NHL free-agent market takes nosedive

Hasn’t been ‘this bad in a long time,’ exec says

The NHL’s free-agent market hasn’t been this thin in years.

“I haven’t seen it this bad in a long time,” says a league executive.

While the arrival of July 1 will trigger a bidding war for the top unrestricted free agents, there’s not much in the way of forwards. Teams will have a tough time finding a quick fix.

GMs have traditionally used the market to fill empty spots and even change the face of a franchise. But this UFA market lacks big names and impact players. There won’t be the same drama.

San Jose’s Patrick Marleau , New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk and Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec lead the forwards who are set to hit the market. Nashville’s Dan Hamhuis , Pittsburgh’s Sergei Gonchar and Ottawa’s Anton Volchenkov are the top blueliners.

The Hockey News – Top 10 Free Agents

10. Willie Mitchell , D, $3.5 million
Mitchell , 33, battled through an injury-plagued season at the worst possible time. Not sure he’ll be able to command $3 million again, but assuming he recovers from his concussion, he can still be a top shutdown guy.

Big Free Agent Update – June 12, 2010

Zherdev will leave the KHL for the NHL

Rob Niedermayer
would like to play next season, return to Devils;
Scott Niedermayer still undecided

Whitney mulling future

Ryan-for-Kaberle trade? Really?

Based on some of his public statements, Toronto general manager Brian Burke has made it pretty clear that he’ll trade puck-moving defenseman Tomas Kaberle if a good offer comes across his table.

The intentions are pretty clear when you send out details of your player’s contract and the specifics of when his no-trade clause will be lifted to the other 29 NHL teams

Two Leaf Tidbits

Maple Leaf scouts expect the unexpected

Leafs to name Phaneuf captain Monday