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Overdue thoughts on Free Agency

I know that I'm (really) late with my thoughts, but I figured that a quick look at the LA Kings' free agent additions (since the Dallas Stars did next to nothing, with all apologies to Todd Fedoruk fans out there...aka just Earl Sleek).

Ladislav Nagy, reportedly at 1 year/$3.75 million

I have a consistent viewpoint with free agency after seeing the heidous overpaying that went on with Drury, Briere, Vanek and Co.: short-term contracts are never too bad.

And when it comes to Nagy, this could end up being one of the best moves in free agency. He's a great setup guy and should allow the Kings to improve their powerplay substantially. Also, I wouldn't take his Dallas failures to heart too much. Dallas is The Place Forwards Go to Die, after all.

A one-year contract is always great because of the obvious: it's an instant contract year. It worked great for Selanne, and it could for Nagy. Of course, Selanne has about 3X the tesicular fortitude as Nagy.

Still, Nagy could be a point per game player with the talent young forwards in LA.

Michal Handzus, 4 year/$16 million

I'm torn on this one. For one thing, Handzus is pleasingly funny looking. Plus, his last name is a Berman nickname goldmine ("One Handzus washes the other"). He's also multi-talented, with good to very good defensive ability and the kind of faceoff winning prowess he Kings have been missing.

He's a package deal with Nagy, so they apparently have some kind of chemistry together. Even if they seem like total opposites.

Kyle Calder, 2 year/$5.5 million


Tom Preissing, 4 year/$11 million

I like this signing more than the Calder one, but it seems like a bit much for a OD with two decent showings on two top-end teams. The fact that he wasn't putting up big numbers on the blueline of teams with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Heatley and Spezza doesn't seem too promising.

Still, he's young and American. So that's good. Also, in Ottawa, it was virually impossible for me to tell him apart from Joe Corvo, who had a good year as a King. And he doesn't have a criminal background, either.

So I guess I kind of like that one.

Brad Stuart, 1 year/$3.5 million

Nice. Brad Stuart can have a nice year, then get some ridiculous, multi-year contract with the New York Islanders next year. Sounds good to me.

Free Agent Grade: B

The Kings did a very nice job this year. They get to rent Nagy and Stuart for a year while Jack Johnson progresses and Rob Blake continues to decompose. They'll get $7 million to either re-sign Nagy and Stuart or, better yet, throw money at a top-notch goalie or ... god-willing, if a certain Jason Spezza or Danny Heatley become available.

Some Kings fans might be dissapointed that LA didn't land a big name, but I personally think that Drury is overrated and Briere is old. So there.