NHL Free Agency 2012: One Player Each Team Can't Afford to Keep

Jeff LangridgeCorrespondent IIIJune 7, 2012

NHL Free Agency 2012: One Player Each Team Can't Afford to Keep

0 of 30

    On July 1, all 30 NHL teams will be gunning to make additions that will improve their team via the free-agent market. However, in their search for new additions, they might have to let a player on their own team leave via free agency.

    Some teams will be looking to make the big acquisition of Zach Parise or Ryan Suter, some will only be looking for role players that can fill holes on their team. These teams might be up against the cap, or they might be teams that have a lot of money to spend but don't want to go over their self-imposed limit.

    Some of these players are bigger names that teams will have to sacrifice to make other moves such as trades, and there's a few teams that don't really have someone too expensive that they need to give up but they're on the list anyway.

    Here are the 30 players representing their teams who will be looking for work elsewhere because of their teams going in other directions.

Anaheim: Jason Blake

1 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $4 million

    The Anaheim Ducks took on Jason Blake's salary as part of the Jean-Sebastien Giguere trade and he never really was that much of an offensive threat. In 147 games with the Ducks, Blake has only totaled 31 goals and 60 points.

    The Ducks will look to spend the money that is currently being paid to Blake on someone who can produce offense on a more consistent basis, especially if Teemu Selanne retires.

Boston: Chris Kelly

2 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.125 million

    Chris Kelly has been one of Boston's most valuable players since his acquisition from the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline in 2011. He was a big producer for them in their run to the Stanley Cup last season and scored the game-winning goal in Game 1 of the first round this postseason.

    As much as the Bruins want to keep him, they might have to let him go with all the free agents they have. With Tim Thomas taking the year off with no cap relief and Tuuka Rask needing to be re-signed, they are going to have to make a few sacrifices.

Buffalo: Brad Boyes

3 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $4 million

    Another player who was acquired at the 2011 trade deadline, Brad Boyes didn't have the same effect on Buffalo as Kelly did in Boston. The Sabres acquired him with desires that he would give them the secondary scoring they needed to make it far in the playoffs. After not making it past the first round last season and not even making the playoffs this year, Boyes will be let go.

Calgary: Olli Jokinen

4 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3 million

    It was a puzzling move when Calgary brought back Olli Jokinen two years ago. Whether or not Calgary chooses to be a cap team next season, Jokinen will not be brought back at the the salary he has been paid the past two seasons. If he wants stay a member of the Calgary Flames organization, he will need to take a drastic pay cut.

    That being said, it would be better for the Flames to let him walk.

Carolina: Bryan Allen

5 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.9 million

    The Carolina Hurricanes have a number of restricted free agents that will need to be re-signed, least of all being Jamie McBain. With all of their free agents they need to re-sign, they will be certain to lose one or some of their unrestricted free agents. Jaroslav Spacek is as good as gone, but Bryan Allen might get more on the open market than he would in Carolina.

    If he finds a better offer, he will be gone as well. With Ryan Murphy presumably ready to make the jump next year, it shouldn't be too much of a loss.

Chicago: Johnny Oduya

6 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3.5 million

    While Johnny Oduya was a great help to the Chicago Blackhawks in their run to the playoffs, he might have just played his way out of the price range of the Blackhawks. If the they want to keep him, they might have to make a sacrifice and trade someone on their roster.

Colorado: Shane O'Brien

7 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.1

    Matt Duchene. Erik Johnson. Steve Downie. Ryan O'Reilly. Peter Mueller. David Jones.

    These are all players that will be free agents on July 1. The names I have listed are only some of the list that the Colorado Avalanche have up for grabs this summer.

    Even though Shane O'Brien has been a serviceable defenseman for many teams and could probably use a steady home, he will need to look for work elsewhere.

Columbus: Kristian Huselius

8 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $4.75

    Kristian Huselius has been a disappointment the past two seasons in Columbus. Now, given that he was injured for all but two games this season, but the year before he had 23 points, his lowest point total of his career since his injury-shortened 2005-06 campaign.

    While Huselius has the potential to be a good second-line player, his inconsistency and his proneness to injuries will force him out of Columbus, and he'll need to accept less money elsewhere.

Dallas: Sheldon Souray

9 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.65 million

    While Sheldon Souray is one of the cheaper options on this list, Dallas can now afford a better, more expensive option, and to do that they will cut ties with Souray. He has resurrected his career to the extent that he will be given a chance to take his slap shot to another NHL team.

Detroit: Brad Stuart

10 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3.75

    With Nik Lidstrom retired, the Detroit Red Wings are sure to go after Nashville's Ryan Suter when he hits free agency on July 1. To sign Suter, the Red Wings are going to have pay Suter at least the same amount that Shea Weber got in his arbitration last offseason.

    To sign Suter to that type of contract, the Red Wings will have to give up something, and Brad Stuart will be the player unfortunate enough to leave the team. He will definitely find a new home quickly, however.

Edmonton: Josh Green

11 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $575,000

    Edmonton is not going to have any cap problems anytime soon, and no one is too expensive to keep. Josh Green was pretty much chosen because he is not essential to the Oilers' future success.

Florida: Mikael Samuelsson

12 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.5

    The Florida Panthers were the biggest surprise of the NHL this season, and the acquisition of Mikael Samuelsson definitely played a part in the Panthers' success. Even with that regular-season success, the Panthers were eliminated in the first round. If the Panthers want to make it past the first round, they need to make a big move.

    Also, with Jason Garrison and Kris Versteeg needing to be re-signed, Samuelsson's salary might be better spent elsewhere.

Los Angeles: Dustin Penner

13 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $4.25

    Dustin Penner has increased his stock in free agency drastically with his play in the postseason. So much so that the Kings might want to keep him now after wanting to get rid of him early in the season.

    That being said, they are not going to take him back at the salary he is being paid now. If he or another team thinks he deserves to stay at the same salary, he will be sent packing.

Minnesota: Josh Harding

14 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $750,000

    Josh Harding has been biding his time under Nicklas Backstrom for the past six years, and now he can finally look for a place where he might be the starter.

    With the Wild looking to take a shot at signing Ryan Suter and with plenty of restricted free agents to re-sign, Harding is going to be let go so that they can pursue those goals.

Montreal: All of Their Unresticted Free Agents

15 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.5 million

    The Montreal Canadiens are a big mess right now. Their two biggest building blocks, Carey Price and P.K. Subban, are restricted free agents and will be up for huge raises. They also have Lars Eller, Raphael Diaz, Alexei Emelin, Blake Geoffrion, Mike Blunden, Petteri Nokelainen and Aaron Palushaj as RFAs as well.

    All of their unrestricted free agents have a good chance of walking.

Nashville: Paul Gaustad

16 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.3 million

    The Nashville Predators gave up a first-round pick in this year's NHL draft in order to add more toughness to their lineup for the playoff run. Well, the Predators only made it to the second round and are now looking like they will have given up their first pick for nothing.

    With Nashville looking to re-sign Ryan Suter, Shea Weber, Sergei Kostitsyn, Colin Wilson and Jonathan Blum, Gaustad is all but out of Nashville.

New Jersey: Bryce Salvador

17 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.9 million

    With the New Jersey Devils desperate to keep Zach Parise, planning to keep Martin Brodeur if he chooses to continue playing and having plenty of other free agents to re-sign, Bryce Salvador is a player who could get a lot more money elsewhere than what he would get to stay with the Devils.

    With Adam Larsson ans Alexander Urbom both set to be in the lineup next year, Salvador could be considered expendable.

New York Islanders: Mark Eaton

18 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.5 million

    Like Edmonton, New York does not have anyone that is too expensive for them. Mark Eaton might be a bit more essential than Josh Green is, but I believe Eaton can be replaced with Calvin de Haan.

New York Rangers: Ruslan Fedotenko

19 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.4

    With the New York Rangers being upset in the Eastern Conference finals, the team might try to make a few moves to change up the roster without blowing it up.

    That might include letting Ruslan Fedotenko, who has had two 20-point seasons in New York, sign elsewhere. If the Rangers are to go after Rick Nash or Alex Radulov, they will need to.

Ottawa: Filip Kuba

20 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3.7

    Sportsnet is reporting that Filip Kuba is unlikely to be back with the Ottawa Senators next season. The exact words out of GM Bryan Murray's mouth were, "He’s going to get his money," Murray said. "I think he’s going to get similar money to what he was earning with us. And I’m not going to go there I don’t think."

    If that's not classified as too expensive to keep, I don't know what is.

Philadelphia: Jaromir Jagr

21 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit:

    Even with reports that Jaromir Jagr and the Flyers could be close to a deal, he might still be too expensive for the Flyers. With Matt Carle, Pavel Kubina and Jakub Voracek also seeking new contracts, Philadelphia might have some tough decisions ahead of them.

Phoenix: Ray Whitney

22 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3 million

    Ray Whitney might be the veteran presence that many teams will be looking for in free agency. That will of course drive the price up for the 40-year-old Whitney. Even though Phoenix's ownership problems might finally be over by next season, I don't see them winning a bidding war for his services.

Pittsburgh: Brent Johnson

23 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $600,000

    Pittsburgh isn't going to have any free agency problems until next year when Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal are free agents. This year, only Matt Niskanen and Steve Sullivan are players who are necessary to keep. With Tomas Vokoun in town, Brent Johnson is now as good as gone.

San Jose: Antero Niittymaki

24 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2 million

    This is not so much a case of being too expensive as it is being too much of a liability. Antero Niiittymaki has not played well enough to validate the salary he's been paid, and he spent a lot of time in the AHL because of it. The Sharks will be glad to take his salary off the books.

St. Louis: Carlo Colaiacovo

25 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2.125

    Carlo Colaiacovo is a good defenseman to have when he is not injured. Never having played a complete 82-game season, he has been lucky enough to play at least 60 games the past four seasons with the Blues.

    The St. Louis Blues have good enough depth on defense that they can let the injury-prone Colaiacovo go without suffering that much.

Tampa Bay: Dwayne Roloson

26 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $3.5 million

    Another player who's not going to be that expensive, if he even plays at all, next year. Dwayne Roloson's luck finally ran out this past season, and he doesn't stand a chance of being brought back to the Lightning, even at a highly reduced price.

Toronto: Jonas Gustavsson

27 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $1.35 million

    Gustavsson is in the same position as Dwayne Roloson, except at a much younger age. In a young Maple Leafs goalie tandem, Gustavsson has had his good times and bad times, with the bad times being the most prevalent.

    Gustavsson should be able to find NHL work elsewhere, but the Leafs can't afford to bring him back if he continues playing the way he has.

Vancouver: Sami Salo

28 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2 million

    Another player who is known to be very injury-prone, Sami Salo might just be the most fragile player in the NHL. Amassing over 40 career injuries, Salo's injury problems outweigh the benefits of him playing most of the time.

    When he is in the lineup, Salo is a top-four defenseman that a lot of teams will go for if they fail to get Ryan Suter. I just don't think one of those teams will be Vancouver.

Washington: Mike Knuble

29 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $2 million

    This one is confirmed as the Washington Capitals have already told Mike Knuble that they will not be re-signing him.

    I can only assume that the reason is so they have the money to re-sign fellow unrestricted free agent Dennis Wideman. The Capitals also have to deal with restricted free agent Mike Green, so money had to be found somewhere.

Winnipeg: Kyle Wellwood

30 of 30

    2011-12 Cap Hit: $700,000

    Another name out of a hat because the Winnipeg Jets have absolutely no one that they can't afford on their own roster. They have Evander Kane and Ondrej Pavelec as restricted free agents but other than that, the Jets can sign every one of their free agents and still have lots of money left over.