NHL Free Agents 2012: 3 Deals Top Teams Must Make
The NHL free agent market is moving so slowly right now because many of the top free agents available are veterans who are just third and fourth-line players.
Many of the league's top teams are eagerly awaiting Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan's decision on where he will play next season. His decision could jump start the market again, and force teams he turned down to make moves.
Let's look at some deals that contending teams should make in the coming weeks.
Nashville Predators and Shea Weber
Even though it would certainly be an unpopular and difficult decision for the Predators, trading defenseman Shea Weber is the best option for the future of the team.
Predators general manager David Poile would be smart to make Weber, who is an RFA, available on the trade market. A player like Weber, who many consider the best defenseman in hockey, would garner a lot of interest on the trade block.
Weber could help the Predators acquire a combination of high draft picks, top prospects and established NHL players. This would allow Nashville to rebuild for the future and still be a quality team during the upcoming season.
Unless Weber wants to stay with the Predators long-term, which I can't see happening, the best move for the team is to trade him.
Vancouver Canucks and Shane Doan
The Canucks should strongly consider making a bold move for Coyotes forward Shane Doan, who like many of the Canucks' players, has never won a Stanley Cup.
If there is a Western Conference team that could give Doan the best chance to win the Cup next season, it's probably Vancouver. They have not lost any major pieces from last year's team and added top-four defenseman Jason Garrison from the Florida Panthers at the beginning of free agency.
Doan is a top-six forward who is physical at both ends of the ice and can score goals, which makes him perfect for the Canucks.
This is the type of move that would really give the Canucks an edge over many of the top contenders in the West.
Minnesota Wild and Jason Arnott
Jason Arnott wouldn't be a top-six center for the Minnesota Wild at this stage of his career, but he can bring veteran leadership and a physical mentality to a Minnesota team that needs to be stronger on the ice.
Arnott is one of the better players left in free agency, and even though he's 37 years old, he can give the Wild solid minutes on the third line.
He scored 17 goals and had 17 assists on a defensive-minded St. Louis Blues team last season, so there's no question that Arnott can still be a factor offensively on a team like Minnesota.
If the Wild want to make another strong signing in free agency that could pay huge dividends, they should sign Arnott.
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