NHL Free Agency: 15 Top Remaining Free Agents & What They Can Expect to Sign For

Brad KurtzbergContributor IJuly 16, 2012

NHL Free Agency: 15 Top Remaining Free Agents & What They Can Expect to Sign For

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    So most of the big name free agents are gone now. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter both signed with the Wild, Matt Carle joined the Lightning and P.A. Parenteau is now with the Avalanche.

    But there are still some free agents out there looking for new homes. Here is a look at the top 15 remaining free agents still available and a rough of idea of what they will likely sign for once they reach an agreement with a team.

15. Blair Betts

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    Nobody is going to mistake Betts for a big goal scorer or even a pretty passer.

    With Betts, you pretty much know what you're going to get: a fourth-line checking forward and digger.

    The only thing you don't know is this: what is his health like? The 32-year-old Edmonton native missed the entire 2011-12 season with a lower-body injury.

    If he's healthy, expect Betts to sign a one-year deal in the $700,000 range with a team willing to take a chance on a reliable plugger with postseason experience.

14. Andrew Brunette

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    Brunette has been a steady winger for the Wild and Avalanche in recent seasons, but saw his productivity go down last year with the Blackhawks. Is that because he was playing fewer minutes on a more talented offensive team, or has his age (38) finally caught up with him?

    Brunette is probably good for 15 goals and 35 points moving forward, and would add experience and leadership to any locker room. He can also fill in on a number of different lines over the short term if and when injuries hit.

    Expect him to sign a short-term deal (one or two years) worth about $1 million per season.

13. Jason Blake

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    At 39, everybody knows Jason Blake will not be matching his 30 and 40-goal seasons he had back on Long Island. If he decides to return for another season, however, Blake can still contribute on the power play and pitch in 15 goals and 30-35 points over the course of a season, if he stays healthy.

    The Moorhead, Minnesota, native's body may be breaking down a bit due to his age, lack of size and personal health issues; he missed half of the season last year with a wrist injury.

    At most, expect a one-year deal for Blake at about $1 million.

12. Brent Johnson

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    No question goalie Brent Johnson had an off year in 2011-12. His GAA was higher than 3.00, his save percentage was below .900 and he failed to come through when the Penguins called on him in their opening round playoff series against Philadelphia.

    That being said, until last season, Johnson was a solid NHL backup. He put together three solid seasons, one with Washington and two with Pittsburgh. He has always been a positive force in the locker room, and accepts his backup role without complaint.

    Johnson is 34 and should still have a few more years left as an NHL netminder. With a glut of goalies on the market, though, I can't see him signing for more than $1 million per year. He may even have to take a little less if he wants to stay in the NHL.

11. Jaroslav Spacek

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    There is good news and bad news when looking at Spacek's numbers last year with the Canadiens and Hurricanes.

    The good news is, he totaled 15 points in just over half a season, putting him on pace to score nearly 30 if he could stay healthy over a full campaign. He was also a plus-player despite playing for two teams that missed the postseason last year.

    The bad news is that at 38, Spacek may continue to see more of the nagging injuries that often kept him out of the lineup for a few days at a time.

    At this stage of his career, Spacek is a good third-pair defenseman who can pitch in on the power play and provide some offense. Just don't expect him to play 28 minutes a game or 80 games a season anymore.

    Look for him to sign a one-year deal worth about $1.5 million.

10. Jason Arnott

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    Jason Arnott has size, savvy and experience; three assets that almost any NHL team would like to add.

    The 6'5", 200-pound native of Collingwood, Ontario, has won a Stanley Cup and played in several All-Star Games, but at the age of 37, Arnott is definitely a supporting player and no longer a top-six forward.

    Still, he scored a very respectable 17 goals and 34 points for the Blues last season in 72 games and was still a big asset on the power play.

    Look for Arnott to ink a one or two-year contract worth about $1.5 million per season.

9. Pavel Kubina

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    Kubina's days of scoring 40 or more points are likely behind him. His point totals have gone down in each of the past four years, from 40 to 38 to 23 and now 15.

    Kubina made more than $3.8 million last season but won't get close to that next year after the falloff in his production.

    You have to figure Kubina can score more than 15 points per season in the right situation, but he will be more useful for his experience and smarts than his play-making skills at this point in his career.

    Expect a two or three-year deal for Kubina at somewhere between $1.5 million and $2 million per season.

8. Daymond Langkow

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    Langkow is not a 30-goal scorer anymore, but at 35 he still has some value to a team looking for an experienced center who is good on faceoffs and smart in his own zone. Langkow can still pitch in on the second power play unit when needed and is a decent penalty killer as well.

    He is a good veteran to have in the locker room and remains a solid third-line center.

    Last year, Langkow made $4.5 million. He will likely have to cut that in half this season when he signs his new contract.

7. Michal Rozsival

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    If you were watching the Western Conference Final between the Kings and Coyotes, you saw how Rozsival's season ended when he was hit by Dustin Brown.

    The question of the veteran defenseman's health has to be raised after that hit, but hopefully, he should be ready for the start of the 2012-13 season (whenever that is).

    Rozsival will turn 34 before the start of next season, but he still should have some good years left in him. He moves the puck fairly well and is usually responsible in his own zone.

    If he's healthy, Rozsival should find a decent contract out there waiting for him, something around $3-4 million per season for two or three years.

6. Tomas Holmstrom

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    Tomas Holmstrom is 39 years old and there is no question that his best playing days are behind him. His production has dropped in each of the past two seasons from 45 points in 2009-10 to 37 points in 2010-11 to just 24 this past season.

    Nearly all of Holmstrom's offensive production came on the power play last year, with 10 of his 11 goals coming with the man advantage.

    It is likely the Swedish veteran will re-up with the Red Wings if he decides to return for another NHL season and try to add to the four Stanley Cups he has already won.

    Holmstrom earned $1.875 million last year. Look for him to sign a one-year contract for a similar amount (maybe a slight pay cut) if he decides to return.

5. Petr Sykora

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    Petr Sykora signed a one-year deal with the Devils during training camp last year and turned out to be a solid contributor to New Jersey's run to the Stanley Cup Final.

    Sykora scored 21 goals and contributed 44 points despite playing third and fourth-line minutes for most of the season. He contributed to the power play, mostly on the second unit and was clutch, scoring six game-winning goals.

    At 35, Sykora should still have some productive years left. Look for the veteran native of the Czech Republic to sign a one-year deal worth between $850,000 and $1.25 million.

4. Carlo Colaiacovo

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    Carlo Colaiacovo's offensive numbers were down last season, but he still managed to contribute eight power play assists and finished the season with a plus-seven ranking despite producing only 19 points in 64 games.

    If he remains healthy, Colaiacovo should be able to return to the 25-30 point range over the course of a season, although if he re-signs with the Blues, their defense-first system may keep his total below that.

    The Toronto native is only 29, so he should find a home somewhere for about $3.5 million a season for about three years.

3. Andrei Kostitsyn

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    Andrei Kostitsyn is not returning to Nashville next season after his suspension in the playoffs for missing curfew that caused a disruption to the team.

    Kostitsyn's dedication and discipline have been questioned in the past and they will probably hinder his ability to find a big contract in the NHL. If he wants a lot of money and a long-term deal, Andrei may have to head to the KHL for the coming season.

    On the good side, Kostitsyn has topped the 20-goal mark three times already in his NHL career and is just 27 years old. The talent is there, but is he worth the trouble that seems to follow him around?

    If he remains in the NHL, a one or two-year deal is more likely, probably for somewhere around $3 million per season.

2. Shane Doan

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    The uncertain future of the Coyotes in Phoenix may allow Doan to hit the open market this year. Doan continues to wait and see, but pretty soon the 35-year-old winger will want to sign a deal either with the Coyotes or somewhere else.

    Doan is one of only two top scorers left on the market and he has leadership qualities that Alexander Semin lacks. If he leaves Phoenix, expect a bidding war to erupt between teams that lost out on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Detroit.

    If Doan signs with a new team, expect a three-year contract worth at least $5 million per season.

1. Alexander Semin

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    Semin is by far the most talented offensive player available in free agency right now. He has four NHL seasons of 30 goals or more and one in which he reached the 40-goal mark.

    Some scouts question Semin's attitude and willingness to play defense, but the simple law of supply and demand says that if Semin stays in the NHL, the 28-year-old Russian should cash in big.

    Expect Semin to sign a multi-year contract worth at least $6 million per season. Teams like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Philadelphia or the New York Rangers are the most likely candidates.