Predicting The Future With No “Inside” Sources
This post is going to part serious and part humor. The serious part consists of me seriously trying to predict where the top unrestricted free agents will land. The humor part will come on July 1st when all my picks are wrong. Sounds like fun, no? Let’s go! (Please keep in mind that I’m just talking out of my butt.)
Ilya Kovalchuk: Los Angeles Kings at a $9m cap hit.
The Kings will be up against the cap after this signing which may cause them some headaches in the coming years. But for now: enjoy the ride!
Anton Volchenkov: Anaheim Ducks at $6m.
I’m crazy you say? Well, of course. But with Scotty retired, the Ducks need to make a splash and have the cap room to outbid other teams for the hulking Russian. Overpaid? You bet! Especially when there’s…
Zbynek Michalek: Washington Capitals at $3.5m.
Michalek presents the best blueline value, in my opinion. He’s solid in his own zone and will come cheaper than Volchenkov which will allow the Caps to go after a decent 1A goalie as well.
Dan Hamhuis: Vancouver Canucks at $4.75m.
This signing pretty much paves the way for the departure of Kevin Bieksa. Whichever team dumb enough to trade for Bieksa will be rewarded with a player who makes dumb plays all the time. A match made in heaven, if you will.
Sergei Gonchar: Dallas Stars at $4.5m.
He’ll get his money but with his age and recent injury history, I wouldn’t touch him.
Evgeni Nabokov: Philadelphia Flyers at $5m OR KHL at $15m and 100 gallons of oil.
Whooooa!!! I just went out on a massive limb. I feel like an anonymous hockey blogger! Nah, he’ll most likely sign in the NHL but I have no clue as to what team he makes the most sense with. Especially at a $5m cap hit.
Chris Mason: Washington Capitals at $3.5m.
If it comes down to Mason or Turco., I’d be shocked if any GM would actually prefer the latter. If this happens, it’s a good signing. So make it happen!
(BoF edit: According to a reader comment, this is unlikely. But hey, maybe the Caps will use the money to target Lombardi who I also goofed up on in this post. See below.)
(BoF edit #2: I’m changing Mason’s team to Tampa. However, if he signs in Washington, I’m sticking with my original thought. Win-win! Unless he signs with any of the other 28 teams, in which case I’ll continue looking like an idiot.)
Paul Martin: New Jersey Devils at $4.5m.
I think both parties will come around and keep Martin in Jersey. If not, maybe the Devils will sign Gonchar instead and regret it later.
Matthew Lombardi: Pittsburgh Penguins at $3.5m.
And the endless Crosby winger-matching continues. This one may work out well (or maybe not).
(BoF edit: I’m pretty retarded. Lombardi is a center but for some reason this morning I was convinced he played the wing in Calgary prior to going to Phoenix. So yeah, scratch this one off the list ’cause the Pens need another center like I need more arguments with the wife!!!)
Alexander Frolov: KHL.
Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, will pay him the $5 million I read that his agent is seeking in North America. If the price of oil falls, he may even have a hard time getting that in Russia (nah, that’s a lie because the extortion cash will always be there).
Willie Mitchell: Pittsburgh Penguins at $3m.
This can work out great if he’s healthy, or be a disaster if he’s not. Either way, it’s the least the Penguins can do to apologize after Malkin knocked him out.
Marty Turco: Philadelphia Flyers or San Jose Sharks at $2.5m.
If the Nabokov thing doesn’t work out, I’m thinking the Flyers take a flyer (haha) on Turco. He’ll come cheap because, well, he’s been having a rough time since the trapezoid was implemented. Those little lines cost him millions. Or maybe it was his realivitly sh*ty play that cost him (who knows with these things).
Olli Jokinen: Calgary Flames at $5m. JUST KIDDING! GodKnowsWhere at $3m.
I have a hard time finding a fit for him. However, you can be assured that wherever he goes, he’ll manage to royally screw things up. He’s the Milbury of hockey players these days. Maybe, just maybe, he may turn out well in the right spot. It’s happened before.
Pavel Kubina: Tampa Bay Lightning at $3.5m.
I can see him going to a few different teams but chose Tampa because I feel they really need another 3-4 defenseman-type. This should be a good fit for him, in my opinion.
Tom Lydman: New York Islanders at $3.5m.
Another defenseman that can fit on a number of teams who are looking to add depth to their blueline. He’ll be a decent 3-4 blueliner and the Isles are a good fit.
Henrik Tallinder: Buffalo Sabres at $3.5m.
And yet another defenseman who can fill out the depth chart as a 3-4 guy. He was Lydman’s partner in Buffalo and I’m thinking they keep at least one of them. My thinking is always wrong, though, so there you go.
Joe Corvo: Columbus Blue Jackets $2.5m.
He should help out with the Jackets powerplay. Maybe he’ll get $3m. Maybe. But probably not.
Colby Armstrong: Pittsburgh Penguins at $2.0m.
Colby makes his triumphant return to Pittsburgh! Nah, probably won’t happen because he’ll go after the money and should get around $3m somewhere else. Stay tuned, Sid may start tearing up if Colby doesn’t come back.
Ray Whitney, Alex Tanguay, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Lee Stempinak.
All three should get somewhere between $2m to $3m. Whitney may get a tad more if he signs a one year contract. Too hard to predict where they end up because it could be anywhere. Even Russia. And I don’t have my KHL roster reports handy.
Pavol Demitra, Paul Kariya.
Whichever team signs them better invest in a new CT Scan machine and some extra doctors. Whichever GM signs either one for more than $1.5m better stick his brain into said CT Scan machine.
This concludes my look into the UFA class. There are others but they all suck! (with all due apologizes to Antero Niittymaki).
Oh, and one last thing before I go. Even the worst hockey player that signs a contract on Thursday will make more money than you or I. Soooooo, the only thing we have left is laughter. The more we make fun of hockey players, the more we’re able to hide our inadequacies. Man Rule #425.