Picking Landing Spots for top 25 NHL free agents
Our Experts Discuss the NHL
- by Alex Hoegler,
- Senior Columnist
With NHL Free Agency slated to begin in a week from today, here's a look at where I believe the top 30 free agents will land this offseason:
1. Paul Stastny- Colorado Avalanche
Analysis_:_ Both sides appear very keen on a deal, Stastny is willing to take a hometown discount. Both sides will get it done.
2. Thomas Vanek- Minnesota Wild
Analysis_: _Vanek played college hockey there, his family is there, former teammate Jason Pominville too. Perfect match.
3. _Marian Gaborik- _Los Angeles Kings
Analysis: Gaborik went on a tear in the playoffs with LA, and both sides are reportedly working on a deal. He's staying.
_4. _Ryan Callahan- Nashville Predators
Analysis: The Preds usually don't spend much, but they do need offense badly. And Callahan can play "d" in their system.
5. _Matt Niskanen- _Tampa Bay Lightning
Analysis_:_The Lightning need to upgrade their defense bad. They'll take a chance on Niskanen, who had a breakout season.
6. _Ryan Miller- _New York Islanders
Analysis: Miller's 34 years old and is past his prime. The Isles need a goalie and will desperately take him.
7. Brad Richards- Ottawa Senators
Analysis: Once they trade Spezza, they'll have a void at first-line center. Richards shouldn't be too expensive, either.
8. Matt Moulson- Columbus Blue Jackets
Analysis: The Jackets can play defense, but the offense is lacking. Moulson makes perfect sense as a 30-goal scorer.
9. Jarome Iginla- Boston Bruins
Analysis: Reports claiming it'll be tough to bring him back because of cap space, but GM Chiarelli will work magic here and find a one-year deal to keep Iginla.
10. Mike Cammalleri- New Jersey Devils
Analysis: The Devils really need offense, Cammalleri is consistently a 20-plus goal scorer. He's an excellent fit.
11. Dave Bolland- Washington Capitals
Analysis: His two-way style of play can make up for Alex Ovechkin's defensive irresponsibility.
12. Radim Vrbata- Vancouver Canucks
Analysis: The Canucks will definitely make one splash, they need a scoring winger on the second line.
13. Mikhail Grabovski- Dallas Stars
Analysis: The Stars would love to add another scorer to complement Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn.
14. Dan Boyle- Detroit Red Wings
Analysis: The Wings really need a right-handed defenseman, and they love bringing in past-their-prime veterans.
15. Brooks Orpik- Edmonton Oilers
Analysis: The Oilers lack stay-at-home defensemen like Orpik, who's physicality would help that terrible defense.
16. Milan Michalek- Ottawa Senators
Analysis: The Sens need to bring back Michalek, who's second half surge kept them in the playoff hunt.
17. Jonas Hiller- Vancouver Canucks
Analysis: The Canucks need another goalie, and Hiller's stock has fallen, but the Canucks will happily take him.
18. Anton Stralman- Carolina Hurricanes
Analysis: The Hurricanes will try to add to their defense, and Stralman is a good fit.
19. Ales Hemsky- New Jersey Devils
Analysis: Hemsky's skill and talent will give the Devils another much-needed scorer.
20. Jussi Jokinen- Montreal Canadiens
Analysis: The Habs need Vanek's scoring to be replaced, and Jokinen can score 20 goals to help out.
21. Steve Ott- New York Rangers
Analysis: After being roughed up by LA in the finals, they need another gritty forward.
22. Nikolai Kulemin- Phoenix Coyotes
Analysis: The Coyotes need more scoring depth
23. Mason Raymond- Phoenix Coyotes
Analysis: Kulemin and Raymond would give the Coyotes more speed and top six forwards they really need.
24. Benoit Pouliot- Calgary Flames
Analysis: Another small signing by the Flames, who could use his talent
25. Mike Santorelli- Vancouver Canucks
Analysis: The only nice story of the Canucks last season, Santorelli found a good role with the team, they'll be sure t o bring him back.
Sorry everyone, the formatting is a little off. I didn't think it would come up like this.
@Alex Hoegler, the formatting looks ok, for the most part, jsut need a break here and there.
However, there are a few issues with some of the landing spots for some of the players. I know for sure that Vanek isn't so high on the Wild's radar due to his poor performance during the playoffs. The Wild need players to get them over the edge.
Miller won't be going to the Island since they signed Halak earlier in their offseason after acquiring his rights from Washington.
You also assume that the Devils will be willing to shell out a bunch of money for players. Same with Calgary. Putting that much money into players doesn't fit the rebuild ideals too much.
I think the Florida Panthers will land one or more of these players. The team has over 30 million in cap room this summer, and general manger Dale Tallon and new owner Vincent Viola have stated they are willing to spend to the cap. With a newly hired coach Gerrard Gallant and a deep pool of prospects, I expect them to try and outbid for some of the above mentioned players.
My best guess at who they will target: Mike Cammalleri, Matt Niskanen, Matt Moulson, Nikolai Kulemin, Milan Michalek.