How's this for a startling scenario: Every NHLer whose contract expires July 1, regardless of their age or status, becomes an unrestricted free agent. Impossible you say? Well, have a peek at Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch's latest ruminations.
"We could very well see the largest pool of young unrestricted free agent talent on the market in sports history," said Calgary-based agent J.P. Barry, co-managing director of IMG Hockey. "In addition to draft-age players such as (Sidney) Crosby, (Gilbert) Brule, (Mike) Richards and (Jeff) Carter being available, you can add a few hundred other free agents in the prime of their careers to the list of players available to any team. There are less than 300 players under contract for the 2005-06 season.Those good ol' agents — they think of everything.
"Looking to rebuild? How about Joe Thornton, Rick Nash, Jarome Iginla or Dany Heatley? The list of star players in the prime of their careers that may be available is remarkable."