Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Remaining RFAs

Only a handful of restricted free agents are still without a contract (these players did not go to arbitration and must negotiate deals with their clubs):

Mark Giordano, Calgary
Anton Babchuk, Carolina
Jussi Jokinen, Dallas
Stephen Weiss, Florida
Noah Welch, Florida
Alex Perezhogin, Montreal (went to Russia)
Paul Martin, New Jersey
Keith Ballard, Phoenix
Matt Walker, St. Louis

Quite a few young defencemen, and I think there's a reason for that. Moreso than forwards and netminders, it's more difficult to determine a salary range for blueliners and teams and agents/players are often far apart at the outset.

The Ballard negotiations are a good example of this, as the player and his agent are likely angling for a Kevin Bieksa type deal (and why not?) for a player who is still relatively unknown and unheralded outside of his own market.

Ballard played tough, tough minutes last season in Phoenix and probably deserves that sort of contract, but things like playing for a weak team and plus-minus may hold him back.



At 1:15 a.m., August 07, 2007, Blogger PB said...

Hi James -

Even though I'm very partial, Keith Ballard would most likely have better plus/minus rating with a stronger team.

It is really confusing (and frustrating) to me why they haven't come to terms with this kid yet.

At 1:36 a.m., August 07, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I know that, and you know that, but will having played for the Coyotes hold him back? Hasn't he accomplished as much as (if not more than) Bieksa?

I bet the team's trying to lock him up for less than $2-million per season, and more power to them, but this is one of those negotiations where I could see it taking a while.

At 6:21 a.m., August 07, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Interesting to see two former Minnesota Golden Gophers on this list: Ballard and Martin. It's nice to see them both succeeding.

At 7:58 a.m., August 07, 2007, Blogger WufPirate said...

You can add the "(went to Russia)" next to Anton Babchuk. I don't want to know how ugly negotiations would get between him and the 'Canes right now.

At 11:07 a.m., August 07, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And don't forget Jussi Jokinen. He's a Finn but uses Russian agent Mark Gandler!

Gandler is well known for hardball negotiations and always using Europe as a bargaining tool. But it doesn't work that way anymore and that might help Dallas in Jokinen's case.

A year ago Islanders offered Sean Bergenheim 500,000 but Gandler signed Bergenheim to Russia. Now Bergenheim is back with Islanders... with same 500,000 he was offered 12 months ago.

Kid lost a year of NHL hockey so he got screwed. I think Gandler isn't making same mistake with Jokinen since he is losing NHL clients left and right (Elias, Havlat etc.)

At 12:31 p.m., August 07, 2007, Blogger ninja said...

Alexeev would look great along side Antropov and Ponikarovsky.

At 12:33 p.m., August 07, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

I belive Alexeev is actually a UFA not an RFA as I believe Chicago did not give him a qualifying offer (just like Alex Auld).

A couple of other notables: Edmonton's Alexi Mikhnov has not been signed, although I don't know if he would actually make the team.

Also, Dimitri Patzold, who I belive San Jose plans to use as their number 2 goaltender this season has not been signed.

At 1:39 p.m., August 07, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Removed Alexeev; I didn't deem the others significant enough to include at this point.

At 3:36 p.m., August 07, 2007, Anonymous Daniel Tolensky said...

One more young defenceman to add - James Wisniewski of the Hawks.

Great work with this site James!

At 8:02 p.m., August 07, 2007, Blogger PB said...

I bet the team's trying to lock him up for less than $2-million per season, and more power to them, but this is one of those negotiations where I could see it taking a while.

I would be very surprised if we see any movement on Ballard until days before training camp.

I had a bad feeling his contract deal would take this long (and potentially longer).


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