Thursday, July 2, 2009

Marian Means Big Money For Hossa, Gaborik

After playing in consecutive Stanley Cup Finals with Pittsburgh and Detroit but coming up short both times, Marian Hossa looks to hoist Lord Stanley in Chicago after signing 12-year deal with Blackhawks. Elsewhere, Marian Gaborik gets $37.5 million from Rangers over next five years. (Photo courtesy of ESPN)

The Blackhawks made a splash on the first day of free agency last year by giving defenseman Brian Campbell a $56.8 million, eight-year contract. One year later, Chicago has added what they hope will be the final piece; signing Marian Hossa to a 12-year deal worth $62.8 million. Hossa, who turned down a long-term offer from the Penguins last year to sign a one-year contract with Detroit, will now be the Blackhawks' top winger, and will be paired with young stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews in what now becomes one of the NHL's best first lines. Chicago also signed Hossa's former Detroit teammate Tomas Kopecky, as well as former Devil John Madden; but Hossa was by far the catch of the day, as his name was the highlight of a stellar free agent crop.

"We felt he was the best player available on the free-agent market with his experience and durability," said Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon. "We felt he would be a tremendous asset to our team and to our young players, and help lead us to the
ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup." Chicago was eliminated by Hossa's Red Wings this past season in the Western Conference finals. Hossa's arrival in the Windy City spelled the loss of Blackhawks playoff hero Martin Havlat, who signed a $30 million, five-year deal with the Minnesota Wild. Havlat becomes the replacement for Marian Gaborik, who heads to New York after signing with the Rangers for five years and $37.5 million. The Gaborik signing comes just one day after the Blueshirts parted ways with Scott Gomez, trading him to Montreal, who also had an active first day of free agency.

After the Canadiens lost Mike Komisarek to the rival Maple Leafs, the Habs struck quickly, picking up Mike Cammalleri and Brian Gionta, who played with Gomez in New Jersey. Montreal also signed defensemen Jaroslav Spacek and Hal Gill, with the latter fresh off winning a Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh.

Other notable signings include Vancouver signing the Sedin twins (Daniel and Henrik) to matching five-year, $30.5 million deals, and Calgary signing Jay Bouwmeester after acquiring him from the Panthers this weekend during the draft.

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