Mar 4, 2011

Last-Call Pick Up – A Quick Look at Upcoming Free Agency

It’s past last-call, the house lights are on and people begin to clear out of the club. As desperation sets in, each man begins to pick up a prospect and plan the rest of the night quickly before competition settles in. But there’s always one lonely, drunk, unattractive girl in the middle of the dance floor (who just can’t find a man) and similarly, here is a list of the players that have yet to be asked to ‘dance’, either.

Take a brief look at this table. I’ll wait. Done? Great.

Salary shredding has been the theme for this years trade deadline and as of July 1, the above players will be on the market. The NHL may have a public relations nightmare with the drama about to succumb since half of the teams will have money but no affordable players. Get used to it, Bettman.

Who’s worth picking up?
Richards! Undoubtedly the best player amongst the rest of these misfits since the Notables will definitely be re-signed faster than BizNasty2point0 will be able to tweet about it. Any team could use a Brad Richards-esque player but the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs will be the two top-contenders in the bidding war.
Forget about other Centres - Brooks Laich, J. Arnott and M. Handzus who aim to compete for a third line position (maybe second-line-centre for the Senators).

Tim Connolly should have been taken off this list since he’s numbers are ghost like Swayze.
The left-winger market is so pathetic; I wouldn’t even touch them with Chara’s stick.  Sitting second to Richards is Simon Gagne, despite his translucent play for the Bolts. Gagne’s contract will be unbelievable (upwards of $6-million/year) but I’m sure his agent is happy. Gagne’s pitch to teams will likely include: a Social Media Press Release (SMR), a YouTube video of why he would like to play for them, and mention of his Facebook, Fliqr, Del.ic.ious, Digg and Twitter pages. His contract is set to be: non-negotiable, non-refundable, not-two-way with a no-trade clause and, like his play this year, non-existent. Not worth purchasing him, in my opinion.
*Note: All other FA right-wingers are in their mid 30s.

Vokoun and Bryz are both decent goalies but Vokoun will be pushing 35 this year and Bryzgalov will undoubtedly want an obscene contract extension with Phoenix.

Phoenix Coyotes
Money needed for buyout: $200-Million
Paying Bryzgalov’s next contract: $70-million
Keeping up with maintenance fees: $5-million
Staying out of the red: $100-million
Keeping their franchise alive: pricey.

I hope you enjoyed a quick glance at the free-agency market, as bare as it is.

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