In German, English, and Portuguese cultures, Friday the 13th of any month is considered a “bad luck” day.
This experience is called paraskavedekatriaphobia (I won’t try saying on the radio).
In honour of the day and to show many teams have already had “good luck,” here are my top 13 NHL unrestricted free agent signings this year (with new teams) to date.
1) Forward John Tavares
Seven-years, $77 million with the Toronto Maple Leafs
COMMENT: An impact signing that gets the Toronto fans excited, but Tavares and the Leafs are both known for offence. I don’t buy the odds that suggest, because of the Tavares signing, Toronto is the Stanley Cup favorite. The Leafs still have many question marks in their own end and their goaltending is inconsistent.
"Happy to call myself a Maple Leaf."
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 9, 2018
2) Forward Ilya Kovalchuk
Three-years, $18.75 million with the Los Angeles Kings
COMMENT: The Kings will welcome this sniper after scoring just three goals in four playoff games against Vegas. Kovalchuk led the KHL with 63 points (31 goals) last season. The 35-year-old, who hasn’t played in the NHL since 2013, tallied 816 points (417 goals) in 816 regular-season games with the Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils.
Welcome to LA, Ilya Kovalchuk! 👏 pic.twitter.com/DiOWsjGPso
— LA Kings (@LAKings) July 1, 2018
3) Forward James van Riemsdyk
Five-years, $35 million with the Philadelphia Flyers
COMMENT: Still in his prime, the 29-year-old van Riemsdyk returns to the team that drafted him #2 overall in 2007. He scored a career-high 36 goals for the Maple Leafs last season, which was one goal less than Tavares.
4) Forward Paul Stastny
Three-years, $19.5 million with the Vegas Golden Knights
COMMENT: The 31-year-old Stastny played a key role in the Winnipeg Jets playoff run with 15 points in 17 games. He is more of a playmaker with 646 points (426 assists) in 824 NHL regular season games. Stastny should get first line and ample power play time with the Golden Knights.
5) Forward James Neal
Five-years, $28.75 million with the Calgary Flames
COMMENT: Neal knows how to win and score. He has been in the last two Stanley Cup Finals (2017 with Nashville and 2018 with Vegas). A power forward, the soon to be 31-year-old has scored at least 20 goals in each of his 10 NHL seasons.
6) Defenseman Calvin de Haan
Four-years, $18.2 million with the Carolina Hurricanes
COMMENT: In his prime at age 27, de Haan was plus 26 over the last two seasons with the N.Y. Islanders. He’s a borderline top-pairing defenceman but is coming off shoulder surgery.
7) Goaltender Cam Ward
One-year, $3 million with the Chicago Blackhawks
COMMENT: Solidifies back-up spot who can shoulder the load as the starter should Corey Crawford continue to have health issues. Ward spent the last 13 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes posting a career .909 save percentage and 2.70 GAA. It was 12 years ago, but Ward won the Stanley Cup and was named the playoff MVP.
8) Goaltender Carter Hutton
Three-years, $8.25 million with the Buffalo Sabres
COMMENT: Can the 32-year-old Hutton be a #1 on a young struggling team? He put up excellent numbers as the back-up to Jake Allen with the St. Louis Blues last season, posting a 17-7-3 record with a whopping .931 save % and a 2.09 GAA.
9) Forward David Perron
Four-years, $16 million with the St. Louis Blues
COMMENT: This will be Perron’s third stint with the Blues. He had a career-high 66 points in 70 regular-season games (plus 50 penalty minutes) with Vegas. The feisty Perron added nine points in 15 playoff games.
10) Goaltender Jaroslav Halak
Two-years, $5.5 million with the Boston Bruins
COMMENT: The Bruins needed a reliable backup to Tuukka Rask after Anton Khudobin signed with the Dallas Stars. Halak has impressive career NHL totals: 2.50 GAA and .916 save percentage although his numbers in the 2017-18 season with the NY Islanders were considerably higher (3.19 and .908).
11) Forward Tyler Bozak
Three-years, $15 million with the St. Louis Blues
COMMENT: At first glance, the Blues overpaid for a player that produced just 11 goals in 81 games last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bozak will likely be a second line centre, who will play on both the power play and penalty kill. In eight years with the Leafs he notched 365 points (136 goals) in 596 games.
12) Forward Thomas Vanek
One-year, $3 million with the Detroit Red Wings
COMMENT: An aging player (34) who brings 13 years and nearly 1,000 NHL regular season games experience to a team in rebuild mode. He has 357 career goals which included 24 last season for the Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
13) Defenceman Brandon Manning
Two-years, $4.5 million with the Chicago Blackhawks
COMMENT: You may call lucky #13 on the list a hometown decision but the Hawks needed experience and toughness and that is what the 28-year-old from Prince George will bring. Manning has played more NHL games than any defenceman currently on the Chicago roster except Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.
Somehow, I managed to complete my column, without incident, on this Friday, July 13th, 2018.
To be safe, I will need to change my name for the rest of the day because there is an old wise tale that says if you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck.
So, today, don’t call me Hartley Miller (since it adds up to 13 letters), just call me Hartley “Horseshoes” a name that is guaranteed to bring you and me “Good Luck.”
Plays, speeches and just flat-out craziness.
— NHL (@NHL) July 10, 2018
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
Paraskevidekatriaphobia is which of the following?
a) A fear of Friday the 13th;
b) A Russian women’s tennis star.
*Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Cleveland is again removing the massive LeBron James banner hanging downtown. Will they get JR Smith to assist?
*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
A St. Louis Cardinals groundskeeper was hit in the head by an errant ceremonial pitch. He should have been warned the first pitch was being thrown out by 50 Cent.
*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Roger Hoover, the radio voice of the Class AA Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, lost the screen on his laptop midgame when a foul ball shattered it during his Fourth of July broadcast. Well, that’s one way to get rid of pop-up ads.
*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/
Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to email@example.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller