“It’s tough to make predictions. Especially about the future.”
Prediction #1: There will be a National Hockey League season in 2012, in spite of some extremely intense labor pains.
Prediction #2: At the end of the upcoming season, fast-forwarding to next July 1st, five superb players will become Unrestricted Free Agents. Five players with tons of offensive flair and plenty of grit and character to spare.
So now that we’ve scored a prediction hat trick, are you ready to find out who these players are?
Player salaries courtesy of capgeek.com
Valtteri Filppula, 28
Current Cap Hit: $3,000,000
The Detroit Red Wings know how to select and develop strong, all-around players, and Valtteri Filppula is certainly no exception. Another former Stanley Cup winner, he scored 23 goals to go along with 43 assists last season.
Travis Zajac, 27
Current Cap Hit: $3,887,500
After missing most of this past season due to injury, he had seven goals and seven helpers in 24 playoff games, as the Devils advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.
David Clarkson, 28
New Jersey Devils
Current Cap Hit: $2,666,667
Yes, Ranger fans, that David Clarkson. A tough and talented player who is just now hitting the surface of his offensive potential; he potted 30 goals in 80 games this past season.
Plus, he tallied 12 points in 24 playoff games and was an integral component of the Devils Stanley Cup playoff march.
You may hate him now, but he'd become a fan favorite in no time.
Scott Hartnell, 30
Current Cap Hit: $4,200,000
A hair-raising thought? Perhaps.
A guy with a super character who gives everything he's got on every shift, Hartnell also knows how to hit the back of the net with regularity. He scored 37 goals in 82 games this past season.
As much as the fans at Madison Square Garden love to boo him now, they'd adopt him as one of their own rather quickly if he were to become a Ranger.