FREE AGENCY FRENZY
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.