MONTREAL- Quality NHL defensemen don’t grow on trees. Those on the brink of unrestricted free agency should go like hotcakes once the market opens on July 1.
The toast of this year’s blue line crop is the Sharks’ Brian Campbell, who finds himself in the driver’s seat after coming off the most productive campaign of his career. With 62 points this season, including 19 over his last 20 games spent in California following his trade deadline deal to San Jose, there will be no shortage of team’s lining up to ink Campbell.
While his production dipped to 38 points in 2007-08, Wade Redden remains a proven NHL commodity. The reliable and offensively-gifted rearguard will have his 13-season body of work to thank for the numerous calls he will receive from hungry general managers come Tuesday.
Unless he manages to ink a deal with Bob Gainey in the coming days, Mark Streit will be on the open market. The Swiss defenseman exploded for 62 points in his third NHL season and led all NHL blueliners with 34 power play points.
Rounding out those who will likely soon be available are teammates Adam Foote and John-Michael Liles of the Avalanche, the Penguins’ Brooks Orpik, the Rangers’ Michal Roszival and the suddenly coveted Ron Hainsey, who was originally a Habs top pick at the 2000 NHL Draft. Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com