The Beginning of Free Agency 2012

There was a lot of moving and shaking going on in the NHL today. Today was the first day players can sign with new teams and the market opened with a frenzy. A total of 56 players who entered free agency made a signing with the same team or a different team today. There are plenty more moves to be made in the coming weeks, notably the biggest names in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. If your favorite team didn’t make moves, don’t worry. This was the first day of a two-month period where teams can boost their rosters before the season begins. Here’s a recap of notable transactions today:

Nashville Player Signs With Detroit- No Not That One

The Detroit Red Wings made one of their first signings of the day by reaching within the division to grab a player. It wasn’t the defenseman Suter that everyone in the Motor City wants, but rather Jordin Tootoo. Tootoo is 29 years old, is known for being an aggravating player. The kind that has a knack for getting under an opponent’s skin. His grit adds an element of grit the Wings wanted but never had since the Grind Line of Kris Draper, Darren McCarty and Kirk Maltby. He’s played all eight of his NHL seasons with Nashville and recorded six goals and 30 points last season in 77 games.

After a roller coaster career in Toronto, Jonas Gustavsson will get a fresh start in Detroit.

The Monster Heads West

Detroit continued their free agent signing period by assuring a good backup for Jimmy Howard by signing Jonas Gustavsson. Gustavsson, a big goalie at 6-foot-3, spent the last three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, quickly agreed to a two-year contract on Sunday afternoon. He joins a long line of Swedish-born players for Detroit including the likes of Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg, Thomas Holmstom, Johan Franzen, and Fabian Brunnstrom. Gustavsson said in a recent interview he has played with all the Swedish players on the team whether it be at the Olympics or World Championships. In three seasons for Toronto, he posted a 39-45-15 record with a 2.98 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage. His career was plagued by injuries but with Detroit he can settle into a backup role with Joey MacDonald versus when he came to Toronto when he had the pressure of being a franchise goalie.

Parenteau Signs with Avalanche

Cashing in on a solid season with New York, PA Parenteau agrees on a four-year, $16 million deal with Colorado today. In two seasons on Long Island playing on the same line as John Tavares, Parenteau  tallied 120 points (38 goals, 82 assists). He will be called upon to -put up similar numbers. Even if his production drops off at 50 points, he would be fourth on the team compared to last seasons statistics. Look for him to provide offense to their power play and the second line.

Ponikarovsky Jets Off to Winnipeg

The New Jersey Devils lost one of their unrestricted free agents in Alexi Ponikarovsky. Today he signed with Winnipeg with a one-year, $1.8 million contract. He joins his third team of the past year as he came to New Jersey from Carolina at the trade deadline. With the Devils, he had 18 points in 33 games. During the Devils run to the Stanley Cup Final, he had a goal and eight assists in 24 games during the playoffs.

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