Grocery Shopping: Free Agent Forwards

Cam Lewis
June 04 2015 06:38PM

If you’re a team looking to add quality defencemen or solidify your goaltending, this summer’s Unrestricted Free Agent market has plenty of interesting options available. In terms of forwards, not so much. Solid goaltenders and defencemen headline this year’s market of players seeking significant paydays, while the options for high quality, impact forwards are few and far between. That being said, there’s always a handful of solid depth options available, and this year is no different. Unfortunately, since the crop of forwards this year is relatively thin, somebody is probably going to end up overpaying for a forward who simply isn’t as good as their contract will justify. 

After the jump, I’ll take a look at some of the interesting names on the market, and which ones are actually going to be worth the dollars that they’re likely going to command. Long story short, this probably isn’t the best summer to empty your pockets for free agent forwards. 

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Top-10 UFA countdown: #10 - Johnny Oduya

Ryan Lambert
June 03 2015 09:00AM

Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

This is a series counting down the top-10 pending UFAs. It will be posted across the Nation Network over the next month! Enjoy!

If you're looking for a veteran presence that Chicago might be inclined to let walk, especially from that blue line, Johnny Oduya seems as likely a candidate as anyone. While he is part of the four-headed beast that arose in these playoffs because Joel Quenneville literally doesn't trust anyone else to patrol the blue line, Oduya best matches the description of a guy who will probably be allowed to walk.

The reasons why should be clear enough: He'll be 34 on Oct. 1, he probably wants one last multi-year deal, he probably wants a raise from his current $3.375 cap hit per, and he's wrapping up a season in which he was vilified for much of the year by his own fans.

Stan Bowman is a smart general manager and while it's not totally clear how he's going to address his blue line's depth problems, giving a 34-year-old coming off a bad year multiple seasons and a raise doesn't seem like part of the plan. So in other words, it's very likely that Oduya is available to the highest bidder come July 1.

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Jeff Petry signs a 6-year, $33 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens

Cam Lewis
June 02 2015 05:25PM

Well, you can scratch one big free agent’s name off the list. Jeff Petry, who was set to test the waters of Unrestricted Free Agency for the first time in his career, and the Montreal Canadiens agreed to terms on a contract extension worth $33 million over six years, which is a $5.5 million cap hit. The move solidifies the Canadiens’ defensive core for the next couple years, as they now have four defencemen (Subban, Petry, Emelin, and Markov) under contract until the end of the 2016-17 season at a combined cap hit of $22.4 million. 

Is this a good deal for the Canadiens? What does this mean for other impending UFA defencemen like Cody Franson and Mike Green? It means they’re gonna get paid. 

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2015 Stanley Cup Finals Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks

Cam Lewis
June 01 2015 08:30AM

The Stanley Cup Finals are on the horizon! If the Finals are anything like the Conference Finals were, we’re all in store for something great. I mean, even if its half as good as those last two series were, it’ll be the best Cup Final we’ve had in quite some time. It’s been noted a few teams, but in case you didn’t know, 2015 was the first time since 2000 that each Conference Final series went to a seventh game. We haven’t seen a Final go to a seventh game since the Bruins beat the Canucks in 2011, and we haven’t seen a suspenseful Stanley Cup Game 7 since 2009 when Pittsburgh edged out Detroit 4-3. 

If the Hawks win this one, it’ll be safe to call them a dynasty. Well, they’re a salary cap era dynasty at the least. A win here will give them three Cups in the past six seasons, which would be the most we’ve seen in such a short span since Detroit won three times between 1997 and 2002. This may be the last time we see the Hawks here in a while, though, as their cap difficulties are going to make it difficult for them to keep this group together, but hey, we said that in 2010 and they managed to come back twice with a completely different supporting cast. The Lightning come into the series as the ones looking to prove themselves as the newest member of the NHL’s elite. It’s their first trip back since they won it in 2004, and they’re hoping this can be the beginning of many Cup runs. 

Who has the edge in this series? Can we expect something as good as we were treated to in the Conference Finals? 

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Grocery Shopping: Free Agent Defencemen

Cam Lewis
May 30 2015 09:30AM

The 2015 Unrestricted Free Agent class boasts a handful of good defencemen looking for new contracts. There are a lot of options out there for teams who are starving for good blue liners, especially ones who can produce offensively. I’m going to break down some of the most attractive free agents available into a couple of categories based on the types of contracts they’ll be looking for due to a combination of their age and value. There are young, top pairing guys looking for fat, long term contracts, then veteran guys who can still produce at a high level but won’t warrant as much term. After that, I’ll look at some of the teams who desperately need defencemen and who has the money to sign these guys. 

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