Saturday, June 16, 2007

Early Free Agent Analysis/Rumors Part IV

1) A continuation of our off season analysis and rumors for the impending UFA's:

  • Andy Sutton, 32 Thrashers. The hard-hitting, physical Sutton has earned a reputation as a shutdown defender who can add punch to a soft blue line. he'll probably demand around $2.5 million/year for three years after earning just under 2 mil this past year. Sutton carved out a good niche for himself in Atlanta, who will surely look to re-sign him, especially if the market doesn't drive his price too far beyond $2.5 million/year.
  • Robert Lang, 37 Detroit. Seems to be on the decline. After finishing the last year of his contract with Detroit at $3.8 million/year, he's probably going to have to take less money and a short-term deal no matter where he goes. Figure on about $2.5 million for one or two years. Where? Rangers, Thrashers, Flames, Blackhawks, Wings, Oilers, Penguins, Blues. His best years were with Jagr so a reunion can't be ruled out, Edmonton is also a frequently rumored destination, but a return albeit at a reduced salary to Detroit is also possible.

  • Curtis Joseph, 40 Phoenix. CuJo was once an elite goaltender in the NHL, but he's reached his twilight now. Many assumed he'd be dealt at the deadline by a team that needed goalie depth, but surprisingly he stayed put. (No takers ?) We can see Curtis staying with the desert dogs another season before calling it a career.

  • Kimmo Timonen, 32 Nashville. Timonen has developed into once of the league’s best attacking defensemen. He’s great on the power play and led the Predators in ice time last year. For that reason we hear that it will be tough negotiating, but Nashville will keep Timonen. He will likely get a nice raise from the 2.375 he made this past year. Look for a 3 year 15 mil deal for the talented Finn defender to stay in Music City.
  • Brendan Shanahan, 38, Rangers. He's not the physical force he once was, and his poor foot speed has become problematic in the faster, post-cap NHL. That said, Shanahan proved he's still a premiere scorer with one of the best releases this side of Hull and Bossy. Some have whispered that Shanahan favors New York because it puts him closer to the NHL offices, where he may hope to begin his next career. It makes sense to consider the Rangers the favorite to re-sign Shanny, but there will be plenty of other teams involved if he becomes a free agent.he may have to take a bit of a pay cut from the 4 million he made this year. A one year, incentive laden 3 million deal is likely.
  • Dainius Zubrus, 29 Buffalo. Amazing that Dainus is still only 29. Seems he's been around forever. About to start his 12th season, the Lithuanian seems he's finally found his touch and developed into a nice all around,if not over flashy versatile forward. He made 1.85 mil last season and seemed poised to sign an extension with the Caps before the trade deadline deal that sent him to the sabres. He won't get 1st line money, but expect Dainius to get plenty of attention from teams looking to add a solid 2nd liner. A 3 year 10 mil deal is possible if multiple teams step up. We;re hearing the caps would be willing to return Zubrus with his buddy Ovechkin but NOT for the 5 year 25 million he was asking last winter. Buffalo also may try to retain him.

  • Roman Hamrlik 33 Calgary. The former 1st overall pick of the Lightning is going to garner considerable interest from teams looking to add a reliably offensively gifted blueliner. Roma may not be Scott Niedermayer, but he is a good top 4 defenseman. he made 3.5 mil last season. Look for teams to off him up to 4.5 for 3-4 years for his services. The Flames if they can find cap space would like to retain him. Else look for the Flyers, caps, Panthers and Kings to pursue him.
  • Anson Carter 33, Carolina. How the mighty have fallen. This time last year the former Canuck was coming off his best season playing with the Sedins, he felt he deserved a 3 year 9 million deal. The Nucks thought otherwise and Anson had to wait till almost the season to get his deal a one year 2.5 mil from Columbus. He returned to his old ways of inconsistency and had a forgetful season even after a trade to the Hurricane. His stock has nose dived even further. he will get offers, but in the 1 mil range if he's lucky. The Leafs and Bruins may have interest, and the Canucks may even contact him if he's willing to accept a big pay cut!
  • Ed Belfour 42, Florida. To his credit the mentally unstable Panther goalie had a pretty good rebound season. Ousting Alex Auld for the #1 spot, and carrying the team into playoff contention for a time. That said he's 42 and has back problems that are chronic. To say nothing of getting maced and tazered by law enforcement regularly. Still we could see a team giving Eddie the Eagle a 1 year deal as a back up or co # 1. The Panthers may ask him back at a similar salary of 2.5 mil.
  • Scott Hartnell 25, Nashville. One of the younger available UFA. Scott never developed into the offensive power forward, but has become a scrappy decent 2nd-3rd line center. he made a decent 1.75 mil lat season, but will probably get a healthy raise to about 2.5-3.5 depending upon competition. Plenty of teams will show interest including the Predators who would like to retain him, but can't over pay. If he goes on the market we hear the Canadians have interest


Shuck-A-Luck said...

Great reviews of some of the key UFAs coming up! Good speculation about where they might go, but what do your sources tell you about where they will be going? Give us some juicy stuff man!

FAUXRUMORS 2 said...

1) Thanks! In each of the 3 FA posts (One dedicated to who should retire) we mention where we are hearing a FA may be headed.
2) Of course at this stage there are so many teams in the mix for some that it is impossible to say definitively where a particular player is going
3) Especially where formal negotiations can't start with teams until July 1st. With the salary cap going up (They still haven't announced how much!)more teams will be in the mix to grab a UFA
4) We feel the most interesting thing that could occur would be the signing of a RFA! Even with the increased cap, some teams have be unwilling/unable to match a large offer sheet. the question is: Will a team take that huge risk?

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