Thursday, June 9, 2011

2011 NHL Free Agency: To sign or not to sign

Shortly after the Stanley Cup Finals conclude, general managers will begin to think about free agency, if they haven't already.  Free agency is a test of loyalty, finances and commitment, and it can make or break an NHL franchise.  Let's take a look at some of the big ticket free agents that hit the market this summer and whether their current team should re-sign the player or let him go.

Player: Brad Richards
Team: Dallas Stars
To sign or not to sign: Dallas has publically stated that due to ownership issues, they won't be re-signing Brad Richards, but that's okay because Glen Sather already has a 16-year/$139 million deal ready to go.  I can't imagine where he got those numbers from...

Player: Ed Jovanovski
Team: Phoenix Coyotes
To sign or not to sign: Phoenix also has ownership problems, and they've already traded their goalie's rights to Philadelphia.  Obviously Coyotes management sees a lot of potential in recently acquired star blue-liner Michal Roszival, so who needs Jovanovski?

Player: Tomas Kaberle
Team: Boston Bruins
To sign or not to sign: He's been a strong offensive player for against the Bruins, so he'd be a good fit in Montreal.

Player: Ilya Bryzgalov
Team: Phoenix/Philadelphia
To sign or not to sign: Paul Holmgren acquired the rights to Dan Hamhuis and failed to sign him last season, so why not do the same with Bryzgalov, especially given the position Ilya plays?!

Player: Nicklas Lidstrom
Team: Detroit Red Wings
To sign or not to sign: While it isn't clear whether Lidstrom wants to retire or keep playing, it is hard to imagine Detroit without #5 in their lineup.  Oh well, Lidstrom had his first career minus season (-2 rating), so he's clearly not what he used to be.

Player: Tomas Vokoun
Team: Florida Panthers
To sign or not to sign: Vokoun may be ready to move on.  Unfortunately for the Panthers, it appears that Ilya Bryzgalov is the Flyers' main target, which means that Florida may not get much, if anything in return for Vokoun.  But that's okay since they're used to getting nothing in return.

Player: Bryan McCabe
Team: New York Rangers
To sign or not to sign: Glen Sather has blocked everyone's number except for Brad Richards and his agent.  In fact, Sather forgot who McCabe is.

Player: Shea Weber
Team: Nashville Predators
To sign or not to sign: Shea Weber is the face of the Preds' franchise.  In fact, the Preds actually went out and brought in a supermodel to sell the city to him.  I hear she's taken, though...

Player: Kevin Bieksa
Team: Vancouver Canucks
To sign or not to sign: This postseason has proved that Vancouver has a surplus of defensemen, so quality players such as Keith Ballard or Aaron Rome can always take Bieksa's role.

Player: Steven Stamkos
Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
To sign or not to sign: Tampa Bay will obviously do everything they can to re-sign Stamkos, but why do I keep hearing about Glen Sather getting him?!

Player: Drew Doughty
Team: Los Angeles Kings
To sign or not to sign: Well Bleacher Report says that Brian Burke should sign Doughty, so that clearly must be what will happen.

Player: Zach Parise
Team: New Jersey Devils
To sign or not to sign: Some say arbitration is the way to go with Parise, but I pray that Richard Bloch is not invited into the room.

Player: Dwayne Roloson
Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
To sign or not to sign: Young goalies, such as Roloson, should be locked up to long deals, I'm talking 15 years.  Just ask Garth Snow how that works out...

Player: Teemu Selanne
Team: Anaheim Ducks
To sign or not to sign: I can guarantee you that Selanne will retire or leave the NHL by force someday.  I can also guarantee that Alex Ovechkin, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will retire someday as well.

Player: Mark Recchi
Team: Boston Bruins
To sign or not to sign: I'm no doctor, but players like Recchi really add a lot of heart to teams.

Player: Maxime Talbot
Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
To sign or not to sign: The Pens should keep this guy just in case they ever play in a Stanley Cup Finals Game 7.

Player: Brian Boucher
Team: Philadelphia Flyers
To sign or not to sign: For now, Ilya Bryzgalov is the savior to the Flyers goaltending problems, but on November 1st when they realize he's not and Sergei Bobrovsky has mysteriously disappeared, keeping Boucher may come in handy.

Player: Doug Weight
Team: New York Islanders
To sign or not to sign: He's already signed his contract for next season...with the NHL Network.