NHL Free Agents 2012: Breaking Down Defensemen Teams Will Overpay

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2012

CALGARY, CANADA - OCTOBER 28: Carlo Colaiacovo #28 of the St Louis Blues skates against the Calgary Flames on October 28, 2011 at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

Now that most of the major free agents have made their decisions, including Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, things should begin to heat up for other players left on the market. That's especially true for defensemen with so many teams looking for depth.

Here's a look at three players teams will consider to bolster their blue lines. Since so many teams are looking for upgrades, however, the price tags to land them will likely become bloated. That adds more risk to any potential deal.


Pavel Kubina

There was a time when Kubina was one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL. He had a powerful shot, which allowed him to hit the double-digit goal mark five times. That will undoubtedly cause teams to give him a look with hopes that he can rediscover that ability.

Those days are probably over, however. He doesn't bring the same booming shot to the table now that he's 35 and the increased focus on blocking shots has really hurt the value of players like Kubina, who made a living by causing problems from the blue line.

Since Kubina is only an average defender and has lost some speed over the years, there really isn't much upside to signing him. At this point, he's simply a short-term stopgap option—and a marginal one at that.


Carlo Colaiacovo

Two seasons ago Colaiacovo had his most complete season, scoring 32 points and compiling a plus-eight rating. It looked like he was finally starting to develop into the defenseman fans were expecting when he broke into the league with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He wasn't able to build off that success, though. His point total has dropped in each of the past two seasons, forcing him to enter the free-agent market at a less than ideal time. That said, he's still just 29 and will still garner some interest.

His first-round pedigree and peak seasons are likely to earn him a pretty nice contract. But any team that is expecting him to become anything more than a fringe roster player will be disappointed.


Chris Campoli

Campoli broke into the league in a big way. He tallied nine goals and 25 assists during his rookie season and appeared well on his way to a successful career. But the 27-year-old Canadian has never been able to replicate his first year.

He played just 43 games for the Montreal Canadiens last season, scoring 11 points. He has a cumulative minus-42 rating in 440 games and has only been a plus player twice in his career. So things clearly haven't panned out the way he was hoping.

Just like Colaiacovo, age remains on his side. The combination of entering his prime seasons and the lack of market depth should make Campoli a popular second-tier choice. Not a good one, though.