NHL Free Agency Period Is Looming, Big Names On the Move

Steve MContributor IJuly 1, 2008

With the free agency period approaching there are some big names expected to hit the market. Forwards like Mats Sundin, Marian Hossa, and Jaromir Jagr are primed to receive some calls on Tuesday afternoon. Where they end up will be solely dependent on the numbers, and which club gives them the best chance to win a cup.

With the small amount of big name defensemen free agents, players like Brad Stuart ($3.5 million last season) and Michal Rozsival (rejected Rangers 4yr/$20 million offer) will be getting a pay raise as teams look to fill their defensive voids on the blue-line.

Stuart's tests on his injured shoulder showed no long term problems, which will in turn boost his stock heading into 12 pm Tuesday. If Stuart were to re-sign with Detroit he would need to take a pay cut (might be worth it to win) to about $3M per year.

The forward class of this free agent period would have unbelievable in the pre lockout/pre Crosby era. Forwards such as Marcus Naslund, Brian Rolston (Tampa Bay??), and Pavel Demitra, and Brendan Shanahan are also looking for clubs to sign with for the 2008-09 season.

Marian Hossa is the markets top touted skill player who seems poised to sign a large multi-year deal worth around $8M per season. Look for the Boston Bruins to make a push for the highly talented scorer.

The other big story is the Leafs Captain Mats Sundin. It appears his days are gone in Toronto and he is looking to sign where he has the best chance to win his first Stanley Cup. Reports claim Sundin is leaning towards the NY Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings.

The Rangers could afford to pay Sundin the high salary he is expected to demand but his chances of a cup finals appearance are slightly lower than if he were to go with Detroit. The Wings have a lot of cap room to work with and are looking to sign an established forward to a one-year deal for around $3M.

The Wings are in too good a position money wise for the '08-09 season, and need to leave some space for Free Agents to be; Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, and Jiri Hudler.

Look for a lot of activity as free agency comes, and for many familiar names to be changing places...if the price is right.