Daniel & Henrik Sedin – The Sedin twins will be a hot commodity this summer and they present NHL teams with an interesting dilemma. Most teams are too cash-strapped to enter the bidding war for one top-line player in the $7M per year range. The Sedins are a package deal and will likely cost $13-15M per year. I can’t think of too many teams that have the available cap space for both of them. Since replacing these guys will prove to be just as difficult, look for Vancouver to resign them to long-term deals, likely before July 1st. On second thought, wouldn’t it be hilarious if Vancouver only retained one of the Sedin twins?
Marian Gaborik – Marian Gaborik is by far the flashiest UFA available this summer. The big question with him is will be his injury history, notably with his groin. I’m still very interested to see what Gaborik could do in a healthy season on an offensive-minded team – that could be scary! While I’ve heard the L.A. Kings are interested, my sense is the Wild might keep him on a short-term deal (one or two years). After all, Minnesota overhauled their front office and firing their GM and head coach… if this wasn’t to show Gaborik they’re serious about keeping him, why else would they make all these changes?
Marian Hossa – In a cruel twist of fate, Hossa picked the wrong team and lost in the Stanely Cup Finals for the second straight year… tough break! Hossa is also a UFA for the second straight year. Up until a week ago, I figured he’d resign a long-term deal with Detroit and the Wings would cut Samuelsson and Hudler loose. Now, according to the somewhat trashy New York Post, Hossa is the one that Detroit wants to cut loose… go figure! I still think Hossa will take a discount and stay in Detroit.
Jay Bouwmeester – Meet this year’s Brian Campbell! I’m expecting Bouwmeester to sign a contract similar to Campbell’s 8 year, $57M+ deal. I’m not convinced Bouwmeester’s worth all that money, but I’m sure there’s an NHL GM out there who is. I keep hearing Philadelphia as the team that’s most interested, but I won’t believe it until they free up some cap space. Look for Joffrey Lupul or Scott Hartnell to get traded first, not Daniel Briere. And I think Florida will probably trade Bouwmeester’s rights at some point during the Entry Draft.
Mattias Ohlund – I’m not sure where Ohlund will end up next season but it’s safe to say it won’t be in Vancouver. Maybe Florida will make a pitch for him when they lose Jay-Bo!
Mike Cammalleri – Mike Cammalleri had a career year with Calgary last season, scoring 39 goals and 82 points. If the rumours are true, he’s seeking $6.5 per season on a new contract. While that seems to be a little high, look for the Richmond Hill-native to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Saku Koivu – Saku, if you’re reading this, please don’t resign with Montreal! The team doesn’t deserve you and neither does the city. The media in Montreal seem to consistently find a way to say more stupid things in a day than Megan Fox has recently. Go play in a city that appreciates your skill… ahem… Chuck Fletcher, go get a second Koivu jersey for Minnesota.
Alex Kovalev – I’d be shocked if Montreal let Koivu and Kovalev depart via UFA this summer. Besides, Kovalev is 36 years old, I doubt he’ll want to play for another team at this point in his career. I say he sticks with Montreal, becomes the team’s new captain and gets all the free Molson beer he wants. Let the love/hate relationship continue in Montreal!
Other Notable UFA’s:
Martin Havlat, Brian Gionta, Nikolai Khabibulin, Dwayne Roloson, Francois Beauchemin, Mike Komisarek, Steve Sullivan, Alex Tanguay, Rob Scuderi.
Notable UFA’s Who May/May Not Play Next Year:
Mats Sundin, Scott Neidermayer, Joe Sakic, Sergei Fedorov, Sergei Zubov and Rob Blake.