NHL Free Agency 2012: Predicting Where Shane Doan, Other Top Options Will Land
Now that Zach Parise and Ryan Suter have both signed their mega-deals with the Wild, the big question in NHL free agency is who's left and where will they end up?
Though undoubtedly the top-prize free agents this offseason were Suter and Parise, there is still plenty of talent around for teams to sign and improve their clubs.
Here's a prediction of where some of the top free agents available will be playing next season.
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Doan is arguably the top player who is still unsigned at the moment. I say arguably because he is 35 years old and on the proverbial "Back Nine" of his career.
That doesn't mean he is not still a great player. Last season he registered 50 points on 22 goals and 28 assists. While certainly not earth-shattering numbers, his presence was more felt in the locker room as he served as the unquestioned leader for a Coyote team that marched all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
Doan has spent his entire career to this point with the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes. I think the reason he has been a free agent for 11 days is because both sides feel differently about what Doan's role should be on the team and how much he should be paid to perform in that role.
Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks
I think that Doan would fit in perfectly with the Blackhawks. His age means that the price tag wouldn't be too severe and he would bring a tremendous mix of talent, leadership and experience to a team that is trying to build around its young core.
More specifically, I think the Hawks want to bring him in because he is a veteran winger who has played his entire career without completely embarrassing the team he plays for and almost being traded despite his immense talent. If you couldn't tell, I'm referring to Patrick Kane.
Doan's leadership and experience could help Kane find some semblance of maturity and possibly take his game to the next level.
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The Russian winger is still unsigned because of suspensions by the Nashville Predators this season for violation of team rules. The 27-year-old can still play at a high level and, if he can get his act together, should be a valuable addition for a team looking to add a little bit of depth at winger.
Prediction: Dallas Stars
Kostitsyn could add some valuable depth and scoring on the wings to a team that ranked 21st last season in goals per game. Look for the Stars to make an offer to Kostitsyn sooner rather than later.
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The 28-year-old Russian winger has yet to be re-signed by the Capitals. Probably because they envisioned him being superstar Alexander Ovechkin's running mate when they drafted him 13th overall in 2002; they thought they had found the next Lemieux/Jagr tag-team. To this point, Semin has done very little to warrant another contract at the Capitals expense.
That doesn't mean he isn't talented. He has a 40-goal season under his belt and while he's coming off back-to-back 54 point seasons. A lot of teams could find space for him if they can get him for the right price.
Prediction: New York Rangers
The Rangers are coming off what was their best season overall in years. However, when they clinched the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, no one saw two consecutive Game 7's (one to the lowly Senators) and a loss in the Conference Finals to the hated Devils coming.
The Rangers suffered from a serious lack of scoring when it mattered in five-on-five situations in the playoffs and Semin can remedy that.
A shot like Semin's is hard to find and if Rangers coach John Tortorella can find a way to motivate him (which will probably involve a few profanity-laced tirades in his direction) Semin could be a huge asset to the Rangers.
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Much like Doan, Rozsival's lack of offers is more attributable to his age than his skill set. While he certainly doesn't have the technical skills he used to have at the ready the way he used to, Rozsival would be a huge addition to any blue line.
He could add depth and toughness to any teams defensive core and could probably eat up about 20 minutes of ice time per game.
Prediction: Nashville Predators
While there is no replacing Ryan Suter in terms of his actual abilities, the Predators could do a lot worse than Rozsival. While he isn't Suter (there aren't many who are), he would still be a fantastic addition to this team and could add a lot of veteran leadership to a team who's been bounced in the second round of the playoffs the last two years.
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After being traded by the Lightning to the Flyers in February, Kubina ended up having himself a nice little season for Philadelphia. He isn't going to blow you away with his talent, but he is the kind of guy teams love to have. He adds good depth and throws in a point here and there for good measure. His services will be in high demand since so many teams missed out on Suter.
Prediction: Detroit Red Wings
I know that he isn't Nicklas Lidstrom or Ryan Suter, but with the crater that the Red Wings now have at their blue line, Kubina could be a nice piece toward filling. As I said, he isn't going to replace Lidstrom or make anyone forget about Suter, but he'll do his job well and consistently and if anyone will appreciate that, it's the Red Wings.