NHL Free Agency 2012: 20 Veterans Who Should Be on the Move
Commencing July 1, the NHL free agency is sure to shake up almost every NHL locker room in a major way. The NHL playoffs witnessed juiced up rosters like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks failing to make it through the first round, while teams like the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings made miracles happen and their names known in cities that couldn't even identify their logos.
Beginning in July, a number of outstanding talents will be free agents and will have the opportunity to test the waters as free agents. Which 20 players should make the move?
Thank you to http://www.sportscity.com/ for their list of free agents.
1. Zach Parise
Zach Parise is a no-brainer for a move. He is in his prime, and he in the best position he could possibly be to negotiate. He basically has his pick of any team and any contract term.
To win a Stanley Cup, Parise doesn't have to walk away from New Jersey; he and his teammates could, in fact, bring a cup to New Jersey in the very, very near future. The Devils are a winning team that have almost always had a stable roster, but if he isn't feeling the love there, then he absolutely should seek out more appealing options.
He probably won't get an opportunity like this again because the franchise that is lucky enough to sign him will try to keep him for a long time.
2. Alexander Semin
According to Craig Custance of ESPN the Magazine, Alexander Semin's agent Mark Gandler confirmed that his client has decided to leave Washington to see what else is out there for him.
However, Semin made a statement to Dmitry Chesnokov of Puck Daddy, saying he has not signed a deal with the Capitals, nor has has he talked to them about leaving.
Semin deserves the best deal out there for him, and if he doesn't think that it's in Washington, then there is another city out there that will be more than ecstatic to push a jersey over his head.
3. Jaromir Jagr
After singing a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers last year, it is unknown if Jagr will continue to play. He certainly could—but if he does, then it shouldn't be as a Flyer.
There are a handful of teams out there that have greatly benefited from developing their draft picks; and thus, they have money to throw at a veteran star to solidify their roster.
In addition, there are franchises out there that actually need Jagr for his experience and his ability to mentor younger players. Remember when Teemu Selanne made the NHL but gave his 2012 NHL All-Star Game spot to his teammate Corey Perry? These are the kind of roles that veterans can have on teams and Philly's roster is made up of mostly players in their mid twenties to early thirties. Jagr's full potential isn't being used in Philly.
4. Roberto Luongo
Although he isn't a free agent, Luongo probably won't be returning to Vancouver. He is on the list because if anyone should move, it should be him. Why? Because there is another Canadian city that hasn't been as spoiled with a winning hockey franchise as Vancouver is.
Toronto would welcome the goaltender with open arms and a can of Molson Canadian.
After years and years of causing pain to a truly passionate and faithful city, the Toronto Maple Leafs made a promise to do better next season when they issued a formal apology letter to their fans. In short, they were promising to break out their cheque book and fish for major players who can almost guarantee a successful season. It's no secret that Leafs Nation has had their heart set on Roberto Luongo for a while now. If the Leafs GM is truly willing to spend the money to buy Luongo a winning team, then Toronto is a great choice for him.
5. Tomas Vokoun
Slam! Sport’s Steve Simmons, has recently made some interesting observations about Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun has save percentages that are higher than Roberto Luongo's and overall the two are comparable. Except in one area: salary. Vokoun could end up being the biggest steal of the free agency period to the team that is smart enough to pick him up.
6. Dominik Hasek
Dominik Hasek has confirmed to the Czech Republic media (via NHL.com) that he is interested in making an NHL comeback. There isn’t a lot to add to the story in the form of the “how, what, where and why”, but if Hasek does return, he is definitely a veteran player, clocking in at 47 years old. If he still has got game, well, stranger things have happened.
7. Dennis Wideman
The Washington Post's Katie Carrera, said it right when she predicted that Dennis Wideman would be a player of keen interest in the free agent market. Carrera targets two very good reasons why: First off, there isn't a huge pool of veteran defenseman to select from; secondly, Wideman is an all around good player. He is among the highest for ice time and points for a defenseman.
If Washington loses Alexander Semin and Tomas Vokoun, then there are better prospects for Wideman out there.
8. Teemu Selanne
The Teemu Selanne retirement talk has been in the news for a while now. If he decides that he has another season left—and in that season he wants a chance for one more shot at the cup—Anaheim probably isn't the right place for him. Chances are, it will be a while before the city of Anaheim gets another visit from Lord Stanley, and Selanne doesn't have time to wait for that. It would be a safer bet to look elsewhere if the cup is his motive behind continuing to play.
9. Cristobal Huet
Cristobal Huet shouldn't move for his own benefit, but for the benefit of the Chicago Blackhawks. Not that the Blackhawks will resign him, so he doesn't have a lot of choice in the matter.
Huet was overpaid for what he ended up giving to the franchise, and it cost the Blackhawks who had funds tied up in him that could have been spent acquiring more talent for the team. He is, in fact, the highest paid free agent goalie in the NHL, and he doesn't even play in the NHL. The Chicago Blackhawks sent him to the Swiss team, where hopefully, he is very happy.
He is probably staying there.
10. Brian Rolston
Brain Rolston still has a lot left to provide a team. However, due to the salary that Rolston receives and the lack of younger players on the Boston roster, it could be time to find a new city. Boston has an older roster with the majority of the team being over twenty-five and a number of players being over the age of thirty. The money that Rolston makes could easily be spread out to sign a few less developed players. This isn't the case everywhere though, as there are plenty of teams looking for outstanding veterans like Rolston.
11. Todd Bertuzzi
Todd Bertuzzi has a unique type of play, and that is the reason why he should leave the Detroit Red Wings. He is a strong and dominate player who, due to his style of play, often takes penalties. A lot of penalties. But a team with a defensive unit that can handle playing short-handed would be able to turn this into a non-issue. Although the Red Wings don't do a bad job working with this, there are teams where Bertuzzi's weaknesses won't be so predominant, and his assets would shine brighter.
12. Scott Parse
Since Los Angeles is now aware that it has a hockey team, fans can expect some attention to the franchise for maybe the first time ever. In that case, guys like Scott Parse should move out before their spots are filled by more developed and tested replacements, who the franchise will now see a point in splurging to sign.
13. Arron Asham
The Pittsburgh Penguins have a deep roster. Asham would get more out of his career, overall, on another team. In Pittsburgh, Asham has to compete with the likes of the Penguins' stacked roster for ice time. If you are a forward on the Penguins, there is little to no chance you will ever make the 1st line, unless your name is Crosby, Malkin or Staal. If the chance to move out comes up, it's worth Asham's time to test the market.
14. Sean Avery
Is it is pretty clear that Avery's New York Rangers career has been plagued with politics. ESPN New York writer Johnette Howard wasn't reporting breaking news when he recently added to already existing talk that the New York Rangers will attempt to sign Zach Parise come July 1. If the Rangers do decide to court the New Jersey Devils' Left Winger, then Sean Avery has all the more reason to explore free agency and find a team that values his talent.
15. Nicklas Lidstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom is the top defenseman on the free agent list—and maybe also to ever play the game. If the Detroit Red Wings General Manger Ken Holland doesn't give Lidstrom a really good reason to stay, then there is a list of other appealing franchises out there that will.
16. Jamie Langenbrunner
Jamie Langenbrunner played outstanding hockey in his last few seasons. He has the potential to find a better team than the St. Louis Blues because a lot of teams are looking for the assets that he provides.
17. Ryan Suter
Ryan Suter is another guy who should make the move because of the variety of options available to him. He is younger than Nichlas Lidstrom, which means that there will be competition to sign him to a long-term contract. This will probably be his last opportunity to call the shots in this free agency. He is basically sitting in front of a huge dessert tray with a bunch of different types of cake, and he gets to pick the one he fancies—does he want cheesecake? German chocolate? red velvet? Time will tell.
18. Martin Brodeur
Martin Brodeur has been a New Jersey Devil his entire career: 21 years. Although at this point, it isn't likely to see him in a jersey that doesn't dawn a devil horn, it could be interesting to finally see a change in net. Brodeur fans can expect that one day soon, he may finally decide to retire, and New Jersey will have to bring in a fresh starting goaltender. New Jersey could potentially save salary by signing someone less expensive and allocate funds to other areas that before made up Brodeur's salary.
Plus, New Jersey had him for over 20 years. Let someone else have a turn.
19. Jordin Tootoo
Jordin Tootoo is another player who has stuck with one team his entire career. Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz has already confirmed (via The Tennessean) that the Predators will not have the same roster as they did in the 2011-2012 season.
20. Mark Eaton
Mark Eaton's New York Islanders finished with the fourth-worst record in the NHL. Eaton can take the chance to go to a better team, or he can wait for the Islanders to develop into a winning team. He could be waiting a really long time.
The Islanders are geographically surrounded by franchises like the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils. They are the second string team in their market, and they will always be hockey's version of the Los Angeles Clippers to the Los Angeles Lakers in the sense that they share the Clippers' fortune.