Saturday, June 11, 2011

Top 10 NHL Unrestricted Free Agent Forwards 2011

Here is my list of the top 10 available unrestricted free agent forwards heading into the July 2011 signing period.

1) Brad Richards: If your team needs a forward, this is the best one available, but it will cost you $7-9 million dollars per season. He is an elite player and I suspect the team that lands him will be the team offering him the longest term. Anything over 4 years is too long at his projected salary range. (UPDATE: signed with the Rangers for 9 years at $6.7M per season, ergo the Rangers gave him longer term in order to get the annual cap hit down.)

2) Alex Tanguay: He is an effective player and a strong addition to any team. He out performed his $1.7 million for 2010 scoring 69 PTS and still has a few quality seasons left in the tank. I'd like to see my favourite team offer him a 3 year $10 million dollar deal. (UPDATE: re-signed in Calgary for 5 years at $3.5M per, a very fair cap hit attained by offering a 5 year term.)

3) Ville Leino: I still don't understand why Detroit let him go. He can expect a substantial raise from the $800K he made last season. Doubtful Philly will retain him. (UPDATE: signed in Buffalo for 6 years at $4.5M per. That's an expensive price to pay. They'll get production, but certainly not at a bargain price.)

4) Erik Cole: His agent should be trying to get a $4 million per year contract, I just don't know if any GM is willing to go that high. He's a proven goal scorer. He could be a valuable addition to a number of teams. (UPDATE: signed with Montreal for 4 years at $4.5M per. That's a fair price.)

5) Jussi Jokinen: At 28 years old this 50 point player will command at least $3.5 million per season, if not more. (UPDATE: re-signed in Carolina before July 1st for 3 years at $3M per, great value signing for the Hurricanes.)

6) Teemu Selanne: He scored 80 PTS last season but at 41 years old how much longer can he keep this up? He loves Anaheim, so I doubt he'd play anywhere else if he decides to continue playing.

7) Scottie Upshall: This is a player I'd love to see sign with my favourite team. Optimal value is 5 years $15 million, but the team that gets him will likely have to sweeten the pot. (UPDATE: signed by Florida for 4 years $14M.)

8) Simon Gagne: I wouldn't pay him a penny more than $4 million per season, but somebody might offer him more than that. He is a player with top end talent, but the frequency of his injuries is a concern if you are making a long term contract offer. (UPDATE: signed with LA for 2 years at $3.5M per. Great signing for the Kings.)

9) Michael Ryder: During these playoffs Ryder has substantially added to his value. His last deal at $4 million per season was too high, so he'll be lucky to get that on his next contract. He won't get any less than $3 mil per season. (UPDATE: signed with Dallas for 2 years at $3.5M per. Fair price.)

10) Sean Bergenheim: This player is getting a substantial pay raise. His $700K in 2010 will be at least tripled on his next contract after his performance in these playoffs. (UPDATE: signed in Florida for 4 years at $2.75M per, more than triple his salary from last year.)

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