UPDATE: According to multiple sources, the Islanders were definitely in the mix on Paul Martin and that GM Garth Snow offered him more money than what he ultimately signed for in Pittsburgh.
"Garth was really aggressive in trying to sign Paul," according to Martin's agent, Ben Hankinson, who added that Snow even talked to the premier defenseman personally.
Snow also was in on Dan Hamhuis and, according to multiple sources, offered him more money than what he ended up signing for in Vancouver.
"Garth made a real concerted effort to sign [Hamhuis]," said Hamhuis' agent Wade Arnott in an email to Newsday Thursday night.
Cannot blame Snow for trying to land some high-end talent today. He's obviously hamstrung by some mitigating factors, including the most antiquated facility in the league and lingering questions about the team's future location.
UPDATE: Tim Jackman confirms signing with Calgary.
UPDATE: About ten minutes ago, Octagon agent Allan Walsh tweeted that he's currently talking to Snow about several players...details to come.
UPDATE: Former Islanders winger Jeff Tambellini signs with Vancouver. Just traded texts with him and he said "I can't wait to put that jersey on." Good for Tambellini, who will now get to play for his hometown team.
UPDATE: As of 3:00 p.m. the Islanders had nothing brewing. Shouldn't be too surprising. GM Garth Snow will exercise caution and restraint amongst other teams jockeying for coveted players. Expect him to find some good-value bargains in the next few weeks, rather than go crazy on the first day.
UPDATE: Gonchar, Martin and Michalek off the table...top d-men going quick this afternoon
UPDATE: According to reports, Sergei Gonchar has signed with Ottawa, which means one less top defenseman for teams to clamor over...
UPDATE: Multiple sources confirm that former Islanders goaltender Martin Biron has signed a two-year deal with the New York Rangers to back up Henrik Lundqvist.
Seems like a very good fit for the Rangers. Beyond being a tremendous guy in the room (and to the media...Rangers beat writers rejoice!), Biron is a very reliable backup that can push Lundqvist and also provide him with the relief he needs.
Less than two hours away from the start of free agency at noon...lots of intrigue today, so I'll update as much as possible.
There are reports that Zbynek Michalek is currently deciding whether to accept a deal with Phoenix or head to the market. If he stays with the Coyotes, that'll be one less premier defenseman for teams to choose from, so stay tuned.
Also, if you didn't get a chance to read Garth Snow's game plan for FA, check it out here.