Monday, December 7, 2009

The Contract Year Anomaly - The Wingers

Yet another installment of what I like to call the contract year anomaly, where we take a look at those players in their final year of their contract, and looking to re-up. We're halfway there as we move into the first phase of the forwards, the Wingers.

The Will They or Won't They, Retire That Is

Teemu Selanne, RW, ANA - $2.625mil - Teemu's still got the jets, and more importantly can still put the puck in the net, but this broken hand is going to put a severe damper on the season. His play when he returns will determine whether or not he's back again for yet another year.
Tomas Holmstrom, LW, DET - $2.250mil - Homer has had the injuries pile up, and been less and less effective with each passing year. I'd be very surprised to see him back next season.
Owen Nolan, RW, MIN - $2.75mil - I honestly can't believe Nolan is still playing considering the damage that's been done to that body. But when you can do things like this to Hasek to finish your hat trick in an all-star game, I guess you can play as long as you like.
Petr Sykora, RW, MIN - $1.6mil - The experiment in Minnesota hasn't worked. In more ways than one.
Bill Guerin, RW, PIT - $2mil - Billy will probably be back for his love of the game, but I doubt in a Pens uniform.
Keith Tkachuk, LW, STL - $2.55mil - Hard to believe he's only 37 with 18 seasons under his belt. He survived the move from Winnipeg to Phoenix only to be used as a rental by the Thrashers in their only futile attempt at the postseason. But he's back on the Blues, but for how much longer?

Top Five

5. Ray Whitney, LW, CAR - $3.55mil - On a god-awful team that traveled to the Conference Finals last postseason, Whitney's been the rumor of trade bait in a locker room that is screaming for change. Even as the leader in points on the team, 8 goals and 12 assists, he's receiving this kind of treatment, probably because he's one of the few guys producing to garner any worth on the open market.

4. Paul Kariya, LW, STL - $6mil - Prone to injury, yet possessing a lethal shot, Kariya still commands a certain amount of respect around the League. The Blues have assembled a nice group of players, but I find it hard to imagine that organization offering the dollar amount of his last contract, considering his slowing production and future cap considerations.

3. Alexander Frolov, LW, LAK - $2.9mil - Alex got called out by the Kings coaching staff for lazy play and a lack of production early in the year, after that he got his ass in gear with 7 goals, and 14 assists. While he's still a prime talent in the League, his work ethic will continually be called into question creating doubt in half of the potential suitors.

2. Rene Bourque, LW, CAL - $1.35mil - Rene is one of the reasons why I make these lists. This guy has really turned it on this season, making you take notice almost every time he's on the ice. Second on the Flames in points (behind Iginla) with 7 goals, and 15 assists, but was slowed down due to injury. Watch for him the next time you're in Calgary.

1. Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, ATL - $6.4mil - Its hard to argue about Kovy being the top prize come July 1st, if he makes it there. But as I've said before, Waddell should have gotten this done this past offseason. The fact that he hasn't says to me that Ilya has no interest in staying, or they are very far apart on terms of the deal. But you've got to give Waddell credit (which I usually don't do) for bringing in Antropov and Afinogenov and surrounding Kovalchuk with fellow countrymen.

The Rest, Odds and Ends
Colby Armstrong, RW, ATL - $2.4mil - Pesky little bastard, role player at best.
Maxim Afinogenov, RW, ATL - $800k - Definetely turned his shit around, or just got out of B-lo.
Vyacheslav Kozlov, LW, ATL - $3.7mil - Its like the Red Army down in the Dirty Dirty.
Marek Svatos, RW, COL - $2mil - Colorado loves their players.
Fredrik Modin, LW, CLB - $3.25mil - Related to Matthew. Minus the E.
Raffi Torres, LW, CLB - $2.25mil - Had a miracle season in an Edmonton miracle.
Jere Lehtinen, RW, DAL - $2.5mil - Should be capable of so much more.
Todd Bertuzzi, RW, DET - $1.5mil - One good game a season will get him a contract. Sadly.
Fernando Pisani, RW, EDM - $2.5mil - Colitis is always going to keep him below 100%.
Tomas Plekanec, LW, MON - $2.75mil - Fickle bunch in Montreal, he managed to stay.
Jordin Tootoo, RW, NSH - $975k - Somehow he seems to fit in the lineup in Nashville.
Jon Sim, LW, NYI – $1mil - A team of underachievers playing their ass off.
Richard Park, RW, NYI - $750k - See previous statement + speed.
Vaclav Prospal, LW, NYR - $1.15mil - His success depends on someone else in the lineup.
Arron Asham, RW, PHI - $640k - Can actually play hockey compared to Carcillo.
Ruslan Fedotenko, LW, PIT - $1.8mil - Probably not enough room for his fat ass.
Matt Cooke, LW, PIT - $1.2mil - When Rupp is scoring, who needs Cooke?
Alex Tanguay, LW, TAM - $2.5mil - Holy shit, what a train wreck.
Lee Stempniak, RW, TOR - $2.5mil - Lee meet Brian, say 'Goodbye' Lee.
Alexei Ponikarovsky, RW, TOR - $2.1mil - This is where his blog links to from Don't believe me? Try it from the NHL website at the bottom of the page.
Jamal Mayers, RW, TOR - $1.3mil - Do you truculent? Okay, you can stay.
Kyle Wellwood, RW, VAN - $1.2mil - Has played well enough to get renewed.
David Steckel, LW, WAS - $725k - Due for a raise Dave?

Offer Sheet Bait
There's actually a lot of really interesting names here. It would be interesting to see the 'gentleman's agreement' of not handing out offer sheets get broken. But of course we all know what that's done to the leaguewide salaries. Just ask Dustin.

Bobby Ryan, RW, ANA - $1.92mil - Already been rumored to be trade bait. Another stupid GM named Murray.
Blake Wheeler, RW, BOS - $2.85mil – Arbitration Eligible - Has been very impressive for the black and gold.
Daniel Paille, LW, BOS - $1.125mil – Arbitration Eligible - Dogs (Bears) and cats (Bison) living together, mass hysteria!
Clarke MacArthur, RW, BUF - $1.4mil - Has potted a lot of goals this season, in his contract year, interesting.
Andrew Ladd, RW, CHI - $1.55mil – Arbitration Eligible - Has really worked well for the Hawks, it be nice to see him stay, but I don't see that team with same identity next season.
Wojtek Wolski, RW, COL - $2.8mil – Arbitration Eligible - The old enigma stereotype. This guy is sensational when he's actually interested in playing.
Fabian Brunnstrom, LW, DAL - $2.225mil - After that hat trick its been all downhill.
James Neal, LW, DAL - $822k - A no brainer with a bump in pay.
Justin Abdelkader, LW, DET - $850k - The latest Red Wing project.
Andrew Miller, RW, DET - $525k – Arbitration Eligible - It was interesting for a while, but now its back to usual.
Cal Clutterbuck, RW, MIN - $726k - Good ol' Buttercup, he hits people. Beloved by Wild fans, hell they're just happy to have a team.
Guillaume Latendresse, RW, MIN - $803k - Doesn't look good when you get swapped for another underwhelming Francophone.
David Clarkson, RW, NJD - $837.5k – Arbitration Eligible - A pleasant surprise for the Devils.
Matt Moulson, LW, NYI - $575k - Has just played himself into a hockey career. I guess being paired up with the #1 draft pick will help.
Nick Foligno, LW, OTT – 850k - Luckily for Bryan there's no S's in his name.
Daniel Carcillo, RW, PHI - $894k – Arbitration Eligible - See Arron Asham.
Scottie Upshall, LW, PHO - $1.5mil - Was more interesting in Philly than in Phoenix.
Devin Setoguchi, RW, SJS - $1.247mil - Relegated to 3rd line duties with the presence of Heat.
David Perron, LW, STL - $918k - I'm just waiting for this guy to bust out. Then again he did score this goal.
Brad Winchester, LW, STL - $800k - Blue-collar guy they love in a town like St. Louis.
Mason Raymond, LW, VAN - $883k - This guy's going to get paid.
Tanner Glass, LW, VAN - $500k - Take or leave him.
Alexander Semin, LW, WAS - $4.6mil - This has spoiled Russian primadonna written all over it. Unless OV talks him into it, and offers him some of his cash.

Last but not least we'll have the Centers, eventually. Hope to put it out before Christmas so you can mull it over the break, if you have one. Later.

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