2011 NHL Free Agent Frenzy

Posted: July 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

Today is the day that the NHL’s top Unrestricted Free Agents can begin shopping their services for the upcoming 2011/2012 season. So far a slew of NHL players have re-signed with their teams, so that will leave this years crop of already disappointing free agent talent bare. Here are is a list of a few of the top free agents, and who I think they will sign with.

Brad Richards C, Dallas: Brad Richards is the top free agent this year and he will command a boat load of money. I see Toronto, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia as his top destinations but I think Richards will follow the bright lights to New York and sign with the New York Rangers.

Jason Arnott C, Washington: Arnott put up a career low 31 points last season while spending time with the New Jersey Devils, and Washington Capitals. Arnott was one of a few players who did not under perform for Washington during the playoffs. He has 6 points in 9 playoff games. Arnott will be 37 in October so expect a team to only offer Arnott a 1 year deal. Dallas, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Colorado might take a chance with the 6’5 220 pound centre from Collingwood, Ontario.

Jaromir Jagr RW, Avangard Omsk: Jagr, the man with the mullet who lit up the NHL in the mid 90’s who looks to be making a return to the NHL this season. Most people think Jagr will sign with Detroit or Pittsburgh but I’m going to go with the Montreal Canadians. Jagr would love to play with his fellow countrymen Tomas Plekanec. If Jagr played in Montreal he would be loved like Alexei Kovalev was during his recent stay with the Canadians.

Erik Cole RW, Carolina: Erik Cole has always played well during his two stints with the Carolina Hurricanes. When he left Carolina he just wasn’t the same type of player. Despite the Hurricanes signing Jussi Jokinen yesterday I believe the Hurricanes will find the right amount of money to re-sign Erik Cole.

Ville Leino LW, Philadelphia: Leino put up 50 points last season while making less than a million. Leino will chase the money for a huge pay-day. Expect him to stay on the East Coast. Buffalo, New York, New Jersey, Washington, and Tampa Bay would make a great fit for the young finnish forward.

Michael Ryder RW, Boston: Ryder had a great playoff run with the Bruins and is looking for a huge payout. Ryder would prefer to stay on the East Coast because his family is from Newfoundland, Canada but I think Ryder won’t be able to be too picky with whatever offers he gets. A team in the West would suit Ryder the best. Chicago, Los Angeles, Minnesota, or Dallas may come calling.

Antti Miettinen RW, Minnesota: As a third line forward for Minnesota last season Miettinen put up 35 points in 73 games. Miettinen is a forward who plays well defensively and can also chip with offense. The 30 year-old forward from Finland would fit in well with Los Angeles, Dallas, Montreal, Toronto, Pittsburgh, or New Jersey.

James Wisniewski D, Columbus: Wisniewski is the top free agent defenseman on the open market, and there is one big team with their wallet open who would love to sign Wisniewski. The Detroit Red Wings and James Wisniewski would make a perfect match if they can come to terms.

Tomas Kaberle D, Boston:  Kaberle is coming off a poor playoff performance with the Cup champion Bruins. Don’t expect Toronto, or Boston to sign Kaberle. Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington, will all be in the hunt to sign the former Maple Leaf stalwart.

Bryan McCabe D, New York Rangers: McCabe is come off a season where he played for the Florida Panthers, and New York Rangers. The veteran defender is a little shaky in his own zone but he can still help out on the power play. He won’t get anywhere near the 5 million he made last season but he should find work. Detroit, Minnesota, Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis could benefit from signing McCabe.

Ed Jovanovski D, Phoenix: Ed Jovanovski is coming off an injury plagued season with the NHL owned Phoenix Coyotes. Jovanovski is nowhere near the player he was in his early days. Jovanovski’s options will be limited and his family loves it in Arizona. Expect “Special Ed” to remain with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Tomas Vokoun G, Florida: Vokoun is the top goaltender up for grabs this summer. Vokoun did his best in Florida but the Panthers suck, so it should be no surprise that he wants to leave South Florida. Colorado, Phoenix, and Columbus badly need a goalie. I think the Colorado Avalanche will come out on top and sign the Czech netminder.

Marty Turco G, Chicago: The longtime goalie for the Dallas Stars struggled mightily with his new team the Chicago Blackhawks last season. Turco was reduced to back up duty and a paltry 11 win season. Expect a team who is desperate for a backup goalie to sign Turco. He is from Michigan so perhaps Detroit might make him an offer. Columbus, Phoenix, Colorado, Anaheim might also be interested Turco who is one of the best puck-handeling goalies in the NHL.

 

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Comments
  1. Paul K says:

    Hi Har, It looks like you picked the correct spots for some of the free agents. I wish we could have kept Ryder here in Boston, but it looks like he had his mind made up to take the first good offer, so it’s off to Dallas for him. Brad Richards got the money in New York, and you also predicted Ville Leino would stay in the east and he did just that by signing with Buffalo. Montreal didn’t get Jagr as you had thought, but they did get a right wing in Eric Cole.

    What did you think of Jagr joining Philly? I wonder what his reception will be the first time he plays in Pittsburg?

    It’s all Red Sox talk on the radio now, but with the NFL lockout soon coming to an end, the Patriots should be heating up soon, just like the weather in the 90’s now.

    • Hi Paul I was surprised I got a few of my free agent predictions right. It was total chaos on Friday with over 60 players signing. It seems like the owners went nuts and overpaid on every player that was a free agent. I really thought Cole would stay in Carolina because when he left and went to Edmonton he was dreadful as an Oiler. However when he returned to the Hurricanes he was back to playing like his old self. Maybe he just missed his centre Eric Staal. I think he will fit in well with the Habs, and Bruins fans will have no problem finding a reason to hate him once the season starts. I think everyone was shocked by where Jaromir Jagr signed. It’s clear he wanted to go to the highest bidder. He says he had offers from other NHL teams for more money but I don’t believe him. He is going to get boooooooooooooooooed when he goes back to Pittsburgh. I guess one could sense he wasn’t going to sign with the Pens. They had an offer for him worth 2 million and he never answered them. Jagr has always chased the money and it seems like that’s what motivated him to sign in Philly. I think he will injured more often than not with the Flyers. He doesn’t fit in to their physical style of play and he is 39. He should have gone to Montreal, Detroit, or Pittsburgh. Who is going to be his centre, and feed him the puck? Daniel Briere… Yah all the talk on Weei seems to be about Gerry’s lost sandals and what to do with John Schlackey. I wish they would talk more about hockey. The best team in the NHL is in Boston yet you wouldn’t know it by listening to Weei of late. Bob Ryan and Eric Frede were talking about Gold, and a Hot Dog Eating contest yesterday. Thanks for visiting my blog and reading my latest story.

  2. greenpoet says:

    Har,

    Enjoy reading your blog even on a day when the Red Sox lay a 4th of July egg (Dad yells at Lackey & Drew again.) Wanted to check in and be sure you know that the inimitable Bob Ryan will be guest hosting on the D&C Show from Tuesday-Friday this week. Not sure if Dennis or Gerry or both are on vacation. I always look forward to listening to Bob talk sports be it on PTI, Around The Horn, Sports Reporters, or all the local Boston casts he makes. And I look forward to Har blogs.

    Over 80 degrees here in Central MA – hope your day is pleasant,

    Richard

    • Hi Richard how’s it going? I saw that mess of a Red Sox game today. That’s why I call him Schlackey. Up North all the Toronto Blue Jays games are on all across Canada. When they play the Red Sox I always try to watch the game. I thought it was a night game tonight until I saw it was the 4th of July. If it was a night game I would have missed it. I think Lester will bounce back and pick up the win tomorrow against Cecil. As long as rain doesn’t fall I’ll be watching on Tuesday, and Wednesday. Yes I saw that Mr. Bob Ryan will be filling in this week for D&C. I saw a post on Facebook saying John and Gerry would be on vacation all week. Bob Ryan is awesome so I’ll try to listen and maybe call in sometime later in the week. Mr. Ryan is one of only 2 Boston media personalities to email me last year when I attempted to meet up with somebody who works and covers sports in Boston. He gave me some great advice so I of course think he is awesome. We get PTI, Around the Horn, and Sports Reporters up here so I’m very familiar with him. I also follow him on Twitter. 80 degrees eh that’s 25 Celsius if you’re in Canada. Summer finally arrived in Vancouver on Friday and it’s been in the high seventies for the last few days. Thankfully the rain and cold cloudy weather finally seems to be gone. Happy 4th of July Richard thanks for following me blog.

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