Thursday, June 05, 2008


Seller's market

Without having looked at it too closely, I'm going to say that the number of NHL teams "looking to add a Top-6 forward" (or two) is somewhere in the high twenties.

This here is the list of UFAs (25 in all) who might conceivably fit that description. Names/data are from NHL Numbers; I scratched off a few players who are likely only to re-sign or retire (Sakic, Forsberg, Selanne), and also Langkow, as it seems very certain that he has re-upped with Calgary.

A rhetorical question: do you like the chances of your team landing the player you want for a reasonable price? Maybe half these players are ones who you might get excited about acquiring, and only half those again are ones whose best years might still lie ahead.

Marian Hossa is clearly in for a huge, huge payday, as 2nd prize for UFA bidders is a pretty big drop-off, either in quality, age, or both.

I think, a few days into July, there are going to be an awful lot of disappointed fans. And for that matter, front offices ("we really wanted Malone, but dropped out when the bidding went north of $30M over 5 years", etc.).


On that note: Don't retire, Teemu. I really like your only-one-team and sign-for-whatever attitude.

I'd be surprised if one of Miettinen or Hagman don't end up in Detroit. They look like good replacements for a 38 year old Dallas Drake.

No need, joe. Apparently a few more kids are in the wings for the Wings. No need to buy a replacement. Put in a kid and if its no go pick up a cheap vet.

Does anyone else think Markus Naslung might be had for under $4 million per, and end up being a nice value? His perceived value has dropped tremendously, but he's only 33 and I think he could still be good for a couple more 80 point seasons. Then again I could be completely wrong and he might actually get a raise.

It's a shallow, shallow pool this year. Juice is going to get paid methinks.

On a more depressing note, I have no how the Flames are going to fill his position adequately.

*no idea

Although he's not the biggest name on the list over the past couple years Radim Vrbata has rather quietly put together a pair of promising season. If he can be had for a reasonable contract, I think he'd be a great pick up for any team that needs a skilled forward.

His counting numbers are moving in the right direction, and I think the solid underpinning for his 27 goal season was that he took 216 shots. His shooting percentage was 11% which was up from 6.5% the year previous. However, the year prior to that his shooting percentage was 8.8%. I don't think its unreasonable to expect his shooting percentage to be 9-10 percent, that given with the fact he's taking over 200 shots the past two seasons makes him a good bet to score 20 some odd goals.

Now I know some corners are rather dismissive of pure counting numbers, so I peeked at behind the net and Vrbata has the best points/60 of any Phoenix Coyote with 2.06. On that team he faced middling competition and his quality of linemates as is to be expected was lousy. Morris, Ballard, Reinprecht and Michalek were the only other Coyotes with a positive goals for/60 versus goals against/60. Vrbata also has the best deferential between the two.

I'm not going to say the guy's a world beater, but I think the numbers support my initial impression from watching him in Chicago that he's a player. With a current contract of 1.12 million if a team can pick him up for 3 mill or less I think he's good value. Given decent line mates he might even be more sucessful.

Cory Stillman in Oiler silks might look pretty good with Gagner and Nilsson on the 2-line. Brings a big body, lots of playoff experience and a nose for the net that was missing from the Oilers forwards this year.

He doesn't seem to be able to stick with a team, but he's consistently putting up North of 60 (points, I couldn't resist the pun). Quality veteran who may be had on the cheap.

Yeah, Stillman's counting numbers are fine, but I'd never describe him as a 'big body', no matter what his size is; Cory is a soft perimeter type guy. Which is fine, just don't ask him to check anybody. Against soft oppo and maybe 2nd unit PP he's good. I think why he ends up moving around so much is he's injury prone plus just good enough to be known as a 'shooter' rather than an ordinary role guy.

Stillman's counting numbers are fine, but I'd never describe him as a 'big body'...Cory is a soft perimeter type guy.

Which anyone who watched Andrew Ference beat the crap out of Stillman back in 04 can attest to.




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