When The Fourth Quarter recently came out with its “Top 30 Unrestricted Free Agents” for this summer, I…as I always do this time of year… found myself scrolling down the page muttering to myself, “Oooh, I’d like to see that player in Atlanta”, and, “Oh my, he would work great on Kovy’s Line”, or, “Dang, he sure would be an asset on our blueline”!
Yes…free agent window shopping season is upon us as the stores will be open a couple of weeks from now on the first on July. So, as we stroll down the cyber-mall of NHL players for sale, what’s catching your eye?
Is it Jay Bouwmeester… who, not surprisingly, tops the list? The 25-year old blueliner was the third overall pick in 2002…just behind Kari Lehtonen. He is coming off a contract with the Florida Panthers that paid him $4.875 and he’ll no doubt be able to rake in far more than that from whomever he chooses to play for over the course of the next several years. What are the chances Don Waddell could land Bouwmeester?
Seriously…I think there’s a better chance of seeing it snow in Atlanta during the month of July than seeing J-Bo sign here.
Second on the list…former Thrasher Marian “Desperately Seeking The Cup” Hossa, who last summer signed a 1-year $7.45 million deal with the eventual runners up in the Stanley Cup Finals. So, what about the return of Hossa to Atlanta?
Hahahaha…Yeah, yeah, I know…very funny. Rumors I’ve seen and heard having him re-signing again in Detroit. But look at it this way…if Hossa were to come back and play for Atlanta, it would dramatically improve our chances of being good enough to lose in the Stanley Cup Finals!
Third on the list is another Marian…Marian Gaborik, who’s $7.5 million contract is set to expire at the end of this month. Would you like to see Gaborik sporting Thrasher-blue nest fall?
Me? With his health history…not for more than a one-year deal.
Rounding out the top five are the Sedin twins…Daniel and Henrik…who have been earning $3.575 million each in Vancouver where they’ve played since being drafted right behind Patrik Stefan in 1999. They no doubt will want to stick together…same team and same line. The Thrashers already have a first-line left-winger so if they played here it would probably be on the second line with Army…moving Peverley up with Kovy and Little and probably moving Todd White out of Atlanta. I wouldn’t have a problem with this…if the Spirit Boys allowed Waddell to shell out the money to bring them here.
Again, the snow in Atlanta analogy is in play here.
Further down the list there are such names as Mike Cammalleri, Martin Havlat, Saku Koivu that stick out as those that could fill a spot on the top line with Kovalchuk… and how about Nik Antropov?
On defense…there’s Mike Komisarek, Johnny Oduya and Rob Scuderi to name a few. But I think Pittsburgh is really gonna want to keep Scuds in their lineup if at all possible.
One player that is on the list in which the Thrashers are speculated to have interest in is Mikael Samuelsson of the Red Wings. Last season the 32-year old Swede notched 19 goals and 21 assist. In 466 total career games he has 86 goals. 122 assists and in a +38.
Yup, I enjoy free agent window shopping…it’s fun and it doesn’t cost anything. Come July first…well, that’s a different story.