Insider Only Inside Report: 2009 NHL Free agency

What are the chances the Penguins pursue Brian Gionta next summer? Read more for an inside look on who will be the top available wingers next summer and which ones could be potential targets of the Penguins

Top Tier $7- $8.5 million range
1. DET RW Marian Hossa (29 yrs old) – For the second consecutive season Marian Hossa will be the most coveted free agent winger. Hossa had his sights set on Detroit last off-season. Unless he wants to take a drastic pay cut, it will be one and done in Detroit
2. MIN RW Marian Gaborik (26 yrs old)– Gaborik is seeking close to $8 million per season and appears to be on the outs in Minnesota. His durability is an concern to teams but there will be plenty of $7.5 Р$8.5 million offers. Early Front Runners – Vancouver and LA
$4.5 – $6 million range
1. CHI LW Martin Havlat (27 yrs old) – If Havlat stays healthy he will likely net $5.5 million per season according to sources. There may be a team that overpays but injury concerns may lead to him taking a slight discount from his current salary of $6 million per season. Pittsburgh pursued Havlat during last winter’s trade deadline
2. MTL LW Alex Tanguay (28 yrs old) – (Projected Salary $5.75 million per season)Tanguay will be a highly coveted player in free agency if the Canadiens don’t sign him to an exentension
3. MTL RW Alexei Kovalev (35 yrs old) – Kovalev is seeking a three year extension from the Canadiens believed to be in the range of $5 million per season. He will have options in the KHL but sources indicate he wants to play a few more years in the NHL. If he bolts Montreal, Kovalev has always had a heart for Pittsburgh who will be in the market for a winger
4. DET RW Johan Franzen (29 yrs old) – Franzen’s stock has sky rocketed. On the open market he could net close to $5 million per season. Many insiders believe he will be locked up before the end of the season but if Marian Hossa decides to take a discount, maybe the Wings let Franzen walk
5. EDM RW Erik Cole (29 yrs old) – Cole has underachieved the past two seasons and should have a big season playing in Edmonton’s up tempo system. Projected salary ($4.5 million per season)
6. NJD RW Brian Gionta (29 yrs old) ‚Äì The Devils have held off offering Gionta an extension. Gionta only scored 22 goals last season and thus far is scoreless in the 08-09 campaign. Another 22-25 goal season will drop his stock but there will be a team out there that will pay him close to $4.5 – $5 million per season. Pittsburgh has a strong interest in Gionta and will likely pursue him if they don’t address their need for a winger this season.
7. BUF LW Ales Kotalik (29 yrs old) – Kotalik is off to a strong start netting 4 goals in 6 games this season. Kotalik is a player Penguins scouts have been very high on for some time. He could be next summers Kristen Huselius and get a contract in the $4.5 million per season range
Mid tier $2.5 – $4 million range
1. PIT RW Petr Sykora (31 yrs old) – Another 28-30 goal season will put Sykora in the 3.5 Р$4 million range. He’s the perfect kind of winger a team like the Rangers are desperately seeking
2. STL LW Keith Tkachuk (36 yrs old) – Tkachuk has seven goals in six games this season and could net over 30 goals this season. He enjoys his time in St.Louis and will likely re-sign with them
3. BUF RW Maxime Afinigonov (28 yrs old) – Afinigonov has underachieved and needs a change of scenery. He will likely command $3.5 million per season
4. DAL RW Jere Lehtinen (35 yrs old) – strong two way player that has a few years left in him. Currently makes $4 million per season
5. PIT RW Miroslav Satan (33 yrs old) – current salary $3.5 million per season
6. PHI RW Mike Knuble (35 yrs old) – Current salary $2.8 million per season
7. CAL LW Todd Bertuzzi (33 yrs old)

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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