Thursday, July 22, 2010

Free Agency Winners and Losers

By Eric Bancker

With about a month gone by since the free agent frenzy started I figured now would be a good time to assess who are the winners and losers in free agency.


Pittsburgh Penguins: They lost Gonchar to the Ottawa Senators but they still seemed to upgrade the defense anyway. With the additions of Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin they may not have the same offensive weapon they had in Gonchar but they got younger and these two guys can be the cornerstones of the Penguins defense for years to come. Both signed five-year contracts Michalek's worth $20 million and Martin's worth $25 million.

Atlanta Thrashers: Now Atlanta didn't throw around a ton of money but I'm counting the players they traded for just before the frenzy started on July 1st. They acquired Andrew Ladd on July 1st from the Chicago Blackhawks for Ivan Vishnevskiy and a 2nd-Round Pick in 2011. On June 25th they acquired Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager, and Akim Aliu from the Chicago Blackhawks for 24th overall pick 2nd-Round Pick both in this years draft, Marty Reasoner, Jeremy Morin, and Joey Crabb. During this time period that they were acquiring half of the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks roster they also signed goaltender Chris Mason, which was a steal for the Thrashers.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Just a few days ago they were able to acquire Simon Gagne from the Flyers for Matt Walker and a 4th-round pick in 2011 which to all of you non-hockey fans this trade is like trading in a 1995 Mercury Tracer for a 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer, you might be asking yourself, why did you pull a 95 Tracer out of the air? I think that answer is simple to find out. Okay, back to hockey. The Lightning were also able to sign Brett Clark, Pavel Kubina, Kurtis Foster, and Dan Ellis. They were able to address their defensive issues and also added a goalie to have a two-headed monster in goal, plus the addition of Gagne makes the Lightning offense even more dangerous.

New Jersey Devils: I am sort of conflicted on whether they should make the list or not because of the fact that the NHL rejected Ilya Kovalchuk's 17-year deal but if you look at the two defenseman they were able to acquire, Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder, as well as the addition of Johan Hedberg then they are very clearly winners this summer. If Kovalchuk and the Devils can reach a new agreement that pleases the NHL then that will just be the icing on top of the cake.


New York Rangers: As usual the New York Rangers find themselves on this list because Glen Sather continues to prove you can have an I.Q of 22 and still be a general manager in the NHL. The Martin Biron signing was good but the signing that got them put on this list was the 4 year/$6.6 million contract handed out to Derek Boogaard. I know Rangers fans love tough guys but all the Rangers fans that think that the money or year side of this contract are okay then they have just as low of an I.Q as their leader Sather. Boogaard is a great fighter but he hasn't scored in four years, so they are essentially paying $1.65 for a guy who can hit and fight....does Sather have short-term memory loss and he forgets that he signed Donald Brashear last year for 2 years/$2.8 million, lets remember how that ended. He got sent down to Hartford half-way through the season and the Rangers are forced to eat his contract this year. I know, I know Brashear is old but Sather has lost his mind giving this much money to a guy who has averaged 47 games played in the past four seasons and hasn't scored. If I see another Rangers fan online defending this signing them I'm going to be forced to go to their house and take their computer away from them because I'm deeming them just too darn stupid to use it.

Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers haven't had a horrible off-season but they are still losers in my eyes. They started with the addition of Andrej Meszaros which is an iffy addition, his career started strong as he recorded over 35 points in his first three seasons but his numbers have dropped off big time since then only tallying 33 points in the last two seasons. Then the wheels started to fall off a bit, Holmgren signed Braydon Coburn, or as I call him Chris Therien Jr., to a 2 year/$6.4 contract. Coburn was awful last year and on more than one occasion put the puck in his own net so yeah that's worth $3.2 million a season. They also traded Simon Gagne away for practically nothing and replaced him with Nikolai Zherdev. Zherdev is tricky, his talent is limitless but he's selfish and lazy. Zherdev is only signed for one-year at $2 million so if this experiment doesn't work then the Flyers can show him the door. Holmgren has cap strapped this team again and fans aren't happy, Leighton will be the starter moving forward but fans weren't exactly happy to find out on July 1st that Holmgren had spent all of their money in a matter of hours and that he didn't get a goalie.

Calgary Flames: Calgary had a rough season last year and Darryl Sutter came into this years free agency with a lot of needs for his team but I don't know what he was thinking when he handed out contracts to once Flames, Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay. Jokinen is nowhere close to the player he used to be and the entire hockey world was laughing when Sutter decided to bring him back in what had to be the worst deal of the day. Jokinen is just two and three years removed from a 71 point campaign in 2007-2008 and a 91 point campaign in 2006-2007. Since then Jokinen has been in a downward spiral and it seems like 50 points may be his limit now. Tanguay is another amusing signing, he just hasn't been the same player he was a few years ago and he's still fairly young (30) but he will never put up over 60 points again or even 50 for that matter. Sutter is trying to dig into the past and see if he can recapture some of the magic these guys had on the Flames, more so with Tanguay than with Jokinen.

Tim and Eric's Free Agency Predictions Gone Wrong

On July 1st Tim and I gave our free agency predictions for this summer and wow were we way off. I don't think either one of us should try our luck betting on anything in Las Vegas because we will surely be walking home empty-handed. Here's a look at the embarrassment that is our free agency picks. Now some people may say that its tough to guess where guys will go and that's true but Tim and I were way off and we also put three players on this list (Adam Foote, Tomas Holmstrom, and Todd Bertuzzi) that had already re-signed with their clubs. Can you say fail? Because we sure as hell can.

1. Ilya Kovalchuk (NJ)- Eric: Los Angeles Kings; Tim: Los Angeles Kings.
He came close to signing there but New Jersey threw a 17 year contract at him and he couldn't resist signing it, there was only one problem with the deal, the NHL didn't approve of it. Due to the contract manipulating the salary cap, the NHL shot down the 17 year/$102 million contract Kovie signed just a few days ago.

2. Evgeni Nabokov (KHL)- Eric: Dallas Stars; Tim: Atlanta Thrashers. Nabby proved us both wrong as he bolted to the KHL for the next couple years.

3. Anton Volchenkov (NJ)- Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: Vancouver Canucks
Guess what? We were both wrong again as the A-Train signed a 6 year/$25.5 million contract with the Devils on July 1st.

4. Raffi Torres (FA)- Tim said Torres would go to the Islanders and I said.....ahhhh who cares? Its Raffi Torres, he's still a free agent. Lets move on. The only reason he’s in the four spot on our list is due to the fact that he was a replacement free agent, our original pick for this spot had already re-signed. He's not the 4th best free agent out there, not now, not ever. Moving on.

5. Marty Turco (FA)- Eric: Atlanta Thrashers; Tim: San Jose Sharks. I'm betting the deal that the Flyers gave him a few weeks ago looks good now considering this declining goalie has overplayed his hand and now doesn't have a contract. It's reminiscent of Martin Biron last off-season. Good job Marty.

6. Matthew Lombardi(NSH): Eric: Phoenix Coyotes; Tim: Phoenix Coyotes. Lombardi shocked some people when he signed a three year deal with the Nashville Predators. The Predators have been a bit quiet even though they have a great deal of money to throw around but Lombardi is a good signing for them.

7. Alexander Frolov (FA): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: Colorado Avalanche. Frolov is still sitting in free agency and it doesn't appear that he will sign anytime soon, he's an explosive player with a lot of talent which I think all 30 teams would like to add to their rosters.

8. Vaclav Prospal (NYR): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: Ottawa Senators
Finally one of us got a prediction right as Vaclav Prospal re-signed with the Rangers for one year worth a little bit over $1 million with about another $1 million in bonuses. Okay so if you're keeping score at home that's Eric: 1; Tim: 0.
Stay tuned because the score is going to get even higher....not really, it’s slightly depressing how low the score will be.

9. Pavel Kubina (TBL): Eric: Nashville Predators; Tim: Florida Panthers. Yet another wrong prediction for the both of us as Kubina went back to the team that originally drafted him. 2 years/$7.7 million with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

10. Olli Jokinen(CAL): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: KHL. This had to be the most laughable signing of free agency so far. Chokinen, you like the nickname? I like it a lot, anyway he signed a 2 year/$6 million deal to go back to Calgary. Even all of the guys on TSN were laughing at this deal. Oh Darryl Sutter, I'll make fun of you some more later don't you worry.

11. Teemu Selanne(FA): Eric: Retire; Tim: Retire
He hasn't decided on his future yet but I think its time he hangs up his skates. Its annoying to hear all the talk about whether he will come back or not, granted its nowhere as bad as Brett Favre talk but if I have to hear about either wanting to come back and all that non-sense then I'm running head first into the wall closest to me. Enough is enough.

12. Zbynek Michalek(PIT): Eric: Carolina Hurricanes; Tim: Philadelphia Flyers. He was described as "The Defenseman Every Team Wants" well the Pittsburgh Penguins were able to sign him to a 4 year/$20 million contract to help cope with the loss of Sergei Gonchar.

13. Paul Martin(PIT): Eric: New Jersey Devils; Tim: New Jersey Devils. Pittsburgh wasn't done enhancing their defense as they signed Paul Martin to a 5 year/$25 million deal best part for the Penguins is that they stole him from the division rival Devils.

14. Paul Kariya(FA): Eric: Anaheim Ducks; Tim: Anaheim Ducks.
Paul Kariya is still a very good winger who can use his speed and good shot to help out any of the 30 teams in the league. He had his most success with the Anaheim Ducks from 1994-2003 it would make sense for him to go back there as his career winds down.

15. Sergei Gonchar(OTT): Eric: Pittsburgh Penguins; Tim: Atlanta Thrashers. Gonchar is a great offensive defenseman and even at the age of 36 was able to put up 50 points last year from the blue-line which is why the Senators signed him to a 3 year/$16 million deal. 3 years may be a bit much for a 36 year old player but Gonchar might be worth it.

16. Shaone Morrisonn(FA): Eric: Boston Bruins; Tim: Ottawa Senators. Morrisonn still hasn't found a home but the 27 year old stay-at-home defenseman should find a home soon enough and you should expect him to make a big impact for whatever team he laces his skates up for this season.

17. Alexei Ponikarovsky(FA): Eric: Nashville Predators; Tim: New York Rangers. Poni is a solid winger with good size who likes to crash the net. He has scored at least 20 goals in four out of the last five seasons (he had 18 in 2007-2008). You can expect at least 20 goals and 20 assists out of him every year so he will find a good home soon enough.

18. Ray Whitney(PHO): Eric: Los Angeles Kings; Tim: Los Angeles Kings. All season long all you heard about was how much L.A was chasing after Ray Whitney so my colleague and I figured that's where he would go but Whitney shocked us when he signed a 2 year/$6 million contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. He can still put up 20 goals and give you at least 50-60 points a year.

19. Saku Koivu(ANA): Eric: Minnesota Wild; Tim: Minnesota Wild
Koivu played in Montreal for 13 years, 10 of which he was the captain. Last off-season he and the Canadiens parted ways and he signed a one-year deal worth $3.25 million with the Anaheim Ducks. He decided to stay in Anaheim on a 2 year/$5 million deal.

20. Maxim Afinogenov(FA): Eric: New Jersey Devils; Tim: Minnesota Wild. Afinogenov was finally able to return to his 05-06 and 06-07 form as he tallied 61 points for the Thrashers this season. Armed with a ton of speed and a wicked shot Afinogenov is a force to be reckoned with when he's healthy. From 2007-2009 Maxim only played 104 games and only tallied 16 goals and 32 assist for a total of 48 points. Any team looking at him will have to be cautious and think about those two years before signing him to any kind of lucrative deal.

21. Dan Hamhuis(VAN): Eric: Pittsburgh Penguins; Tim: Pittsburgh Penguins. Hamhuis had an interesting path to free agency. He spent the last five seasons in Nashville and it was obvious that he wasn't going to re-sign. The Predators traded Hamhuis to the Flyers, who had been coveting Hamhuis all season, for one-time Predator Ryan Parent who was acquired by the Flyers in the Peter Forsberg trade. Hamhuis and the Flyers could not reach any sort of agreement so he was traded to the division and in-state rival Pittsburgh Penguins for a 3rd round pick. Hamhuis couldn't come to an agreement with the Penguins either and he hit the open market July 1st where he signed a 6 year/$27 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

22. Dan Ellis(TBL): Eric: Montreal Canadiens; Tim: Dallas Stars
With the emergence of Pekka Rinne in Nashville, Dan Ellis became expendable. He was traded along with Dusin Boyd to the Montreal Canadiens for troubled winger Sergei Kostitsyn. Ellis and the Canadiens couldn't come to an agreement and he hit the open market where he signed a two year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

23. Alex Tanguay(CAL): Eric: Florida Panthers; Tim: Pittsburgh Penguins. Here is where I go back to ripping on Darryl Sutter. Signing Jokinen was bad, signing Tanguay wasn't horrible since its only a one-year deal worth $1.7 million but what the hell does Sutter expect? He's bringing back players that used to play for the Flames who played well for the team but are now past their primes and are rapidly declining. Tanguay is eager to prove that he can still be a productive player but I'm not a believer.

24. Tomas Holmstrom(DET): Eric: Detroit Red Wings; Tim: Montreal Canadiens. Okay so this one of the players Tim and I didn't realize that re-signed. Even though I was technically right about where he went, no point will be awarded for that.

25. Chris Mason(ATL): Eric: San Jose Sharks; Tim: Tampa Bay Lightning With the addition of Halek in St. Louis we all knew Mason would not be returning to the Blues. Mason is a good goalie that would help out any team, the Thrasher felt the same way as they inked the goalie to a 2 year/$3.7 million deal.

26. Michael Leighton(PHI): Eric: Philadelphia Flyers; Tim: Philadelphia Flyers. Praise the lord we finally have a prediction that is correct. Leighton was a big surprise for the Flyers this past season. The big issue for the Flyers coming into every single season for the past decade has been their goaltending. Is Leighton the key? Maybe. He proved to be solid especially in the playoffs but he needs prove that he can do it again, he has the next two years in Philly to prove something to everyone. Score: Eric-2; Tim-1. A real barn burner going on here between Tim and I, its still better than watching a World Cup game.

27. Adam Foote(COL): Eric: Colorado Avalanche; Tim: Colorado Avalanche. Yet another person that re-signed with their club and made it onto our list. No points, moving on.

28. Joe Corvo(CAR): Eric: Washington Capitals; Tim: St. Louis Blues
Corvo was traded from Carolina to Washington at the trade deadline this past season and Corvo has decided to go back to Carolina on a 2 year/$5.5 million.

29. Owen Nolan(FA): Eric: Minnesota Wild; Tim: Minnesota Wild.
This past season we said good-bye to plenty of hall of fame caliber players(Rod Brind'Amour, Keith Tkachuk, Scott Niedermayer, Rob Blake) Owen Nolan will fall into this list within the next few years but he isn't willing to go away just yet and who would want him to retire? He's one of the best power forwards to ever play the game and is still competing at a high level. Leadership, determination, grit, 15-20 goals, its safe to say he can still bring something to the table.

30. Willie Mitchell(FA): Eric: Toronto Maple Leafs; Tim: Dallas Stars Mitchell is a tough defensive defenseman, hes a great leader and hes not afraid to throw himself in front of the puck. The only reason Mitchell hasn't found a new home is due to his post-concussion syndrome, which is a very tricky injury. In January Mitchell was hit by Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin and his head was driven into the boards and he suffered a concussion which sidelined him for the rest of the season. If Mitchell can prove he is healthy and ready to go, I'm sure teams will be lining up at his door with contract offers.

31. Andy Sutton(FA): Eric: Buffalo Sabres; Tim: Washington Capitals
Andy "The Expert" Sutton was acquired by the Ottawa Senators at the trade deadline last year from the New York Islanders. Sutton is a rough and tough defenseman who plays with an edge to his game, which lead to the infamous "Expert" incedent in the playoffs this season. With an abundance of defensive defenseman on the market I wouldnt expect Sutton to be signing any time soon, he will most likely wait and see how the market will shape for a player like him.

32. Jose Theodore(FA): Eric: KHL; Tim: New York Islanders
I personally respect Theodore because at the beginning of the season he lost his two month old son due to illness, Theodore was able to play through all the pain and have a solid season. But this is a business and no one gives you a contract over a feel good story, Theodore is on a slippery slope and if it weren't for Washington's high-powered offense then Theodore would have been one of the worst goalies in the NHL. The lockout was Theodore's downfall, in the five seasons he started before the lockout his goals against average was 2.39, in the five years after it has inflated to 2.96. Theodore's time in the NHL might be coming to an end.

33. Pavol Demitra(KHL): Eric: New York Islanders; Tim: St. Louis Blues Demitra has been a consistant player for the past few years, netting at least 20-25 goals and talling at least 50-60 points but the 35 year old forward is running into injury trouble. Demitra missed most of the 2009-2010 season with shoulder issues, he had two shoulder surgeries last off-season for torn front and back rotator cuffs and he was limited to 28 games this season due to setbacks. He decided to go to the KHL on a one-year deal.

34. Todd Bertuzzi(DET): Eric: San Jose Sharks; Tim: Pittsburgh Penguins Another player who had re-signed already....moving on.

35. Brett Clark (TBL): Eric: Colorado Avalance; Tim: New York Rangers After six years in Colorado, Brett Clark has moved onto the Tampa Bay Lightning for the next two seasons. Clark brings his leadership, toughness, and grit to a Lightning team that has very much improved this offseason thanks to Steve Yzerman.

36. Johan Hedberg(NJ): Eric: Washington Capitals; Tim: New York Rangers Moose was brought into New Jersey to lighten Martin Brodeur's work load. Hedberg will most likely start 20-25 so that Marty can be rested and ready to go when the Devils make their playoff push.

37. Colby Armstrong(TOR): Eric: Tampa Bay Lightning; Tim: Calgary Flames Armstrong was the 21st overall pick in the 2001 NHL draft, he hasn't really ever blossomed in the NHL but that didn't stop Toronto from signing him to a bad contract. Armstrong signed a 3 year/$9 million contract, Armstrong has averaged only 34 points per season the last three years so that means he makes roughly a million dollars per ten points. Chin up Jeff Finger, you are no longer the only below-average player that the Leafs are paying $3 million a year for, spending money is fun isn't it Brian Burke?

38. Fredrik Modin(FA): Eric: Dallas Stars; Tim: New York Islanders
Modin has really hit a road block in his career, he has only played 117 games in the last three seasons and has only tallied 20 goals and 28 assists for a total of 48 points. There aren't many teams who will be interested in his services so maybe the KHL might be an option.

39. Eric Belanger(FA): Eric: Los Angeles Kings; Tim: New Jersey Devils You want someone who is the apitamy of a consistant player? Then Eric Belanger is your guy, you know what your going to get from him and thats great when your attempting to sign a free agent. Since 2002-2003 Belanger has had at least 33 points, this season he posted a career high of 41 points this season. Belanger is a great defensive forward who will give you anywhere from 33-40 points.

40. Derek Morris(PHO): Eric: Columbus Blue Jackets; Tim: Carolina Hurricanes Morris' top offensive days are over and it seems that he is declining at a some what rapid pace, he's still a good leader to have for a young Coyotes team and he can still put up 25 points.

41. Antero Niittymaki(SJS): Eric: Philadelphia Flyers; Tim: Philadelphia Flyers Niitty is still a solid goaltender who hasn't really ever gotten a chance to start, with Nabby out in San Jose, Niitty will finally get his shot. Time is running out on Niittymaki though so he needs to make his time in the shark tank count.

42. Matt Cullen(MIN): Eric: St.Louis Blues; Tim: Washington Capitals
Another consistant centerman, Cullen can provide 40-50 points a season and has Stanley Cup expierence from his 2006 season with the Carolina Hurricanes. Cullen signed a 3 year/$10.5 million contract with the Minnesota Wild, is a consitant 40-50 point centerman worth almost $4 million a year? I guess we shall see.

43. Henrik Tallinder(NJ): Eric: Anaheim Ducks; Tim: Carolina Hurricanes The Devils got much tougher on defense this year, they added Anton Volchenkov for six years and they added long-time Buffalo Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder for the next four years. Tallinder isn't the rough and tough defenseman that Volchenkov is but he is solid in his own end and isn't going to chip in much offensively but he plays that Devils style of hockey, defensive which also means the trap defense which equals boring hockey.

44. Jere Lehtinen(DAL): Eric: Dallas Stars; Tim: Dallas Stars
The three-time Selke award winner, for best defensive forward, has run into injury problems and his age is starting to catch-up with him. He won't score 30 goals anymore but 15 goals and 20 assists is still possible for him

45. Kurtis Foster(EDM): Eric: Tampa Bay Lightning; Tim: Columbus Blue Jackets Foster had a great season last year, recovering from a broken left femur that sidelined him for about half of the 2007-2008 season and most of the 2008-2009 season, Foster came back and showed everyone that he can compete at a high-level as he tallied 42 points in his first full season back, thats 14 points more than his previous career high which he set in 2005-2006. Foster has now moved onto the Edmonton Oilers and this is where I'm going to rain on his parade, he will not put up 40 points again in Edmonton. In Tampa he played with Stamkos, Lecavalier, and St.Louis, three elite players. Edmonton is a mess and nowhere as equiped with superstar talent as Tampa, expect a drop in points for sure.

46. Jay McKee(FA): Eric: New Jersey Devils; Tim: Montreal Canadiens
Mckee is still a player who can be added to an NHL roster and make an immediate impact, hes on of the NHL's best shot blockers and every team likes guys that are willing to give up their bodies for the sake of the team. He's the poor man's Anton Volchenkov, in a sense.

47. Marek Svatos(FA): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: KHL
Svatos had a strong start to his NHL career, he had 73 goals in his first three seasons but only 21 in the last two. Svatos just seems to be falling apart and needs to leave Colorado, a change of sceneary will do him good but since the 2005-2006 season was such a crazy year for offense since it was the season after the lockout and all the rules were changed, Svatos had 32 goals that year his career high so far. This version of Mark Svatos may be the real player that was hidden due to rule changes that helped offenses, if this is the Svatos that teams are going to get then don't expect many teams to sit down at the negoatiating table with him.

48. Ryan Johnson(FA): Eric: Pittsburgh Penguins; Tim: Nashville Predators Johnson is your typical defensive forward, he hits, blocks shots and plays penalty killing minutes other than that he doesn't offer much, he won't hit the back of the net many times but he is one of the better defensive forwards in the NHL.

49. Lee Stempniak(FA): Eric: Minnesota Wild; Tim: Detroit Red Wings
Stempniak is an odd free agent, he's never really been a consistant scorer in the NHL. He had one good season in St.Louis which saw him score 27 goals, since then he has kinda just flown under the radar collecting about 15-20 goals. This past season he had 30 points in 61 games with the Maple Leafs, 14 goals 16 assists, he was then traded to the Phoenix Coyotes where he scored 14 goals in 18 games. Now if any team thinks they are getting the Stempniak that played in Phoenix then they are insane, some players just flourish when they get moved at the trade deadline and then dont do much when they either stay with that team *cough Sean Avery cough* or move on to a new team.

50. Martin Biron(NYR): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: Buffalo Sabres Well the depressing road has come to an end and I have a strong finish as I get the last player on our list correct. About two minutes into free agency Martin Biron inked a deal to back-up Henrik Lundqvist in New York. Biron was linked to the Rangers all season and they finally got the back-up they coveted.

Final Score: Eric-3; Tim-1
Okay so out of 28 of the 47 free agents have homes(3 had already re-signed) I got 3 correct which is 10% right, and Tim got 1 out of 28 which is 3%. We still have 19 more free agents to go but this is bad, we both have joked about how horrible our picks were this year and this proves that we need to do a little bit better next season.

Free agency has been slow this year but I believe that once Ilya Kovalchuk's situation is figured out then the second-tier guys will start to go, a domino effect in a sense.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Did Kovalchuk Sign a Lifetime Pact with the Devils?

By: Tim Brennan

For the past three and a half weeks, we have all been wondering where Ilya Kovalchuk, the most sought after commodity on the free agent market, would call home. Despite numerous offers from the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Russia, Kovalchuk remained at large and it appeared as if this soap opera would never end. The Devils put a stop to all the fuss by signing the two time 50 goal man to a tremendous and controversial 17 year, $102 million deal on Monday, keeping the Russian sniper in New Jersey until the age of 44.


That's exactly the same reaction that rang through not only the NHL, but also the sports world. You got to be wondering, "Why on earth would the Devils, and especially Lou Lamoriello, make such a ridiculous offer?" and the answer only lies with the Devils management. As outlandish and concerning as this contract may be, it's certainly not the first of its kind. Many of you remember the first career length contract being handed out a few years back to New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro, when he signed on for 15 years, at the time becoming the longest contract in NHL history. DiPietro's injuries have limited his amount of starts, with only 13 appearances in the last two seasons. However, Kovalchuk differs from DiPietro due to the fact that Kovalchuk isn't a goalie, who end up playing less seasons than a forward or defenseman would, plus he isn't the franchise's cornerstone like DiPietro was sought out to be.

But this brings up an interesting question: Why would the Devils give Kovalchuk the longest contract in the history of the National Hockey League if he isn't, in fact, the team's top player?

Kovalchuk's talent level alone is tops in the NHL, but given the fact that he has limited experience in the post season, which is when big contracts count, and doesn't play a team style it's strange that this deal was struck. Maybe Lamoriello just didn't want anyone else to pick him up so he offered something that no one else could.

The Devils ran into a bit of a snag though upon striking this agreement... the NHL decided to reject it.

The NHL took suit against the Kovalchuk "lifetime pact" due to violations with the league's salary cap policy. Reports surfaced that the Devils had front-loaded Kovalchuk's contract to give him the majority of the money prior to the final five years. As it breaks down, Kovalchuk would earn $6 million each of the first two seasons, $11.5 million each of the next five seasons, a season of $10.5 million followed by a season each of $8.5, $6.5, $3.5 million and $750,000 until the final five seasons which come in at $550,000 per year. In other words, Kovalchuk would have earned $98.5 million in the first 11 years of the deal, allowing him to retire during the final six seasons and with this contract, the Devils lowered their cap hit to $6 million a season.

So it looks like the NHL finally stepped in on one of these "long term front-loaded hope you retire before it's over" contracts. They certainly didn't take offense when last off-season two deals of the same caliber were struck: Chris Pronger, 35, signed a contract extension upon coming to Philadelphia in a trade at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Pronger's seven year deal guaranteed him $7.6 million each of the first two years, $7.2 million in 2012-13, $7 million in 2013-14 before an average of $1.83 million per season the last 3 years. Marian Hossa signed a 12 year, $62.8 million pact with Chicago, allowing him to make $7.9 million per year through the 2015-16 season before his salary drops. By the time his deal expires, Hossa will be 42 years old.

Based on the conditions, an arbitrator will look into the NHL's rejection of Kovalchuk's contract and if the arbitrator agrees with the NHL, Kovalchuk's contract will be void, making him a unrestricted free agent again.

So did Kovalchuk really sign a 17 year deal to stay in New Jersey or didn't he? Did he do it for the money or for the security of playing for a team that is a possible contender? Whatever the case may be, the Devils made history by offering the longest term contract in history of professional sports and might have brought an end to the controversial front-loaded long term contract.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Flyers Take a Gamble on Zherdev

By: Tim Brennan

The reigning Eastern Conference champions were one of the most active teams during the beginning stages of free agency. In the weeks since, reports that Flyers mainstay Simon Gagne would be traded due to the lack of cap space started to surface. On top of that, there were rumors swirling that Nikolai Zherdev would be returning to the NHL this season... in orange and black. The latter turned out to be true, with Zherdev penning a one year, $2 million deal in the early hours of July 9th.

Zherdev, the former fourth overall draft pick in 2003, returns to the NHL after spending last season starring for Atlant Mytischi of the Kontinental Hockey League. The Kiev, Ukraine native scored 13 goals and 39 points in 52 games during the 2009-10 season.

The Flyers make this move while still over the cap limit and in need of re-signing a dozen free agents. General manager Paul Holmgren decided to pick up yet another player with a colorful past for clashing with team management and becoming problematic for their franchise. If you've already forgotten, Holmgren signed goaltender Ray Emery last off season to a one year deal, considered a low risk, high reward type contract. And we all know how that worked out for the Flyers last year.

Zherdev is a talented forward, one with a skill set and offensive ability unmatched by most in the league. However, he's considered an enigma and has a track record of creating tension in and outside of the locker room. Along with those not so great qualities, Zherdev plays lackadaisically in the defensive zone, doesn't produce on a consistent basis and proves that a lazy player doesn't get far.

You might ask, "What happened that makes him such a wild card?". If you talk to anyone connected to the Columbus Blue Jackets or New York Rangers, they can provide you with plenty of examples.

Zherdev averaged 19 goals and 45 points during his 4 seasons in Ohio. But behind the scenes, Zherdev's lack of work ethic along with taking nights off didn't bode well with Columbus management. After a breakthrough season in 2005-06, Zherdev ran into problems with the team over a new contract, giving Columbus an ultimatum: either they agree to the contract that he felt he deserved or Zherdev would return to Russia. The Blue Jackets would eventually re-sign Zherdev to a three year deal, but would deal with plenty of inconsistency during that time period.

Columbus would deal Zherdev to the New York Rangers along with Dan Fritsche for Christian Backman and Fedor Tyutin on July 2nd, 2008. In his first and only season in the Big Apple, the Russian right wing tied for the team lead in points with 58. The 2008-09 campaign saw two sides of Zherdev: one that looked to be the best player on the team anytime he stepped out on the ice and the other which looked to be a player to caught up in himself. Zherdev received plenty of criticism from fiery head coach John Tortorella, resulting in being benched more than once for poor defensive play and lack of effort. Problems arose in the off season following when the Rangers tendered Zherdev a qualifying offer of $3.25 million for the next season. Once again, a dispute between the disgruntled winger and an NHL team's management ensued, leading to an arbitration hearing. The arbitrator awarded Zherdev $3.9 million, resulting in the Rangers walking away and allowing him to become a free agent.

All of this led to a return to Russia and now he's back in the NHL. But why exactly did the Flyers need to make such a maneuver?

According to Holmgren, Zherdev is a player filled with talent that just needs a second chance and is a perfect fit with the core of forwards that they possess. And Simon Gagne isn't? Gagne is just as skilled offensively as Zherdev is and is less of a risk on the team's chemistry and management. Maybe Holmgren felt that Zherdev could be the missing link that would put Philly over the top and win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1975. But wait, Zherdev's resume in the playoffs is slim and disappointing: 7 games and 0 points in 2008-09 for the Rangers. What good is it to exchange Gagne, who has been a consistent performer, not to mention a popular player within the organization and class act for someone as incongruous as Zherdev?

Come October 7th, we shall all know which Zherdev decided to show up.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Devils Legend and Future Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer Retires

By: Tim Brennan

Although having once "retired" so to speak only to come back part way through a season, Scott Niedermayer has stated that he is done for good. Niedermayer made the announcement June 22nd, putting an end to a magnificent career that spanned 18 NHL seasons with the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks.

Niedermayer goes down in hockey history as being the only player to ever win the Stanley Cup, Olympic gold, the World and World Junior Championship, the World Cup and the Memorial Cup. Along with the countless championships, Niedermayer has collected a Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP when he was a member of the Cup winning Anaheim Ducks in 2006-07 and a Norris Trophy for best defenseman in 2003-04 for New Jersey. He played in 5 All Star Games and was selected on 3 occasions for the NHL First All Star Team (2003-04, 2005-06, 2006-07) and once for the Second All Star Team (1997-98).

Anyone can make a case for Niedermayer being one of the best defensemen of all time and most certainly was one of the best defenders of the past decade. Known more for his ability to skate past players as if they were standing still, Niedermayer combined a strong defensive capability with a forward's offensive touch. If he had played in the beginning stages of the NHL's history, he would have been considered a "rover". That player was the one individual that could play whatever they wanted to and usually played as a forward and defenseman, thus the name "rover". Once he joined the Devils, his defense improved under the guidance of Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko and he turned out to be one of the best shutdown defenders during his long career.

During his tenure with the Devils that spanned over 13 seasons, Niedermayer tallied 101 goals and 364 assists for 465 points in 892 regular season games, good enough for .52 points per game. Niedermayer's strengths showed through in the playoffs as well, posting 17 goals and 64 points in 146 post-season games leading to a .44 points per game average. Niedermayer's two way ability helped aid New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1995, where they faced the Detroit Red Wings. The talented crew from New Jersey swept the Wings in 4, making it the first Stanley Cup victory in the team's history. The Devils would win two more times with Niedermayer on the roster (2000 and 2003). The Edmonton, Alberta native tied the NHL record for most shorthanded goals by a defenseman (2) in the playoffs during the 2000 Cup run and tied the team lead in points during their 2003 journey to glory.

Although he may go down as one of the most prolific defensemen in hockey history, Niedermayer was overshadowed by Stevens and Daneyko while playing for the Devils. The attention those two shutdown, defensive defensemen got helped Niedermayer sneak under the radar in his first few seasons. No doubt Devils fans felt the impact of Niedermayer's departure in 2005. It's amazing to look back at how his career came to fruition and how he blossomed into the best two-way defender in the game during his 18 year career. Niedermayer will stay with the game, whether it's a job in the front office or player development or even coaching. Due to everything that he has accomplished over the years, Niedermayer will be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Kovalchuk Sweepstakes: The Search for the Right Team

By: Tim Brennan

Since the opening of free agency, the player on top of everyone's list hasn't moved anywhere. Ilya Kovalchuk continues to find his perfect match and has gotten plenty of generous offers. Along with the New Jersey Devils, the New York Islanders and Los Angeles Kings have also expressed interest in the 27 year old Russian sniper. The only problem in negotiations between Kovalchuk and these teams is the cap issue that may result in signing the first overall pick from 2001 to a long term, big money deal.

On the second day of free agency, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that the Islanders were willing to throw everything towards bringing Kovalchuk to the Isle to play alongside the team's young nucleus of John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey and Jack Hillen. The reported offer from the Islanders was a 10 year, $100 million deal, which would pay the two time 50 goal scorer $10 million a season. Hold on, everyone say it with me, "Ouch". Haven't the Isles learned from their mistake of the 10 year, $87.5 million contract given to Alexei Yashin? The Islanders overpaid for the star player, bought out his contract halfway through and are still paying him despite him having been playing in the KHL for the last 3 seasons.

The team that Kovalchuk spent the latter part of the season on, the Devils, haven't given up on getting him under contract yet. As it stands, reports have a possible deal set up that Kovie would return to New Jersey for a 7 year deal worth $60 million. The deal however would cause a problem with the cap, meaning GM Lou Lamoriello would have to move some players around in order to fit under the restrictions. As of this moment, the Devils have remained silent about the negotiations between the two camps but it seems more likely that Ilya might return to New Jersey based on the fact that he wants to play on a team that has an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup.

Kovalchuk's rumored destination before the eventual trade to New Jersey, Los Angeles can't seem to make up their mind. They were front runners on July 1st to land a deal with Kovie, then they stepped away citing that the money he wanted was too high of a price, with all the young talent on the Kings needing to be locked up in the next couple of seasons. On Wednesday, the Kings reportedly came back in the hunt for Kovalchuk, offering him two different proposals: 13 years, $84.5 million or 12 years, $63 million. Both were turned down by Kovalchuk which prompted the Kings to bow out of the race earlier today.

There are options still available to Kovalchuk, such as a possible return to Russia to become the face of the Kontinental Hockey League. Initially offered a contract of $12 million per season prior to the free agency period, Kovalchuk never responded so the deal was stricken. The team in question is SKA St. Petersburg, one rich with former NHL talent with the likes of Alexei Yashin, Sergei Zubov and Robert Esche gracing the team with their presence. They decided to pass on Kovalchuk and signed goaltender Evgeni Nabokov instead.

So the search for the perfect match for Kovalchuk continues on...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rod Brind'Amour Retires After 21 Seasons

By: Tim Brennan

One day prior to the free agency bonanza, veteran center Rod Brind'Amour announced his retirement from the sport of hockey. He will accept a position in the Carolina Hurricanes front office.

Brind'Amour finishes his career ranked 16th in the National Hockey League in games played (1,484), 44th in assists (732), 46th in points (1,184) and 54th in goals (452) while playing for St. Louis, Philadelphia and Carolina. Along with that, the ninth overall draft choice in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues claimed two Selke Trophies for best defensive forward and captained the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup in 2006.

Known as a leader, a penalty kill specialist and an ace in the face-off circle, Brind'Amour's strongest asset was his high level of physical conditioning. Throughout the course of his career, Brind'Amour ranked among the top of the league in ice time and could always be found in the gym before and after a game or on a day off, thus he was given the moniker "Rod the Bod".

The Ottawa, Ontario native started out in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues, joining the team during the 1989 playoffs. Brind'Amour came over from the college ranks at Michigan State and impressed the team in his five game debut with the Blues by scoring on his first shot. Brind'Amour finished third on the team in goals and would go on to be named to the NHL's All-Rookie team in 1990 after posting 26 goals and 35 assists for 61 points in 79 games. Getting prepared for his third season in St. Louis, Brind'Amour was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers along with center Dan Quinn for center Ron Sutter and defenseman Murray Baron.

Brind'Amour's impact on the Flyers was immense, compiling 235 goals and 366 assists for 601 points in 633 games in the orange and the black. Due to his hard work ethic and leadership, Brind'Amour became a fan favorite in Philadelphia and was selected to play in the 1992 NHL All Star Game. A testament to his conditioning and willingness to play through pain, Brind'Amour set the Flyers franchise record for consecutive games played by appearing in 484 games. During his time in Philadelphia, the two way center would develop his reputation as a top notch player on both sides of the puck. His ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup were within his grasp during the 1997 playoffs as the Flyers scorched past Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the New York Rangers in 5 games apiece in route to a conference championship and matchup against the Detroit Red Wings. Although the Flyers would get swept by the Red Wings, Brind'Amour kept Philadelphia in Game 3 after a pair of power play goals tied the game up at 2 apiece. Brind'Amour also scored 13 goals and 21 points during that post-season, making those career highs for him. So Rod would have to wait for another opportunity to finally get his name engraved.

The shocking news of Brind'Amour's trade to Carolina halfway through the 1999-2000 contest rang through Philadelphia as one of their favorites was sent away in exchange for center Keith Primeau. His impact on Philadelphia was tremendous, but he would become a legend for the Hurricanes. At the time of his retirement, Brind'Amour is the career leader in points for the Hurricanes with 473, ranks first in assists (299), shorthanded goals (10), third in goals (174) and third in power-play goals (60). He helped the Hurricanes reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002, where they would play the Detroit Red Wings. During those playoffs, the "BBC" line of Brind'Amour, Bates Battaglia and Erik Cole, was formed and became the most famous line in Hurricanes history. Rod's second chance at a championship were squandered as the Canes would eventually lose to the Red Wings in 5 games.

After a few seasons in Raleigh, Brind'Amour was named Carolina's captain prior to the 2005-06 season. The captain led by example by scoring 31 goals and earning 39 assists for 70 points and aided the team to a franchise record 52 wins. The elusive championship that Brind'Amour had been trying to claim finally came in 2006 as the Hurricanes defeated the surprise Edmonton Oilers in 7 games. He scored 12 goals during the Cup run, which are a franchise record. The moment at which he lifted the Cup with a feeling of exuberance is one I along with fans of Brind'Amour will never forget.

In the three seasons following the Cup win, Brind'Amour tallied 82 and two 51 point campaigns. Last season was a troubling one for the 39 year old, as his role was limited to an average of 11 minutes a game and he was stripped of his captaincy in favor of the team's star player Eric Staal. Brind'Amour scored nine goals and added 10 assists for 19 points in his final season while placing third in the NHL in face-off percentage and unfortunately had a league worst -29 plus/minus rating.

Like a true professional, Brind'Amour never complained when the C was taken off his jersey and pressed on during a difficult final chapter in his hockey career. Brind'Amour will always be remembered by Flyers and Hurricanes fans alike for being one of the most important players in their team's history and being a great role model.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Flyers Active Participants in Free Agency's Opening Day Frenzy

By: Tim Brennan

The Flyers were one of the more active teams on July 1st, starting the day off with a trade to acquire Andrej Meszaros from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Shortly thereafter, the Flyers reached a two year contract with restricted free agent Braydon Coburn, a deal that will see the 25 year old defenseman earn $3.2 million a season. Veteran defenseman Sean O'Donnell signed on with a one year contract while tough guy Jody Shelley agreed to a three year pact.

Although GM Paul Holmgren addressed the need for a dependable 5-6 defense pairing and added another rugged forward, all those moves come at a cost. The Flyers only have around $1 million to spare after those four moves, with Meszaros earning $4 million per season for the next four years; $1.1 million for Shelley per season for three years and O'Donnell making $1 million for this upcoming season. Instead of going after a goaltender, what is being considered the team's weakness, the Flyers kept one of their top four defenders, acquired two defensemen to fill the 5th and 6th spots on the blueline and a top notch fighter.

But one has to wonder, why spend all the available money when there are still players needed to be re-signed, (Darroll Powe and Arron Asham), and there are voids to be filled?

The Flyers offered big contracts to both Evgeni Nabokov, whom they acquired prior to the start of free agency, and Marty Turco but were ultimately turned down. The Flyers also expressed interest in Dan Ellis, Chris Mason and former Flyer Antero Niittymaki but all of them signed to other teams lacking a starter. Since Michael Leighton signed with the intent of becoming the starter, none of the above wanted to challenge for a spot but wanted the guarantee of being number one on the depth chart.

So without a goaltender to help Leighton and a vacancy on the first line right wing, the Flyers will need to make a trade to open up salary cap space to pursue a player or two.

These moves seemed a little rushed, especially the Coburn deal. Coburn's numbers have dropped each season as he only tallied 19 points this season, as opposed to 28 the season before and 36 two years ago. He struggled defensively as well, with countless turnovers and poor play in his own end, resulting in a -6 plus minus rating, tied for the 6th worst on the team. Coburn's turnover in the Winter Classic led to Marco Sturm's game winner in overtime. Along with a poor season, Coburn didn't bother to play defense in the Finals, going -9 in 6 games. If anything, the Flyers should have given him a 1 year deal worth around $2.25 a season so that there would be room to sign others and not put so much money into one player.

The addition of Meszaros was interesting seeing as Philadelphia was looking for a 5th defenseman but happened to get a top four d-man capable of playing big minutes. The only problem is the salary at which this #5 defenseman comes at, $4 million a season. Meszaros struggled in Tampa but also didn't get much of a chance to prove his worth. O'Donnell was brought in for two reasons, stability on the final defense pairing and leadership. It also helps to be close friends with Chris Pronger. And the signing of Shelley is troubling, considering that the Flyers have a few rugged forwards (Ian Laperriere, Darroll Powe, Arron Asham) that contribute more to the team than Shelley could. Maybe this could finally be the year that Shelley breaks out and scores more than 3 goals a season.

If you are a Flyers fan, you must be wondering how these moves can be considered helpful to the team. The acquisition of Meszaros will prove to be a solid addition, while Coburn and Shelley will have to play well to meet up with the expectations put upon them due to their contracts.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Devils Replace Martin with Volchenkov, Tallinder and Sign Hedberg

By: Tim Brennan

The opening day of free agency was one of the more interesting in recent years, with a limited amount of activity and only a few big names moving elsewhere. No one expected the Devils to do much, as they always tend to make minor adjustments to keep the team competitive. The focus was on Ilya Kovalchuk and Paul Martin and whether they were coming back or flying the coup for more money.

Early on, the Penguins nabbed Martin giving him a 5 year, $25 million deal. GM Lou Lamoriello searched for the right fit in New Jersey to fill the void for the two way ability that Martin left. Instead of grabbing one defender, Lamoriello decided to pluck two defensemen from the free agency tree to fill both needs.

The Devils signed defensive defenseman Anton Volchenkov to a 6 year deal worth $25.5 million while also picking up defenseman Henrik Tallinder and handing him a 4 year, $13.5 million contract.

Volchenkov was considered one of the top defenders on the market this offseason, known for his tremendous shot blocking ability to go with vicious physical play, as shown in the picture above. This past season with Ottawa, Volchenkov tied his career high in goals with 4 to go along with 10 assists for 14 points. As his stats so evidently make it clear, Volchenkov thrives defensively, especially on shutting down the opposing teams top forwards and throwing a body into anything. The "A-Train" has been a regular in the top ten for blocked shots the past five seasons. The Devils haven't had a steady shutdown bruising defenseman since Scott Stevens so anyone who faces the Devils defense next year should be wary of what they will be going up against.

The Tallinder signing was something that Lamoriello had been looking forward to making for a while now. The Devils were impressed by Tallinder's mentoring of Buffalo stalwart Tyler Myers last season and wanted to bring him in to help some of the younger players assimilate into playing at the NHL level. Tallinder's defense is strong but many have questioned his consistency offensively and his inability to utilize his 6'3, 214 pound frame. Along with Volchenkov, Tallinder can play big minutes so don't be surprised to see the Swedish defender paired up with Finnish prospect Anssi Salmela for next season.

Along with addressing defense to make it tougher on the opposition in their zone, the Devils finally picked someone to give Martin Brodeur a breather. The Devils signed Johan Hedberg, who played for the Atlanta Thrashers last season, compiling a 21-16-6 record at the age of 37. Hedberg took over as starter for parts of the 2009-10 season and has always provided quality numbers. He might be on a one year deal, but that doesn't mean that he won't make an impact with the team. Hedberg has averaged 33 games a season over the course of his career and is the right fit as a backup in New Jersey since Martin Brodeur continues to play more than 75 games a season.

It's a no brainer that the Devils were winners thus far in free agency, bolstering their blueline with two key defenders and finally filling the void behind Brodeur.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Flyers Add Defensive Depth with Trade for Meszaros

By: Tim Brennan

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Flyers have acquired defenseman Andrej Meszaros from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a second round pick.

Meszaros recorded six goals and 11 assists for 17 points in 81 games for Tampa last season. Ottawa's first round draft choice (23rd overall) in 2004 currently holds a cap hit of $4 million a season for the next four years.

The offensive defenseman's numbers dropped off in his two seasons with the Lightning after averaging 37 points in his first three years in Ottawa. Meszaros was also a member of Slovakia's Olympic team this season.

Tim and Eric's Free Agency Predictions

Yes its that time of year again, the time of year where every GM is busy working the phones trying to negotiate contracts with the free agents on the market. From a fans standpoint this is the most fun and exciting day for all of us. We get to say good-bye to players that played for our team as well as say hello to new players that will be lacing up their skates for our teams come October.

1. Ilya Kovalchuk(NJD): Eric: Los Angeles Kings; Tim: Los Angeles Kings
2. Evgeni Nabokov(SJS): Eric: Dallas Stars; Tim: Atlanta Thrashers
3. Anton Volchenkov(OTT): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: Vancouver Canucks
4. Raffi Torres(BUF): Eric: Atlanta Thrashers; Tim: New York Islanders
5. Marty Turco(DAL): Eric: Atlanta Thrashers; Tim: San Jose Sharks
6. Matthew Lombardi(PHO): Eric: Phoenix Coyotes; Tim: Phoenix Coyotes
7. Alexander Frolov(LA): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: Colorado Avalanche
8. Vaclav Prospal (NYR): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: Ottawa Senators
9. Pavel Kubina(ATL): Eric: Nashville Predators; Tim: Florida Panthers
10. Olli Jokinen(NYR): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: KHL
11. Teemu Selanne(ANA): Eric: Retire; Tim: Retire
12. Zbynek Michalek(PHO): Eric: Carolina Hurricanes; Tim: Philadelphia Flyers
13. Paul Martin(NJD): Eric: New Jersey Devils; Tim: New Jersey Devils
14. Paul Kariya(STL): Eric: Anaheim Ducks; Tim: Anaheim Ducks
15. Sergei Gonchar(PIT): Eric: Pittsburgh Penguins; Tim: Atlanta Thrashers
16. Shaone Morrisonn(WSH): Eric: Boston Bruins; Tim: Ottawa Senators
17. Alexei Ponikarovsky(PIT): Eric: Nashville Predators; Tim: New York Rangers
18. Ray Whitney(CAR): Eric: Los Angeles Kings; Tim: Los Angeles Kings
19. Saku Koivu(ANA): Eric: Minnesota Wild; Tim: Minnesota Wild
20. Maxim Afinogenov(ATL): Eric: New Jersey Devils; Tim: Minnesota Wild
21. Dan Hamhuis(NSH): Eric: Pittsburgh Penguins; Tim: Pittsburgh Penguins
22. Dan Ellis(NSH): Eric: Montreal Canadiens; Tim: Dallas Stars
23. Alex Tanguay(TBL): Eric: Florida Panthers; Tim: Pittsburgh Penguins
24. Tomas Holmstrom(DET): Eric: Detroit Red Wings; Tim: Montreal Canadiens
25. Chris Mason(STL): Eric: San Jose Sharks; Tim: Tampa Bay Lightning
26. Michael Leighton(PHI): Eric: Philadelphia Flyers; Tim: Philadelphia Flyers
27. Adam Foote(COL): Eric: Colorado Avalanche; Tim: Colorado Avalanche
28. Joe Corvo(WSH): Eric: Washington Capitals; Tim: St. Louis Blues
29. Owen Nolan(MIN): Eric: Minnesota Wild; Tim: Minnesota Wild
30. Willie Mitchell(VAN): Eric: Toronto Maple Leafs; Tim: Dallas Stars
31. Andy Sutton(OTT): Eric: Buffalo Sabres; Tim: Washington Capitals
32. Jose Theodore(WSH): Eric: KHL; Tim: New York Islanders
33. Pavol Demitra(VAN): Eric: New York Islanders; Tim: St. Louis Blues
34. Todd Bertuzzi(DET): Eric: San Jose Sharks; Tim: Pittsburgh Penguins
35. Brett Clark (COL): Eric: Colorado Avalance; Tim: New York Rangers
36. Johan Hedberg(ATL): Eric: Washington Capitals; Tim: New York Rangers
37. Colby Armstrong(ATL): Eric: Tampa Bay Lightning; Tim: Calgary Flames
38. Fredrik Modin(LA): Eric: Dallas Stars; Tim: New York Islanders
39. Eric Belanger(WSH): Eric: Los Angeles Kings; Tim: New Jersey Devils
40. Derek Morris(PHO): Eric: Columbus Blue Jackets; Tim: Carolina Hurricanes
41. Antero Niittymaki(TBL): Eric: Philadelphia Flyers; Tim: Philadelphia Flyers
42. Matt Cullen(OTT): Eric: St.Louis Blues; Tim: Washington Capitals
43. Henrik Tallinder(BUF): Eric: Anaheim Ducks; Tim: Carolina Hurricanes
44. Jere Lehtinen(DAL): Eric: Dallas Stars; Tim: Dallas Stars
45. Kurtis Foster(TBL): Eric: Tampa Bay Lightning; Tim: Columbus Blue Jackets
46. Jay McKee(PIT): Eric: New Jersey Devils; Tim: Montreal Canadiens
47. Marek Svatos(COL): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: KHL
48. Ryan Johnson(VAN): Eric: Pittsburgh Penguins; Tim: Nashville Predators
49. Lee Stempniak(PHO): Eric: Minnesota Wild; Tim: Detroit Red Wings
50. Martin Biron(NYI): Eric: New York Rangers; Tim: Buffalo Sabres