Here's a few thoughts on this year's thin free agency class:
- Ilya Kovalchuk - There have been reports that Kovalchuk has been asking for a significant pay raise as high as to the $8-10 million range. I'm sorry, but I don't think Kovy is worth anything near that. He will already have limited suitors because of the salary cap, but even fewer because he's not that great of a player.
- Dan Hamhuis - In a weak class of defensemen, Hamhuis is getting the most attention. He could cash in big time, but Hamhuis isn't motivated by money. I strongly believe he is looking for the best fit, both on the ice and for his family. I expect him to test the market. I understand the Smithers, BC native has a west coast team in mind. And sorry Canucks fan, it's not Vancouver.
- The Goalies - The only glut of UFAs is found in the goal crease. Evgeny Nabokov will be scooped up quickly, quite possibly by Philadelphia. Where does that leave Marty Turco, Chris Mason, Dan Ellis, and Michael Leighton? Will Jose Theodore or Ray Emery or Vesa Toskala find another job? If a team is looking for a Craig Anderson-like steal, they'd be wise to look at Anterro Niitymaki.
- Eric Nystrom - He will hardly be the biggest name available, although I think he could be a nice addition to a contenders' bottom six forwards. That being said, it would also be nice to see him go the New York Islanders where his father Bobby Nystrom is a hockey legend.
- Manny Malhotra - Eric Belanger should get lots of interest from teams, but Manny Malhotra may be another bargain bin for some team. He's great on faceoffs and can help a team's PK. Good depth player.
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