There were a couple signings in the NHL early today...
Mike Dunham, G, signed on in Atlanta today. He's on to help guide young Finnish goalie, Kari Lehtonen, through his first season as the number one for the Thrashers. Dunham will bring a lot of experience for a reasonable cost. The Thrashers are also running out of cap room, despite how little they spent on Dunham, to lock up Ilya Kovalchuk, F. I was reading this morning and it looks like Kovalchuk has signed on in Russia, in lieu of more than likely poor contract talks with the Thrashers. If this is the case... I would be wary of drafting a few of these guys early in your pool.
Lyle Odelein, D, signed on with the busy Pittsburgh Penguins today. The 37 year old defender joins the Pens at a pretty good time. Being as though he is 37, he will bring a lot of leadership and defensive responsiblity to this growing team at a good cost. A shrewd pick-up for GM Craig Patrick. Odelein hasn't really been known to be a guy to put points on the board... only 16 points in 82 games last season. Saying that, he will be playing with more explosive forwards than the Flordia Panthers had, so you could bump up his potential production over 20 points... and in a deep draft, that's not bad.
Yesterday, the Canucks had re-signed forward Jarkko Ruutu to a contract. That was certainly in the cards, because the gritty winger is a big hit in Vancouver. The signing of the day on the coast was the acquistion of backup goaltender, Brent Johnson. Not a bad pick up, because he has been a starter in previous seasons with St. Louis and if Dan Cloutier has a bad day or two, Johnson could more than likely fill the shoes until Cloutier gets his head back. Watch in training camp to see how much ice time Johnson might get... unless he's shipped to Winnipeg to start for the Manitoba Moose.
The Detroit Red Wings are reported to be having problems re-signing two of their key young European players, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Their enormous talent allows for them to command a fair paycheque, but the salary cap has restricted Wings spending from what it used to be in years previous. Datsyuk has apparently given the team until Monday to come up with a reasonable contract or else he's playing in Moscow for the year. One or both players would be instrumental in the Wings success in the coming year and the loss of these two players may mean a mild disaster for a city that has probably gotten used to winning. The loss of these two guys will mean that offensive numbers will go down... wingers in Detroit will miss these two centres and the goaltending situation might have to work extra hard for wins. Watch this situation carefully if you were planning on drafting a few Red Wings this year.