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Top Line: NHL free agency winners and losers, more must-reads

Photo: Simon Bruty/Sports Illustrated

The received wisdom is that 80 percent of free agent deals turn out badly, so the Capitals will likely regret handing ex-Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik (44) a bundle.

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

• Trying to determine winners and losers early in free agency is a fool's errand says Eric Duhatschek. His message is probably aimed more at his editors than at us.

• There's lots of buzz around the Lightning after the team made several moves in free agency, but everyone is overlooking the one player who is set to make a huge impact next season.

• Andrew Hirsh has a message for fans who are upset that players with no-trade clauses snubbed their favorite teams.

• James Reimer has asked for a trade and filed for salary arbitration. So what should the Maple Leafs do with their disgruntled backup?

• It wasn't simply the dollars that convinced Radim Vrbata to choose the Canucks over the Bruins, Canadiens, Sharks and Coyotes. It was also the opportunity for plenty of ice time with quality players. It will be interesting to see if he has any chemistry with the Daniel and Henrik Sedin. A quality center like Henrik could set Vrbata up to have a career year.

• Jason Botchford writes that Vancouver GM Jim Benning has made some gutsy and decisive moves, but wonders whether it will it be enough to get the Canucks into the playoffs?

• The exchanges have been terse between Ryan Johansen and the Blue Jackets as the two attempt to hammer out a new deal. Is it a sign of trouble brewing, or just standard behavior in contract negotiations?

• With a surplus of right-handed shots on the blue line, there's a very good chance that the Oilers will trade Jeff Petry. David Staples explains why that would be a big mistake for Edmonton.

• But what if trading Petry landed the Oilers a much-needed center, like Patrik Berglund of the Blues? Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little.

• Berglund's possible availability is tied to St. Louis' recent acquisition of Paul Stastny. And Berglund's not the only one who might be out of luck when the new guy arrives.

• Here's Randy Sportak justifying the three-year, $8.7 million deal that the Flames handed defender Deryk Engelland. I guess Randy drew the short straw.

Alex Chiasson says he's up to the challenge of being the guy that the Senators acquired in the trade for Jason Spezza. And hey, nice job on the redesign, Ottawa Citizen.

• Chris Johnston has the scoop on how Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin stuck together to get the deals they wanted from the Islanders.

• This appears to be a photo of Claude Giroux being arrested on Tuesday night in Ottawa. Presented without comment.

• Twitter, of course, had a field day with Giroux's arrest. Here are some of the reactions.

• Bucky Gleason on cancer and Rick Jeanneret. A must-read.

Alex Kovalev has finally called it a career. The former Rangers and Penguins great lasted 24 years in pro hockey, setting a record for Russian players by appearing in 1,316 NHL games. He won an Olympic gold medal (1992), a Stanley Cup (1994) and had 1,029 points (430 goals, 599 assists). Not a bad run.

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