Sunday, May 31, 2009

RFA's to Target (Leafs perspective)

First of all I hate the idea of targeting RFA's. I like it, but so many people have a misconception that you can land a really great young player by maybe overpaying a little in terms of dollars. But the fact is, you always will overpay huge in compensatory draft picks.

Anyway's for fun here are some RFA's I would like to see targeted:

Josh Harding, 25 - $2.2 million offer. Minnesota just gave Backstrom a $6 million per season extension, so I'm not sure they'd want a $2 million dollar back up. The compensation would be a 2nd round pick which would be well worth it for the talented, young goalie. If we get that monster out of Sweden scratch this idea.

Dave Bolland, 23 - $2.2 million offer. I like that number because you don't have to compensate with a 1st round pick. Chicago will definitely match this offer, but who knows, they have other pirorities like RFA's Versteeg, Barker, Brouwer, and Eager. Bolland might be more of a priority than the latter, in this case I would offer up Ben Eager $2 million. You're overpaying and giving up a 2nd rounder but getting a Brian Burke type of player.

Ville Leino, 25 - $1.1 million. Suppose Hossa is re-signed and Huddler, Leino could be a cap casualty. $1.1 million isn't a lot but it might be too much for the Red Wings, and for a 3rd round pick we could grab a pretty good 25 year old player for our roster.

Matt Hunwick, 24 - $2.2 million. Depending on what happens with Boston's other guys, Kessel and Kreijci, they could be really pressed. Hunwick is a good young d-man, and could be a nice steal.

Some interesting UFA's for July 1st

Here's a few lower key guys worth looking at and an analysis of some:

Adam Pardy, 25 - Young defensman played really well for Calgary. Adding a 25 year old free agent for the right price is a no risk- potential high reward scenario.

Jason Williams, 28 - There's something funny about this guy. Look at his stats, he has had a 60+ point season and a year in Chicago where he played half the year but was just under a point per game. So why has he bounced from Detroit to Philly to Chicago to Atlanta to Columbus in the last couple of years? Still he's a capable offensive guy and could be worth taking a look at.

Max Afinogenov, 29 - I think he's going to Russia. I doubt there will be much interest in the NHL for Max, but if I were a GM in a place like say Atlanta, I would throw a 1 or 2 year offer at him for around $1.5 million per season.

Chad LaRose, 27 - Had a great playoff that he should cash in on. (Beware Fernando Pisani, but I think LaRose is legit and he won't get a crazy contract, but we'll see.)

Jaro Spacek, 35 - Really solid defensman. Good with the puck.

Mike Samuelsson, 32 - Could be a cap casualty of the Red Wings and that would make him available. Sammy's great at protecting the puck and uses size, speed, and skill to really control the play at times. He's no star player, but a great support winger, with a killer shot.

M-A Bergeron, 28 - Here's another flake. This guy has bounced around a ton, but still just 28 years old and really skilled. He's got the puck skills and speed to be an awesome puck moving d-man, but lack of consistency makes him a #4 guy at best. Still I would take a chance on his skill and hope he can elevate his game a bit more.

Johnny Oduya, 27 - This guy is at the top of my list. As a Leafs fan, I hope we sign him. Johnny was the Devils best defensman in the playoffs, and I would go as far as saying their best player ahead of Parise and Elias who were underwhealming in the post-season. Johnny-O is great with the puck and has that ability to walk out of traffic and not panic in his own end, then make a killer outlet pass.

Noah Welch, 26 - Harvard grad. Not a bad player, its amazing that the former 2nd round pick has been up and down and has only played 73 career games despite being labelled as a huge prospect. Still this could be another situation where you could steal a good, younger player at a low price. Maybe he'll be nothing but maybe he'll develop into a top 4, and at less than $1 million he would be worth the risk.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Top 10 available UFA's this summer

Brian Gionta did not make this list.

1. Jay Bouwmeester

2. Marian Hossa

3. Marion Gaborik

4. The Sedin Sisters

5. Scott Niedermyer

6. Mike Cammalleri

7. Martin Havlatt

8. Mattius Ohlund

9. Nik Antropov

10. Alexei Kovalev