I’m on the road visiting my girl in NYC for the weekend, and ran into some technical issues earlier in the week, but here’s a quick synopsis of what Brian Burke’s been able to accomplish in the first 48 hours of free agency.
For starters, the rumor mill got one right for once, as the months of speculation that Colby Armstrong would be one of Burke’s top targets this offseason were proven right as he signed a 3 year deal that will pay him $3 million each season. The gritty forward brings both size and a bit of offense to Toronto, as the 6’2 winger is coming off a season where he had 15 goals and 29 points with the Atlanta Thrashers. Twice in his young career, Armstrong has scored more than 20 goals and has hit 40 points as recently as 2008-09, so he’s more than just a grinder that can score the occasional goal. At $3 mil per season, some have already said Burke overpaid for him, but considering most had him going at around $2.5 million, throwing in an extra $500 k to lock up a player that has been in your sights for sometime isn’t bad at all.
Nikolai Kulemin and John Mitchell will both be returning to the Blue and White next season. Mitchell was signed for $725,000 on a one year deal, and will likely be one of the bubble players between the AHL and NHL come training camp. Kulemin, on the other hand, will be making $4.7 million in the next two years, as the two sides were able to come to terms on a much more agreeable salary than Koolie and his agent were asking for at the start of negotiations. Not that I’m surprised Burke was able to wait it out, but I’m glad he didn’t cave and I’m also glad Kulemin will be back. He’s continued to improve over the past two seasons, and has the potential to possibly develop into at least a solid 2nd liner.
That’s all for now, enjoy the holiday weekend, and I’ll do my best to keep things updated as they happen.