The Hockey News – Top 10 Free Agents

10. , D, $3.5 million
, 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.

9. , G, $600,000
Another guy who comes relatively cheap. outplayed Tampa Bay No. 1 this season. He’d push for minutes in places like Philly (where’s he’s been before) and Washington, and be the perfect backup in places like Calgary and Buffalo.

8. , D, $500,000
, 26, rose well up the Boston depth chart by season’s end. He was second only to captain in minutes played in the post-season and was the team’s No. 2 scorer from the blueline. He’ll expect a raise, but nothing too taxing for a top-four blueliner.

7. , D, $2.5 million

, 28, is one of the best shutdown/shot-blocking guys in the world. He’ll be looking to double his salary on a five- or six-year deal. If could sign for $22.5 million over five years last summer, will be looking for something in the $25-million area.

6. , G, $1.75 million

may have lost the Nashville Predators starting job to , but the soon-to-be 29-year-old still had a better save percentage than , and . is another guy who will want to go some place he has a chance to steal minutes and even take over the No. 1 spot. But he won’t command many dollars to do so.

5. , LW, $6.39 million

The premier goal-scorer on the market – and maybe No. 2 in the world behind Alex Ovechkin – will hit free agency looking for mucho dineros for about a decade’s worth of work. And that’s why he’s so far down this list. He might net you 50 goals, but his all-around game is suspect and you can buy three 20-goal scorers for the same price as one .

4. , D, $3.83 million
The most underrated defenseman in the league, , battled injuries much of the season. But he’s sneaky-good at both ends of the ice and will surprise the fans of whichever team signs him, unless it’s New Jersey.

3. D, $1.25 million
A poor man’s Volchenkov, the unheralded , 27, is a shot-blocking machine who’d be a bigger name if he wasn’t a Phoenix Coyote. The only question is who will earn more next season, or his younger brother , who makes $3.5 million with the Ottawa Senators?

2. , C/LW, $6.36 million
Like , , 30, will be expensive: just not as expensive. He won’t command a long term like and is also a more complete player who can line up at center or wing. Look for to net about $7 million a year for five years and average 35 goals and 80 points.

1. , C, $2.75 million

took a gamble last summer…and won. Coming off a paltry 39-point season in 2008-09, was willing to sign a multi-year deal as an RFA, but ultimately accepted the Habs’ one-year offer. Then he went out and added 31 points to his previous season’s total to lead the Canadiens with 70 points this year. Now the 27-year-old is set to cash in big-time. He’s got No. 1-center potential, but would instantly be one of the best No. 2s in the league.