What About These Guys?

Everyone’s heard of the big names on the market. Fedorov, Hatcher, Selanne, Robitaille, Potvin, Prospel, McCarty, Leetch, deVries. But what about the smaller, less heralded guys who are no less effective? Here’s a list of 12 forwards and 7 defensemen on the free agent market that you hear absolutely nothing about. They aren’t necessarily in best to worst order, more alphabetical for what team they played for last season. Oh, a couple of them might not be moving or might have some circumstances around them I’m not aware of, I was using a free agent list. If I screwed up on some, don’t chew me out. Chew out the person who made the list.1. Ray Whitney

I cannot understand why this guy has not been mentioned at all. Of all the free agents on the market, only Fedorov and Prospel out scored him. Whitney finished tied for 21st in NHL scoring with 76 points, despite playing for Western celler dweller Columbus. He was tied with or within 5 points of all the following players: Karyia, Hossa, Mogilny, Kovalev, Jagr, Hull, Satan, Prospel, Lecavalier. How much do you think he’d fetch on the market though? Probably no more than 4 million, probably less even. Definately a steal for whichever team gets him.

2. Andrew Cassels

A “See: Whitney” would suffice. He was linemates with Whitney and put up a respectable 68 points, good for a tie for 31st in the league in scoring. He was also, amazingly, only -4 on Columbus, perhaps as impressive a feat.

3. Slava Kozlov

Kozlov put up 70 points playing for Atlanta. He was probably buoyed by his linemates Kovalchuk and Heatley, who put up 67 and 89 respectively, but he’s still a solid player who consistantly puts up decent offensive numbers.

4. Cliff Ronning

Ronning scored 48 points for Minnesota and provided some veteran leadership for the young squad. He’s not a prolific scorer, but would be a nice pickup for a young team in the Nashville or Atlanta mold.

5. Joe Niewendyk

I’m surprised his name doesn’t come up more often, seeing as he plays for the champions and everything. He scored 45 points this season, a far cry from his old numbers but still a good, veteran player with two Cup runs to his record.

6.Steve Thomas

I’m not seeing him leaving Anaheim, except for retirement, but who knows? He found a new life playing for the Ducks, helping them on their improbable run to the Finals. Most Ducks players attest he was an invaluable locker room presence, a big reason they pulled off the run to the Finals that they did.

7. Ulf Dahlen

Despite getting only 14 minutes a game, Dahlen put up 37 points and a +11 playing for Dallas last season. Two seasons ago, he had 52 in Washington. On the right team, he could provide some nice depth scoring for a small price.

8. Martin Rucinsky

He had 30 points for the Blues last season, but turned it on in the playoffs for 6 points in 7 games, tied for second on the team. This guy has amazing credentials however: he even played well on the Rangers, putting up 13 points in 15 games in a brief stint two seasons ago. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Blueshirts to gamble on him for a full year.

9. Dave Andreychuk

Does this guy need a description? Sure-fire Hall of Famer, deadly on the power play, though somewhat useless now on even strength (28 of 34 points were on power play). Veteran leader, could have enough gas for one more Cup run, much like Robitaille on Detroit two years ago.

10. Jonas Hoglund

Despite the constant dissing Leafs fans do on this guy, he’s really not that bad. He hovered around 50 points until last season, where his ice time was cut to a trickle. Suspect defensively, perhaps, but he has some offensive talent. He has the potential to join the long list of Leafs castoffs to play well for other teams (Modin, Sullivan, Thomas, Cross). Worth gambling on, for the right price.

11. Trent Klatt

Not an offensive talent by any means, but I’ve heard Canucks fans raving about him throughout the year. He could shore up the checking line of more than a few teams around the NHL.

12. Sergei Berezin

A solid 20 goal scorer who’ll come cheap. Had 37 goals with Toronto in the 98-99 season, so he has breakout potential.

1. Jason Woolley

I don’t know why the Sabres put this guy on waivers, and I don’t know why the Wings won’t resign him either. With talent around him, this guy shines. For a mere million dollars, he’s a bargain. He has offensive talent, is good at moving the puck up, and is solid in his own end. For a team like the Kings, he would be a perfect pickup.

2. Steve Staios

I have to think the Oilers will resign this guy. Wasn’t he your captain, or am I mixed up there? I’m not positive on that, but he’s a solid defensive defenseman worth signing.

3. Dmitry Yushkevich

This guy’s been tossed around the past year, but he’s a solid defenseman. The Avs should be interested in him, as ravaged as their defensive corp is.

5. Calle Johansson

A veteran player who has put up solid numbers both offensively and defensively for Washington over his career. A well rounded defenseman that should interested a lot of teams who can’t afford to be in the Hatcher sweepstakes.

6. Ken Klee

Had a great season in Washington, with 17 points and a +22 that ranked 18th in the league. Definately worth signing, could round out the bottom pairing of any team quite nicely.

7. Boris Mironov

A bit of a headcase, perhaps, but has an offensive upside (49 points back in 1999). Worth gambling on, he should come relatively cheap. Could be a Steve Duschense (Detroit) type pickup.

Now, will any of these players make or break a team? Probably not. However, in this list, you can be sure there will be a couple of sleepers who will break out for a tremendous, unforeseen season, and the rest will likely perform solidly, if quietly, for the teams who sign them.

So instead of focusing on the big name “game breakers” who almost always fall short of expectations, take a look at some of the smaller guys who truly shape the teams that grasp Lord Stanley’s chalise.


45 Responses to What About These Guys?

  1. defenestrate says:

    Very nice – Aaron still providing redemption for the Wings fans.

    On an earlier post, I expressed a wish to bring Thomas to the Avalanche. He sure seemed rejuvenated in Anaheim, and with this season being a “make or break” in a lot of ways, why not load up on people who want one last good shot at The Cup?

    Good detective work on the defensemen – with Washington looking to unload salary, I wouldn’t squirm at the prospect of Klee or Johannson providing some much-needed depth and stability to our D.

  2. pantherboy says:

    Seeing that Florida has no leadership what-so-ever, I could see them going after Andreychuk or Niewendyk. Maybe like the same thing that Tampa had done with Dave by bringing him in to help along the young guys and taking a lot of the leadership pressure of Leacaviler.

  3. Rampage_Winger says:

    I thin you have a glaring omission on this list. Defenseman Matthew Chesnut from San Antonio, Tx.

    Ups:

    – 6’0″, 195 lbs. of ass-kicking potential.

    – Strong hands from carrying guitar equipment around house so much.

    – Lots of “grit”, “determination”, and “leadership skills” (all are pending a credit card transaction).

    – Will play for pittance.

    – Doubles as towel boy.

    – At 17, has many moons to develop game. Would look wicked awesome holding Stanley Cup.

    Downs:

    – Rarely ice skates.

    – Not sure what to do with little black thing.

    – Doesn’t get along with authority figures, epecially ones with suits in luxury boxes…GM’s that’s what they’re called.

    – Liberal creampuff.

    – Has set records for sleeping through practices (once never got up the entire sunlit day).

    – His baby’s mama wants half his earnings.

    In spite of his “downsides”, I think this guy could improve any team, as long as there won’t be any physical exertion involved. Anyone would love to have him. His downsides pale in comparison to Theo Fleury’s. That’s already grounds for a signing bonus in my opinion.

  4. cwthrash says:

    Kozlov was finally healthy last year, a reason for good numbers. A better reason of course being that once Savard joined the team, the Kozlov-Savard-Heatley line clicked when put together and the rest was history (minor history but still). The question in these cases is whether he will continue putting up those numbers or will he falter in some way. Tough to say, but worth a risk I suspect. He will test the market but will likely sign with Atlanta unless some team makes an outrageous offer (here’s hoping the money teams make another mistake and leave him be).

    Dahlen would be a solid player for pretty much any team. Only problem is he might not be back next season. We’ll have to wait and see on that one. Personally, I can see a team taking a chance on him. But it could easily go either way.

    He’d be my second choice of a Dman to be signed (behind deVries), that is if I were the Atlanta GM. But chances are both will want a better place to go. Whoever gets him will have made a solid pickup.

    And Staios used to be captain in Atlanta for a year. Part of the curse of being the Thrashers captain: the first three captains in the team’s short history were either traded or not resigned. Luckily, McEachern broke the curse this year and will stay.

    Only two or three on this list are gambles even for a small amount of cash, but overall a solid list of players. The types of players who can mean as much or more than the high profile guys.

  5. Avalanche114 says:

    Nice article.

    In regards to Colorado, these are the type of guys I think they need to get, not big name guys like Hatcher or Selanne, but smaller names who put up big numbers.

    I think if the Avs do anything, they should beef up their defense, maybe grab a goalie to split time with Abby, but I don’t think that is neccesary just yet. That can always happen early next season, and thats probably the way Lacroix will go about it anyway..so..

    Since Defense is our primary concern, I think the Avs should take a stab at any one of the guys up there. Johannson, Yuskevich, Klee all would fit in great. Its that simple, the Avs need more defenseman with NHL experience.

    Also couldn’t hurt to improve the offense..

    I would love to see Colorado sign either Cassels or maybe even Cliff Ronning to fill their 3rd line center position(maybe even their 2nd if Forsberg is gone..). Though, even though I wasn’t initially happy with the trade for Nikolishin, I think it could help Colorado in that area. He’s a sharp defensive center who would fit in nice on the 3rd line. I think the pressure of being on one of his last two team’s top lines has hampered his ability to play his game, maybe in Colorado he’ll pick up.

    On the wings, they could add any one of these guys: Rucinsky, Thomas, Whitney, Kozlov or Andreychuk. The biggest problem for the Avs offense is their lack of depth past the first line. They don’t even have a complete(formidable) second line. Reinprecht-Sakic-Battaglia? Come on people. I don’t care if we put Battaglia on waivers, he’s either a 3rd line winger, or he’s a healthy scratch. I frankly do not know why the hell we traded for him. He had somewhat of a playoff explosion in 2002 with the Canes, but we can all see what happened to them, and all of their stars. Vrbata was nasty too, and could have at least pulled in more than Battaglia. But anyway..back to the 2nd line. I think the best idea would be to sign a right winger to add to Reinprecht and Sakic. Kozlov, Rucinsky and even “Stumpy” Thomas would be a nice pick. Another Idea would be to grab a veteran like Whitney or Andreychuk, though I’m not sure where they’d fit into the line-up unless Tanguay or Reinprecht are moved, and at this point, they may very well be headed elsewhere if they don’t start producing.

  6. aaron says:

    Best way to win a Cup, get hungry veterans (see: Bourque, Robitaille, Hasek, Duschense, Olausson, the list goes on…I’m sure you had a few beside Bourque too).

    Thomas would be good in a 3rd line role. I don’t think he has the legs to play big minutes anymore, but the man is clutch (he was the all time leader in OT goals for a while, before Fedorov passed him, and I think someone passed Fedorov).

    Johansson potentially could be more than a depth guy…that guy is a very, very underrated defenseman. He is solid all around, a kinda “mini-Lidstrom”, so to speak (nowhere near as good, but the same model for a defenseman).

    Klee is a great depth guy, definately the type of person you should be targeting. I’m pretty sure either Johansson or Klee will be leaving, I thought I read somewhere Johansson wanted out of Washington and wasn’t coming back.

  7. aaron says:

    I definately say Kozlov is a keeper. I remember him for years here in Detroit, he’s like the franchise’s alltime leader in playoff game winning goals. Clutch. A little inconsistant, but a 30 goal scorer in the right circumstances, and talented as a mofo. I remember one goal he scored for us, he split 3 players who were all back right in front of the net on top of each other, right through them and burned the goalie, it was awesome.

  8. aaron says:

    Those would be three great defensemen, exactly the mold the Avs need to fill their vacancies. Klee in particular I can just see fitting perfectly into your team, I have no idea why, I just can. He seems like an Avs-ish player.

    You definately need to bolster your 2nd and 3rd lines if you want ANY shot at the Cup this year. Ronning would be a great fit, I think. Rucinsky would be a nice pick up as well; I like that guy. Andreychuk probably wouldn’t be much more than a 3rd liner/power play specialist. His scoring dropped substantially, he only had 6 points at even strength (but like 30 on the power play, specialist in every sense of the word).

    I’m not buying Kozlov as an Av. He was there for too much of the rivalry to switch allegiances easily, so to speak. Whitney would be a good pickup, it would actually give you some sort of second line.

    Anyway, there are options to patch the holes you guys have…I dunno what you’re going to do in net though.

  9. dlo44 says:

    jason wooley was traded to detroit by buffalo last year for a bag of pucks and a water bottle, then had a very strong finish to the season. detroit has said they intend to re-sign him. may get a few good years there as larry murphy did a few years back

  10. sluggo says:

    Ray Whitney – I would say theres a good chance he’ll become a leaf next year. Hes steady vet. the type of player that Quinn loves and he’d fit in great on the second line with Antropov and Nolan. And you answered your own question, he doesn’t get a lot of attention because hes plays on a celler dweller western conference team.

  11. Avalanche114 says:

    That’s a good point about Kozlov, I had almost forgotten he used to play for the Wings.

    I agree, Rucinsky and Ronning would be great(and probably not too expensive) picks for the Avs.

    I also would really like to see Klee in an Avs uniform next season, he has a good physical game, he is a leader(wasn’t he the captain for the Caps for awhile? I could be way off, just a thought though.) and he is a smart player. I’d just as soon take Johansson or Yuskevich, but Klee would be the best fit in my opinion.

    As for the net, I really think its not as big of a deal as everyone is making it out to be. Sure, losing the greatest goalie of all time sucks, but it had to happen sometime, might as well get it over with. On the other hand, look at Marty Turco, given the right ammount of time, either of Colorado’s underexposed back-ups could explode, and if they don’t, there is always the cheap mid-season upgrade, somebody will still be available.

    Another point, I don’t think the Avalanche are going to win the Stanley Cup next year, and I’m fine with that. As much as I love the guys, they need to re-build, and a real fan sticks with their team through good times(96, 01) and bad (since I started watching hockey when I was 5, to 96..not too mention right now).

  12. Avalanche114 says:

    That’s a good point about Kozlov, I had almost forgotten he used to play for the Wings.

    I agree, Rucinsky and Ronning would be great(and probably not too expensive) picks for the Avs.

    I also would really like to see Klee in an Avs uniform next season, he has a good physical game, he is a leader(wasn’t he the captain for the Caps for awhile? I could be way off, just a thought though.) and he is a smart player. I’d just as soon take Johansson or Yuskevich, but Klee would be the best fit in my opinion.

    As for the net, I really think its not as big of a deal as everyone is making it out to be. Sure, losing the greatest goalie of all time sucks, but it had to happen sometime, might as well get it over with. On the other hand, look at Marty Turco, given the right ammount of time, either of Colorado’s underexposed back-ups could explode, and if they don’t, there is always the cheap mid-season upgrade, somebody will still be available.

    Another point, I don’t think the Avalanche are going to win the Stanley Cup next year, and I’m fine with that. As much as I love the guys, they need to re-build, and a real fan sticks with their team through good times(96, 01) and bad (since I started watching hockey when I was 5, to 96..not too mention right now).

  13. jon95616 says:

    Ottawa was smart to re-sign Smolinski to a multi-year contract…he would be a nice #2 or #3 center on any NHL team…

  14. jon95616 says:

    I loved Steve Thomas as a Duck at the end of the year and in the playoffs…but I could see him having a quiet regular season with whoever he signs with…he just turned 40 i wouldnt offer him more than a million.

    Ray Whitney can play on my team any day!

  15. aaron says:

    Whoops, forgot to comment on the rest of them.

    You realize Dahlen’s a forward, right? Or did you just forget to say who you felt would be your 2nd choice for a d-man?

    I knew he was captain in Atlanta; I think he may have been captain in Edmonton, but I might be getting mixed up and thinking Atlanta again. I think Edmonton’s captain is actually Smith, the more I think about it.

    And I agree on your assessment of the list. Solid, depth players who really define championship teams. And you know some of these players are going to have huge seasons next year. I personally say screw the Hatchers and the Selannes; these are the guys you want.

    I think Whitney’s probably the best pickup of the bunch too. I was angry when Sanderson signed up w/ the Jackets; I really wanted him in a Wings uniform.

  16. aaron says:

    Whoops, forgot to comment on the rest of them.

    You realize Dahlen’s a forward, right? Or did you just forget to say who you felt would be your 2nd choice for a d-man?

    I knew he was captain in Atlanta; I think he may have been captain in Edmonton, but I might be getting mixed up and thinking Atlanta again. I think Edmonton’s captain is actually Smith, the more I think about it.

    And I agree on your assessment of the list. Solid, depth players who really define championship teams. And you know some of these players are going to have huge seasons next year. I personally say screw the Hatchers and the Selannes; these are the guys you want.

    I think Whitney’s probably the best pickup of the bunch too. I was angry when Sanderson signed up w/ the Jackets; I really wanted him in a Wings uniform.

  17. Habfan1234 says:

    That’s true. Johansson wants out because of the way he was treated in the playoffs this year. He got benched for the last game of the series against Tampa and only played 13 or so minutes in six periods. He will not return because of this benching. Whatever team gets him will obtain a realtivley cheap and solid #3 to #5 defensman (depends on what teams he ends up on).

  18. aaron says:

    I agree Klee is the best fit. He screams Avs to me for some reason. Johansson is a better player, but you don’t need to bolster your top pairing; you need to bolster your 2nd/3rd pairings.

    I’d point out that Turco has had flashes of brilliance for the past few seasons. That being said, I think Aebischer is a competant goaltender and capable of being an NHL starter, but I’m not sure if he’s up to the task of replacing the greatest goaltender of all time. Turco had the task of replacing a washed up Ed Belfour (granted, he’s made a comeback in Toronto, but he was washed up in Dallas). I’m not sure if that’s the type of pressure you wanna put on a young goalie; I think they should bring in a guy like Potvin or Hackett to share ice time at the very least.

    And I’m glad you’ve got a realistic assessment of your team. Its a refreshing change from the norm on this site…(Leafs in ’04!) However, I personally believe in the philosophy of “if we gotta shot, let’s go for it”, and the Avs still have the talent, w/ a few good moves, to win a Cup…the same situation the completly washed up Wings were in a couple years ago, right before we won our 3rd Cup.

    I dunno, I don’t think Lacoix can afford a public strategy of “we aren’t going to win” when you still have guys like Sakic, Foote, Hejduk, and Forsberg on your team. And if he does go by that strategy, somehow I get the feeling you can kiss “Foppa” goodbye.

  19. aaron says:

    I’m a Wings fan, and I haven’t heard anything about them resigning him. I hope they do, but I don’t think they will.

  20. DaMick says:

    Nice article btw

    Heres my take on a few of these guys & one possible one.

    Whitney – You answered your own question here…hes on a cellar dweller hence no big media interest. But he might be a nice steal for someone looking for a Gritty winger who has a decent scoring touch. [ i wish the Isles would get him,hed make sense….but then again do the Isles ever do?]

    Cassels- I think his salary demands from last year are still a bit fresh in GMs minds around the league.Good second line center who can score at a good pace. Not as cheap as whitney…though

    Niewendyk- Wouldnt be THAT much of a bargain…He kinda lost it last year.I think Age & his injuries might have creeped up on him.

    Berezin- a true enigma….Has all the offensive tools to score 35gs a year….but will only score 20.

    Hes a nice darkhorse pick for a team willing to roll the dice.

    Mironov- Id rather take his Good defensive play [headcase or not] over a guy whos a “coulda been’ in Hoglund.

    Tverdosky- if the Devils dont offer him anything , i read somewhere he can become a UFA.

    [Correct me if im wrong anyone]

    Hed be a very nice pickup by a west team….Perhaps the Ducks where he was last sucessful?

    Anyways…this is defintely NOT the year to be a UFA in the NHL ….with the looming CBA battle.

    DaMick

  21. Nemix says:

    Have to stop watching your abc hockey dude

    Joe N. won 3 not 2 ..1989 calgary if you remember

    and Steve Staios is an assistant , not the captain .. Look to the blue line for Smith

  22. big_booty says:

    Aw, crap.

    You mean this is the time of year when we again have to listen to the mikster pine on about “it’s only a matter of time before Martin Rucinsky signs with the Rangers?”

    I had enough of that tripe last year.

    Wake me when free agency actually means something again, which should be about, oh, 2008 or so.

  23. cwthrash says:

    Misstep on that, my bad. I was talking about Woolley and forgot to actually put his name there.

    My thoughts were a bit ahead of my typing.

  24. Kashin says:

    I would love to see whitney on the isles. He can be a sniper and he can be on the first line. They should have gotten Sanderson last year when they had the chance.

    Cassels will try to go to Toronto since he wanted to go there last year.

  25. Freeze says:

    And I’m sure at the end of his illistrious career, Matthew Chesnut will be roasted…on an open fire.

  26. Lucky13 says:

    Very good article. This is the reason most GM’s in the NHL should be shot. Look at what happened in Free Agency last year and then look at the crop of players this year. Let’s use Dallas as an example. Last year consisted of Guerin, Young, Boucher and Dahlen. That is roughly $17 million in salary for one season. A year later that same money could buy you a group consisting of an entire line. Whitney, Cassels, Kozlov and Woolley and Johansen. You could probably throw in Thomas with the change left over. From a production standpoint, you would get more for your money with this class and none of them are even mentioned in the top tier of players available this year.

    If came down to taking these 5 or taking Fedorov, Selanne, Robitaille, Hatcher and Leetch…I think I’d actually have to sit and think long and hard about it. Even if they all cost the same.

  27. wrightstuff77 says:

    I realize that I could get kicked right off the site, and told I have no hockey knowledge but if I was a team like Nashville, where money was tight but I was within a sniff of making the playoffs last year I would look at signing Shayne Corson. I know he left the Leafs during the playoffs, I don’t respect that decision at all. But with that said if he is over his personal problems and has a desire to play he would be a great addition.

    Corson is a great defensive player, as his career has progressed he has often been given the job of shutting down the other teams best player. In the West given that Nashville would likely play either Detroit, Dallas, Colorado, or St.Louis in the first round next year I would suspect he would have a big job.

    Corson kills penalties, fights, he’s great in his own end and if he can keep his head screwed on straight he’s even been a captain in this league on more than one occasion so he is a proven leader.

    I think if he’s got the desire and he if promises to think of the team first Corson is a good addition to a younger team looking to get over the hump.

    Also along the same lines, for any team I’d be all over Yushkevich, he’s good defensively a fair to good skater and he hits like a truck. Every team needs a few guys like him to win the cup!

    Great article by the way!

    Cory

  28. wrightstuff77 says:

    I like your point but I think you took it a little far saying you’d take whitnesy cassels etc. over federov, selanne etc. if the $ was the same. Remember all the over priced guys you mentioned with the exception of Selanne have played a significant role in winning a cup. You cannot put a value to that experience.

    Good thought, you just took it too far!

    Cory

  29. Avalanche114 says:

    Ah, winning is everything, sad but true.

  30. aaron says:

    Oh, he was on that team? I didn’t realize. My bad. Considering I was born in 1986, I’d say its forgivable I didn’t know that.

    Ok, I knew it was either Staios or Smith who was captain, I couldn’t remember which. Staios was captain in Atlanta.

  31. defenestrate says:

    Darn it! You beat me to it……

  32. NemiNA says:

    it obvious according to HTR members that all those guys are gonna end up in toronto or New York cause thats just how it goes.

  33. defenestrate says:

    You’ll end up getting reprimanded for speaking the truth, like I did….

  34. defenestrate says:

    For using “tripe”……

  35. bender says:

    As a Flyers fan I only see two I’d go after on that list.

    Yuskevich being one of them. And since we haven’t resigned him yet, I’m pretty sure we won’t.

    And Whitney. Guy played his heart out last year, was amazing in the games I saw him play.

  36. edmontonrules says:

    If I was a “smaller” market team that couldn’t afford to pay a lot and had a lot of younger players I would be trying to get a guy like Corson. He’s a player that can shut down big name players. It’s true I could have smacked him when he left his team in the playoffs, but he probably had a damn good reason for it. Corson still has a few good years in him.

  37. mikster says:

    You know you didn’t make any point…..and no sense at all either.

    It bothered you when i was right last year? Deal with it 🙂

  38. mikster says:

    I like Ray Whitney since he is a very good playmaker, and for a team that needs a 1st, 2nd lw’er for offenisve purposes and PP…….he’s a good pick up.

    Cassels may be the best “low profile” player to sign and i think the Canucks should bring this guy back. They made their money in the past 3 seasons.

    Kozlov should stick in Atlanta, not sure why he would want to test the market, and like cw said, only if a team makes an outrageous offer.

    Ronning will most likely stay in Minnesota.

    Nieuwendyk is not coming back to the Devils since they somehow still managed to lose money even if they won the Cup. Get that team out of NJ.

    Thomas will stay with the Ducks unless the Leafs may want to get him.

    Ulf Dahlen is still the man. I hope the Rangers get this guy since he didn’t come last summer because of his wife’s ‘fear of terrorism in NYC’. However, if Lindros goes then i would not be too sure to get him. Still, he is a good acquisition for a one year deal.

    Rucinsky has an option on his contract, but it appears like it won’t be picked up by St. Louis. Why would they want to pay him over $2M? He’ll be unemployed for a long time.

    Andreychuk may go back to NJ if Joe leaves, but it will depend on how much money Andreychuk wants since……Devils are cashless.

    Hoglund will be unemployed. Well, maybe GM Mike Smith will pick up more left over trash from the Leafs.

    Trent Klatt should stay in Vancouver. No reason to let him go. He’s a good role player for any team and Minnesota may actually pick him up.

    Berezin will get signed by someone. He has the skills, but somehow he lost his touch somewhere. How about the Kings giving him a shot?

    Wooley will get a call out of nowhere when a teamis desperate to get a hold of a d-man.

    Staios is a great addition on any team since he also brings toughness. I say the Ducks should get this guy to bulken up their defense more.

    Yushkevich may return to Toronto….and he should.

    Johansson……….

    Ken Klee…too old and too injury prone.

    I like Mironov. For a 4th d-man he is solid when given the right d-partner and a good system. I’d like to see the Rangers keep him since he may end up playing well with Tjutin.

    And hey!

    You forgot Richard Smehlik. This guy was good in Atlanta and pretty good with the Devils.

  39. amok says:

    Great article, Aaron.

    Klatt will either stay with Vancouver or head to Minnesota, his home state. He’s one of the more popular Canucks, will get 12-15 goals, and is often used by the team as a mentor to the younger guys, like the Sedins. Last year prospect RJ Umberger stayed with the Klatts during camp and if Klatt’s around this season I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes in Umberger and/or Kesler. Burke’s been known to be stingy and flat out honest with vets that he feels are on the downside of their careers (Lachance, Essensa, Cassels) but I think he’ll make an effort to hold onto Klatt.

    You didn’t list Murray Baron, but he will probably be playing on another team next year. He’s great at blocking shots and decent at killing penalties but he’s a bit too slow and offensively challenged for Vancouver. He would make a great fit on a team like Atlanta as a fifth or sixth d-man.

    Personally I’d like to see the Canucks go after Whitney and Staios.

  40. aaron says:

    I actually had Baron on my list, looked at his stats, and dropped him. He’d be a nice pickup for a lot of teams, but he has some question marks attached.

    I have Klatt pegged for one of those two teams as well. He would fit in great with Minnesota, who has a lot of money to spend (sell out almost every game, made a nice playoff run this year w/ 8 home games…that’s a lot of extra cash…and their payroll only stands at 20 million, so they could potentially sign about 20 million dollars worth of free agents and probably break even next season…not that it would be wise to do so).

  41. jofa says:

    Just to add some Canadian team content, some other interesting UFAs to watch are going to be:

    Magnus Arvedson OTT

    He’s a pretty affordable ($1.6mil) two-way player that would benefit pretty much any team. He gets slagged a lot for being “soft”, but he’s still a big asset for teams as a 2nd/3rd line winger, will know his defensive responsibilities, and can score a few goals now and then.

    Last season 80GP, 16G, 21A, 37PTS, +13

    Brad May VAN

    Don’t know what Vancouver is planning to do with him, as they didn’t see too much of him last year due to injury. Likely they will try to hold onto him for next season, as he’s a good veteran player with size and grit.

    Last Season: 23GP, 3G, 4A, 7PTS, +4

    Todd Marchant EDM

    Maybe I’m just a little biased, but I think this guy is one of the best “bang-for-buck” players available this off-season. Had a dream season last year which should help his case this offseason. Its doubtful that Edmonton will make him an offer in order to save $$ and move some prospects into the slot (Stoll), and there’s talk of him ending up on NYR. Known for his speed, he’s also a good two-way and PK player, and has been a leader in Edm.

    Last Season: 77GP, 20G, 40A, 60PTS, +13

  42. jofa says:

    Just to add some Canadian team content, some other interesting UFAs to watch are going to be:

    Magnus Arvedson OTT

    He’s a pretty affordable ($1.6mil) two-way player that would benefit pretty much any team. He gets slagged a lot for being “soft”, but he’s still a big asset for teams as a 2nd/3rd line winger, will know his defensive responsibilities, and can score a few goals now and then.

    Last season 80GP, 16G, 21A, 37PTS, +13

    Brad May VAN

    Don’t know what Vancouver is planning to do with him, as they didn’t see too much of him last year due to injury. Likely they will try to hold onto him for next season, as he’s a good veteran player with size and grit.

    Last Season: 23GP, 3G, 4A, 7PTS, +4

    Todd Marchant EDM

    Maybe I’m just a little biased, but I think this guy is one of the best “bang-for-buck” players available this off-season. Had a dream season last year which should help his case this offseason. Its doubtful that Edmonton will make him an offer in order to save $$ and move some prospects into the slot (Stoll), and there’s talk of him ending up on NYR. Known for his speed, he’s also a good two-way and PK player, and has been a leader in Edm.

    Last Season: 77GP, 20G, 40A, 60PTS, +13

  43. amok says:

    I understand about Baron. I wouldn’t have ranked him above any of the d-men you listed.

    There was a lot of talk in the Minnesota papers during the Canucks vs. Wild series about Klatt coming home. I still think (and hope) he stays in Vancouver.

  44. amok says:

    I hope the Canucks keep May but I have a feeling he could be on his way out. Apparently he and Bertuzzi are pals, so maybe that would help keep him here at a decent price. Burke won’t get into a bidding war over him.

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