Greg's 2009 NHL Free Agent Predictions

Greg CaggianoSenior Writer IJune 29, 2009

In a 90-minute marathon on an episode of "NHL Tonight" yesterday, Joe Alianello and I randomly picked some of the bigger free agent names out there and gave our predictions as to where they would end up (Read Joe's Predictions here).

We also went over a possible trade scenario for the Rangers and who will be the next head coach of the New Jersey Devils. All of that can be found under our predictions below.

Here are some of my predictions for free agent pickups (current team in parentheses):

1. Mike Cammalleri (CGY): Calgary Flames
2. Steve Sullivan (NSH): Nashville Predators
3. Alex Tanguay (MTL): New York Rangers
4. Brian Gionta (NJD): New York Rangers
5. Marian Gaborik (MIN): Los Angeles Kings
6. Nik Antropov (NYR): New York Rangers
7. Marian Hossa (DET): Edmonton Oilers
8. Martin Havlat (CHI): Chicago Blackhawks
9. Bill Guerin (PIT): Pittsburgh Penguins
10. John Madden (NJD): Minnesota Wild
11. Maxim Afinogenov (BUF): Leaves NHL
12. Colton Orr (NYR): Florida Panthers
13. Alex Kovalev (MTL): Montreal Canadiens
14. Saku Koivu (MTL): Minnesota Wild
15. Jay Bouwmeester (CGY): Calgary Flames
16. Mattias Ohlund (VAN): New York Islanders
17. Nikolai Khabibulin (CHI): Leaves NHL
18. Daniel Sedin (VAN): Vancouver Canucks
19. Henrik Sedin (VAN):  Vancouver Canucks
20. Manny Fernandez (BOS): St. Louis Blues
21. Martin Biron (PHI): Colorado Avalanche
22. Manny Legace (STL): Atlanta Thrashers
23. Craig Anderson (FLA): New York Islanders
24. Martin Gerber (TOR): Leaves NHL
25. Mike Komisarek (MTL): New York Islanders Islanders
26. Matthieu Schneider (MTL): Los Angeles Kings
27. Jaroslav Spacek (BUF): Buffalo Sabres
28. Derek Morris (NYR): Phoenix Coyotes
29. Paul Mara (NYR): Boston Bruins
30. Dmitri Kalinin (PHO): Leaves NHL
31. Ruslan Fedetenko (PIT): Pittsburgh Penguins
32. Eric Cole (CAR): Carolina Hurricanes
33. Mikael Samuelsson (DET): Florida Panthers
34. Todd Bertuzzi (CGY): Calgary Flames
35. Mike Knuble (PHI): Philadelphia Flyers
36. Ales Kotalik (EDM): Edmonton Oilers
37. Mats Sundin (VAN): Retires
38. Robert Lang (MTL): Leaves NHL
39. Mike Comrie (OTT): Ottawa Senators
40. Scott Clemmensen (NJD): Coloado Avalanche

Now for the trade scenario Joe and I talked about last night.

The Rangers will be actively trying to move one of the "Fab Four" contracts that are handicapping this team. In all likelihood, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury cannot be moved and Michal Rozsival is not doing as much damage to the cap as people think.

That leaves Wade Redden.

Despite the rumor going around saying that the Rangers may want to send him to their AHL affiliate in Hartford before the season starts, that may not be possible. At 31 years of age and five years remaining on his contract, that transaction could likely spell the end of his NHL career, something that the Players' Association would never allow.

So how do the Rangers move Redden's contract?

A complete and total salary dump without making it look like Sather has made a mistake? The answer is trading him to the Dallas Stars.

Last season when Redden hit free agency, the Stars were actively pursuing him before losing out to the Rangers. They struggled last season mainly because of their lack of an offensive defenseman as Sergei Zubov was injured and Phillipe Boucher was traded. They also have over $16 million in cap space and can afford it.

The Rangers could send Redden to Dallas along with either Brandon Dubinsky or Ryan Callahan for defenseman Stephane Robidas, whose cap hit is only $1.5 million. The Rangers would save an upwards of $6 million in the deal and it becomes the salary dump they need, but since they acquire an all-star from last season in Robidas, it doesn't appear that Sather is admitting to a mistake. Dallas may also want to do Sather a favor since he took Sean Avery off their hands last season.

Moving on to the Devils' coaching situation, not only do Joe and I agree but so does Don La Greca and Brian Monzo as well, that Jacques Lemaire should be their next head coach. When looking at New Jersey's roster you will notice that other then Parise and Elias, this team will be losing a lot of their scoring to free agency this off-season.

Look at the defensive corps as well, which is pretty much as no-name as you can get. This Devils' team is perfect for a trap defense, which can be effective with no matter who your players are.

There really aren't many head coaching vacancies and we would expect that the Devils will announce their new head coach within the next two weeks, depending on what free agents they sign or what trades they make. It may also be safe to say that Mike Keenan will be out of a job this season.

Greg Caggiano is a writer on Bleacher Report covering the New York Rangers. He has a New York area sports teams blog called Metro-Sports, where you can read great articles about all professional sports teams that play in the area by a dedicated team of young writers.


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