Free Agency Edition – A Primer

Now that the 2002-03 season is in the history books, now is the time of year when every team in the league looks to improve itself via free agency. With a little over two weeks to go until what is usually a free-for-all, here is the list of potential unrestricted free agents that will be in the league’s summer flea market.

They are listed alphabetically with their 2002-03 salary and the club that they played for this past season. This list is courtesy of TSN.ca, and I’m sure there are some mistakes on it.

WINGERS –

Andreychuk, Dave $850,000 TAM

Arvedson, Magnus $1,650,000 OTT

Berezin, Sergei $2,200,000 WAS

Berube, Craig $515,000 CGY

Brashear, Donald $1,500,000 PHI

Dahlen, Ulf $1,500,000 DAL

Gilchrist, Brent $575,000 NSH

Gilmour, Doug $2,225,000 TOR

Grimson, Stu $750,000 NAS

Grosek, Michal $650,000 BOS

Hull, Jody $400,000 OTT

Johnson, Craig $750,000 LOS

Kjellberg, Patric $1,100,000 ANA

Klatt, Trent $900,000 VAN

Kozlov, Slava $2,350,000 ATL

Lowry, Dave $925,000 CGY

Matteau, Stephane $600,000 FLA

May, Brad $1,200,000 VAN

McCarthy, Sandy $1,300,000 NYR

McKenzie, Jim $525,000 NJD

McCarty, Darren $1,950,000 DET

Odgers, Jeff $600,000 ATL

Odjick, Gino $750,000 MON

Pellerin, Scott $1,000,000 PHO

Podein, Shjon $1,350,000 STL

Ranheim, Paul $600,000 PHO

Ray, Rob $500,000 OTT

Robitaille, Luc $4,000,000 DET (on his way to LA)

Ronning, Cliff $1,850,000 MIN

Rucinsky, Martin $1,700,000 STL (Mutual Option)

Sacco, Joe $250,000 PHI

Selanne, Teemu $6,500,000 SAN

Simon, Chris $2,250,000 CHI

Thomas, Steve $1,000,000 ANA

Whitney, Ray $2,600,000 CBJ

Cream of the crop: Arvedson, Berezin, Kozlov, McCarty, Selanne.

My take: Selanne is assumed to head back to the Pond in Anaheim, yet that team has other priorities (i.e. Giguere). McCarty could inspire some team to do the same that Boston did with Martin Lapointe, overpay a grinder. The Rangers really wanted Arvedson, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him on Broadway. His paychecks might actually clear. Berezin would be a nice fit on Long Island, he can score goals in bunches and next to Yashin those could be big-ass bunches. Atlanta will most likely keep Kozlov.

CENTERMEN –

Cassels, Andrew $2,600,000 CBJ

Eastwood, Mike $950,000 CHI

Fedorov, Sergei $2,000,000 DET

Hrkac, Tony $800,000 ATL

Johnson, Greg $1,500,000 NAS

Lapointe, Claude $1,200,000 PHI

Larionov, Igor $1,500,000 DET

Lemieux, Mario $5,250,000 PIT

Manderville, Kent $600,000 PIT

Marchant, Todd $1,540,000 EDM

Muller, Kirk $800,000 DAL

Nieuwendyk, Joe $5,000,000 NJD

Nylander, Michael $1,800,000 WAS

Prospal, Vaclav $1,550,000 TAM

Rheaume, Pascal $575,000 NJD

Smolinski, Bryan $2,400,000 OTT

Yzerman, Steve $8,000,000 DET

Cream of the crop: Cassels, Federov, Marchant, Nieuwendyk, Prospal.

My take: The big name here is Federov, and he’s already publicly unhappy with the contract he’s been offered by Detroit. How brain dead do you have to be to turn down $10 million a year? Will the Rangers put him next to Bure and watch the sparks fly? Edmonton will want to keep Marchant, but a better offer could pry him away from the cost-conscious Oil. I thought Cassels still was under contract in Columbus. Nieuwendyk will be intriguing to some teams, but his age and salary are a concern. Safe bet is that he stays in the swamp. Prospal is rumored to be going to Detroit in the event that Federov bolts.

GOALTENDERS –

Hackett, Jeff $3,600,000 BOS

Potvin, Felix $3,550,000 LOS

There is no cream in this crop. These guys just don’t have it anymore. If any GM in the league pays them more than $2 million I’ll be shocked.

DEFENSEMEN –

Albelin, Tommy $1,113,259 NJD

Baron, Murray $1,600,000 VAN

Cross, Cory $750,000 EDM

Daneyko, Ken $2,000,000 NJD

Desjardins, Eric $4,000,000 PHI

de Vries, Greg $1,375,000 COL

Haller, Kevin $1,700,000 NYI

Hatcher, Derian $4,200,000 DAL

Houlder, Bill $1,250,000 NSH

Housley, Phil $2,500,000 TOR

Hulse, Cale $1,210,000 NSH

Johansson, Calle $2,200,000 WAS

Klee, Ken $1,550,000 WAS

Kravchuk, Igor $600,000 FLA

Laukkanen, Janne $1,600,000 TAM

Leetch, Brian $9,680,000 NYR

Marchment, Bryan $3,000,000 COL

Mironov, Boris $3,300,000 NYR

Moran, Ian $750,000 BOS

Odelein, Lyle $2,500,000 DAL

Olausson, Fredrik $1,100,000 ANA

Pilon, Rich $1,400,000 STL

Pushor, Jamie $1,045,000 PIT

Rumble, Darren $400,000 TAM

Sweeney, Don $1,800,000 BOS

Wesley, Glen $2,500,000 TOR

Woolley, Jason $1,250,000 DET

Yushkevich, Dmitry $2,750,000 PHI

Cream of the crop: Desjardins, de Vries, Hatcher, Marchment, Wesley.

My take: Desjardins will most likely stay in Philadelphia, he is a Clarke and Hitchcock favorite. Hatcher is the premier name, but Dallas is taking steps to assure he will remain a Star, but a bidding war could ensue if his deal is not done in time or to his liking. I don’t think Marchment stays in Colorado – much like Kasparaitis last year – but I don’t think any team wants to pay him more than $3 million. de Vries is an intriguing possibility for a couple of teams who want a steady defender – if I’m Atlanta I make a run at him. Wesley is negotiating with the Leafs, but is also open to the idea of returning to Carolina.

Like I said, I’m sure there are mistakes on this list, and if any of you have any info on contract status for these players, please share with the group.

With lockout on the horizon, this will be the most interesting off-season since unrestricted free agency became a reality for the NHLPA and not a dream. Whether or not teams exhibit fiscal sanity or not remains to be seen.

That’s all for now. Release the hounds!


55 Responses to Free Agency Edition – A Primer

  1. wingerxx says:

    Everybody is biased on this website. We all have a favorite team. It’s the opinion that Leetch is not a good defenseman that is silly. I’ve been watching the Rangers all my life, and I’ve seen some crappy defenders play for this team, and if Leetch was really that bad, I would hate him with a vengeance. He is an outstanding defender.

  2. big_booty says:

    You couldn’t be more wrong. Leetch is nowhere near the player he once was. While he may be able to still skate and work the powerplay, he is in no way a “fantastic” defender.

    A “fantastic defenseman” shouldn’t be minus-66 since ’97.

    A “fantastic defenseman” shouldn’t cough up the puck in his own end when hounded by wingers smaller than he is.

    A “fantastic defenseman” should help his star-studded team win a bunch of games and get into the playoffs.

    The only “fantastic” thing about Brian Leetch is the belief that he is an effective defender. That and his paycheck.

    The best blueliner on the market is Hatcher. How you can say that Leetch is a better defenseman than he is just defies all logic.

  3. JeffBurnz09 says:

    I read an article on I think faceoff.com

    Talking about how he was getting cut too much and decided to finally switch. The paint design is supposed to be a totem pole type theme displaying the old canuck logos up to the newest one. Of course that could change.

  4. wingerxx says:

    I’ll take your case point by point….

    Leetch’s plus/minus could have been much, much worse. No defenseman in the league could have had a better plus/minus rating over the last six years as the #1 defender on this Rangers team. We’re talking about a guy who has had to play with Kevin Hatcher, Rich Pilon, Quintal, and a bunch of other defensively inept fools over the last few years. You can only make guys like that so much better, no matter what your name is. Bourque, Lidstrom, and Pronger had/have had the luxury of playing in systems that emphasize strong defense, unlike Leetch’s teams of years past. His -36 rating in 97/98 was more a result of team-wide defensive incompetance than his defensive shortcomings, which are small to begin with. Had any of those 3 played in Leetch’s place in the last 6 years, their stats would have been just as bad, if not worse. The plus/minus rating is more of a team rating anyway…Example, Joe Sakic’s plus/minus rating was what, in the -100’s for a while? It still might be, I don’t know. That doesn’t mean he was a poor defensive player. Even in his early years, he was pretty decent defensively. The Rangers of the last six years are about on par defensively with those Quebec teams Sakic played for. Also…this guy posted a plus rating on a losing team being paired with Tom Poti!! That in itself is a remarkable achievement. Let’s see how many blueliners in this league that can manage that.

    Leetch also really doesn’t cough the puck up that much. I’ve been watching him his whole career and he’s not that bad at it. Even when he does, he is usually able to make up for it with a takeaway, which he is great at, and even you can’t deny that. I’ve seen him make great takeaways on the best players in this game, Jagr, Lemieux, Bure, and NOT get burned subsequently. The great ones like Lidstrom, Bourque, even they made the giveaways. Especially Bourque in years past in the playoffs. All guys who play 25-30 minutes a night do, but the great ones can make up for those mistakes, and that’s what Leetch is great at. Put him on a good team like Colorado, Detroit or Dallas from the last 6 years, he would have had another Norris in the trophy case.

    Leetch does help his star studded team win games. The problem is, Leetch is not the team, and his star studded friends don’t usually put forth the effort that Leetch does, hence, they lose games. And hence, they don’t make the playoffs. If you are going to pin wins and losses on one guy, Leetch has won a lot more games for the Rangers than he has lost.

    As for his paycheck, sheesh, that’s not Leetch’s fault. If Neil Smith offers you to play for $9 million a year, would you take it? Yep, I thought so.

    I’d take Leetch over Hatcher, mainly for the fact that he is able to keep his butt out of the box for long durations and not take dumb penalties, like Hatcher tends to…and actually be out there to kill the penalty, rather than watch it being killed. Hatcher hits harder. That’s nice. Leetch can pin his man, that’s what matters. Hatcher’s defensive decisions are no better than Leetch’s. And no, they aren’t. His play against the Ducks was not great at all. But I do like Hatcher, and I think he is definitely a guy worth having. I’d love to see him a Ranger, although I know it won’t happen.

  5. OldNord says:

    Old Canucks logo, which one, the first with the hockey stick, or the other who came after.

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