Sparse crop of free-agent forwards could spur teams to go trade route

If a team is looking for offensive help this summer, it might have better luck finding it through a trade than through free agency. Many teams are looking to shed payroll, and that’s why there likely will be several trades at the NHL draft in June.

But another reason is there doesn’t seem to be a deep pool of desirable unrestricted free agent forwards.

Despite the lack of depth in the , there will be considerable interest because every summer general managers feel pressure to be active in the marketplace.

In part II of my 2010 , we look at some potential at forward:

1. Ilya Kovalchuk: Affordability will reduce the number of suitors, but at least three of four teams likely will be willing to offer a lengthy, big number contract to bring his speed and goal scoring knack to their city. It’s difficult to imagine that any other NHL team will pay him the $101 million that he turned down from the Atlanta Thrashers before they dealt him to New Jersey. With the salary cap probably rising by only $100,000, I also can’t see anybody willing to give him the annual salary $10 million the Thrashers were willing to give him on a seven-year deal. He probably could get that, and maybe more, if he were willing to sign with a Kontinental Hockey League team. If he stays in the NHL, I’m guessing he would end up with closer to $8 million than $10 million.

2. Patrick Marleau: What happens during the playoffs will help determine his future in San Jose. If the Sharks play well in the playoffs, why wouldn’t the Sharks try to re-sign him? If they don’t, there could be pressure on GM Doug Wilson to make a dramatic move and allow Marleau to move on without a fight. Marleau’s skating ability and goal scoring potential makes him a good fit everywhere. He does have history with Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who once was his GM in San Jose.

3. Matthew Lombardi: The Coyotes would like to re-sign him, but if they don’t, there will be a large collection of teams calling his agent because he has speed, offensive ability and probably won’t tear up a team’s salary structure. He’s making $2.3 million now.

4. Alexei Ponikarovsky: Perhaps there is a way for the Penguins to keep Ponikarovsky, but if they don’t, there’s a waiting list for a 20-goal scorer with some size. He’s also know as being a good guy.

5. Matt Cullen : He seems most comfortable when he plays in Carolina, and presumably the Hurricanes would like him back. But several teams likely would be willing to give him three years at more than $3 million a season.

6. Ray Whitney: He’s about to turn 38, but some team is going to give him a two-year deal because he can still play at a high level.

6 Responses to Sparse crop of free-agent forwards could spur teams to go trade route

  1. The-President says:

    The First and primary move would have to be moving Kaberle to a team in which we are going to get a great player in return. With the news coming out that he is now unhappy with Ron Wilson, the writing is on the wall. Its only a matter of time when he gets moved. It's time for him to go, he has worn out his welcome to me, and especially with those most recent comments. This guy is supposed to be a leader, and hes had multiple chances to be dealt, and then he comes out crying wolf, See you later Kaberle!
    So heres the deal:

    Kaberle Grabovski
    To Columbus For:
    Filatov 1st Rounder

    Filatov is finished in Columbus, he doesn't want anything to do with the organization, and they really don't want him either. The 1st rounder is well worth what they are getting in return, a top pairing defenseman, as well as a top 6 forward, potential 1st liner. This deal would give us a surefire sniper, and while its up in the air, maybe even a franchise player, he hasn't lived up to the expectations in Columbus. But keep in mind he is young, very talented, and possesses all the tools to be an impact player.

    Secondly, demote Finger to the Minors, and buy him out, I think we all know the reasoning behind this, 3.5 mil for this guy, Really!

    Third, We may want to trade Beachemin, Mitchell, and a mid round pick to the Kings for Jack Johnson. Johnson doesn't get along with the GM of the Kings, having being called out multiple times, even requesting he'd rather play somewhere else, prompts this trade. Beauchemin is expendable, he needs a change of scenery, and can still be a serviceable top 4 dman on any team. The Kings are in need of veteran leadership, and presence, especially on the blueline, which Beauchemin brings.

    After these trades have taken place, onto free agency.

    Sign Nik Zherdev Thats it!




    These simple moves will put the Leafs over the top, A great top 6 of forwards, and a good bottom six of role players. The Defense will be solid, A good balance between offense and defense on the back end. Getting rid of the minus play of Kaberle and Beauchemin will only improve our team. Every player on our top 6 on offense would be capable of 20 goals, and some 30, 40, maybe even more. Goal-tending will improve with the Monster coming into his own, and Giguere will come through when it matters most. Filatov and Zherdev would bring a different, more dynamic offense to our game, it would take the focus off of Phil Kessel, and result in more chances for the team as a whole. Johnson will bring a well rounded game, and can chip in offensively as well and a sound defensive game. Overall, this is an improvement over where we are now, and would brighten the future even more.

    For those that are unsure about Zherdev, Filatov, and Johnson Watch this:

    Zherdev Video

    Filatov Video–Keep in mind, toward the end of the video, all 3 of those goals against Minnesota, are all in the same game.

    Johnson Video

    And, for all those that say these moves are not Burke, or Wilson type moves, winning the Cup are Burke and Wilson moves, and these are the type of players that are going to bring us there. Filatov 19 years old, Zherdev, 24, and Johnson, 23. The building blocks of many successful years, with or without Wilson.

  2. The-President says:

    And another thing, this has to be the most annoying website pertaining to pop-ups, I must have at least 20 on my screen, and there all ridiculous videos, noisy, and obnoxious. Something has got to be done about that to improve this site, anyone agree?

  3. Magleaf says:

    the only one that annoyes me is this beyond good and evil game or w/e

    ive gotten too used to the other ones that pop up

  4. zackman13 says:

    get a kind of adblocker, there amazing, it works great, i have some type of adblocker and it stops all of them!

    just google search

    "adblocker for ______ (whatever browser you use)"

  5. reinjosh says:

    We need NHL level talent not prospects. Filatov is a waste of a Kaberle trade chip. It would be easier to grab a second rounder with Grabovski and get Kabanov or Galiev in the 2nd round this year and smarter.

    Zherdev wants money and he won't get it here. Burke won't sign him either, so forget about it.

  6. ottislu says:

    but then you'll never learn how to get ripped in 4 weeks! 😉

    PS. Bringing in 2 underacheiving and disgruntled europeans is exactly what the leafs need, and what burke wants.  We'll call them Reichel2 and Renberg2.  While we're at it, lets trade for berg and kharpotsev.

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