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Which NHL free agent will pull off the most shocking deal?
Tue, June 24, 2008

Top forwards slated for unrestricted free agency include Ryan Malone, Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne, Peter Forsberg, Brian Rolston, Pavol Demitra, Markus Naslund, Sean Avery, Radim Vrbata, Brendan Morrison, Kristian Huselius, Cory Stillman, Michael Peca and a long list of others.

Top defencemen slated for unrestricted free agency are Brian Campbell, Michal Rozsival, John-Michael Liles, Brad Stuart, Adam Foote, Mark Streit, Rob Blake, Brooks Orpik, Jason Smith, Dmitri Kalinin and Ron Hainsey.

Free agent goaltenders include Jose Theodore, Cristobal Huet and Ty Conklin. Ray Emery will also be a free agent.
Full story: Cream of free-agent crop

Which free agent will pull off the most shocking deal?



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83 Comments

Very well said Andy V. And you know what? This North American economy is going into the tank about as fast as the collapse of the USSR. Not a long, gradual decline, but bang - overnight. The constantly rising price of fuel will trigger a domino effect on all aspects of the economy and when people start looking at ways to cut expenses so they can spend on the essentials, the first casualty according to Economics 101 is leisure spending. At some point, even the most die-hard sports fan will start to wonder about forking over hundreds of dollars they can't afford so players and their agents can live high off the hog. It's inevitable and it's coming faster than you might think.
Gary O., 2008-06-27 21:35:16

Sundin IS over-rated. Sure he was able to rack up a ton of regular season points during his career as a Leaf but that really didn't do anything for the team in the long run. In 14 years, he didn't take the Leafs anywhere they hadn't been previously with Wendel Clark at the helm. He was also injured during The Leafs 2002 Gary Roberts led run to the semi-finals. When Mats came back, the team folded like a house of cards. I wouldn't be surprised if Sundin actually ends up with The Leafs this season so he can again perform his "regular season wonder" routine, pad his own stats and not have to worry about playing a single game in the post-season. Whoever gets him is welcome to him, I for one am hoping and praying he doesn't come back to The Leafs. If he does, there will be no re-building taking place at all. They would just be handing the reins back to a guy who has led them nowhere in the past 3 seasons except back to the links in the middle of April.
Randy, 2008-06-26 23:03:33

Rick,

Not one of those 3 parties actually care about the individual fans. The lock-out was a waste and the fact that the NHL has no problem increasing the cap every year proves it.

It doesn't matter if the money is coming from merchandising, or TV revenues, or the dollar exchange as long as it keeps coming.

I might be wrong, but I can't remember a single player every saying I'll take less $$$ if you help reduce ticket prices... and the only time in recent memory that teams gave deals or freebies to the games was just after the lockout - when they and the league were not sure if the fans were going to tell them to go

%$!@@$% themselves.

We the fans are only thought about when any party is performing P.R.

If you look at hockey today from this viewpoint it's almost enough to make you sick.

$ 11.34 million is the top salary allowed to a player - can you think of better ways that such amounts of money could be spent? But this is todays reality, and it's not limited to hockey.


Andy V., 2008-06-26 23:01:02

What the? The cap is now $56.7 million? What the heck good is a salary cap if it goes up 45% in 3 years? Even Detroit was having trouble filling seats this year and they won the cup. I say reduce the cap by $6 million this year and let the fans have a break on ticket prices.

There is a serious disconnect here when the economy is stagnating and many players are being squeezed out of professional hockey being waived or bought out, yet owners are tripping over themselves trying to sign for 10 years all young players with promise who haven't really produced yet. They're betting on the cap going up to make these bad deals look good and Bettman is obliging them. I say the cap has been neutered.

Instead of desperately pandering to the already overpaid players I think they should have a formula that year 1) gives the players a share of revenue, year 2) gives the owners a share of the pie and year 3) reduces ticket prices so that attendance goes up and the fans get a break. All 3 parties would benefit from this.
Rick W., 2008-06-26 15:50:53

Pete;

What a ridiculous thing to say. Mats is not over-rated, and to say he has done nothing in his entire carreer is bordering on moronic. He holds the record for most points as a lLeaf, no small feat, is the only consistant player the Leafs have had for years and is a great leader. Hossa is nowhere near the player Sundin is. Get a clue, buddy, how can you expect anyone to take you seriously when you make sweeping stupid comments like that?


Paul, 2008-06-26 15:14:42

Vince

Are you on crak you moron ? Hossa is 10 times better than Mats over rated Sundin that hasnt done anything his entire NHL career.

Hossa is the big fish this year with Redden and Campbell ahead of floater Sundin.
Pete, 2008-06-26 13:09:06

Guys,

If Mats were to come to Montreal, all that would ASSURE the team is that they've solidified themselves at center.

One could draw from the season Montreal had that some players over achieved, but this happens on many teams, especially those who make great turnarounds in a very short time.

I go back to the beginning of last season with Gainey saying the objective is to make the playoffs, then with about 10 games to go, he said he wants the team to go as deep as they can.

Now with the centennial year, Gainey has a green light to try to buy a winner.

It might or might not happen. The season is long and the playoffs are a war of attrition. At least, for Habs fans - we can and should have expectations for this year's team.

Mats is the king kahuna of the free agent market this year, and if he chooses to play - he will probably land the biggest amount of $$$. I hope it's with the Habs.
Andy V., 2008-06-26 09:34:33

Saying the Habs overachieved and then came back down to reality in the playoffs is ridiculous. Yes, they are not a first place team, but when you consider they were only 11 points out of 9th place, then it's a tossup as to who would finish first in the east. But they played a good team game in the regular season with sustained pressure, lots of speed and lots of hitting to get where they did. There was none of that in the Philadelphia series, nor in games 5 and 6 against Boston. And Price, rookie that he is, plain and flat out choked. I still think he can potentially be the best goalie in this league, but nobody can say the kid wasn't shell shocked after all the deflections and tipins just out of his reach. And with him playing like he did, the team lost their confidence and played accordingly.

The bottom line is Montreal choked and there's no way they should have lost to a team that almost played their way out of the playoffs in the last few months of the season. If Gainey hadn't given away Huet, they would have merely put him in when Price struggled and the Habs would have made it through another few rounds.

That being said, DM sounds like a typical Leaf fan. If it's not the Habs it's surely the Sens. According to a Leaf fan, any other team that doesn't win the cup is a "choker". Meanwhile, no matter how far they are from Lord Stanley, the Leafs always played with "grit" and obviously would have whipped those "chokers" if only they had bothered to make the playoffs.
Rick W., 2008-06-26 09:30:01

Just for the record I have Habs fans razzing me all the time- that message is to my Hab friends that always tell me that the Cup is Montreal's and this past postseason I never heard the end of it. So when the expectation is so high to suggest it is theirs- I throw the term out there.
DM, 2008-06-26 00:20:01

I wouldn't say the Canadiens choked. More like they overachieved during the season and came back to reality in the playoffs.

Some of the players from the European countries sort of disappeared when the going got tough - the small players.
gordholio, 2008-06-25 23:43:09

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