Tracking the UFAs
As of tomorrow, we're three weeks from July 1, which for hockey fans has become a little like Christmas Day in midsummer.
Rather than list the available players — something I'll get into over the coming weeks — here's a look at holes created on all 30 teams by potentially outgoing unrestricted free agents. For these purposes, I'm looking at 22-man rosters, and by my count, there are 160 UFAs from that group.
That means that as many as 24 per cent of the 660 players deemed to be "roster" players will be up for grabs. Of those 160, 17 are goaltenders (28 per cent of netminders), 50 are defencemen (24 per cent) and 93 are forwards (24 per cent).
The Penguins lead the way with 10 potential UFAs from their core group of two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards:
This isn't an exact science, obviously, and there's no definitive way to decide who exactly to include in this list.
I do believe, however, that it is pretty representative of the potential vacancies on all 30 teams. Some of those spots are going to be filled by young players coming in (Kyle Turris, for instance, will be one of the forwards in Phoenix), meaning not all UFAs are going to find NHL homes, but it's safe to say every team is going to be looking to add something come July 1.
Keep in mind that some UFAs are far more significant than others. Toronto may have only four UFAs, but losing, say, Mats Sundin, hurts more than Atlanta, which has six, losing Steve McCarthy, Johan Hedberg, Eric Boulton, etc.
Only three teams lack a locked in starting goaltender: Nashville, Washington and Colorado. That leaves an awful lot of musical chairs among backups, with up to half the teams potentially looking to re-sign or find a new No. 2.
Labels: free agency