NHL Free Agency: One Player Each Team Will Let Walk on July 1

Jeff Langridge@@JeffLangridge1Correspondent IIIMarch 27, 2012

NHL Free Agency: One Player Each Team Will Let Walk on July 1

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    July 1 is one of the biggest days on the NHL calendar. It's the day where a team can go from being a chump to being a champ with just money. It's the day where the biggest names are signed and team's futures are changed.

    It is also the day where teams can finally get out of a bad contract or just let a player go that is no longer in their plans. This article focuses on those players. Players that are going to have to find a new place to play in the NHL or elsewhere.

    Who are these player? Let's find out.

Anaheim: Jason Blake

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $4 million

    Jason Blake has been a serviceable player for the Anaheim Ducks since he was acquired in January of 2010, but the fact is that he was acquired only to get rid of Jean-Sebastien Giguere's cap hit.

    They may have taken in more cap than they took out, but they had two players for a total of $8 million instead of paying one player $6 million.

    That being said, the Ducks could use Blake's money elsewhere and will let him go July 1.

Boston: Marty Turco

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $600,000

    This one is quite simple. All of the other Boston UFAs are worth retaining and Marty Turco was only brought in to serve as a backup for a couple of weeks.

    He'll be unemployed again in a couple of months.

Buffalo: Ales Kotalik

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3 million

    He's not playing in the NHL but owners don't like to pay $3 million to a player that is playing in the NHL. He's gone.

Calgary: Cory Sarich

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3.6 million

    With the speculation that Cory Sarich asked for a trade earlier this season, it could be said that he does want to get out of Calgary.

    It would probably be better for both parties as Sarich is still valuable to a contending team, and the Flames could use the money they save to help with the rebuild.

Carolina: Jaroslav Spacek

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3,833,333

    Carolina wanted a forward in return for Tomas Kaberle, but they had to settle for Jaroslav Spacek. The deal definitely worked out for them as they got rid of a player with two years left on his contract with a cap hit of over $4 million, for a player that is paid just a little less, but whose contract ends at the end of the season.

    They weren't successful in trading him at the deadline, so he will be done by July 1.

Chicago: Cristobal Huet

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $5.625 million

    Being paid over $5.5 million and playing in Switzerland is not a good combination for the Chicago Blackhawks. They will be more than happy when Cristobal Huet's contract ends this summer.

Colorado: Milan Hejduk

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3 million

    In my opinion, Milan Hejduk will probably retire at some point during the summer. If he doesn't, he might need to find himself a new team.

    With nearly half the team as some sort of free agent—including Matt Duchene—the Colorado Avalanche might have to let their captain go.

Columbus: Kristian Huselius

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $4.75 million

    Put simply, I'm pretty sure that Columbus will retain very few of its UFAs on July 1. Kristian Huselius departing will open up a bunch of cap space that can be used in another rebuild.

Dallas: Andrew Raycroft

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $650,000

    The Dallas Stars have the goaltending prospects that could fill the backup role. That makes Andrew Raycroft expendable.

    The former Calder Trophy winner is going to have to look for yet another new home.

Detroit: Jiri Hudler

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.875 million

    It's not that Jiri Hudler has been a bad player during his second stint in Detroit, but it might be time for him to find a new home. Detroit is going to be very active in free agency, and they could open up more cap space by letting Hudler go.

Edmonton: Darcy Hordichuk

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $825,000

    Edmonton's crop of UFAs this season isn't at all spectacular outside of Ryan Smyth. Since it's pretty much a sure thing that he will be re-signed, I'm going with Darcy Hordichuk, but it could be anyone on their list of free agents.

Florida: Scott Clemmensen

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.2 million

    Jacob Markstrom will be, if he is not already, ready to play for the Florida Panthers. He will more than likely step right into the starting role, pushing Jose Theodore into the backup spot.

    That makes Scott Clemmensen expendable.

Los Angeles: Dustin Penner

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $4.25 million

    It's no secret that Los Angeles has wanted to get out from under Dustin Penner's cap hit. He has played horribly this season. The Kings probably tried everything possible, and no one would take him.

    LA is counting down the day until Penner is no longer taking up a roster spot.

Minnesota: Josh Harding

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $750,000

    With Matt Hackett ready to assume the backup role, and Niklas Backstrom firmly entrenched in the starting role, Josh Harding will be looking for a team that is willing to give him a chance at a starting job.

Montreal: Travis Moen

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.5 million

    Travis Moen is one of the players that a lot of teams will take a look at in the summer. He has played well for Montreal, but it looks like the Habs might be entering a rebuild in the summer, and it would be wise for it to be a total rebuild.

    Moen's career would be better served elsewhere.

Nashville: Jordin Tootoo

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.25 million

    This one's simple. Nashville wants to re-sign Ryan Suter, and if they do, they might go after more impact players.

    It doesn't bode so well for Jordin Tootoo. The Masterton nominee might have to continue his resurgence elsewhere.

New Jersey: Bryce Salvador

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.9 million

    If New Jersey is to re-sign Zach Parise and Martin Brodeur, they might have to give up some of their other players. With his cap hit gone, Bryce Salvadore would open up the money to at least sign Brodeur.

New York Islanders: Mark Eaton

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.5 million

    This is another case in which a rebuilding team should be ready to replace their veterans with youngsters. Mark Eaton has played in New York for two years, and his roster spot should be given to a young defenseman such as Calvin de Haan.

New York Rangers: Sean Avery

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1,937,500

    Well, seeing that he's gone already, I feel pretty safe that this is a sure bet.

Ottawa: Alex Auld

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1 million

    Now with Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop, the Ottawa Senators have two of the best young goalie prospects in their pipeline. With Craig Anderson the starter for now, one of the two will take over the backup role starting next season.

    Alex Auld will be the unfortunate victim of the Sens richness of prospects.

Philadelphia: Michael Leighton

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.55 million

    Another player that has been sitting in the minors, Michael Leighton will be fighting for another chance to be a goaltender in the NHL. With Philadelphia's goaltending positions taken up for quite some time, he's definitely not going to get the chance in Philly.

Phoenix: Adrian Aucoin

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2 million

    Phoenix owns one of the best crops of young defenseman in the NHL. With Oliver Ekman-Larsson, David Rundblad, Brandon Gormley and Connor Murphy all in their pipeline, Adrian Aucoin is very expendable at this time.

Pittsburgh: Steve Sullivan

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.5 million

    When you have a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins, you really don't need to get rid of anyone. Seeing that I have to name one, I'm going with Steve Sullivan. Only signing a one-year contract, Sullivan could be replaced by any number of Pittsburgh's young talent.

San Jose: Antero Niittymaki

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2 million

    Yet another player that's sitting in the minors, Antero Niittymaki will probably be heading out of the NHL once his contract expires. Unless he is willing to take a significant pay cut, I don't see many teams going after him.

St. Louis: Carlo Colaiacovo

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.125

    The injury-prone defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo will finally see his time in St. Louis come to an end. The Blues are strong enough on defense to withstand the loss of Colaiacovo.

Tampa Bay: Dwayne Roloson

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3.5 million

    Age finally caught up to Dwayne Roloson this season. He will be let go on July 1 and will be looking for a backup role for one more season before he retires.

Toronto: Jonas Gustavsson

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.35 million

    The Jonas Gustavsson experiment is over. While at times he has appeared to be a great goaltender, other times he's looked unworthy to play in the NHL. The Maple Leafs will be looking elsewhere. Some other team will play the "potential" card and give him another chance.

Vancouver: Steven Reinprecht

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.05 million

    Acquired in the David Booth deal, Steven Reinprecht has been sitting in the AHL waiting for the playoffs to begin. As their is no salary cap in the playoffs, Reinprecht will provide some extra depth. That will end as soon as the playoffs end, and it will be tough for him to find another NHL job.

Washington: Alex Semin

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $6.7 million

    This season was Alex Semin's last chance. He has failed along with most of the Washington Capitals and will be let go as a result. His talent should merit another team taking a chance on him, but he might end up going back to Russia.

Winnipeg: Jim Slater

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    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1 million

    If you were to look at Winnipeg's crop of free agents, it doesn't look all that enticing to other teams. They all could stay or they all could go, and it probably won't make much difference. Jim Slater was pretty much chosen out of a hat.