Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ducks and Flames Swap

2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To AnaheimPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jason JaffrayForward2930001$500,000
To CalgaryPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Logan MacMillanForward2100001$1.1 million

Another small deal went down on Wednesday afternoon, seeing the Ducks send prospect forward Logan MacMillan to the Calgary Flames for journeyman forward Jason Jaffray. MacMillan is definitely the better end of the deal here, as the former 1st round pick in 2007 still has plenty of time to work out some of his potential, while the Ducks get a forward that could fit into their line-up on the cheap, if need be.  It will be interesting to see how this one plays out during the year.

Since neither did too much in the 2010 season and has no immediate guarantees in their new team's line-up, they won't be making it into the team tables or the salary cap updates.  I would expect both of them to start the season in the minors, barring a good training camp.

Trade and Buyout

2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To EdmontonPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Jim VandermeerDefense306248121$2.3 million
To PhoenixPositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Patrick O'SullivanForward25731123341$2.925 million

Already a pair of active teams in this off-season, both the Edmonton Oilers and the Phoenix Coyotes take it up a notch with this last minute trade to deal with a couple of their buyout-able players that neither team had a use for anymore, but it gets a little more complicated than that.

Edmonton decided that they wanted to take Jim Vandermeer off the Coyotes' hands, since they didn't want him, while Phoenix didn't really want to have the greater sum of Vandermeer's buyout, so they were okay with taking on Patrick O'Sullivan, who cleared waivers today, and then buying him out for a lesser sum in the 2012 season.

2010-2011:                $935,417             $766,667
2011-2012:                $397,917             $766,667

In essence, they both traded away players that they didn't want and were ready to get rid of against the cap in exchange for a bit of a sacrifice. The Oilers were okay with the salary cap hit that Vandermeer has as a whole, so they could have a bit more physical play on their blueline and another veteran, while the Coyotes work a little bit of cap space magic, sacrificing a bit more now to have a fair chunk more later.

At the end of the wordy transaction, Vandermeer is now an Oilers blueliner and O'Sullivan is now an unrestricted free agent.  How do you like them apples?

Unconditional Waivers Continue

Technically speaking, Wednesday is the final day that the motions can be put in place for players to be started along the buyout process by placing them on unconditional waivers. It's kind of a grey area when you look at the calendar, but teams get the ability to buy out players, if need be, after they have been placed on waivers on June 30th. So, here should be the last batch of players for that assignment, including their buyout numbers from

It appears that the Calgary Flames are trying out other avenues to possibly clear out some cap space before the frenzy begins.  After Ales Kotalik cleared waivers the other day, he has not been bought out, so the team is looking to possibly clear out a little bit of space by putting Nigel Dawes on waivers.  Dawes has one more year on his current deal that has a cap hit of $850,000 in 2011, which might be attractive for some teams to pick up straight away, opening up that much space for the Flames to play with starting on July 1st.  If the Flames are to actually buy out Dawes and make him a free agent, the hit would not be great, saving around $700,000 against the cap this year.  Time to play wait and see.

2010-2011: $141,667
2011-2012: $141,667

The Avalanche have decided to place defenseman Tom Preissing on unconditional waivers, likely to buy him out if and when he is to clear them tomorrow.  Preissing is scheduled to have a cap hit of $2.75 million in the 2011 season and that's way too high for a guy that couldn't crack the line-up for many games in 2010, playing a grand total of four games last season, registering a single assist.  The buyout seems inevitable here, as they would likely rather pay the $916,000 to have him away than the $2.75 million to have him in the press box for a whole year.

2010-2011: $916,667
2011-2012: $916,667

A couple of names hitting the waiver wire from the swamp, Jay Pandolfo and Andrew Peters, likely trying to be lifted from the team to try and make some cap room for Ilya Kovalchuk, hopefully before the clock strikes frenzy.  Both forwards are of the grinding variety and might have some sort of value to another NHL team, Pandolfo moreso than Peters, but both might have their appeal.

2010-2011: $833,333
2011-2012: $833,333

2010-2011: $166,667
2011-2012: $166,667

Jackets Claim Moreau

One player from yesterday's crop of players placed on unconditional waivers did not clear by Noon today and that was Ethan Moreau, who was claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets from the Edmonton Oilers.  Moreau was deemed good enough to be a depth player in Columbus and now the Jackets will take on the last year of his deal that comes with a $2 million cap hit for 2011.  The 34-year old winger was going to be bought out by the Oilers if he was to have cleared waivers on Wednesday, but instead of negotiating a new deal with the Jackets when he became a free agent, the Jackets decided that they would save themselves the trouble and snag him off the market.

In 2010 with the Oilers, Moreau played in 76 games, scoring 9 goals and adding 9 assists.  That ranked him 280th among forwards, but he is now considered to be more of a checking forward with leadership qualities, so there isn't too much fantasy value in him now.

Salary CapThe addition of Moreau now brings the Blue Jackets totals up again and they are nearly at capacity, by my count today. I have the Jackets sitting at 20 players signed on for next season, the highest total of committed players in the league, according to my judgement, at a salary cap hit of $51.3 million, which currently ranks 5th. Of course, these rankings will change in a hurry, but the Blue Jackets are doing well to remove much doubt from their roster as early as possible.

The addition of Moreau is somewhat curious, especially since the Blue Jackets have a couple pure-checking forwards as it is in Chris Clark and Sami Pahlsson. I suppose if you were to look at it, the three would form a very veteran savvy group of checkers, good enough for a lot of penalty kill time and defensive zone assignments.  It will be interesting to see how this group is shaped together when the pre-season starts.

Clarkson Signs for Three More in Jersey

The New Jersey Devils saved one of their potential restricted free agents from not having an active contract through the Summer by signing him to a deal on the eve of free agency. David Clarkson was re-signed by the Devils to a new 3-year deal worth $8 million, which works out to be a cap hit of $2.667 million for each of the three seasons. Clarkson possibly would have been a target for an offer sheet, pending what the compensation amounts would be for his price range, but the Devils made sure that they kept him in the fold without any issue.

Clarkson had a pretty rough 2010 season, suffering a broken leg in November, which caused him to miss 13 games and then suffered another leg injury shortly after his return, which kept him out of the line-up for another 23 games. All in all, Clarkson managed to play in 46 games for the Devils, scoring 11 goals and adding 13 assists, giving him a scoring rate of just over half a point-per-game. That point total was good enough to keep him in good shape for the pool rankings, but his production rate should give him a bit more of an edge if you wanted to move him up in your projections.

Zach PariseAndy GreeneMartin Brodeur
Tomas ZajacBryce Salvador
Jamie LangenbrunnerColin White
Patrik EliasAnssi Salmela
Jason Arnott
Brian Rolston
Dainius Zubrus
David Clarkson
Vladimir Zharkov
Jay Pandolfo
Pierre Letourneau-Leblond
Andrew Peters

Salary CapThe Devils have reportedly put Jay Pandolfo on unconditional waivers on Wednesday, with the flexibility of possibly buying him out on Thursday, so the salary cap number might not be like this for long, but currently it stands at $48.3 million for the 17 players signed on above, not including any buyouts or penalties that might be already incurred. Even with Pandolfo still in the line-up, the Devils are still in relatively good shape for the Summer, unless they have their eyes on the biggest prize still, Ilya Kovalchuk.

Van Ryn Unavailable for 2011

Scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this Summer, Mike Van Ryn is taking another full season away from the game to help rehabilitate a surgically reconstructed knee that he had realigned in September 2009. Van Ryn did not appear for the Leafs during the 2010 season and will now miss the entire 2011 season, which may even put his career in jeopardy. It sounds like he is taking this rehabilitation one step at a time and we'll probably hear more after the conclusion of next Summer.

This news should only affect you if you were going to be sneaky and try and pick him as a sleeper for your hockey pool this Fall. He has a career-high of 37 points in his 8-year NHL career, so he would be considered a good pick-up, if he was able to get back up to those numbers again.

Sens Buyout Cheechoo

Well, I possibly chose a little too early not to post anything about contracts being bought out, because since the waivers on Monday, only one player has officially had his contract bought out, Jonathan Cheechoo from the Ottawa Senators. Everyone on the list had cleared waivers, which gives the team time to decide their eventual fate, but Cheechoo was the only player dropped like a hot potato.

Cheechoo, I believe, is an unrestricted free agent right off the hop, getting a jump on the free agent frenzy, but his value has tumbled so far since his 56-goal season in San Jose, it doesn't appear to be any time soon before he gets a new deal in the NHL... or so I gather.

Here again are Cheechoo's buyout numbers...

2010-2011: $666,667
2011-2012: $1,166,667

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More Unqualified Free Agents

Much like the post I had yesterday about the two Nashville Predators heading to unrestricted free agency, I found a couple more players on my list that may (or more likely may not) qualify to become late round picks in your hockey pool draft that are also heading to unrestricted free agency, because they were not qualified by offers for restricted free agency this week.  I really just needed something to type about tonight, kind of a slow night in the end.

The Rangers are not going to expect Erik Christensen back into their fold for the 2011 season.  The 26-year old forward was not qualified after a sub-par season, probably more on his health (playing only 49 games) than his scoring (26 points, for a scoring pace of .53 points per game).  Christensen has been batted around the league a few times, thought to be a borderline useful second line player at one point, but has fallen down to a lot of third line duties wherever he has landed, but he still may be able to pick up some work somewhere.  He is by no means a guarantee for anything, but he could sleep his way in.

The Islanders have chosen not to qualify Finnish forward Sean Bergenheim this Summer, as he really didn't have the season that the Islanders expected of him, I'm sure.  Bergenheim finished with only 23 points (10 goals and 13 assists) in 63 games with the Islanders, which didn't give him a great points per game average and is really sitting on the outside looking in, in terms of ranking for next year's pool.  I would be curious to see if he gets another shot in the NHL, as he is fairly speedy and should come at a reasonable cost.  He might be able to fill in a depth role well, if not too much is asked of him.

Remarkably, just underneath Bergenheim sits John Mitchell, who wasn't qualified by the Maple Leafs this Summer either.  I suppose if I include Bergenheim, I might as well include Mitchell.  Mitchell also had 23 points (6 goals and 17 assists) in 60 with the Leafs, but struggled with consistency, both staying on the ice and scoring while he was on the ice.  Mitchell may also be considered to be a project player with some depth abilities, but likely not without a trip or two down to the minors, just to get his confidence back up with some solid playing time.

Flames Sign Karlsson

The Flames announced that they have signed their latest acquisition, Henrik Karlsson, to a new 1-year, one-way deal worth $500,000.  Karlsson, acquired from the Sharks on Saturday, was scheduled to become a restricted free agent on Thursday and likely going back to Europe to play before this deal came down. Now Karlsson is at the front of the line for the back-up position behind Miikka Kiprusoff and at a cap friendly rate of $500,000, which should help the Flames with some of their woes.

In 2010, Karlsson played in Sweden in the Elite League with Farjestad and put up some decent numbers.  He has some good size at 6'5" and 205 lbs., so he should fill up quite a bit of space in the net.

The main concern about Karlsson will be how he adapts at the NHL level, but his progress will not be a huge concern as a projected back up in the NHL. He'll get his share of work this season and likely some bonus work if he performs well.

Jarome IginlaMarc GiordanoMiikka Kiprusoff
Rene BourqueJay BouwmeesterHenrik Karlsson
Matt StajanRobyn Regehr
Niklas HagmanSteve Staios
Daymond LangkowAdam Pardy
Curtis GlencrossCory Sarich
Nigel Dawes
Ales Kotalik
David Moss
Mikael Backlund

Karlsson's one-way deal is enough for me to put him up on the team table, despite not having any NHL experience, but even if he falls off the board between now and the start of the regular season, any one of the Flames prospects that are waiting in the wings should be able to step in for roughly the same cost.

Salary CapWith Karlsson added to the list and Kotalik still on the list (his fate still not yet decided with the club after clearing waivers on Tuesday), the Flames have 18 players signed on for $54.2 million, the highest total in the league at this point in the Summer. That leaves them roughly $5.2 million for five players.

Free Agent Swap

2009-2010 NHL Statistics2011 Cap Info
To NashvillePositionAgeGPGAPYearsCap Hit
Sergei KostitsynForward2347711180RFA
To MontrealPositionAgeGP/MING/WA/SOPYearsCap Hit
Dustin BoydForward24781113240UFA
Dan EllisGoalie301,714151330UFA
Future Considerations

A very interesting deal dropped on Tuesday afternoon as the rights to Sergei Kostitsyn, a potential restricted free agent, was dealt to the Nashville Predators from Montreal and in return, the Canadiens receive the rights to two potential unrestricted free agents in Dan Ellis and Dustin Boyd, plus future considerations.  This deal comes less than 48 hours until all three players become free agents, but luckily for the Predators, Kostitsyn was qualified as a restricted free agent, giving the club a chance to sign a new deal with the Predators.  The Canadiens now have negotiating rights for both Boyd and Ellis for tonight and tomorrow to get this all done.

Expect some signing blogs tomorrow if these deals get done right away.  Then I will have some salary cap information for both sides and likely some team updates as well.

More Waivers for Buyouts

Well, much like Monday, we had a few more names added to the list of waived for the purposes of buying out on Tuesday. No real surprises on the list today, but you can definitely see what the direction of most of these clubs are going to be going forward. So, unless these guys are either sent to the minors, claimed off waivers or sent to Europe, these guys will be bought out, saving me a blog post.

The Anaheim Ducks signed Nathan Oystrick to a 2-year deal last July and he really didn't pan out well for the Ducks in 2010.  He only managed to play in three games for Anaheim, registered nothing and it really looks like he didn't fit into any sort of plans going forward with the club.  Thankfully for the Ducks, his cap hit is minimal, making his buyout cap hit even less of a factor for the next two seasons.  He's a guy that will have problems finding an NHL job as an unrestricted free agent.

2010-2011: $197,083
2011-2012: $183,333

The winds of change are blowing for the Edmonton Oilers and there are a few guys in the getting caught outside looking in this Summer.  Ethan Moreau, Robert Nilsson and Patrick O'Sullivan were all thought to be good pieces of the puzzle in Edmonton, but with new management comes some new ideas and it looks like they are cutting some of the fat away to make a leaner and younger team.  All three are not bad players, by any means, but they need to be in an environment that suits their playing style.  I don't think any of them will have troubles finding a new job, but being bought out does put a damper on their Summers.

2010-2011: $833,333
2011-2012: $583,333

2010-2011: $-83,333
2011-2012: $416,667

2010-2011: $935,417
2011-2012: $397,917

The Rangers are also cutting a few contracts this Summer to help out with some of their potential cap woes after July 1st.  Donald Brashear, Patrick Rissmiller and Aaron Voros have all been waived in order to be bought out on Tuesday and there is little to no expectation about them being picked up before being bought out.  All three are grinding forwards that would likely feature on the third or fourth lines of teams, but the price may not be too appealing for many players. 

Since Brashear's contract was signed after he turned 35 years old, the Rangers are on the hook for his entire $1.4 million cap hit for the 2011 season.

2010-2011: $333,333
2011-2012: $333,333

2010-2011: $400,000
2011-2012: $300,000

The Lightning also joined the buyout bandwagon on Tuesday, placing Todd Fedoruk on there to remove the final year of his contract off the roster.  Fedoruk generally just brings grit to the table when he's added to a roster, as his 6 points in 50 games doesn't really stand out as anything to brag about.  Fedoruk's grit might be look upon as something that's needed in another organization, but probably not for the same $1 million price tag.

2010-2011: $308,333
2011-2012: $375,000

Predators Headed to Free Agency

It's too bad that I don't have a little graphic for this one, but Denis Grebeshkov was not qualified as a restricted free agent on Monday afternoon, the deadline for qualifying restricted free agents for first refusal purposes, which means he will be headed straight to unrestricted free agency on July 1st.  Grebeshkov has quite a large salary to qualify, meaning the Predators would have to match his $3.15 million contract from last season, in order to qualify him and the likelihood of someone snatching him away for a bucket load of draft picks (in compensation) is slim to none, so Nashville decided against keeping him around.

Grebeshkov was the 80th ranked defenseman in pool scoring in 2010, having only 21 points in 51 games.  An MCL injury and a lower-body injury were keeping him away from the game for so long, keeping his numbers down.  If he can stay healthy in 2011, he could be a bit of a sleeper pick, but I would be weary of these lower-body injuries for now and not rush out to get him.

Another player of note is heading to unrestricted free agency as well, as Dustin Boyd was also not qualified by the Predators this week.   Boyd had 11 goals and 13 assists in 78 games between Calgary and Nashville in 2010, ranking him 234th among all forwards, which would have him in the bottom part of a very deep draft.  Boyd is due a raise on his $650,000 cap hit that he had last season, but it looks like the Predators are not willing to guarantee him a spot with a load of youth coming up the ranks, so he'll head to pasture, looking for greener grass.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stars Re-Sign Barch

Need penalty minutes for your pool team? Well, Krystopher Barch is a good guy to get a nice round total from. Last season, Barch racked up 130 PIM in 63 games, not to mention 6 assists, for the Stars and has a consistent 4-year NHL career with every season having over 100 minutes. Barch was 2nd on the Stars in total minutes to Steve Ott, but led the team with 20 major penalties, assuming most of those were fighting majors.  As per this post, it is expected Barch to have signed a 2-year deal worth roughly $850,000, but until I have those numbers for sure, I won't be posting a full team update.  Thought I would throw it out there though, just in case you wanted to make note of a decent enforcer.

Top 20 UFA's According to Pool Points

So, I thought I would give a quick rundown of all the potential unrestricted free agents in order of how I (very easily) score pool points. Forwards and defense are just their goals and assists, while goaltenders get 2 points for a win, 2 points for a shutout and a single point for assists. This actually works out really well and has made for some very competitive pools. Anyways, here are the players in the order that the points have laid them out for us.

Evgeni Nabokov, goalie
2010 Points: 94, 9th overall, 3rd among goalies
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $5.375 million

The Sharks have already said good-bye to Nabokov, allowing the Flyers to talk to him already, but it sounds like he'll wait to hit the wire to see what the teams in need of a starting goaltender are saying, not to mention the interest back home in Russia from the KHL.

Ilya Kovalchuk, forward
2010 Points: 85, 18th overall, 11th among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $6.389 million

There has been plenty of interest circulating the rumour mill, for whatever that's worth these days. Kovalchuk has likely seen an offer from the Devils, but he does hold a lot of cards going into July 1st. I think the understanding is that he wants to win a Stanley Cup and he might be willing to be paid less to do so. The KHL is also knocking on his door wanting him to come home, so there is always that possibility.

Chris Mason, goalie
2010 Points: 64, 62nd overall, 16th among goalies
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $3 million

From what I've gathered in my readings, Chris Mason has had some talks with the St. Louis Blues in order to get a new deal done to stay, but since we're down to the wire, it might be in the Blues best interest to see who hits the free agent market and for how much. No numbers have been leaked as to what Mason may want, but the Blues are in fine shape against the cap and may want to try and spend more with a higher ranked goalie before settling with Mason.

Jose Theodore, goalie
2010 Points: 64, 63rd overall, 17th among goalies
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $4.5 million

With the same kind of numbers as Mason above him, Theodore might lose out to Mason in terms of consistency in one's playing style. Mason may not be an upper-tier goaltender, but he is rock solid as a middle of the pack keeper that will keep you in games, while Theodore can either be really good or really bad and it's hard to gauge him from one night to the next. The Capitals are going a different direction, so Theodore will probably get some phone calls regardless.

Maxim Afinogenov, forward
2010 Points: 61, 72nd overall, 51st among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $800,000

While playing with Kovalchuk in Atlanta, Afinogenov turned into one hell of a bargain for the Thrashers that plucked him out of obscurity to help out a fellow Russian's decision to stick around Georgia... which failed miserably. There's a part of me that thinks he was only there for Kovalchuk and since no one really wanted him before, he might just pack up his stuff and head home. On the flip side, he might get a 1-year deal based on his 2010 output, but I wouldn't hold him to those numbers in 2011.

Ray Whitney, forward
2010 Points: 58, 80th overall, 57th among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $3.55 million

The Hurricanes will not be a big spending team in the 2011 season, likely putting their budget down around the salary cap floor ($43.4 million), which means that the unrestricted free agent crop will all likely grow themselves right out of the picture. Whitney, 38, still has a couple of years left, if not more in the Mark Recchi sense, and does have playoff experience. I would look for him to choose a contender on paper heading into the year.

Vaclav Prospal, forward
2010 Points: 58, 81st overall, 58th among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $1.1 million

Another bargain at $1.1 million, but the New York Rangers failed to really make any good with Prospal in the line-up missing the playoffs in 2010. Prospal has been a bit of a sore spot as a free agent, not living up to all the expectations placed upon him, but still not putting up bad numbers. At age 35, he is a flight risk for Europe and it really wouldn't come as a big surprise to me.

Marty Turco, goalie
2010 Points: 56, 91st overall, 23rd among goalies
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $5.7 million

It was pretty much common knowledge before the playoffs were over that the Dallas Stars were going to go with Kari Lehtonen as their number one guy in 2011 and Marty Turco had pretty much played his last game in Dallas. It was a fairly poor year when you compare his numbers before 2010 to the 2010 season, but the Stars were not a great team in front of him either. Turco will get his shot somewhere, already had some interest from the Flyers, so we'll see where he lands in a week's time.

Matthew Lombardi, forward
2010 Points: 53, 108th overall, 80th among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $1.8 million

The Coyotes managed to get a pretty decent year out of Matthew Lombardi, but he wasn't terribly clutch in the playoffs for them, nor was he too clutch in the playoffs. Nevertheless, Lombardi does possess some great speed, but he still needs just a little bit more direction in his mind to achieve great things in the NHL. He'll find a home, but he may have to settle for one that just gives him plenty of ice-time, instead of wins.

Saku Koivu, forward
2010 Points: 52, 112th overall, 84th among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $3.25 million

The jury is still out in Anaheim as to whether or not Teemu Selanne will make anything official, as per his retirement or return, and that might have a lot to do with the decision whether or not Saku Koivu would return to the Ducks or not. Koivu participated in somewhat of a failed experiment playing with his fellow countryman and now at age 35, Koivu will really want to find somewhere he can win to cap off an amazing career... sooner rather than later.

Alexander Frolov, forward
2010 Points: 51, 119th overall, 90th among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $2.9 million

Frolov was subjected to plenty of trade rumours during the 2010 season, but Kings GM Dean Lombardi stuck to his guns all year with him and it paid off with lending a hand to get into the playoffs. Frolov is only 28 years old and has plenty of time to find himself a winner, but he's really got to make a better name for himself as a top line guy or else he might fall to the wayside and be forced to go home as well.

Alexei Ponikarovsky, forward
2010 Points: 50, 122nd overall, 93rd among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $2.1 million

The Penguins thought that they would be getting themselves a real trigger man in Ponikarovsky when they acquired him from the Maple Leafs at the deadline, but he went ice-cold when the playoffs rolled around. Going ice-cold on a team with so much scoring potential should be unheard of and frowned upon and I do believe it was in the end. Ponikarovsky will go to the open market, but what kind of tag will he have hanging around his neck? I don't think it would be a good one.

Olli Jokinen, forward
2010 Points: 50, 124th overall, 95th among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $5.25 million

A bust with the Calgary Flames to start the season, a late season bust with the New York Rangers, Olli Jokinen was once considered to be a top end centre in the NHL, but was playing for a poor team in the Florida Panthers for a number of years. Well, his stock dropped dramatically, despite the 50 points he put up on the board, more so for the massive cap hit that weighed down the two teams that had him during the year. If he stays in the NHL, it will be for a substantial pay cut, but he has a tarnished reputation, so it might be hard for him to find good work.

Sergei Gonchar, defense
2010 Points: 50, 125th overall, 6th among defense
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $5 million

There wasn't much terribly wrong with Gonchar's game in 2010, except that he missed 20 games due to injury. He turned 36 in April and the Penguins do not want to give him his desired 3-year contract, rather just a 2-year deal, just in case he decides to call it quits after one or two years and the Penguins will be on the hook for his cap hit due to the 35+ contract rule. It sounds like he might hit free agency on Thursday, but I'm sure the Penguins will want him more than they want to sign Dan Hamhuis, who they traded for at the Entry Draft.

Johan Hedberg, goalie
2010 Points: 49, 133rd overall, 25th among goalies
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $1.1 million

Hedberg was definitely one of the best make-shift starting goalies in the league today, since he doesn't mind being thrown into the role and performs admirably when he is. Unfortunately for him, he's been doing it for the Thrashers for the last four seasons and it becomes forgotten when the next season starts and you get to choose your pool team again, unless you're in a keeper league and you don't mind carrying him around as a depth goalie. I haven't seen too much about Hedberg as of yet, but I imagine he'll either re-sign with the Thrashers or go to a home that could use a 1b goaltender.

Lee Stempniak, forward
2010 Points: 48, 135th overall, 100th among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $2.5 million

Stempniak was one of a few players that really stepped it up after being dealt during the season, as he really lit it up with the Phoenix Coyotes, scoring 14 goals in 18 games with the club after joining them from Toronto. It was a pretty good run, but I'm skeptical to think that it will earn him a big raise, if any raise from his $2.5 million in 2010, but I'm sure there will be a team that will look at him and try to put him in the checking/scoring role on the 2nd/3rd line.

Teemu Selanne, forward
2010 Points: 48, 136th overall, 101st among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $2.625 million

I'm not sure if you can really consider Teemu Selanne to be a true unrestricted free agent, since there really only seems to be two choices for the veteran Finn, the Ducks or retirement. There is plenty to suggest that retirement is closer than a return, but a return hasn't been completely ruled out yet. The longer that this is on the back burner, the longer I would think Selanne is going to hang it up, so don't hold your breath for too long here.

Matt Cullen, forward
2010 Points: 48, 140th overall, 105th among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $2.875 million

A rental player for the Ottawa Senators playoff run would likely look good as a potential 2nd line centre or better off as a 3rd line checking centre on some clubs. He'll likely fetch about the same cap hit in a new deal and for the most part, he should be considered to be worth it. Decent in the face-off circle and only 33 years old, so a few years on a new deal shouldn't hurt a club in the long run.

Bill Guerin, forward
2010 Points: 45, 155th overall, 116th among forwards
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $2 million

Much in the same category as Selanne above him, Bill Guerin is likely operating between retirement and a return to the Penguins for another season.  In November, Guerin will turn 40, but you have to believe playing with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin has to keep an aging veteran feeling young at heart.  I haven't seen too much about Guerin's situation, but I would figure that the Penguins are likely taking their cap situation into account when dealing with Guerin.  He could be well-received again in some fantasy circles.

Antero Niittymaki, goalie
2010 Points: 45, 158th overall, 27th among goalies
2010 Salary Cap Hit: $600,000

To Niittymaki's credit, he really showed some flashes of brilliance when he had to take the helm in Tampa Bay and look after the goaltending duties for a while.  Unfortunately, it really didn't last for as long as the Lightning coaching staff would have liked or else they would have been a touch closer to the playoffs.  Nevertheless, Niittymaki should have shown that he is good enough to be a solid back-up, with the possibility of standing in as a starter, barring the unforeseen.  A slight raise on his cap hit for the short term is not out of the question and I think he'll find a pretty good home during free agency.