UFA Summer Preview

Looking ahead to July 1st we could have a really exciting summer. There are some key UFA’s available and I expect a lot of movement. Here is a preview of some of the bigger names.

I would like to hear which players you would want your team to target and how much you would pay for them.1. Jay Bouwmeester

Towering defensman will be a hot ticket. There’s a good chance he will leave the Panther’s and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got over 20 offers.

2. Marion Hossa

Red Wings sniper notched 40 goals this year. The 31 year old talked about his next contract being his “last one” and hinted that he’d be looking for a long term deal. If he can’t be extended by the Red Wings his phone will be ringing off the hook in July.

3. Daniel and Henrik Sedin

81 points a piece this year! These two have been really consistant over the past several seasons always posting up over 70 pts. I don’t see them splitting up, and their combined salaries could be up around $11-14 million. That kind of cap hit could take several teams out of the equation. Staying in Vancouver is a possibility.

4. Marian Gaborik

If he gets and stays healthy, this guy will be the prize of this years UFA pool. But there is that risk with Gaborik because of his medical record. Still a potential 90+ point guy, and a game breaker. Gaborik is one of the game’s elite talents. He turned down 8 years and over $60 million from Minnesota last fall, which could mean he wants out of Minnesota. Some speculate he didn’t get along with Lemaire which could have something to do with his not signing the extension. So we’ll see…

5. Martin Havlatt

Hawks leading scorer posted 78 points this season. This guy is just 27, and like Gaborik is lethal when healthy. Lots of talent and should be a beauty if he hits the open market.

6. Scott Niedermyer

If he decides to leave Anaheim, Scotty has proven he is still an elite player. The future hall of famer would bring a great player on and off the ice along with so many other intangeables to any team that signs him.

7. Mike Cammalleri

Has scored a total of 118 goals in his 4 post-lockout seasons. (Averaging 29.5 per season). He’ll be 27 in June. Size is a concern but he is not a soft player and should cash in big. Oh, and he’s a filthy sniper.

8. Mattius Ohlund

32 year old defensman is a bear. Big, grizzled, veteran defensman will attract lots of interest if Vancouver doesn’t get a deal done before July 1.

9. Alex Kovalev

Gamble. Here’s a guy who was a top 10 scorer in the league last season, and played like border line 2nd liner this season. Kovalev has the tools to be a great scoring threat, but at age 36 he might need to go somewhere that he doesn’t have to be “the guy”. He could be a great signing for the right price, provided he delivers.

10. Nik Antropov

Big body. Amazing skater…. ;) Nik is a legitimate 25-30 goal man and is a quality guy for standing in front of the net, grabbing rebounds or tipping pucks, and providing a screen. Could be a boost for a team with a weak power play who need someone to provide that traffic in front. Nik is also a solid two-way player and has an award winning smile.

10. (tie) Brian Gionta

Small speedy winger has a lot of offensive tools. Its not unlike Lou Lamerello to let guys like this walk when they want that big pay raise, and I could definitely see him testing the UFA waters.

Here’s some other’s I won’t place them in any order:

Keith Tkachuk

I don’t think he’ll leave St.Louis, but you never know. Keith was a monster for the Blues in the playoffs even though he was held scoreless and they were swept. He was throwing huge hits, winning most of his draws, and just being Keith out there. You heard his name more than anyone’s except Luongo in that series. I think the veteran who is on the home stretch of a cupless career could look to sign at a moderate salary with a legitimate contender in the hopes of winning a cup.

Viktor Kozlov

34 year old. Great big body with soft hands. Due to age, he would be best suited for a 1 to 2 year deal, 3 years at most. Could bring some secondary scoring to a team needing one more guy. (Similar to Montreal’s reasoning for bringing in Lang last fall). Viktor can still score highlight reel goals, as witnessed in game 6 of the first round.

Mike Knuble

36 year old Knuble, is a consistant secondary scorer. A big body guy who likes to play physical and be that solid support winger for any top line forward.

Chris Neil

30 year old is a tough guy and a yapper. Quality role player. Not a lot of offensive skills, he typically doesn’t score a lot but there is reason to believe there will be lots of interest out there based on his presence on the ice.

John Madden

36 year old checking centre will probably stick with the Devils. But if not, he’d be a quality pick up for a team looking for a reliable defensive forward, and a veteran leader.

“Speedin” Stevie Sullivan aka “Sully”

I love Sully! This guy can fly and score goals too. He recovered after having not played for over a year and scored at a decent pace for Nashville at the end of the season. He’s 34 years old, and because of health he could be a guy worth taking a chance on for a lot of teams. Watch for him to be a steal somewhere at around $2-3 million and put up over 60 points.

Saku Koivu

Long time Habs captain could be on the way out. If so, there will be interest in the feisty centre who can provide secondary scoring and solid defensive play.

Todd Bertuzzi

Bert can still play. I think Calgary will try to bring him back, he seems to be a good fit there, but if he hits the market he’ll bring some size and skill to any teams line up.

Jere Lehtinen

Long time Star could stick with Dallas. He’s a great player, but health has been a concern in recent years and he’s now 36. Still, the former Selke winner could be a big boost at a reasonable price to some team in need of a winner.

Francois Beauchemin

Quality d-man. Might want out of Anaheim with the arrival of Ryan Whitney. However depending on Scott Niedermyer’s future with the team Beauchemin might want to stay. This guy could actually be one of the best signings in the offseason.

Max Afinogenov

I know, he’s flakey. But super speedy and lots of talent. I actually think he could be a gamble worth taking for the right team. Aknowledging Sergei Samsonov’s solid play with the Hurricanes, there is reason to believe that Maxim’s time in the NHL isn’t done.

Goalies available include ‘Bulin and Ferndandez, along with a bunch of backups.

So there you have it, hope y’all enjoyed. I can’t wait for the draft and July 1st. Enjoy the playoffs and let me know who you think you might want to see your team sign, or where some of these other guys might fit in.