NHL: 2010 Off-Season Hockey Report

Ahh the summer heat may melt the ice across the continent, but while these guys are out on the golf course, their agents are hard at work trying to find them a new home and boatload of cash. Sure the NHL doesn’t have the same blockbuster free agents as the NBA, but interesting for sure, especially when the trades are thrown in there. It should be fun to see how things play out. Enjoy!

CENTER:
1. Olli Jokinen CGY/NYR – possibly the most puzzling of all FA’s, rated a top centerman 3 years ago, now it seems like few teams want him, consecutive lackluster seasons can do that.
2. Vaclav Prospal NYR – see-saw career track says another big season is up for Vinny in 2010-11
3. Matt Cullen OTT – journeyman, and good two way player, but lacking offensive punch
4. Matthew Lombardi PHO – Will garner a lot of interest from teams, but isn’t really a huge name.
5. Mike Comrie EDM – inclusion on this list further proves the lack of available depth at this position

WING:
1. Ilya Kovalchuk ATL/NJ – will likely garner most $ and attention of all UFA’s
2. Alexander Frolov LA – young talent who has yet to peak. Possibly a top 5 UFA this year.
3. Paul Kariya – not what he used to be, but still a good leader, maybe good for 40 points
4. Arron Asham – PHI – Wont bring many points to the table, but his grit and physicality are unquestioned.
5. Colby Armstrong – Versatile winger would be a great 3rd line addition to most teams

DEFENSEMEN:
1. Sergei Gonchar PIT – experienced cup winner and power play general, not bad on defense either. Injuries may be a concern though
2. Paul Martin NJ – will likely command $6 mil/yr or more, really showed his value last year
3. Anton Volchenkov OTT – not much on offense, but consistent and solid defender overall, justb try and get a puck past him
4. Derek Morris BOS/PHO – big pick-up for the Yotes, but likely headed back East.
5. Jordan Leopold FLA/PIT – didn’t stand out in Pittsburgh, but the skill is there, his stock may have fallen a tad though
6. Marc Andre Bergeron MTL –  centerpiece of stingy Habs defense, will likely continue to do same elsewhere
7. Dan Hamhuis NAS/PIT –  the Pens traded for his rights, but more teams are looking to sign the blue-line threat
8. Pavel Kubina ATL – top offensive FA defenseman, this is becoming a trend, does anyone want him?
9.  Toni Lydman BUF – good player on both ends of ice, might get more than a few offers
10. Joe Corvo CAR/WAS – didn’t have the same spark in DC, but still a vet with some left in the tank

As you can tell, the NHL Free Agent class this summer is littered with sought after defensemen. Goaltenders aren’t exactly limited in quantity either… take your pick!

GOALIE:
1. Evgeni Nabakov SJ – finally got out of the first round, maybe he’ll move out of cursed San Jose?
2. Marty Turco DAL –  best days are likely behind him, but a change of scenery could lead to a resurgence
3. Jose Theodore WAS – better than fans in DC will tell you, his 30 wins this year were no anomaly
4. Patrick Lalime BUF –  serviceable back up, would be a solid pick up to play #2
5. Peter Budaj COL – if not for Anderson’s great start to the year Budaj would have featured his skills even more
6. Dan Ellis NAS – could start for a number of teams, he is a consistent net-minder with experience
7. Ray Emery PHI – will need to prove he is healthy if he wants another chance as a #1 starter
8. Chris Mason STL – May have to resort to playing as a #2, but solid nonetheless
9. Alex Auld DAL/NYR – another back-up for sure, probably suitable down here on the list.
10. Antero Nittymaki TB – probably could start for some teams, but his value will ensure him a job

One last list for ya, Restricted free agents who are screaming… “show me the money!!!” Where’s Cuba Gooding Jr when you need him?

RFA’s
Antti Niemi CHI
Chris Stewart COL
Bobby Ryan ANA
Andrew Ladd CHI
James Neal DAL
Blake Wheeler BOS
Darren Helm DET
Ondrej Pavelec ATL
Jeff Deslauriers EDM
Guillaume Latendresse MIN
Maxim Lapierre MTL
Carey Price MTL
Daniel Girardi NYR
Marc Staal NYR
Daniel Carcillo PHI
Devin Setoguchi SJ
Erik Johnson STL
Steve Downie TB
Eric Fehr WAS
Jeff Schultz WAS

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