Saturday, June 9, 2007

Early Free Agent Analysis/Rumors Part I

1) With the conclusion of the NHL playoffs, starts the off season. With that, 29 teams are looking at what they need to do to replicate what worked for the Ducks. Probably about 15 teams believe they are on the cusp of winning a Cup(delusional or not) and just need to add a player or two. About another 10 teams believe they can/will make the playoffs if they continue to improve/add more of this or that. About 4 teams are in full rebuild mode and though they will tell fans they are striving for the playoffs, they realistically know they're are a long shot at best.

2) As of today June 9th 2007 here are the premier Unrestricted Free Agents as we see them, and to where we are currently hearing they could be headed. Keep in mind that other than their current team, no one else can talk with any UFA until July 1st. However, though this rule isn't directly broken, it is bent to a degree.

3) As many could see a great deal of UFA's signed the first day last year. How could that be if they couldn't talk until then? "Back channels" is what one asst. GM told FAUXRUMORS. There are ways around without being charged with tampering. In some cases GM's know the game and turn the other way. How? Current players and other non-employed people can approach an impending UFA. (We even mentioned this last month with regard to Ryan Smyth and Edmonton)

4) So who are they UFA's to watch?:

  • J.S. Giguere, 30 of Anaheim. The player who we believed deserved the playoff MVP. By far the best available goalie this free agency period. Made just under 4 mil this past season. If a true bidding war erupts Giggy could get offers of up to 7+ mil. There is also the possibility he'd want to remain a Duck and give a home town discount of around 5-5.5/year. Our Anaheim source tells FAUXRUMORS that its early, but he thinks J.S. will stay put if the team wants him long term. Boston is the favourite rumored destination if he moves.

  • Daniel Briere, 29 Buffalo. After making 5 million with the Sabres and having a career season this past year look for the center to ask for and probably get 7+ mil for 5 years. One thing we can tell our readers for sure is that Briere will NOT be headed to Montreal! That will undoubtedly be the rumor trend come July 1, but our sources close to Daniel tells FAUXRUMORS that he does NOT want to be part of that circus that is the French Montreal media. The Sabres may try to keep him IF he will give a discount, but the Sabres will try to sign Drury first if they can and see what if anything they have left to offer Daniel. If not Buffalo then? A player this talented will get calls from every GM in the league, but at his asking price. Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Washington have plenty of cash to spend. Our sources tell FAUXRUMORS to not be surprised to see Colorado make a pitch for the center. With an aging Sakic its not out of the realm of possibility.

  • Chris Drury, 30 Buffalo. Made 3.1 mil this past year. Of their 2 UFA enters, the Sabres would love to retain Drury more than Briere. Stats don't tell the full story for Drury, who has a much-deserved reputation as one of the game's best clutch players and playoff performers. He's won a Stanley Cup and is an accomplished penalty killer. All of this means he'll be worth just about every penny of the $6-$7 million four/five-year contract he's likely to get. If not Buffalo? Like Briere there will be many potential suitors should Drury hit the open market, but we are hearing that won't happen unless Tom Golisano (owner) refuses to increase their payroll.

  • Todd Bertuzzi, 32 Detroit. 'T-Bert' better think again if he thinks he'll get another 5+ mil/year contract. After burning the Panthers last year for virtually no production for oodles of cash and giving up Vezina candidate Roberto Luongo, teams will probably be wary of the big RW. That said there will be interest, but only if the price is right. The Maple Leafs have in the past shown a penchant for older power forwards (Lindros). A contract of about $3-$4 million per year range,is possible, but it will largely depend on demand.

  • Sheldon Souray, 30 Montreal. Souray couldn't have picked a better time to have a career year. He scored 26 goals, including an NHL-record 19 on the power play! Also played with an edge with 135 penalty minutes. However there is a downside. His minus-28 rating, was last among all Montreal players. Plus/minus can be a deceiving stat, but when it's tilted so far to one side, it can't be over looked. Lots of potential suitors though: Islanders, Canadiens, Thrashers, Flames, Blackhawks, Avalanche, Wings, Devils, Flyers, Capitals. Of these we are hearing the Flyers and Caps will make a big push for the offensively gifted blueliner. He won't come cheap. A 5 year 30 mil deal is possible if a bidding war ensues. Its assured he will make at least double what he made last season. (2.4)

  • Scott Gomez, 27 New Jersey. For all the hype Scott is/will get, he is not a dominant player in our opinion. He only scored 13 goals this year, and only once in his career has he scored more than 20, Once! That probably won’t stop him from getting a huge contract, probably something approaching $6.5 million. Where? After accepting an arbitration award of 5 million we are hearing its doubtful the Devils will even try to get into a bidding war for Scott. He very well may use the other NY metro area teams as leverage to get his price, but we are hearing he'd love to go out west. The Kings will try very hard to land the Alaskan native, but don't count out Colorado either.

  • Jason Blake, 33 Islanders. Jason Blake continued his rise to stardom to become one of the NHL's better goal scorers, finishing 10th in the league with 40 goals. The diminutive spark plug has always impressed with his hustle, but now has seemingly become an effective scorer to boot. He does has a reputation for being a bit of a puck hog, but , Blake will be a valuable addition to just about any offense. He gives a complete effort, or close to it, on just about every night. This past year he was a bargain at 1.55 million. Look for Blake to ask for a 4 year 20 million deal, and will probably get it. Where? Islanders, Wild, Ducks, Flames, Kings, Canadians, Flyers, Leafs, Canucks will all be rumored, but if his home state team of Minnesota is in the ball park, look for Blake to join former team mate Mark Parrish with the Wild come September.

  • Ryan Smyth, 31. Islanders. After a surprising trade deadline swap of Smyth from Edmonton, the Albertan showed Isles fans why he was known as 'Captain Canada'. His work ethic and leadership skills were evident in the Isles dressing room from day 1. Smyth has been a consistent goal-scoring threat throughout his career. His grit and prowess around the net make him a dangerous force unlike any other player the Islanders have. The decision will not come down to the Islanders will to sign him; it will instead depend on Smyth's desire to remain on Long Island. We are hearing/have written that Edmonton has already made subtle overtures to their former captain. Unless Smyth gets blown away by a Wang-type offer he will probably return to the west, most likely back to Alberta. (Ofcourse Leafs rumors will be inevitable!) LOL

5) Be sure to stay tuned for our next of our 4 part installments of UFA: Rumors/analysis! As always, keep it here for the latest!



1) Looks as if the famous rumor whore(Eklund) is reading this site. No sooner do we post this UFA installment does he go ahead and post a silly Ryan Smyth to the Maple Leafs rumor! Confirming our last statement that a rumor(s) to Toronto will be inevitable. we just didn't think it would happen so fast! LOL
2) Additionally he mentions Yashin to the Caps. HMMMM, wonder where we read that before? Yes, here days ago! Glad to have ya aboard as a reader Ek! LOL

Sauce said...

Just FYI... the Yashin to the Caps rumor was EVERYWHERE almost immediately after Logan from Newsday broke the story of the buyout.

$5 million for for 4 years for Blake? If he gets that much for that long it will be one of the worst cases of overpayment since Yashin's contract. Blake isn't only a puck hog, he's a puck HEAD - he does nothing to bring up the spirit in the locker room, and is generally disliked by his teammates. True, he give 150% every game. But the guy is maybe 5-8, 175 lbs, he leads the team with 40 goals and is routinely on the receiving end of cheap shots from the opposition... but NOT ONCE did one of his teammates stand up for him. NOT ONCE. There's a good reason why the Isles are willing to pass on the guy afte he refused a $3 million for 3 years offer. He's just not worth more than that.


1) We believe that Blake won't be the only player 'overpaid'. We agree that a 20 mil deal for him is way too much, but a offensively strapped team may think its a good investment
2) Others that come to mind as overpaid will be Gomez and Briere. The ladder had a career year last season. Before that the most points he ever got was 65, 3 years ago.
3) Gomez is a Spezza, Joe thornton type guy. Puts up numbers, mostly assists, but isn't a real super star in our opinion who deserves a huge contract

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