Monday, June 04, 2007

UFA Preview - Part 1

Here is an early look at what could be coming over the next 45 days. Things will change from now until July 1st, so stay tuned, things are about to pick up...


Paul Kariya – Ever since joining the Nashville Predators, Paul Kariya has once again become one of the elite in the NHL. That being said, Kariya is getting older and the cup is on his mind. A return to Nashville is doubtful, as the lack of playoff success as well as the team’s lack of local attention are not things Kariya is happy with. A return to Anaheim seems most likely, while Vancouver would love to bring the skilled winger home.

J.S. Giguere – While he may be a playoff MVP, the Ducks may take a pass on the all-world goalie. With big contracts to their big defenseman already signed, it looks like Giguere may be a cap casualty for the Ducks. Detroit would love to have bring him in, and seem to be the early front-runner. The Kings are a long shot to bring in Giguere, while Tampa Bay could only dream about finding cap space to afford him.

Chris Drury – Drury has been one of the best players in the league for awhile now, and this season he once again took his game to another level. The Sabres will try hard to bring him back, but they will have steep competition. Philadelphia would love to bring him in to help re-build a contender, while Colorado would love to bring Drury back into their fold.

Peter Forsberg – From what I’ve heard, there are two options here: Philadelphia and Colorado. Sweden isn’t as likely as many of you have heard, at this point I am feeling Philly lands him.

Daniel Briere – Some feel he’s the best UFA on the market, but I believe it’s too close to call. Either way, Briere will attract a lot of attention from a lot of teams. As with Drury, the Sabres would love to hold on to him, but it will be tough. Once again, the Flyers are very interested in bringing in Danny, and are the early favorites to land him. Montreal also has a lot of interest, while Detroit and Toronto could get involved in this as well. Let the bidding begin.

Ladislav Nagy - Nagy started off slow in Dallas but eventually found form, is it enough for Dallas to hang on to him? The Stars will make an offer, but can they compete with eastern teams such as Toronto, Montreal and Pittsburgh? All three of these teams went hard after Nagy prior to the deadline, so it’s expected they’ll be back in the race for the winger. Colorado, Detroit and Chicago are teams in the west expected to make solid pitches.

Ryan Smyth – While Edmonton was thought to be out of the race, they are said to be back in it. Calgary and Vancouver are also very much in this, Toronto and Buffalo as well.

Sheldon Souray – The LA Kings have been the rumoured team for the past year, and nothing has changed. Anaheim would love to have him, but they may find better ways to spend their money. Don’t count out the Sharks either. As for Montreal, I don’t see them finding a way to fit him in.

Bill Guerin – Back to St. Louis for Bill it seems…

Jason Blake – Toronto and Anaheim are the early favourites in this race, while it is very unlikely Blake returns to the Island. Nashville and New Jersey are two other teams I would watch in this one, and Pittsburgh I’m hearing is starting to ask questions about what it would take to bring him in.

Scott Gomez – At this point, New Jersey appears to be a long-shot. Gomez may be the most under-rated UFA out there. His name has been kept quiet, and where he ends up is anyone’s guess. You can expect it’s with a team who is close to winning, as Gomez has been a winner his entire career. Early whispers have been Ottawa and Detroit.

Brendan Shanahan – I’d expect the Rangers to do what it takes to bring him back, but if not I believe he’ll enter the North-East division.

Teemu Selanne – If he didn’t stay in Anaheim, I’d be shocked.

Curtis Joseph – He’s publicly stated he’ll play for two teams: Toronto and Phoenix. Both teams have interest in the goalie, but will also see what else is available.

Dominik Hasek – While many feel Tampa and Detroit are big Dom’s only two options, I’ve heard otherwise. Phoenix has some interest, while Toronto has also been in Dom’s rumour world over the past few weeks. Tampa is my guess at this point.

Brad Stuart – Calgary may have a hard time keeping the defenseman. San Jose would love to get this guy back, while the Kings have heavy interest in him as well.

Eric Lindros – A return in Dallas is likely, though Calgary is another team said to be ready to make an offer to the large centre.

Todd Bertuzzi – The Wings are interested in keeping him, but with Bertuzzi, price is key. Big Bert publicly said last season that he’d love to play in Toronto, and that is very possible. Montreal, NYR and Boston are all rumoured at this point as well.

Gary Roberts – Toronto, Ottawa, Pittsburgh. These are the only teams you should expect to see in the Roberts hunt.

Tom Priessing – Ottawa will do what it takes to bring him back as he’s quickly become a large part of this team. Should July 1st come and Priessing still be a free agent, there will be countless teams in the bidding for the power-play quarterback.