The calendar has flipped over to August, which means that all around the NHL, teams are hard at work on…
Wait! Come back! Don’t close the page!
Look, we get it. August is the worst month on the NHL calendar by a mile. Almost all the big offseason moves have already happened, training camp is still weeks away, and it seems like everyone who matters is away at a cottage somewhere.
But it’s not actually true that “nothing happens in August.” Almost nothing, sure, we’ll grant you that. But the NHL history book’s entry for the month isn’t completely blank. So today, let’s look back on some of the newsworthy moments that have happened in August, and whether there’s any hope of something similar going down this year.
A BIG NAME FREE AGENT SIGNING
While it’s rare to see a major free agent sign in August, it has happened. Some seem minor at the time and only loom larger with the benefit of hindsight, like the Penguins’ scooping up Matt Cullen last year. But sometimes, the player involved is a genuine star.
Historical precedent: Mike Modano signed with the Red Wings on August 5, 2010, and Owen Nolan joined the Coyotes on August 16, 2006. Granted, both guys were well past their prime when they signed, but they were still stars. And there is a precedent for an elite player in his prime signing a UFA deal in August. Scott Niedermayer did just that with the Ducks on August 4, 2005. And plenty of other big names signed in August that year too, including Peter Forsberg, Eric Lindros and Paul Kariya.
See? It can happen! There’s hope!
(This is the part where we hope you won’t notice that 2005 was the year that the season-long lockout pushed the start of free agency back to August 1.)
Odds of it happening this year: Huh. Well…. [checks list of remaining free agents]… do Kris Russel or Jiri Hudler count as a big names? Because if not, we may be out of luck, at least until the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes kick in.