We have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the NHL’s online services, you agree to these updated documents and to the arbitration of disputes.
Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 
SHARE

Free agency likely to yield more second-tier players

Sunday, 06.26.2011 / 7:00 PM / NHL Free Agency 2011

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Share with your Friends


Free agency likely to yield more second-tier players
Teams looking for luxury items in the 2011 unrestricted free-agent market won't find very much to choose from. Those willing to shop at a less expensive store, however, might find some items to their liking.
Teams looking for luxury items in the 2011 unrestricted free-agent market won't find very much to choose from. Those willing to shop at a less expensive store, however, might find some items to their liking.
 
With so many teams signing players to long-term contracts, it's becoming harder and harder to find impact unrestricted free agents each summer, and this summer looks no different.
 
Among the top names available, only Dallas Stars center Brad Richards could be in line for a long-term, big-money contract.
 
At age 31 and coming off a season where he finished in the top 10 in the League with 49 assists and 77 points, Richards could be in line for a contract similar to the five-year, $39 million deal he signed prior to the 2006-07 season.
 
Besides his scoring, Richards also brings a championship pedigree -- he won the Conn Smythe Trophy while helping the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup.
 
A number of teams could be looking to upgrade their depth up the middle and could be targeting Richards, including the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers.
 
While Richards appears to be the most talented offensive player about to hit the open market, there are some other candidates that teams will investigate. That list could include the Lightning's Simon Gagne, the Capitals' Brooks Laich and Jason Arnott, Tomas Fleischmann of the Avalanche, the Coyotes' Radim Vrbata and Scottie Upshall of the Blue Jackets.
 
Future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne also will become an unrestricted free agent July 1, but it's a certainty that if he does play next season, it only will be with the Anaheim Ducks.
 
Teams looking to upgrade their offense from the blue line could consider the Coyotes' Ed Jovanovski, the Rangers' Bryan McCabe, the Bruins' Tomas Kaberle and the Hurricanes' Joni Pitkanen.
 
If they're looking for more physicality and defensive-zone skill, candidates include the Canadiens' Roman Hamrlik, the Devils' Andy Greene and the Red Wings' Ruslan Salei.
 
The list of available goaltenders includes a few aging veterans in the Lightning's Dwayne Roloson, the Maple Leafs' Jean-Sebastien Giguere and the Panthers' Tomas Vokoun. A few younger options could be the Senators' Pascal Leclaire and the Lightning's Mike Smith.
 
Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh