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!


  • ructation