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Free Agency Opens Today; Your FA Open Thread

At 11 am (Central) the second volley of NHL summer fireworks is set to begin. With trading awfully quiet during the Entry Draft this past weekend, it looks like today could get a bit wild and wacky. While other teams have already gotten down and dirty, with the Rangers trading Scott Gomez (and others) to Montreal for Chris Higgins (and others), Cal and Gary signing Jay Bouwmeester to a five-year, $33 million deal and the Senators finally moving Dany Heatley to the West, sending him to Edmonton for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid. (Or maybe they didn't.)

The Blues, on the other hand, have been pretty quiet. Yes, they want a backup goalie, but beyond that, they haven't said much. Most Blues fans, including us, have not gotten ourselves overly frothy over what could end up being just another summer Wednesday.

But allow us to play conspiracy theorist for just a bit. First of all, the Blues have cleared off $2.67 million from their cap number by buying out Jay McKee. Secondly, if reports from people around town who have seen him are to be believed, Eric Brewer is nowhere near playing shape yet. Could his $4 million be freed up under the cap if he isn't deemed available to play this year? If he can't go, his salary becomes money the Blues can use (insurance tends to cover the salary of players on the long-term DL).

Suddenly, it seems, the Blues may have a bunch of money to play with under the cap.

Secondly, the Blues have been very, very quiet leading up to today. In the past, that means something is happening. Need proof? Here's some:

  • Last year everyone was talking about Keith Tkachuk being traded. Didn't happen.
  • Last year and again this summer, everyone was talking about how the Blues wanted Chris Pronger. Didn't happen.
  • Published media reports said they were deeply involved in the Dany Heatley sweepstakes. Didn't happen.

Um, got a point Gallagher? Yes, yes I do:

  • No one saw the Lee Stempniak trade coming.
  • No one saw the Paul Kariya signing coming. (Aside from Brad Lee, but no one believed him.)
  • No one saw the Jay McKee buyout coming.

This organization has a recent history of keeping their cards pretty close to their chest. At a time like this, their lack of noise might just mean that they have something going on. They must have a prognosis on Brewer. They've created cap room with McKee. They'd love to make a splash and grab headlines; the Kariya signing motivated the average fan and jacked up ticket sales and merchandise receipts.

What're we saying? Stay tuned, that's what we're saying. And if the Blues make a big announcement at some point today, we've all picked up on their tell: they get real quiet when they have a good hand working.

Everyone's favorite tri-first-named Blues blogger Bradley Leigh Lee will be manning the helm here all day, so if something big breaks, he'll have info up for you as soon as humanly possible for you to cheer/lament. Feel free to use the comments in this post to discuss what all is happening in the world of the NHL today.

And to discuss conspiracy theories. You know, if you see any black helicopters flying around downtown or anything.