Friday, June 27, 2008

Grading the free agents
Goals, assists and points

All right, here are the basics. Potential free agent forwards who had 35 points or more and defencemen who had 20 points or more this past season (RFAs in red):

Name Team GP G A Pts +/-
1 Mats Sundin TOR 74 32 46 78 17
2 Jaromir Jagr NYR 82 25 46 71 8
Marian Hossa PIT 72 29 37 66 -14
Kristian Huselius CGY 81 25 41 66 10
Cory Stillman OTT 79 24 41 65 -15
Pierre-Marc Bouchard MIN 81 13 50 63 11
Brian Rolston MIN 81 31 28 59 -1
Andrew Brunette COL 82 19 40 59 5
9 Radim Vrbata PHO 76 27 29 56 6
10 Markus Naslund VAN 82 25 30 55 -7
11 Pavol Demitra MIN 68 15 39 54 9
12 Corey Perry ANA 70 29 25 54 12
13 Andrei Kostitsyn MON 78 26 27 53 15
14 Antoine Vermette OTT 81 24 29 53 3
15 Patrick O'Sullivan LOS 82 22 31 53 -8
16 Ryan Malone PIT 77 27 24 51 14
17 R.J. Umberger COB 74 13 37 50 0
18 Mark Recchi ATL 72 14 34 48 -18
19 Wojtek Wolski COL 77 18 30 48 10
20 Brendan Shanahan NYR 73 23 23 46 -2
21 Martin Straka NYR 65 14 27 41 5
22 Sergei Fedorov WAS 68 11 30 41 -5
23 Miroslav Satan NYI 80 16 25 41 -11
24 Niklas Hagman DAL 82 27 14 41 4
25 Joe Sakic COL 44 13 27 40 -4
26 Marek Svatos COL 62 26 11 37 13
27 Brooks Laich WAS 82 21 16 37 -3
28 Jason Williams CHI 43 13 23 36 -2
Valtteri Filppula DET 78 19 17 36 16
30 Jarret Stoll EDM 81 14 22 36 -23
31 Paul Gaustad BUF 82 10 26 36 -4
32 Daniel Paille BUF 77 19 16 35 9
33 Jan Hlavac NAS 80 12 23 35 -1
34 Josef Vasicek NYI 81 16 19 35 1

Name Team GP G A Pts +/-
1 Mark Streit MON 81 13 49 62 -6
2 Brian Campbell SAN 83 8 54 62 8
3 Mike Green WAS 82 18 38 56 6
4 Michal Rozsival NYR 80 13 25 38 0
5 Wade Redden OTT 80 6 32 38 11
6 Jay Bouwmeester FLA 82 15 22 37 -5
Andrej Meszaros OTT 82 9 27 36 5
Ron Hainsey COB 78 8 24 32 -7
John-Michael Liles COL 81 6 26 32 2
10 Randy Jones PHI 71 5 26 31 8
11 Rob Blake LOS 71 9 22 31 -19
12 Joni Pitkanen EDM 63 8 18 26 -5
13 Brad Stuart DET 72 6 17 23 -10
14 Bryan Berard NYI 54 5 17 22 -17
15 Christian Ehrhoff SAN 77 1 21 22 9

This is what they mean when you hear it's not a strong free agent class: Only two players with more than 66 points last season, and quite a few guys coming off of down years.

Sundin and Rolston are the only 30-goal scorers, and there are only nine UFA defenders with 20 points or more.

The trick, in my mind, when it comes to free agency, is not necessarily getting the big fish. Rather, the players you want to add to your team (presumably one that's already near contention) are the undervalued ones.

Sundin, Jagr, Hossa — huge paydays. Campbell, Streit, Redden — ditto.

But someone like Rolston, who the Wild hard having a heckuva time signing, or Vrbata, who broke out for 27 goals despite big ice time with meagre linemates, could be closer to a home run, dpending on what the interest is like in their service.

On the blueline, Rozsival continues to be underrated, and players like Hainsey and Liles are young enough that you're getting potentially breakout years given the development timeline for defenders.

Note where Ryan Malone is on the list, despite the fact he lined up beside Sid Crosby or Evgeni Malkin all season.

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At 1:53 p.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger JP said...

Laich's an RFA.

At 2:01 p.m., June 27, 2008, Anonymous Karina said...

Oh how I hope the Canucks sign Malone.

Then I can pull out this list and tell alllll my friends that Naslund actually scored more points than him last year.


At 2:10 p.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger poploser said...

I've been a Rangers season ticket holder for years, and I will never understand why anyone things Rosival is underrated.

He is good with outlet passes when he is not pressured. He has a good shot that he doesn't like to use. He does not have great instincts defending the rush. He is acceptable in his own end, but he's hardly a shut-down guy. His best years were 2005/6 and 2006/7, when he was paired with Marik Malik (who was actually very good those two years). And he played lots of shift with Jagr's line.

Rosival is a #3/4 defenseman who can chip in as a 2nd pairing on the PP. He's shown nothing to indicate he will be a top pairing Dman, even though thats how the Rangers have used him.

If it takes 4+ million to sign him, I hope he's wearing a different sweater next year.

At 2:20 p.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger Dwayne said...

Very good point regarding Malone. Don't get me wrong, the guy is a machine. The fact that he came back just a few minutes after taking a Hal Gill slapshot in the face (you know, the same one that kept Volchenkov out for 2 or 3 games earlier in the playoffs) is a testament to his grit.

He's also a good leader, and he'll stand up for anyone on his team at any time, and he can make life for a goalie less than enjoyable.

But he is probably not going to be a 30 goal scorer. I have a ton of respect for him, and I wish the market wasn't giving him the option of making a (relative) killing as he becomes a free agent, because I'd really like him back. But if he can fleece some team for some excessive amount of money for what he brings to the table, then good for him and his pocket book and his wife's shopping. I certainly don't begrudge him this opportunity. But having seen him place for the last couple of years, I can honestly say he's nowhere near close to 5m per year, or whatever such numbers were being bandied about for him earlier.

Then again, I'm that jerk who thought the Flyers were jokes for signing Briere for as much as they did, too.

At 2:20 p.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger Hooks Orpik said...

"Note where Ryan Malone is on the list, despite the fact he lined up beside Sid Crosby or Evgeni Malkin all season."

You mean other than Sundin, Hossa and Rolston no other UFA scored more goals?

Malone didn't many get assists because he didn't have to carry the puck up the ice, Malkin or Gonchar did. Malone's role was to drive to the net to open more time/space for the skill guys, muck out pucks in deep and put in the garbage. And he played that role very well.

It's hard to rack up assists (especially on the power play where Malone only had 5) when you're the guy taking a beating in front of the net while the others are playing catch around the perimeter.

At 2:25 p.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger Dwayne said...

Expanding on my 30 goal scorer comment: what I'm saying is that last year was his most productive year, playing with Malkin and Sykora, and he still only put up 27 goals. I guess I can't definitively say that some other center-right-wing duo wouldn't mesh even better with him than Malkin and Sykora did, but I highly doubt it, and as such, I think last year is going to be his peak year.

Hopefully I'm wrong :)

At 2:56 p.m., June 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Streit wants to exclusively play defense and he's not a top four guy.
Don't expect him to put up those types of numbers anywhere else.
Sheldon Souray 2.0
He flat out sucked on the point in the playoffs.

At 3:59 p.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

What is Jason Williams' status health-wise? He looks like the darkhorse catch of the pool, IMO. No one is talking about him, yet he's a guy that was on a 70 point pace, is versatile like Rolston and is only 27.

At 5:32 p.m., June 27, 2008, Anonymous dvc said...

Still keeping Straka on this list, James? I thought he was going back to the Czech Republic to play for his hometown team there?

At 7:24 p.m., June 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malone is not that good a player, Hooks....taking pucks in the face just means he can take a puck in the face. $4 million for him is pure insanity, any team that pays that much for him will be the recipient of the biggest burn of the offseason.

Your boy Orpik on the other hand is going to be a nice pickup for whoever ponies up. He had a great playoff for the Flightless Birds.

At 8:44 p.m., June 27, 2008, Blogger Hooks Orpik said...

anon, I never said Malone's worth the $4+ million a year he's going to get. Just rightfully pointing out that he has talent and skills away from the puck that isn't reflected in the end of the year point totals.

Malone's going to score atleast 20 goals if he plays most the season. He's consistent like that, even on the crappy pre-Crosby/Malkin Penguin teams. So I don't think he's going to be a huge burn to his new team...But I do concede he's probably not going to deliver the most bang for his buck. But then again, most high-profile UFA's don't.

At 5:57 a.m., June 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pitkanen is the best defenceman available. Mark my words. (No need to comment)

At 8:39 p.m., June 29, 2008, Anonymous NHL Checks said...

Malone is a really good player, I am interested to see how this turns out with the signing

At 2:31 a.m., June 30, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Years ago somebody asked Scotty Bowman if Martin Lapointe is 5M dollar player (after Lapointe signed such a deal with Boston)?
"Now he is", said Scotty. Priceless.

This same comment works for Malone, too. Most likely he'll be like Lapointe (not really worth it).

Liles deal with Avs is as expected but Foote's deal will bite them in the ass. As will Smyth/Hannan deals.

Visnovsky's trade to Edmonton will mean Pitkanen's trade to Carolina for Williams/Cole/Ruutu or some other package with draft pick(s).

Carolina will win this one but now Edmonton can afford it because they have Visnovsky taking Pitkanen's role as number one defenceman.

Great to see Roberts still playing because he gives me hope;) In that regard I just love Chelios.

At 12:43 p.m., June 30, 2008, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

I really don't get trading draft picks for the right to talk to someone a few days early. Maybe if it's Mats Sundin you're talking about, but Malone, Roberts and Rolston are good players, not great ones. The difference between them and someone else you might be able to sign after July 1 is not large enough to justify giving up resources to get them. That's even assuming that you wouldn't have been able to sign them anyway. To me, this smells of itchy trigger fingers, and a desire to do something, anything, right now. Learn the value of delayed gratification boys.

At 12:50 p.m., June 30, 2008, Blogger The Gate To The Groin For Yannick Bertrand said...

um, is mirtle dead?

At 11:41 p.m., July 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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