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Insider Only NHL Free Agency: Top 65 NHL Free Agents


Breaking down the Top 65 NHL Free Agents with Scouting reports and Rumblings

TOP-65 NHL Free Agents

Free Agency Scouting Reports: Kuba among Pens top fallback options? Armstrong added to Free Agency Group

1. Nashville (D) Ryan Suter – Age 27

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 200 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 79 GP – 7 G – 39 A – 46 Pts – +15
2011-2012 Salary: $3.5 million
Suitors: Wild, Preds, Penguins, Red Wings, Hurricanes, Stars, Flyers, Blackhawks
Free Agency Buzz: Few times do teams have a chance to land a franchise type defenseman in free agency and the bidding is going to be intense for Suter. Entering July 1, the top four suitors for Suter are expected to be the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators. Eight to ten teams though intend to make a serious play for Suter and a sleeper includes the Chicago Blackhawks, while the Dallas Stars and possibily even Carolina Hurricanes are expected to be among the surprise teams to pursue Suter. Suter is known as a guy who doesn’t like the spotlight and prefers to stay in the mid-west. In Suter teams are going get a complete No. 1 shutdown defenseman who logs heavy minutes, averaging 26:30 minutes per game. Suter though is not known for a physical game, collecting just 46 hits last season. Offensively he’s not going to get you 15 goals but has great smarts and puck distribution ability. Indications are Sutter’s a big longshot to sign on July 1 and will take a patient approach on the open market.

2. New Jersey (LW) Zach Parise – Age 27

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 195 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 82 GP – 31 G – 38 A – 69 Pts – -5
2011-2012 Salary: $6 million
Suitors: Devils, Red Wings, Kings, Wild, Penguins, Rangers, Hurricanes, Stars, Flyers, Sharks, Capitals
Free Agency Buzz: Like Ryan Suter, 8 to 10 teams are going to make a serious play for Parise, but the favorites continue to be regarded as the Minnesota Wild, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins or Detroit Red Wings, if Parise decided to bolt New Jersey. There is chatter that Parise will look to sign in the Western Conference if he leaves New Jersey but the Penguins will look to change that and sell Parise on playing the next 8 to 10 years with Sidney Crosby who is close with the Parise family. Parise had 69 points in 82 games, and some executives view the best fit for him being with a team where he’s not the focal point. Parise though prior to his knee injury, was a consensus top-5 player in the league, collecting a career high 45 goals and 94 points in 2008-2009. Aside from the notable front runners, contenders like the Flyers, Rangers are also expected to make a play for Parise.

3. Philadelphia (D) Matt Carle – Age 27

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 205 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 82 GP – 4 G – 34 A – 38 Pts – +4
2011-2012 Salary: $3.8 million
Suitors: Flyers, Predators, Avalanche, Ducks, Oilers, Panthers, Lightning
Latest Buzz: A solid two-way defenseman, Carle is good consolation prize for teams that miss out on Ryan Suter. Carle just entering his prime, led all Flyers defensemen in ice time, averaging 23:01 minutes per game. He’s a player who will help your transition game and get you 35 to 40 points. Defensively, Carle won’t provide much of a physical game, collecting 55 hits in 82 games but is sound defensively and is an avid shot blocker, leading the Flyers with 164 blocked shots. The Flyers are working to keep Carle but keep an eye on the Colorado Avalanche as there’s chatter Carle loves the Denver area as he went to college at University of Denver. There is said to be a chance that Pittsburgh looks into him. Carle will hit the open market and test the waters.

4. Florida (D) Jason Garrison – Age 27

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 218 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 77 GP – 16 G – 17 A – 33 Pts – +6
2011-2012 Salary $700,000
Suitors: Panthers, Blues, Senators, Stars, Canadiens, Red Wings, Canucks, Ducks,
Free Agency Buzz:: Arguably the best bargain in the NHL last season, making just $700,000 and he’s in line for a major pay rise. Garrison who had 16 goals last season, 9 on the power and has a booming shot from the point. Teams looking to improve their power play and transition game will be all over him. Defensively he has good size and has meshed well with elite type defensemen, being a very good fit with Brian Campbell last season. Garrison last season averaged 23:41 of ice time per game, including 2:34 on the penalty kill, which was second among Panther defensemen. Garrison was also second among Panther defensemen with 127 hits and 124 blocked shots. He can give you a little bit of everything and Garrison’s camp is shooting for at least a five year, $25 million deal. There are some concerns that he’s a one year wonder as he’s played just two full NHL seasons but teams will be willing to throw big money at him.

5. Anaheim (RW) Teemu Selanne – Age 41

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 192 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 82 GP – 26 G – 40 A – 66 Pts – -1
2011-2012 Salary: $4 million
Free Agency Buzz: With the Marty Brodeur stunner of intending to the test the open market, maybe the next bombshell of news will be Teemu Selanne intending to listen to offers on July 1. That, however, is wishful thinking as Selanne is said to only be considering a return to Anaheim. Selanne turns 42 in July and was the Ducks best player last season, leading Anaheim in scoring with 66 points.

6. Wisconsin (D) Justin Schultz- Age 21

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 185 lbs
2011-2012 Stats (WIS NCAA) 37 GP – 16 G – 28 A – 44 Pts – +11
Suitors: Canucks, Oilers, Rangers, Senators, Leafs, Wild
Free Agency Buzz: Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild are the six finalist for Schultz who will make a decision on Saturday. The Canucks, Oilers and Rangers are considered the three favorites. Schultz a dynamic offensive defenseman, is viewed as a top-6 defenseman immediately with star potential two to three years down the road. His 2011-2012 season – Named Top-10 Hobey Baker Award Finalist for second consecutive season … First-Team All-American for second straight season … Named WCHA Defensive Player of the Year for second season in a row, only the third skater ever to win award twice … named First-Team All-WCHA defenseman for second time in as many years … Led team in scoring with 16 goals, the first UW defenseman to lead the team in goal scoring … nation’s leading scorer on the blue line with 16 goals, 44 points and 1.19 points per game … was on the ice for 69 of Wisconsin’s 105 goals, 27 of UW’s 33 power-play goals and 10 of the squad’s 17 game-winning tallies.

7. New Jersey (G) Martin Brodeur – Age 40

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 220 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 31-21-4, 2.41 GAA, .908 sv %
2011-2012 Salary: $5.2 million
Suitors: Devils, Leafs, Blackhawks, Lightning, Panthers
Free Agency Buzz: Few believed Marty Brodeur would be an option in free agency but Brodeur who has represented himself since 1996, has hired super agent Pat Brisson as he intends to test the free agent waters. A lot of the buzz on Friday centered around Tampa Bay and Florida, while the Toronto Maple Leafs are viewed as a great stop gap option, while the Chicago Blackhawks might try to lure Brodeur to the Windy City. New Jersey at this time can’t commit to Brodeur due to their financial situation.

8. Washington (RW) Alex Semin- Age 28

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 209
2011-2012 Stats: 77 GP – 21 G – 33 A – 54 Pts – +9
2011-2012 Salary $6.7 million
Suitors: Panthers, Red Wings, Rangers, Stars
Free Agency Buzz: Alex Semin is the best pure goal scorer available and won’t return to the Capitals. Detroit is regarded as an ideal fit but there are some rumblings that Pittsburgh may look into Semin. Members of the Penguins brass are said to be against Semin but GM Ray Shero is doing his homework on Semin and regardless of the input from others, would obviously make the final call on whether to go after Semin who last season made $6.7 million. Whispers out of the organization is that head coach Dan Bylsma is also intrigued about the possibility and feels that Semin’s two-way game is much better than the credit he gets. Semin last season had 21 goals, 54 points and a plus-9 rating. A former 40-goal scorer, Semin’s numbers have been in decline since a career high 40 goal, 84 point season in 2009-2010. However, the Capitals moved to a more defensive team in Bruce Boudreau’s last season and a quarter, and transformed totally to a dump and chase defensive team under Dale Hunter last season.

9. Phoenix (RW) Shane Doan – Age 35

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 228 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 79 GP – 22 G – 28 A – 50 Pts – -8
2011-2012 Salary: $4.55 million
Suitors: Coyotes, Stars, Penguins, Blackhawks, Bruins, Red Wings, Rangers, Flyers, Sharks, Canucks, Leafs
Free Agency Buzz: With the Coyotes ownership situation still up in the air, Doan intends to test the waters in free agency and contenders will be lining up for his services. Since missing out on Mike Knuble in free agency in July 2009, the Penguins have sought out this type of player to add to their mix. Doan, 35, had 22 goals and 50 points last season in 79 games and is still a 45-55 point player. Despite turning 36 in October, Doan will be so attractive to contenders because even if his offensive skills start to erode some, he can still impact a game and easily be a factor in a third line role and other areas. Doan had 205 hits last season, ranking 15th among all fowards in hockey. He’s known as a leader in the room and would be a presence in the slot, front of the net on the power play for teams also looking for a boost in that area. Doan last season made $4.55 million and will be in line for a two, three year deal. Doan is to close to Stars owner Tom Gaglardi who’s an investor in Doan’s junior team the Kamloops Blazers so keep an eye on them.

10. Phoenix (LW) Ray Whitney – Age 40

Height: 5-10 | Weight: 175 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 82 GP – 24 G – 53 A – 77 Pts – +26
2011-2012 Salary: $3 million
Suitors: Coyotes, Lightning, Rangers, Penguins, Flyers, Bruins, Red Wings, Hurricanes, Kings, Sharks
Free Agency Buzz: The Penguins have had interest in Whitney for years and they are among a shortlist of teams he’s interested in, a league source says. Whitney though is looking to be paid and receive a raise on his $3 million salary and a team to watch is the Tampa Lightning as Whitney is close to GM Steve Yzerman. Whitney had a tremendous year in 2011-2012, scoring 24 goals and 77 points, leading the Coyotes in scoring and adding a +26 rating. He tailed off a bit down the stretch, scoring just 2 goals in 16 playoff games, which at his age will concern teams. One reason he’s so attractive to the Penguins is his ability at even strength, where he ranked 6th in the NHL with 57 even strength points. Whitney though is 40 years old and seeking a deal in excess of $3 million per season. A number of teams will be looking to lure Whitney out of the Desert.

12. Detroit (F) Jiri Hudler- Age 28

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 180 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 81 GP – 25 G – 25 A – 50 Pts – +10
2011-2012 Salary: $3 million
Free Agency Buzz: Here’s a sleeper to watch for the Penguins on July 1. Sources tell me the Penguins pro scouting staff is said to be intrigued about Hudler and have brought him up in organizational meetings. The 28 year old forward had 25 goals and 50 points last season, including a +10 rating. At 5-10, 190 lbs, he’s a competitive little guy who has played in a lot of big situations. Offensively Hudler has the speed to fit well in Dan Bylsma’s system to go with great hands and a dangerous shot. Hudler is also one of those players who the puck follows and has meshed well with superstars, playing on a line last season with Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula. “He will go to tough areas, ” an NHL source said of Hudler. Hudler made $3 million last season and while him playing in the KHL in 2009-2010 could concern teams, if the price is right, Pittsburgh could enter the mix for him I’m told. At the end of the day though, Hudler’s demands are likely to be too rich for the Penguins taste and he is also repped by agent Petr Svoboda who the Penguins didn’t have great dealings with last summer during negotiations with Jaromir Jagr.

13. New York Islanders (RW) PA Parenteau

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 193 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 80 GP – 18 G – 49 A – 67 Pts – -8
2011-2012 Salary: $1.25 million
Suitors: Islanders, Panthers, Senators, Predators, Jets, Canadiens
Free Agency Buzz: The New York Islanders letting a 67 point player who plays well with John Tavares bolt via free agency would appear to be a headscratcher on the surface but it doesn’t appear to be a surprise to some around the league. The view on Parenteau is that Matt Molson, John Tavares carried him than the other way around. “Anybody will get points with those two, ” an NHL source said. Parenteau though is an excellent playmaker and his ability to play with a star player will entice teams, despite his shortfalls in the skating department and other areas. Look for a pretty solid market for him and he’s been a productive player at even strength with 48 ES points last season. His agent Allan Walsh is seeking at least a four year, $16 million deal and due to Walsh being his agent, many will likely make the connection of him being a fit in Pittsburgh as Walsh, Shero have a very good working relationship. I’d call it a longshot and I don’t think Pittsburgh goes in this direction due to the term Parenteau is looking for, but if the demands come down, it’s possible Pittsburgh looks into him as they had interest in him at the deadline in 2011. Parenteau made $1.25 million last season

14. Calgary Olli Jokinen – Age 33

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 210 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 82 GP – 23 G – 38 A – 61 Pts – -12
2011-2012 Salary: $3 million
Suitors: Stars, Islanders, Blackhawks,
Free Agency Buzz: One of the top centers to hit the free agent market coming off his best season since 2006-2007. The Flames are deciding to move in another direction but there should be a good market for Jokinen who figures to draw interest from the likes of Dallas and Chicago.

15. Philadelphia (RW) Jaromir Jagr – Age 40

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 240 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 73 GP – 19 G – 35 A – 54 Pts – +5
2011-2012 Salary: $3.3 million
Suitors Flyers, Rangers, Canadiens, Flames, Hurricanes
Free Agency Buzz: Jagr had a great situation in Philadelphia but he wasn’t happy with his slightly diminished role late in the playoffs so he intends to test the open market. His agent though is said to be urging Jagr to return to Philadelphia. Jagr was a great fit in the Flyers locker room and remains in great shape. At times he still has the ability to take over a game and NHL sources believe in addition to the Flyers…. the Flames, Hurricanes, Rangers, Canadiens and even the Red Wings could chase Jagr this summer.

16. Edmonton (LW) Ryan Smyth – Age 36

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 192 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 81 GP – 19 G – 27 A – 46 Pts – -5
2011-2012 Salary: $4.5 million
Suitors: Oilers, Rangers, Bruins
Free Agency Buzz: Smyth’s offensive skills are on the decline a bit, but he still has a couple good years left in him. If contract talks with the Oilers continue to hit a snag, Smyth is believed to be very open to joining the New York Rangers who pursued Smyth at the deadline.

17. Ottawa (D) Filip Kuba- Age 35

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 225 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 73 GP – 6 G – 26 A – 32 Pts – +26
2011-2012 Salary: $3.7 million
Suitors: Penguins, Red Wings, Ducks, Blues, Lightning,
Free Agency Buzz: Kuba won’t be mentioned among the top UFA defensemen but the Penguins could have interest in him as a fallback option, a team source says. Kuba has great size at 6-4, 225 lbs, and is a solid two-way defenseman with good size and mobility. Kuba also logs big minutes and play all situations, working a second power play unit and led the Senators in ice shorthanded at 3:23 per game. Kuba gets his body in front of pucks, leading the the Senators with 149 blocked shots. What is attractive about Kuba to the Penguins I’m told was his abiltiy to mesh with Erik Karlsson so well as the Penguins look for a d-partner for Kris Letang. Kuba is a possible short-term fall back option but fans will cringe at the one scouting report about him being similar to Paul Martin: Despite his size, he’s not physical at all and had just 53 hits in 73 games.

18. Carolina (D) Bryan Allen – Age 31

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 230 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 81 GP – 1 G – 13 A – 14 Pts – -1
2011-2012 Salary: $3.150 million
Free Agency Buzz: One of the toughest defenseman on the market, but there’s surpirsingly little to no chatter surrounding Allen and there’s varying opinions about him around the league. Some scouts call him limited and a bottom pairing guy but he brings size and toughness to the table and most importantly one of the best shot blockers in the NHL, collecting 188 blocked shots. He logged a lot of tough minutes in Carolina averaging 19:09 of ice time per game, including 2:30 of ice time per game shorthanded, working on the No. 1 PK pairing with Tim Gleason. His agent is said to be looking for a two-three year deal worth $3.5 million.

19. New Jersey (D) Bryce Salvador- Age 36

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 215 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 82 GP – 0 G – 9 A – 9 Pts – +18
2011-2012 Salary: $2.9 million
Suitors: Devils
Free Agency Buzz: A steady defensive defenseman, Salvador was a perfect fit in New Jersey and boosted his stock with a strong playoff run, showing some offensive spark with 14 points. Salvador provides a good mix on the backend with a physical game (106 hits) and shot blocking ability(107). He’s a perfect fit with a contender as a No. 4/5 defenseman that brings a great work ethic to the table. Salvador has a bad concussion history and turns 37 in February. He’s likely to seek a two year deal. The Devils are interested in retaining him but haven’t moved on him yet.

20. Los Angeles (F) Dustin Penner- Age 29

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 242 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 65 GP – 7 G – 10 A – 17 Pts – -7
2011-2012 Salary: $4.25 million
Suitors: Kings, Ducks, Leafs, Flyers, Canadiens, Flames,
Free Agency Buzz Penner was a complete dud in the regular season but was a factor in the playoffs with 11 points and a +4 rating in 20 games. The Kings are interested in resigning Penner but not at his current salary of $4.25 million. He’s just a year removed from a 23 goal season and two years removed from a 32 goal season. There will be a market for him.

21. Pittsburgh (LW) Steve Sullivan- Age 37

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 193 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 79 GP – 17 G – 31 A – 48 Pts – -3
2011-2012 Salary $1.5 million
Suitors: Penguins, Hurricanes, Predators, Rangers, Red Wings, Bruins, Blues,
Free Agency Buzz: GM Ray Shero still has interest in resigning Sullivan but has yet to move forward on a deal with Sullivan as Pittsburgh wants to keep their options open on the trade and free agency route. Agent Steve Bartlett told Inside Pittsburgh on Thursday that Sullivan will hit the open market. If Sullivan, as expected, gets to July 1, it doesn’t mean his tenure in Pittsburgh is over. Pittsburgh intends to keep dialogue open as both sides explore options. Sullivan last season made $1.5 million on a one year contract. He had 17 goals and 31 assists in 79 regular season games and added 2 goals and 6 points in the post-season. Sullivan was a factor on the power play with 21 power play points as the Penguins ranked 5th in the NHL, and showed good chemistry with Sidney Crosby due to his vision and playmaking ability. Sullivan though turns 38 in July and was inconsistent at even strength, ranking 8th on the Penguins with 27 even strength points. He is looking for a raise over his $1.5 million salary, a league source says.

22. Minnesota (LW) Guilaume Latendresse – Age 25

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 230 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 16 GP – 5 G – 4 A – 9 Pts – +6
2011-2012 Salary: $2.6 million
Free Agency Buzz: With a bad concussion history that has limited him to just 27 games the past two seasons, winger Guilaume Latendresse has a lot of uncertainty regarding his future regarding what kind of market will be out there for him. His would love to return to Montreal and be closer to his daughter but don’t be surprised if agent Pat Brisson makes a call to GM Ray Shero to discuss a posssible fit. When healthy Latendresse is an intriguing player with 25 goal ability and power forward type size and strength at 6-2, 230 lbs. Latendresse is a physical player with top-6 ability and in his last full season appearing in 79 games in 2009-2010, Latendresse had 158 hits that season.

23. Nashville (C) Paul Gaustad – Age 30

Height: 6-5 | Weight: 212 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 70 GP – 7 G – 14 A – 21 Pts – -1
2011-2012 Salary: $2.3 million
Suitors: Predators, Blue Jackets, Canucks, Flames, Sabres, Islanders, Red Wings
Free Agency Buzz: He’s limited offensively a bit but is a big strong defensive centerman who’s excellent in the faceoff circle. Gaustad had a 57.3 faceoff percentage in the regular season and was even better in the post-season, winning 60.3% of faceoffs. The Predators are interested in retaining Gaustad after giving up a first round pick for him.

24. Phoenix (D) Adrian Aucoin- Age 38

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 215 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 64 GP – 2 G – 7 A – 9 Pts – +14
2011-2012 Salary: $2.2 million
Free Agency Buzz: The Phoenix Coyotes are looking to get younger on the blueline and are not expected to bring Aucoin back. The soon to be 39 year old though still has some hockey left in him and could nab a one year deal on the market. Plays a lot of tough minutes and best route for him is to go to a team with a similar trapping style to the Coyotes where he flourished this past season in Dave Tippett’s system. Aucoin averaged 20:14 of ice time per game, including 2:06 per game on the PK.

25. Phoenix (D) Michael Rozsival – Age 33

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 212 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 54 GP – 1 G – 12 A – 13 Pts – +8
2011-2012 Salary: $3 million
Suitors: Coyotes, Rangers,
Free Agency Buzz: With a thin UFA market, Rozsival should attract interest after a solid season in Phoenix. Rozsival won’t give you much in the offensive end but has a good first pass on the breakout and was an important player for the Coyotes in the post-season, ranking third on the team in the post-season in ice time, averaging 21:48. Rozsival was 3rd on the Coyotes with 91 blocked shots in just 54 games. Rozsival fits best in a Dave Tippett, John Tortorella type system. The Rangers looking for a right handed defenseman are said to have interest in bringing Rozsival back on a one year deal.

26. Winnipeg (G) WPG Jonas Gustavsson, – Age 27

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 192 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 17-17-4, 2.92 GAA, .902 sv %
2011-2012 Salary: $1.4 million:
Suitors: Blue Jackets, Panthers, Blackhawks, Jets
Free Agency Buzz: Some executives believe in the right situation Gustavsson could become hockey’s next Mike Smith but there are few options out there for the 27 year old. Columbus was once viewed as an ideal situation but the Bluejackets traded for Sergei Bobrovsky over the weekend.

27. San Jose (F) Dominic Moore – Age 31

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 192 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 79 GP – 4 G – 21 A – 25 Pts – -18
2011-2012 Salary: $1.1 million:
Suitors: Bluejackets, Sharks, Lightning, Rangers
Free Agency Buzz: Moore appears primed to be playing with his 10th NHL team next season and despite an up and down season, he’s expected to be coveted on the open market. Moore had just 4 goals and 25 points last season but teams were all over him at the deadline. Tampa Bay has interest in resigning him but it appears the Penguins who had interest in Moore at the deadline, don’t have a need for him with the addition of Brandon Sutter. Moore a strong centerman, was 55 percent in the faceoff circle last season.

28. Florida (RW) Mikael Samuelsson – Age 35

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 218 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 54 GP – 14 G – 17 A – 31 Pts – +1
2011-2012 Salary: $2.5 million
Free Agency Buzz: The 35 year old is just one year removed from a 50 point season and performed very well down the stretch for Florida, collecting 11 goals in his final 33 games and netted 13 goals in 48 games overall with the Panthers. A smart two-way player who will go the tough areas and whose been around winning franchises in Detroit, Vancouver. One of the best role players available.

29. Dallas (D) Sheldon Souray – Age 35

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 237 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 64 GP – 6 G – 15 A – 21 Pts – +11
2011-2012 Salary: $1.65 million
Free Agency Buzz: The former All-Star defenseman finally appears to have found a home in Dallas but Souray is seeking a two-three year deal which has complicated matters. Souray still has a booming shot from the point but is now three years removed from his last 20 goal season, scoring 23 goals with the Oilers in 2008-2009. In Dallas the coaching staff had a lot of trust in him defensively, averaging 20:27 of ice time per game, playing a 2nd pairing. It will be beneficial for him to stay in Dallas.

30. San Jose (LW) Daniel Winnik – Age 27

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 210 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 84 GP – 8 G – 15 A – 23 Pts – -11
2011-2012 Salary: $1 million
Suitors: Penguins, Red Wings, Canucks, Flyers, Senators, Blues, Blue Jackets
Free Agency Buzz: Just 27 years old, can play a third or fourth line role (16:41 TOI) and is an effective penalty killer, leading all Sharks with 2:26 of average ice time per game on the penalty kill. He’s in the mold of Travis Moen in that he adds size, and has the ability to be a factor on the penalty kill, in addition to getting 8-12 goals. Pittsburgh had interest at the deadline and is expected to show interest again on July 1.

31. St. Louis (D) Carlo Colaiacovo – Age 29

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 200 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 64 GP – 2 G – 17 A – 19 Pts – +7
2011-2012 Salary: $2.5 million
Free Agency Buzz: He’s a bottom pairing defenseman who’s never evolved into a true No. 4 type defenseman like many scouts thought, but when he keeps his game simple and plays smart, he’s effective in the defensive zone, although no parts of his game truly stands out. At age 29, he will be an attractive options to teams like Columbus looking for a third pairing defenseman.

32. New York Rangers (RW) Brandon Prust – Age 28

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 192 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 82 GP – 5 G – 12 A – 17 Pts – -1
2011-2012 Salary: $800,000
Suitors: Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Rangers, Sharks, Blackhawks, Flames, Canucks, Ducks
Free Agency Buzz: Prust was a perfect fit for the Rangers under head coach John Tortorella, providing toughness and the willingness to drop the gloves with anyone in the league. Prust had 156 penalty minutes and 144 hits. Prust is also an effective penalty killer, averaging 1:40 of ice time per game on the PK. Prust though is best suited for a fourth line role but his agent is expecting to receive offers in excess of $2 million per season. For now, Prust is out of the Rangers price range and don’t expect the Penguins to be in the mix.

33. Nashville (RW) Jordin Tootoo – Age 29

Height: 5-9 | Weight: 200 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 77 GP – 6 G – 24 A – 30 Pts – -5
2011-2012 Salary: $1.25 million
Suitors: Penguins, Blue Jackets, Canucks, Senators, Islanders
Free Agency Buzz: Although the Penguins would like to add size on the wings, one name to keep an eye on in free agency is Nashville Predators winger Jordin Tootoo who despite his 5-foot-9, 200 lbs frame, would add physicality, speed and grit to the Penguins 4th line. Tootoo will hit the open market on July 1 and the Penguins are looking to add a gritty forward, if they decide not to resign Arron Asham as a decision on Asham is still a few days away. Tootoo, 29, has ties to GM Ray Shero in Nashville and had 6 goals and 30 points in 2011-2012. Tootoo led the Predators with 151 hits and 92 penalty minutes. His agent Kevin Epp is expecting Tootoo to be in demand when I spoke with him on Saturday. “We feel he will be a player teams will have a demand for, ” Epp told Inside Pittsburgh Tootoo declined a three year offer from the Predators but at a reduced rate from last years salary of $1.25 million. If the price is right, Pittsburgh will look into him..

34. Vancouver (D) Sami Salo – Age 37

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 212 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 69 GP – 9 G – 16 A – 25 Pts – -7
2011-2012 Salary: $2 million
Free Agency Buzz: He’s a veteran bottom pairing defenseman who’s not physical at all (29 hits in 69 games) but should draw interest from teams looking to boost their power play. Salo had 7 power play goals which ranked 4th among all defensemen in hockey last season. The Rangers seeking a right handed defenseman and a need for a power play pointman, could be an ideal fit.

35. Nashville (RW) Andrei Kostitsyn – Age 27

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 214 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 72 GP – 16 G – 20 A – 36 Pts – -1
2011-2012 Salary: $3.25 million
Free Agency Buzz: Has a high skill level but is one of those players who’s a major risk to bring into your locker room and is regarded by executives and scouts as a part-time play which is a reason he’s ranked so low. Someone though will take a chance on the talented 20 goal scorer.

36. Phoenix (LW) Taylor Pyatt – Age 30

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 228 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 73 GP – 9 G – 10 A – 19 Pts – -4
2011-2012 Salary: $1.2 million
Free Agency Buzz: Pyatt is a big winger at 6-4, 230 lbs who has some scoring ability, tallying 9 goals and 19 points last season. Pyatt is just one year removed from an 18 goal season and has scored 10 goals or more in five his last six seasons, highlighted by a career high of 23 goals in 2006-2007. What he brings to the table is size on the wings for a team in need and a physical edge when needed, collecting 137 hits.

37. New Jersey (G) Johan Hedberg – Age 39

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 190 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 17-7-2, 2.23 GAA, .918 SV %
2011-2012 Salary: $1.25 million
Suitors: Devils, Flyers, Leafs
Free Agency Buzz: The 39 year old had a strong 2011-2012 campaign, going 17-7-2 with a 2.23 goals against average. New Jersey wants Hedberg back but don’t be surprised if the Leafs consider him if they miss out on other top targets to be a good influence on Reimer. The Flyers looking for a stable influence behind Ilya Bryzgalov could also show interest.

38. Tampa Bay (D) Brett Clark – Age 35

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 200 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 82 GP – 2 G – 13 A – 15 Pts – -26
2011-2012 Salary: $1.3 million
Free Agency Buzz: Another aging defenseman who’s on the downside of his career. Clark gets exposed defensively at times but he is a shot blocking machine which should lead him to find work. Clark was second in the NHL with 199 blocked Shots.

39. Florida (G) Scott Clemmensen, – Age 34

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 201 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 14-6-6 2.57 GAA, .913 SV %
2011-2012 Salary: $1.5 million
Free Agency Buzz: Clemmensen is a viable backup with the ability to step up, playing well in three playoff games in the Panthers first round series vs New Jersey, going 1-2 with a .235 goals against average and .920 save percentage. The problem for Clemmensen like many backups is that there aren’t a lot of jobs available.

40. Carolina (D) Jaroslav Spacek- Age 38

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 200 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 46 GP – 5 G – 10 A – 15 Pts – +6
2011-2012 Salary: $3.83 million
Free Agency Buzz: Spacek remains a good option for teams seeking a bottom pairing defenseman but has struggled to stay healthy the past couple seasons.

41. Nashville (D) Francis Bouillon – Age 36

Height: 5-8 | Weight: 198 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 66 GP – 4 G – 7 A – 11 Pts – -4
2011-2012 Salary: $1.5 million
Free Agency Buzz: A smallish veteran defenseman who makes smart plays in his own end and can get the puck out of his zone well. Bouillon is not afraid to throw the body around, collecting 103 hits in 66 games. He was very effective in the post-season which should help him land a job, finishing with a plus-7 rating.

42. New Jersey (LW) Alexei Ponikarovsky – Age 32

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 225 lbs
2011-2012 Stats: 82 GP – 14 G – 19 A – 33 Pts – -3
2011-2012 Salary: $1.5 million
Suitors: Devils
Free Agency Buzz: Ponikarosky found his mark last season in New Jersey as a role player and seeing time on a line with Ilya Kovalchuk. Ponikarovky has some intangibles with speed on the forecheck, some scoring ability and a physical game he finally played with more consistency last season, collecting 143 hits, ranking third on the Devils.


43. D Joe Corvo, Boston Bruins – The puck moving defenseman had 4 goals and 25 points last season and provides a puck moving presence to teams in need. Corvo is just one year removed from a 40 point season but it became evident in Boston that you have to keep him away from the oppositions best offensive players as Corvo is a liability defensively
44. C Peter Mueller, Colorado Avalanche – Mueller had dealt with serious concussion issues which led to the Avalanche deciding to part ways with him. Mueller, 24, appeared in 32 games last season, collecting 7 goals and 16 points. He’s only played in 47 games the last two seasons but has 16 goals during that span. Mueller is a talented young player who scored 22 goals as a rookie in 2007-2008.
45. D Greg Zanon, Boston Bruins – Another bottom pairing option for teams looking to boost their organizational depth. Zanon, 32, had 3 goals and 8 points in 56 games with Minnesota and Boston. he plays his position well and while no parts of his game standout, he’s not afraid to throw the body area and picks his spots well, collecting 116 hits in 56 games.
46. Colby Armstrong, Toronto Maple Leafs – Armstrong was bought out today by the Toronto Maple Leafs, making him a free agent once he clears waivers. Things just never worked out for Armstrong who appeared in just 29 games last season but he has the ability to bounce back and be an effective role player someplace. Pittsburgh should place a call.
47. C Jason Arnott, St. Louis Blues – Arnott, 37, remains a productive third line center chipping in 17 goals and 34 points, in addition to a +13 rating with the Blues last season. He fits very well in a Ken Hitchcock type system.
48. RW Brad Boyes, Buffalo Sabres – Boyes who made $4 million last season, continues to be a complete dud and reduced to a third and fourth line role the past couple years. Had just 8 goals and 23 points last season in Buffalo but some team will believe they can get 20+ goals out of him. Boyes had 43 goals for the Blues in 2007-2008 and tallied 33 the following year.
49. C Jay McClement, Colorado Avalanche – A depth centerman who provides a solid two-way game with 10 goals and 17 points last season. McClement was 51.3% in the faceoff circle and was counted on heavily on the PK, averaging 3:06 of ice time per game shorthanded.
50. D Scott Hannan, Calgary Flames – Hannan, 33, appeared in 78 games with the Flames and was second on the team with 126 blocked shots and logged 20:36 of ice time per game.
51. F Kyle Wellwood, Winnipeg Jets – The centerman had a solid year with 18 goals and 47 points and has now scored 40 or more points in three of his last seven NHL seasons. Wellwood can provide depth scoring but doesn’t have a gritty game by any means.
52. D Pavel Kubina, Philadelphia Flyers – Doesn’t move well anymore and really struggled in Philadelphia although he was playing injured in the post-season. Kubina though provides size (130 hits in 69 games) and a shot blocking presence with 119 blocked shots in that he can still be an effective depth option in the right system.
53. Arron Asham, Pittsburgh Penguins – A tough fourth line role player who can provide grit and toughness in addition to chipping in offensively at times. Was a great fit in Pittsburgh’s room and well regarded by teammates.
54. RW Mike Knuble, Washington Capitals – Offensive skills took a big decline in 2011-2012, scoring just 6 goals and 18 points and being dropped to a 4th line role under Capitals head coach Dale Hunter. He’s a great locker room guy and knows how to get to the tough areas and be a front net presence.
55. LW Ruslan Fedotenko, New York Rangers – His offensive game is eroding, scoring just 9 goals and 20 points in 2011-2012. He’s a liability at times defensively but is a proven winner and a great fit in the locker room. An ideal fit would be in Columbus who are looking to add depth.
56. Petr Sykora, New Jersey Devils – Sykora is a cheap veteran option and scored 21 goals last season, but the former Penguin is very limited when it comes to his overall game and being a healthy scratch late in the playoffs doesn’t help his stock going into July 1.
57. C Torrey Mitchell, San Jose Sharks – Another versatile depth forward who should attract interest. Mitchell had 10 goals and 19 points in a 4th line role for the Sharks last season.
58. LW Andrew Brunette, Chicago Blackhawks – Like Mike Knuble, he’s an aging veteran who’s offensive production declined significantly last season going from 27 goals to 12 goals. Brunette, 38, had 27 points and a -13 rating on the year. His point production has dropped from 61, 46, to 27 in the past three seasons.
59. Adam Burish, Dallas Stars – Role player who provides some grit and chipped in 6 goals and 19 points in 65 games for Dallas. Penguins like him
60. Jamie Lagenbrunner, St. Louis Blues – At age 36 his offensive game continues to plummett but he finds other areas to still be effective. Had 6 goals and 24 points last season in St. Louis, collecting a +7 rating.
61. C Zenon Konopka, Ottawa Senators – A tough 4th line centerman who comes at you every shift but struggles with his discipline. Konopka not only provides excellent toughness but is one of the best centermen in the faceoff circle, winning 58.3% of his draws last season. Konopka had 193 penalty minutes in 55 games. In 2010-2011 he had 307 penalty minutes.
62. RW Radek Dvorak, Dallas Stars – He’s 35 years old and his numbers declined last season with 4 goals and 21 points but he provides excellent speed on the wings and does the little things well. A veteran depth option for teams.
63. LW Nicklas Hagman, Anaheim Ducks – Hagman won’t be seeing the type of offers he saw in July 2008, signing a four year, $12 million deal. Hagman who posted three straight 20 goal seasons from 2007-2010), had just 8 goals last season but he should find work.
64. LW Mathieu Darche, Montreal Canadiens – Darche, 35, is a hard worker and effective role player who had 5 goals and 12 points last season for Montreal. He’s one year removed from a 12 goal season in 2010-2011.
65. G Chris Mason, Winnipeg Jets – Struggled down the stretch last season going 8-7-1 with a 2.59 goals against average and .898 save percentage.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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