When it comes to NHL executives, Kings GM Dean Lombardi is expected to be front and center when the calendar flips to July 1st.
Why, you ask? Well, it's simple: His Los Angeles Kings are expected to make a push for the biggest free agent out there, which could turn his young team into a perennial playoff and Stanley Cup contender.
Even though what Lombardi will do is not a big mystery, there are still a handful of other executives out there that will try to reshape their teams for the upcoming season and beyond.
With Patrick Marleau and Tomas Plekanec already re-signing prior to July 1st, there are still some decent names out there and, don't forget, all that trade chatter from last weekend's draft didn't just disappear.
Check out fantasy analysis on all of the free agent signings on July 1st at www.fantasyhockeywire.com
The former first rounder had his worst statistical season, as he only put up 37 points in 80 games. He was also a healthy scratch, so Tanguay really will have his work cut out for him in getting a job.
Similar to last season, he might have to wait it out, but should land a one-year deal with somebody. On the right team, he still could rebound to post 50+ points.
Favorite: Tampa Bay
Darkhorse(s): Minnesota and Toronto
Just six months ago, the 30-year-old was considered to be a very desirable player for certain teams looking for depth amongst their top six group.
However, a bad stint in Pittsburgh might not get Poni the type of offers he was hoping for. However, he should still be able to land with a team that can utilize him better.
Right now, there is no sense of where he might end up
Favorite: Minnesota ?
Darkhorse: NY Islanders
You want to talk about falling? How about this guy?
From a consistent 30-goal, 70-point threat in Florida, to useless, washed-up performances in Phoenix, Calgary, and New York.
Oh, and he's only 31.
There were rumors that Jokinen might head overseas, but it looks like he wants to stay in the NHL. This upcoming season is his last chance to redeem himself, as I can't see a team giving him anything more than a one-year deal to prove himself.
For all of the heat that the Finn took last season, he still managed 50 points, which is a lot better than some of the players on the market.
He might be worth taking a chance as a second-line pivot.
Darkhorse(s): Minnesota and Washington
There are a lot of veteran players that are free agents and if this was 2000, or even 2005, they would all be in high demand.
However, it's unknown where some of these guys will land, if at all. The one guy that could provide a lot of jump to any team is Selanne.
If he does not retire, he should re-sign with Anaheim.
He's not the player that he once was, but if a team is looking for some offense, the 35-year-old Slovak might be an option.
Before last year's injuries, he scored 53 points in seven consecutive seasons. He was mainly on the third line in Vancouver, but still has the skills to jump up on the top line when needed.
Realistically, he fits as a second-liner.
Darkhorse(s): Minnesota and NY Islanders
The veteran was just bought out the other day by the Oilers. While his offensive game isn't great, a team might want to take a chance on the ex-captain for his leadership and grit.
With the Oilers paying for this season, Moreau will probably be willing to play for a lot less than some other grinders on the market.
Darkhorse(s): Toronto and Los Angeles
Martin's value varies greatly depending on who you talk to.
Last season was an injury-shortened year, but the previous five seasons, the 29-year-old averaged 30 points a year. Not too bad, but the Devils paid him for production which never materialized.
He's a good number three, with the potential to be a number two.
Look for a team to offer him a contract with that in mind.
Favorite(s): New Jersey and Anaheim
A couple of seasons ago, you couldn't imagine Frolov, considered a cornerstone of the Kings, ever being available.
However, a lack of intensity and commitment has led to the Russian's downfall. Now, the 28-year-old will be looking for work elsewhere.
There are rumblings that he might go to the KHL. Although, there are a number of teams that could use his goalscoring prowess and make an enticing offer.
Darkhorse(s): Toronto and KHL
The Wizard was contemplating a return to Carolina, but it looks like that is not going to happen.
Even though he is now 38, Whitney continues to provide consistent offense. During his last five years in Carolina, the Wiz put up at least 55 points in each season.
It was rumored at the trade deadline that he was willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to Pittsburgh. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him there now.
Darkhorse(s): Minnesota and Los Angeles
Negotiations are still ongoing with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Otherwise, one of the most prolific scoring blue-liners of the last decade will be a free agent come July 1st.
Gonchar would be a lot higher on this list if he wasn't 36. That seems to be the sticking point with the Pens, as the Russian is looking for a longer term deal than Pittsburgh is willing to provide.
The slick Russian has been money in terms of production. Taking out his injury-shortened season in 2008-09, Gonchar has scored at least 50 points in nine straight seasons. He put up 50 last year in only 62 games.
Despite his age, he's got a lot of game left.
Last season, the 34-year-old only started in 52 games, his lowest total since the 2002-03 season.
However, he did record four shutouts, and his save percentage was the best it has been in five years.
There might be a few teams that would prefer Turco over the other big name goaltender on the market because of the veteran's superior puck-handling abilities.
If he can't land a deal with a contender, look for a platoon situation to take shape wherever he lands.
Favorite: San Jose
Darkhorse(s): Washington, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia
The 28-year-old is considered to be one of, if not the best shot-blocking defenseman in the game.
However, the question for most teams regards annual salary. There are reports that the A-Train is looking for upwards of $5 million per season—too rich for a lot of potential destinations. A career high of 19 points also doesn't help much.
Look for a contract in the four- to five-year range, worth $4.5 million annually.
Favorite(s): Ottawa and Washington
He's already had his rights traded twice, and still hasn't reached an agreement with anybody. Do you think he wants to get to July 1st?
The 27-year-old has spent his entire six-year career with Nashville, but has the upside to do so much more for whichever organization lands him.
He's got some great offensive abilities, and could easily be on the top-line pairing for some teams. Others think he is the perfect number three guy.
Rumors are that he wants to go home.
Darkhorse(s): Pittsburgh and Philadelphia
After a decade on the West Coast, Nabby was told by Sharks GM Doug Wilson that a new contract offer would not be forthcoming.
So now, the veteran netminder will be looking for work, and automatically becomes the best goalie on the market. The Flyers traded for his rights over the weekend but, so far, nothing has come of those discussions.
Nabokov has put together three consecutive 40-win seasons, and has been considered one of the top 10 goalies in the league for several years. However, he turns 35 in a few weeks, and some teams are wondering if his stats were more a product of the system that he played in than his actual skill.
We'll soon find out because there are definitely a few teams out there that would love to take a chance on the Russian.
Darkhorse: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Atlanta
Easily the biggest free agent to hit the market in a long, long time.
The Russian sniper is one of the best goalscorers in the league. He has put together six consecutive 40-goal campaigns. Oh, and he is just entering his prime, as he's only 27.
Scary to think what he could do with a legit playmaker on his line.
Lombardi's Kings are the front runners—the match seems perfect. However, there might be a mystery team or two that comes out of nowhere to offer Kovy a bigger deal than what LA has planned.
Favorite: Los Angeles