Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Remaining Free Agents

Now I ripped this straight off NHL.com written by NHL columnist John Kreiser. So here's to giving credit where credit is due, except I replaced Current Team (since obviously, um, they're free agents, so they don't have one, with Last Season's Salary)

Forwards Last Season's Salary
'08-09 stats Scuttlebutt
Miroslav Satan $3,500,000 17-19-36 in 65 GP Satan has been among the NHL's most consistent scorers for the past decade. But he didn't mesh as a linemate with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin and is coming off his worst season since 1995-96. He'll have to prove his scoring touch hasn't disappeared.
Robert Lang $4,000,000 18-21-39 in 50 GP Lang turns 39 in December and is coming off an Achilles tendon injury, potentially cutting down on the number of interested teams. But before he got hurt, he showed he still had something left in the tank.
Michael Peca $1,315,000 4-18-22 in 71 GP The former Selke winner may still have some value as a checker, penalty-killer, faceoff man and leader. But he's now 35, and injuries have taken away most of his offensive ability.
Ryan Bayda $475,000 5-7-12
in 70 GP
Bayda, a college star at North Dakota, finally managed to play a full season in the NHL after bouncing up and down between Carolina and the AHL for five seasons. He's going to camp with Pittsburgh.
Blair Betts $615,000 6-4-10
in 81 GP
Betts and Fredrik Sjostrom (who signed with Calgary) formed one of the NHL's best penalty-killing tandems last season. But Betts is coming off a serious facial injury, and no one is rushing to sign checkers and penalty-killers. He's going to camp with Philadelphia on a tryout contract.
Maxim Afinogenov $3,500,000 6-14-20 in 48 GP Afinogenov's play has dropped off severely in the past two seasons, during which he's also been plagued by injuries. He's all but certain to be somewhere else in the fall.
Dominic Moore $900,000 13-32-45 in 81 GP Moore, a mid-tier center, was having a decent season for Toronto before being dealt to Buffalo at the trade deadline. He's a nice No. 3 center but might be stretched as a No. 2.
Petr Sykora $2,500,000 25-21-46 in 76 GP The 32-year-old is coming off his 10th consecutive 20-goal season, but he was a non-factor in the playoffs, playing in only seven games (just one in the Final) and producing only 1 assist. After a long wait, he received a camp invite from Minnesota.
Mats Sundin $8,600,000 9-19-28 in 41 GP The Canucks hoped adding Sundin at midseason would be the last piece needed for a long playoff run, but he never really found his game after joining the team in January. At 38, he's in the twilight of his career and may not return.
Rob Niedermayer $2,000,000 14-7-21 in 79 GP Brother Scott is staying in Anaheim, but Rob's future is still undecided after an up (14 goals) and down (minus-17) season with the Ducks.
Manny Malhotra $1,500,000 11-24-35 in 77 GP Malhotra has never lived up to his lofty draft status (No. 7 in 1998), but he's a competent third-line center who's had to play a line or two above his offensive ability with the Blue Jackets. He'd be a good fit and a good value in the right situation.
Kyle Calder $2,700,000 8-19-27
in 74 GP
He's now 30 and hasn't reached double figures in goals since 2006-07, so Calder is going to have to take less money and a short-term deal if he hopes to keep an NHL job. He was invited to Anaheim's camp.
Andy Hilbert $700,000 11-16-27 in 67 GP Hilbert is a hard worker in all three zones, has some offensive ability and can also kill penalties. He'd make a solid bottom-six forward for someone. He'll try to earn a job with Minnesota.

DefensemenLast Season's Salary
'08-09 statsScuttlebutt
Martin Skoula $1,900,000 4-12-16
in 81 GP
At 29, Skoula doesn't bring a lot of offense to the table, but he's been a reliable minutes-muncher for years and owns a Stanley Cup ring from his days in Colorado. Florida has invited him to training camp.
Marc-Andre Bergeron $1,691,000 14-18-32 in 72 GP Bergeron owns one of the NHL's biggest slappers from the point but struggles in his own zone. He could thrive in the right situation with a team that can maximize his strengths.
Christian Backman $3,400,000
in 56 GP
Backman was something of a disappointment for the Blue Jackets, who acquired him from the Rangers last summer. He got a training-camp invitation from Florida.
Darryl Sydor $2,500,000 3-12-15 in 73 GP At 37, Sydor's resume includes a couple of Stanley Cup rings. He can serve as a mentor for young defenders and still contribute on the ice. He got a camp invite from St. Louis, which has several young defensemen.
Francis Bouillon $1,875,000 5-4-9
in 54 GP
Bouillon is coming off an abdominal/groin muscle tear that kept him out for the last two months of the season (except for a brief playoff cameo appearance). He turns 34 in October, so the pickings are slim.
Jassen Cullimore $830,000 2-8-10 in 68 GP He's now 36 and has never produced more than 5 goals or 17 points in a season. The 6-5, 240-pounder will get a look from Anaheim.

Goaltenders Current team '08-09 stats Scuttlebutt
Manny Fernandez $4,750,000 16-8-3 2.59 GAA With Tim Thomas firmly in place as the starter in Boston and youngster Tuukka Rask as the backup, Fernandez will have to look elsewhere for a job. He's played more than 44 games in a season just once in his career (2005-06, with Minnesota).
Olaf Kolzig $1,500,000 2-4-1 3.66 GAA "Olie the Goalie" has 303 career wins -- but he's 39 and coming off an injury-plagued season. To extend his career, Kolzig will need to find a team with a young starter that needs an experienced backup/mentor.
Kevin Weekes$700,0007-5-0 2.42 GAAHad the first winning season of his career in 2008-09, but he couldn't hold the starting job in New Jersey after Martin Brodeur was injured and will likely have to go elsewhere.
Manny Legace $2,500,000 13-9-2 3.18 GAA One season after making the All-Star Game, Legace spent the last half of 2008-09 in the minors after Chris Mason took the No. 1 job. The 36-year-old got a camp invite from Atlanta.

It's real interesting to see the different dynamics behind why each of these guys doesn't have a job yet.

There's the fading star; in some cases it's really the false sense of self-entitlement that indeed at one point or another you might have been on the verge of stardom. Guys like Robert Lang, Max Afinogenov, and Miro Satan, who probably are lobbying for salaries around $2 - 3 million, and frankly no team has the space to give them what they want.

Then you have guys that think they're worth far more than they really are. We can look Dominic Moore straight in the eye right here, hell, maybe even Andy Hilbert too. Though I wish I knew what Marc Andre Bergeron is looking for, it must be extravagant, because there are at least a dozen teams that could utilize an offensive defensemen like him.

Let's not forget about our friends on the edge of retirement. Mike Peca, Mats Sundin, Rob Niedermeyer, and Olaf Kolzig, all were players in their time, but their time has past, so get the hell out of the league already. Mats; GO AWAY K THX.

But now there's a couple guys that it just doesn't make sense they haven't landed on their feet yet. Manny Malhotra could benefit plenty of teams, he couldn't be asking for more than $2.5 million right? Francis Bouillon's not worth $2 million? A big PK guy like Blair Betts can't find his way onto a roster? That doesn't make a lick of sense.

One guy I root for though, is Kevin Weekes, he's a good dude, and deserves somewhere to play in the NHL. Sooooooo Darcy Regier, dump that sack of shit Lalime and sign KW. Thanks much.


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