SUN Hockey Pool

The clock's ticking

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

The salary cap has taken some fun out of the experience, but National Hockey League teams can't help but get in line for the annual free agent carnival this week.

A total of 33 players changed teams on Canada Day last year, 26 more in the ensuing 48 hours.

Here is a list of some intriguing unrestricted FAs, keeping in mind that a lower cap starting in 2010 will make long-term deals harder and that many UFAs, especially long-serving players on one team, are just waiting to negotiate a price to stay where they are.

GOALTENDERS

NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN

2008-09 team: Chicago

Old salary: $6.75 million

The netminders' market dried up in a hurry when Ray Emery joined the needy Flyers earlier this month, but the 36-year-old Bulin Wall still will get some interest. If he doesn't go back to Chicago, where it's down to keeping him or leading scorer Martin Havlat, he just might have to wait for a break somewhere when the season starts -- or consider playing in Russia.

JONAS GUSTAVSSON

2008-09 team: Farjestads, SEL

The (Monster) is playing teams such as Colorado, San Jose and Toronto off against each other, but he also will want to go where he gets the best chance to play.

MARTIN BIRON

2008-09 team: Philadelphia

Old salary: $3.5 million

Had the chance to run with the ball in Philly, but it proved to be the graveyard of goaltenders again.

MARTIN GERBER

2008-09 team: Toronto

Old salary: $3.7 million

Strong finish with the Leafs helps his cause, but he still will have to take a big pay cut.

CRAIG ANDERSON

2008-09 team: Florida

Old salary: $575,000

Itching for the chance to get out from Tomas Vokoun's shadow and show he can be a No. 1.

Also: Manny Fernandez, Mikael Tellqvist, Andrew Raycroft, Ty Conklin, Brent Johnson, Scott Clemmensen, Dwayne Roloson

DEFENCE

JAY BOUWMEESTER

2008-09 team: Florida

Old salary: $4.875 million

Calgary Flames are on the clock to sign him before Wednesday after trading for his rights on Saturday. Half the league will be bidding for him after that -- and likely over-paying.

MIKE KOMISAREK

2008-09 team: Montreal

Old salary: $1.9 million

Habs would hate to give him up, as everyone is looking for a blueliner with some bite.

MATTIAS OHLUND

2008-09 team: Vancouver

Old salary: $3.5 million

He's going on the market likely with his best years behind him, but he'll get lots of attention in the Western Conference.

ROB BLAKE

2008-09 team: San Jose

Old salary: $5 million

An oldie, but a goodie at almost 40.

ROB SCUDERI

2008-09 team: Pittsburgh

Old salary: $725,000

His Stanley Cup cachet will surely enhance his bank account.

Also: Scott Niedermayer, Marek Malik, Derek Morris, Johnny Oduya, Hal Gill, Mathieu Schneider, Francois Beauchemin, Chris Chelios.

FORWARDS

RW MARIAN GABORIK

2008-09 team: Minnesota

Old salary: $7.5 million

New management, new coach and a pledge for a new up-tempo style in Minnesota, but will it be enough to get him to stay?

LW DANIEL SEDIN, LW/C HENRIK SEDIN

2008-09 team: Vancouver

Old salary: $3.575 million

The twins have set the bar very high for their current and prospective employers with an opening request for identical 12-year $63-million packages. They've had a couple of good years to back that up, although such long-term deals are not popular any longer with the cap heading downwards.

RW MARIAN HOSSA

2008-09 team: Detroit Red Wings

Old salary: $7.45 million

Has painted himself into a corner with last year's decision to leave Pittsburgh in search of a Cup, but there are worse places to be stuck than the Red Wings dressing room.

RW MIKE CAMMALLERI

2008-09 team: Calgary

Old salary: $3.6 million

Flames will have to do some cap juggling to keep the 39-goal scorer off the market.

C/W NIK ANTROPOV

2008-09 team: NY Rangers

Old salary: $2.15 million

The Rangers like him, but not enough to overpay and ex-Leaf figures this is his big ticket. The Rangers will leave a candle burning for some more well-known UFAs.

Also: Martin Havlat, Alex Tanguay, Brian Gionta, Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev. Erik Cole, Mikael Samuelsson, Robert Lang, Mats Sundin, Chris Neil, Petr Sykora, Todd Bertuzzi, John Madden, Dominic Moore, Maxim Afinogenov, Mike Knuble, Brendan Shanahan, Bill Guerin, Miro Satan, Manny Malhotra, Joe Sakic, Mark Recchi, Jeremy Roenick.


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