NHL free agents: Will they stay or will they go?

USA TODAY Sports’ Kevin Allen predicts whether other potential unrestricted free agents will take extensions or explore the market:

1. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers): The Rangers will get him signed because he is as important to the franchise as Sidney Crosby is to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It seems as if Lundqvist, the league’s top goalie, was born to play in New York. Prediction: Will re-sign.

2. Winger Thomas Vanek (Islanders): He could be the most desirable scorer in the marketplace. Prediction: Will test the market.

3. Defenseman Dion Phaneuf (Toronto Maple Leafs):  There might be a fight over money because Phaneuf already makes $6.5 million. But the Leafs want him back — what would it say to fans if they can’t keep a player they want to keep? We see him getting a deal worth $7 million a season. Prediction: Will re-sign.

4. Goalie Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres):Prediction: Will be traded and then will test market.

The Sabres are rebuilding, and Miller doesn’t want to be involved in that painful process. The goaltending market is weak, particularly for Miller, who comes with a $6.25million cap hit. But at some point, some team will become dissatisfied with its goaltending or lose its No.1 to an injury.

 

5. Winger Ryan Callahan (Rangers): Much like the Lundqvist situation, it is difficult to understand why the Rangers haven’t tied up Callahan before now. He offers grit, goals, guile and leadership. He’s the Rangers’ captain, and he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would want to leave a team before it made a strong run to win a Stanley Cup. Prediction: Will re-sign.

6. Winger Marian Gaborik (Columbus Blue Jackets):How much does he think he is worth? What could Columbus do with the extra money if he isn’t re-signed? How does he feel about Columbus? This is a difficult read. Prediction: Will test the market.

7. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (Detroit Red Wings): He has grown up in the Red Wings organization and is very comfortable in Detroit. Prediction: Will re-sign.

8. Center Paul Stastny (Colorado Avalanche) He is good on faceoffs and can be strong defensively. He will have many suitors next summer. Prediction: Will test the market.

9. Center David Legwand (Nashville Predators):  He’s putting up more points this season, though. It would seem like both parties have interest in his return, but at what price? He’s making $4.5 million now. Prediction: Too close to call.

10. Left wing/center Mike Cammalleri (Calgary Flames): . He could be an interesting fit for a team looking for an offensive spark and doesn’t seem like a good fit for a rebuilding Calgary team. Prediction: Will test the market.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/columnist/allen/2013/11/09/nhl-free-agent-predictions/3484915/


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