Commentary

Day 1's winners and losers

Hurricanes, Hawks among the teams who have already upgraded via free agency

Originally Published: July 2, 2011
By Timo Seppa | Hockey Prospectus
Joni Pitkanen Tom Szczerbowski/US PresswireRe-signing Joni Pitkanen was one of several shrewd moves made by the Hurricanes.

While only time will tell which teams significantly helped or hurt their clubs on Day 1 of the 2011 free-agent frenzy, there's more than enough evidence to suggest some teams have already taken big strides forward, or alternatively, signed pacts that they could soon come to regret.

Winners

Carolina Hurricanes
With a thin free-agent class and a significant salary-cap bump, teams could easily be spending a 20 percent premium over true market value on players signed this offseason. With that in mind, the Carolina Hurricanes should be congratulated on re-signing D Joni Pitkanen and LW Chad LaRose at reasonable prices while signing LW Jussi Jokinen at what works out to be a hometown discount at three years, $9 million.

In addition to being the league's career leader in shootout goals, the 28-year-old Jokinen contributes well on the power play, plays a surprisingly good possession game and scores at a legit top-six rate at even strength. He's certainly much more valuable than RW Tomas Kopecky, who was signed by Florida for the same cap hit.


To read Timo Seppa's full assessment of teams that won, lost or were a mixed bag on the first day of free agency, you must be an ESPN Insider.