Facts and Predictions

Last minute opinions on big name free agents. The Frenzy has begun.

http://msn.espn.go/nhl/columns/hradek_ej/1399676.htmlGentlemen, start your cell phones!

That will be the battle cry for many of the NHL’s general managers when the clock strikes midnight on Monday, July 1. To the second, that’s when league’s free agents hit the open market.

Monster names like Calgary’s Jarome Iginla, Montreal’s Jose Theodore and Anaheim’s Paul Kariya float at the top of the restricted (Group II) free-agent pool. However, because teams have the right to match any offer received by one of their restricted free agents — or receive up to five first-round picks from the offering team — the players in that pool likely won’t need any change of address forms.

However, those chains won’t bind those players lucky enough to find themselves in the unrestricted pool. Those players — like New Jersey’s Bobby Holik, Boston’s Bill Guerin and Chicago’s Tony Amonte — will move from one team to another with a simple signature on a multi-million dollar contract.

Last summer, Pierre Turgeon went from St. Louis to Dallas. Luc Robitaille moved from Los Angeles to Detroit. And, Martin Lapointe jumped from Detroit to Boston. They were just three of the many unrestricted free agents who needed to sell their homes and call the moving company in early July.

Again this year, fans can expect much movement among the unrestricted (or Group III, V and VI) free agents. With that in mind, here’s a look at the top UFAs by position (goalies, forwards, and defensemen). Remember, the player’s current team holds exclusive negotiating rights with the player until the midnight deadline. After that, it’s everybody in the pool.

2 Responses to Facts and Predictions

  1. TC_4 says:

    I believe that it could be a domino effect not only with the goaltenders, but also with the right wingers. Why don’t the Bruins go after Tony Amonte rather then re-sign Guerin? He won’t demand as much money, and i believe that 5 of the 6 top Boston forwards are a left handed shot, and they have so much grit up front already, it seems like he would be perfect for them. But anyways, that would happen if Guerin were to sign elsewhere. And if the Sharks can’t get something done with Selanne, why don’t they go after Guerin, or Amonte? I guess we’ll find out what is now later this morning. I don’t know why the NHL free agents seem to get snatched up within two days, while in every other sport it takes like two or three weeks.

  2. guinsfan4life says:

    I think that many teams are very reluctant to shell out money to the second tier group of free agents because of the CBA being up in two years.

    A good example of this is the Adam Oates deal with Anaheim for only two years.

    SO while many of the top flight players may receive deals in excess of 3 years, I believe after the initial feeding frenzy of big time players sign, the next group will have to wait from an already diluted money source.

    I think many of the deals will center around two years.

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