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Top Line: NHL's big losers in free agency, more must-reads

Long-suffering Maple Leafs fans have another discouraging season to look forward to if the team's brain trust can't come up with a better plan. Photo:

Long-suffering Maple Leafs fans have another discouraging season to look forward to if the team's brain trust can't come up with a better plan.

An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• The good news for Maple Leafs fans? Toronto didn't spend like a drunken sailor on the opening day of free agency. The bad news? The team might be even worse now than it was when it stumbled to the finish line in April.

• Ken Campbell lists the Red Wings and Thomas Vanek as significant losers on Day 1 of free agency. I'd probably add the Bruins to that list.

• Boston GM Peter Chiarelli did his best Chip Diller impression in the wake of Jarome Iginla's defection to Colorado. Eric Wilbur wasn't buying it.

• Mark Kiszla says that Iginla listened to his heart, not his wallet when deciding to sign with the Avalanche. I humbly submit that Bruins' fans would suggest otherwise.

• With Ryan Miller's signing, it's a matter of when, and not if, the Cancuks will have another goalie controversy.

• Eddie Lack extended a warm welcome to his new netminding partner in Vancouver. Or did he?

• By signing Paul Stastny, the Blues didn't just address a need for a top-six center. They corrected a past draft mistake.

Jason Spezza said a desire to win, and not the pressure of playing in a Canadian market, was at the root of his desire to leave the Senators for the Stars. Hey, I like what Jim Nill is doing in Dallas as much as anybody, but a guy on a one-year deal probably shouldn't get his hopes up about winning ... or at least he shouldn't use it as his explanation for demanding a ticket out of Ottawa.

• The Stars took on a risk in trading for a player with one year left on his deal, but they believe they can convince Spezza that Dallas is the best place for him.

Nill says he wants to put Dallas back on the hockey map with the acquisitions of Spezza and Ales Hemsky.

• By dealing Josh Gorges and watching Brian Gionta skate away in free agency, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is saying that it's going to take a lot more than heart to get Montreal where he wants it to go. Have to admire the way that Bergevin is standing up to the heat from Habs fans and defending his vision of the club's future.

Mathieu Perreault is a nice, small signing for the Jets, but Winnipeg needs bolder, more visionary moves to get the team into playoff contention.

A pair of Japanese players have been invited to prospect camps in Columbus and on Long Island. And yet still no sign of Taro Tsujimoto in Buffalo ...

• I'm still shaking my head at this: the Capitals will pay Brooks Oprik $6.5 million next season to play defense for them. That makes him the 12th highest paid defender in the league. The Kings have Drew Doughty for just $500,000 more.

• Paul Stewart talks about growing up around legendary wrestlers Killer Kowalski and Haystacks Calhoun. Explains a lot, doesn't it?

 

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