NHL Free Agents 2010: Five UFAs Who Can Push Your Team To The Cup For Cheap
NHL Free Agents 2010: The NHL has become a very turbulent atmosphere for unrestricted free agents this past summer. While some players—such as Ilya Kovalchuk— have signed huge long-term deals, others—such as veteran Bill Guerin—have been left out in the cold.
In an offseason where teams were content to let players walk away over thousands of dollars, being a free agent was a curse. When the Stanley Cup champions let their goaltender leave over less than $500,000, things didn't look good for the rest of the UFA crop.
The following five unrestricted free agents are players who can still contribute, and can provide that extra veteran presence that could help push your team to Lord Stanley's Cup.
No. 5 Marc-Andre Bergeron
Undrafted, Marc-Andre Bergeron has fought for everything he has received in his pro hockey career. Signed by the Edmonton Oilers in 2001, Bergeron has proved to be a good offensive defenseman, known to make the occasional defensive error.
Bergeron has the ability to rack up points and to quarterback a power play. Bergeron's blistering shot has allowed him to score 27 goals in the past two seasons.
While Bergeron has great offensive ability, his knack for coughing up the puck can create frustration for his teammates. At 5'9, 198 lbs, Bergeron is undersized and shouldn't be utilized anywhere besides the bottom three defensive positions.
2009-2010 Salary: $750,000
2010-2011 Potential Salary: $700,000
For $700,000 Bergeron brings a gifted offensive-minded player who can lead a power play and play forward when needed.
No. 4 Ray Emery
Ray Emery is coming off a potentially career-ending injury. An unrestricted free agent, if Emery does come back from his injury, expect a different player to emerge. The adversity and personal development after dealing with a serious injury could be exactly what Emery needs to focus entirely on his career.
Coming off a season with a 2.64 goals against average, and a .905 save percentage, Emery's numbers don't scream starter. However, he has proven in the past that when he is focused, he can help carry a team.
Look for Emery to receive a chance with an organization looking for a cheap goaltender to push their current starter.
2009-2010 Salary: $1,500,000
2010 Potential Salary: $600,000
Coming off injury, Emery offers teams a discount price on a good goalie who can help a team struggling in net.
No. 3 Owen Nolan
Selected first overall twenty years ago, veteran winger Owen Nolan still has what it takes to deliver at the NHL level. Nolan scored 16 goals for 33 points last year, and could be a great pickup for a contending team looking to add some scoring depth and some grit to their bottom-six.
Just a year removed from a 25-goal season for the Minnesota Wild, Nolan passed up the opportunity to sign with the Wild hoping to land a job with the San Jose Sharks. After no Sharks offer came, Nolan is working out and hoping to receive a call with a job offer.
2009-2010 Salary: $2,750,000
Potential 2010-2011 Salary: $700,000
Nolan brings a gritty game with a bit of scoring. To play this season, the veteran will have to take a substantial pay cut. That being said, the team that picks him up will be getting a great leader, scorer and checker at a bargain price.
No. 2 Brendan Morrison
Brendan Morrison is coming off a solid season with the Washington Capitals that saw him score 12 goals for 42 points. For a team looking for a veteran third-line centre, those are hard numbers to ignore.
Brendan Morrison is currently on a pro-tryout contract with the Vancouver Canucks. If Morrison plays well, he may yet find a place with his old organization. If not, Morrison represents exactly the type of pedigree and depth that a contender needs to make the next step.
2009-2010 Salary: $1,500,000
2010-2011 Potential Salary: $1,025,000
Morrison brings a steady presence for a low-rate, factor in his plus-23 rating last year and Morrison still has a lot to offer.
No. 1 Bill Guerin
A two-time Stanley Cup champion, Bill Guerin is a veteran player who by all rights should already be signed. Guerin is coming off a good season that saw him score 21 goals for 45 points. A 20-goal season for Guerin isn't out of the question.
At 39 years of age, Guerin isn't getting any younger. In what could be his last year of professional hockey, Guerin will be working hard to ensure that he goes out on top. A motivated, veteran scorer, Guerin was signed to a pro-tryout by the Philadelphia Flyers. If the Flyers can't create the cap room to sign Guerin, expect a mini-sweepstakes to take place among teams who find themselves with some offensive holes going into the season.
2009-2010 Salary: $2,000,000
2010-2011 Potential Salary: $1,250,000
A veteran player who scored nine points in 11 games in last year's playoffs, available for just over a million will create quite a stir. Expect the Flyers to sign Guerin to add scoring depth because if they don't, one of their rivals will.