has been on five teams during his eight NHL seasons, and did not find any consistency until this past season with the Rangers, while on a line with Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard. This led many of us to believe that he would want to stay with the Rangers, so that he career might enjoy more success. However, even with how well he played last season, he did go through stretches of invisibility and was always good for a bad penalty late in a game. This was obviously a concern for the Rangers, who were not going to even come close to 3 years/$9 million, which was a rumored offer last week. Then the Oilers came in and blew everyone out of the water. He is a big body with good hands, but will he be able to keep his head in the game? That is a question that Edmonton will hopefully have answered for them in the positive. Still, this is a terrible deal for them, since much of his success last season was a byproduct of his line-mates. His career high in goals is 17 and points is 36. He is a good third liner, but that is all. I wanted the Rangers to keep him, but for that price, take him!

Dave Bolland to Florida (5 years/ $27.5 million)

Deals like he got are why we have lockouts, and why the NHL free agent market is now more ridiculous than ever. I am still trying to wrap my mind around this, which is why this paragraph is so short. Here is another third liner who was given an even more atrocious deal by a small market team, someone they will probably tout as their savior to an almost non-existent fan base. Bolland has been injured much of the last two seasons, putting up 15 goals and 11 assists in 58 total games. His career high in goals is 19, and points is 47. He has done absolutely nothing to warrant a deal like this, but alas, having salary cap and cap floor requires teams to throw this kind of money at undeserving players. Perhaps Florida is paying for his post-season success, which includes two Stanley Cups? Well, that doesn’t seem to be relevant anymore, since, well, he signed with the Panthers. The most overrated player available just got himself one of the biggest deals of the day.

Mike Cammalleri to New Jersey (5 years/ $25 million)

Overpayment is the theme of the day, so you really cannot get on the Devils for the money spent on Cammalleri, who will help their offense a little bit. However, he is a player on the down-turn, struggling to stay healthy as a 32-year-old. The five years is way too much for someone who has never played a full season in his career and has not played more than 67 games since 2008/09. He also has not eclipsed 26 goals since 2009/10. A five-year deal certainly is a gamble for an old Devils team that just got older. I expect him to put up similar numbers, but can he stay healthy? That is another question. The Devils would have been better off trying to bring back Brian Gionta.

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