Since some of the bigger names UFAs have found new teams and inflated contracts, I thought I should have a look at who else is still available for the Canucks. As I wrote in my previous post, not including internal promotion, the Canucks is most in need of a top-six forward and a top-four defenseman. (I know, which team doesn’t!!)
Here’s some big names we can fantasize about until tomorrow morning:
Name – Position – Age – Previous Team – Previous Salary
Maxim Afinogenov RW (29, Sabres – 3.5-million)
Jordan Leopold D (29, Panthers – 1.5-million)
Alex Tanguay LW (29, Canadiens – 5.375-million)
Saku Koivu C (34, Canadiens – 4.75-million)
Nik Antropov C (29, Rangers – 2.15-million)
Derek Morris D (30, Rangers – 3.95-million)
Paul Mara D (29, Rangers – 1.95-million)
Mike Comrie C (28, Senators – 4-million)
Andrew Alberts D (28, Flyers – 1.4-million)
Petr Sykora RW (32, Penguins – 2.5-million)
Miroslav Satan RW (34, Penguins – 3.5-million)
Marek Malik D (34, Lightning – 1.25-million)
Francois Beauchemin D (29, Ducks – 1.65-million)
Darryl Sydor D (37, Stars – 2.5-million)
Sergei Zubov D (38, Stars – 5.35-million)
Ales Kotalik RW (30, Oilers – 2.5-million)
While I was writing these UFA down, I actually think that some are pretty good options of the Canucks. Afinogenov although carries with him some risks in terms of production and health, a change of scenary may be good for him. With his drastic decline in production during the recent years, Gillis can probably sign him at around US$2-million per season for a one season trial??
What about Ales Kotalik?? A very decent goal scorer with 43 points despite shifting between two teams last season. If the Canucks can slightly up their offer to US$2.8-million, we may be able to land this solid second-line right winger.
Another notible mention is Petr Sykora, who usually is able to produce 50 points per season at a price tag of US$2.5-million. With the Penguins not using him in their line-up, and his age at 32, he wouldn’t be expecting any raise in salary.
At 34, Miroslav Satan had a great playoff run with the Penguins this year, and the Penguins will most likely want to try and fit him back into their line-up. But if they aren’t able to do so, Satan’s 50+ points per season and his experience will be well worth $3.5-million.
The Senators are in enough troubles right now with Heatley, and I don’t think Murray is talking to Comrie that often. At 28, Comrie is becoming a journeman across different teams, and with his average 50-points-per-season production, if he can find some stability on the West Coast, he may be able to regain his former 60-points seasons.
Tanguay and Koivu both have huge re-bounding potential, and are still considered elite players, so their price tags are comparative higher.
As for Defense, although Jordan Leopold’s rights were traded to the Panthers, I don’t think Florida has any advantage in signing him now that July 1st has passed. At 29, with a previous salary of $1.5-million, if the Canucks can beat the other teams in terms of salary, he will be a great addition, especially with his power-play point shots.
Francois Beauchemin is of course another hot item still available. Apparently Brian Burke just loves him, but he will surely have a decent raise in salary from his former $1.65-million contract.
If Gillis doesn’t want to fight for someone with the result of driving up the contract price, Marek Malik can be a cheap but decent addition to the bottom-two. I mean, Tampa grabbed our Ohlune, we should get someone back from their roster, right?
Sydor and Zubov are aged veterans from the Stars roster. They do bring a lot of experience to the team, and are bonifide top four players, I believe they will take a huge pay-cut now near the end of their careers.
What about Derek Morris, Paul Mara? They are decent top-four defenseman with at a sensible price. Morris, a former first rounder, didn’t have his best season this year, but with some great offensive upside and very reliable in his own zone, he will be an improvement over Ohlund, but also more expensive at about +US$4-million per year. Mara, also a first rounder (97) is somewhat less talented, but is usually considered a powerplay specialist. At about US$2-million per season, a change of scenary for him may prove drastic improvments to his point production.
So, Like I said, there are still a number of great players out there. Who knows, sometimes good things go to those who wait, as we saw with the recent Entry Draft. Maybe not pulling the trigger on the first day will prove similar fortune for the Canucks.