Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Contract Year Anomaly - Defensemen

The second in a series of posts listing the available free agents at the end of the term. We did goaltenders last time, and this time we'll hit up the defensemen. As you look at the list, it seems that the D-men fall into certain categories. You have your...

Veterans/Lifer's/One-Year Dealer's/Will I or Won't I's

Can't go back to Jersey?
Scott Niedermayer, ANA - $6.75mil
Scotty's already pulled the semi-retired half-a-season a la indecisive Swede Mats Sundin, but he's had another full season under his belt. Its hard to imagine Niedermayer hanging them up considering he's still one of the premier defensemen around the League even though he's up there in age. Especially with his flirty trade comments of heading back to Jersey to play with his brother and back under Lemaire. To me that's a been there done that scenario, unless he's looking to win a Cup with both of those factors in place.

Nicklas Lidstrom, DET - $7.45 mil
Again, hard to imagine Nick leaving the Wings to play elsewhere, I think the only other possible scenario is retirement aside from re-signing. Lidstrom has done it all, winning several Cups, one as Captain, several Norris Trophies, a Conn Smythe, as well as gold medals in the Olympics and the World Championships for Sweden. If he wanted to retire on top he should have done it two seasons ago.

Sergei Gonchar, PIT - $5mil
Gonchar has been known as an elite offensive defenseman since he entered the League 15 years ago with the Washington Capitals. Injuries have slowed him down in recent years, but he secured his place in immortality by winning the Cup with the Penguins last season. I would think he'd be back with Pittsburgh for another year deal, considering he spent the majority of his career with two teams.

Rob Blake, SJS - $3.5mil
Blake just received the bullshit of honor of being named Captain of the Sharks, and who knows if that's gone to his head enough to keep him there another year if they can't bring it home this year.


Joe Corvo, CAR - $2.625mil
Corvo falls into that elusive available offensive defenseman category that is so hard to come by on Canada Day. He put up some nice numbers in Ottawa, and was a major boost to the Carolina blueline in the playoff push to the Conference Finals last season. I could definetely see him bolting Carolina considering the wretched season that team is having, and coming out of it with a nice paycheck from somewhere in need a power play quarterback.

Anton Volchenkov, OTT - $2.5mil
Volchenkov could be the prize of the offseason as far as defenseman go. He's a big time hitter, and is always at the top of the list in shots blocked. He's got a decent first pass out of the zone, but he's more defense than offense. Bryan Murray will make signing him his biggest priority this season, probably because it will determine the viability of his job in the near future. Murray's running out of free passes.
Are you just happy to see me?
Willie Mitchell, VAN - $3.5mil
I've gushed over Vancouver before, but I'm really sold on the defensive corp they've put together. Bieksa definetely leads, but Willie's a close second. If I were Gillis I'd work like hell to keep it together, but Mitchell's going to look for a significant raise I would think. Might be unable to make the numbers work, and he's off to the highest bidder. I'm not sold on Mitchell being an all-around perfect defenseman but he adds a nice element of size and toughness to that blueline that's going to be desirable to a lot of teams looking for back-end grit.

More FA Candidates
Milan Jurcina, WAS - $1.375mil - Anyone named Milan deserves butter.
Shaone Morrisonn, WAS - $1.975mil - Your name is stupid.
Brian Pothier, WAS - $2.5mil - Makes me think of that comedian Brian Posein.
Shane O'Brien, VAN - $1.6mil - Hold on to your stick and shut up.
Mathieu Schneider, VAN - $2.75mil - Still has 21 more teams to play for.
Garnet Exelby, TOR - $1.4mil - How did that work out for you?
Darryl Sydor, STL - $1mil - Has one more Cup and 3 less teams.
Carlo Colaiacovo, STL - $1.3mil - Should have beat the shit out of Ott.
Martin Skoula, PIT - $575k - Because no one else is left on the Pens defense.
Jay McKee, PIT - $800k - Smell my finger.
Mark Eaton, PIT - $2mil - See Martin Skoula.
Adrian Aucoin, PHX - $2.25mil - Still traveling from Calgary. He's slow, okay?
Freddy Meyer, NYI - $588k - Scariest name ever. Except for Michael Kruger.
Andy Sutton, NYI - $3mil - Expect a 10-year contract.
Mike Mottau, NJD - $763k - Could've been good.
Paul Martin, NJD - $3.8mil - As boring as Devils hockey.
Wade Belak, NSH - $650k - Kicked the crap out of Brashear, worth something.
Francis Bouillon, NSH - $750k - Mmmm, soup.
Dan Hamhuis, NSH - $2mil - Mmmm, ham.
Marc-Andre Bergeron, MTL - $750k - Sometimes has offensive ability.
Paul Mara, MTL - $1.675mil - Has a great big bushy beard!
Kim Johnsson, MIN - $4.85mil - Solid defenseman.
Shane Hnidy, MIN - $750k - The Sheriff always has a place in my heart.
Marek Zidlicky, MIN - $3.35mil - Nashville to Minnesota. Wild.
Sean O'Donnell, LAK - $1.25mil - A healthy scratch more often than not.
Randy Jones, LAK - $1.375mil - Hextall's stamp.
Jordan Leopold, FLA - $1.75mil - Calgary is still laughing about this.
Dennis Seidenberg, FLA - $2.25mil - Carolina to Florida. Me-ow.
Jason Strudwick, EDM - $700k - Keep him, no one else will come.
Brett Lebda, DET - $650k - Undrafted, through the farm.
Andreas Lilja, DET - $1.25mil - Likes the rough stuff.
Adam Foote, COL - $3mil - Didn't you die yet? Please.
Ruslan Salei, COL - $3.025mil - Colorado love.
Brett Clark, COL - $3.5mil - Sounds a bit high, but okay.
Niclas Wallin, CAR - $1.725mil - I got nothin'.
Aaron Ward, CAR - $2.5mil - I love getting five on my lip.
Henrik Tallinder, BUF - $2.6mil - How many more of these?
Toni Lydman, BUF - $2.875mil - You spelled your name wrong.
Andrew Ference, BOS - $1.4mil - De-Ference. You don't got it.
Derek Morris, BOS - $3.3mil - How did you get this much?
Pavel Kubina, ATL - $5mil - I spoke too soon.

Restricted Offer Sheet Bait
Erik Johnson, STL - $3.7mil - Does that golf cart year count?
Kris Letang, PIT - $835k - See and raise.
Ian White, TOR - $850k - Arbitration Eligible - And has a mustache.
Braydon Coburn, PHI - $1.3mil - Am I too nice for Philly?
Marc Staal, NYR - $827k - I'm the least talented.
Dan Girardi, NYR - $1.55mil - He coached the Yankees right?
Denis Grebeshkov, EDM - $3.15mil - Probably have to keep him, right?
Matt Niskanen, DAL - $850k - The reason offer sheets exist.
Nicklas Grossman, DAL - $975k - Arbitration Eligible - Guesses?
Kyle Quincey, COL - $525k - Arbitration Eligible - Avs keep him.
Niklas Hjalmarsson, CHI - $650k - There won't be any money left.
Duncan Keith, CHI - $1.475mil - Arbitration Eligible - See.

I'm bringing sexy back?

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