Top Line: Free agent bargain shopping; Lindros in Hall of Fame?; more links
By Allan Muir
An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:
• Have you ever tried shopping for one of the hottest toys on the night before Christmas and ended up settling for something else because that's all that was left on the shelves? Yeah, that's the feeling of futility that GMs are facing as they sort through the scraps of free agency.
• There's one name player still out there for the taking and he would be perfect for the Ottawa Senators.
• "A lot of players have done really well so far," says one player on the early free-agency spending spree.
• Amnesty buyouts were the best thing to happen to this year's crop of free agents. Don't forget, buyouts will be available next year, too.
• The Hall of Fame selection committee meets on Tuesday, and the worthiness of Eric Lindros is sure to be the most contentious debate. No argument here. He's a HOFer in my book.
• Peter Chiarelli is gambling on experience over potential to get the Boston Bruins back to the Stanley Cup Final.
• More details are emerging on Daniel Alfredsson's decision to leave Ottawa and they don't reflect kindly on the team's management.
• Buffalo's move to re-acquire veteran defender Henrik Tallinder wasn't just about taking advantage of New Jersey's cap woes. It was about finding a way to get Tyler Myers back to the form he flashed as a Calder-winning rookie.
• Robert Tychkowski writes that if Edmonton can't make the playoffs after eight years on the sidelines, it'll be pretty clear that something at the core of the hockey team is broken and the impending greatness that everyone talks about is never going to happen.
• Two prospects at the opposite ends of the development scale made their marks at the Canadiens' camp.
• Chuck Fletcher's desperation to add a tough player led to the signing of Matt Cooke. That decision won't sit well with Wild fans, writes Jim Souhan, and suggests tinkering for the sake of looking busy.
• After 11 seasons in Minnesota, it was time for a fresh start for Long Island-bound Pierre-Marc Bouchard. • Joffrey Lupul trolled the advanced stats kids on Twitter, and that sent them to their soap boxes. Dirk Hoag writes that the numbers are useful, even if they don't always add up, while Cam Charron writes that it's not all just a stats versus scouts argument.