Free agency is an interesting time for general managers around the league. On one hand, you have assets that can be acquired without giving up anything in return. On the other hand, when signing a free agent you are expected to pay a premium, oftentimes giving out contracts above the player’s value. In today’s salary cap era, this balance is key as a mixture of internal scouting/development, trades and free agent signings is what will ultimately lead to success.
One mistake, however, can create massive problems for a franchise as year in and year out we see examples of free agent flops. Buffalo’s signing of Ville Leino is a strong example of such as the forward finished with a meager 25 points and he cost 4 million dollars a year. See what I mean?
Last year, Brad Richards was undoubtedly the cream of the crop. The Rangers were the ones to sign him and so far Richards has failed to disappoint as the two-way pivot compiled 66 points for the blue shirts. Blue-chip free agents are extremely rare in today’s NHL, as very few stars ever make it to free agency.
This year, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are the most desired free agents. Parise is a highly gifted left winger who may have had a down year with the Devils this past season but his previous point totals of 82 and 94 in the 10/11 and 09/10 seasons respectively prove that he is an elite talent.
Zach Parise is reportedly looking for a term around 10 years and somewhere in between 90-100 million. Though his price is high, there have been plenty of suitors looking for his services. Teams in the mix include his current team the New Jersey Devils, the Detroit Red Wings, the New York Rangers, the Minnesota Wild and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
For Suter, the numbers may be slightly lower but he is still the best defenceman in this year’s NHL Free Agent crop. His asking price is in the neighborhood of about 7-8 million per year and teams interested include his current team the Nashville Predators, the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Suter is a potent shut-down defender with good offensive skills to match. In today’s game there are few blue liners with the two-way game Suter possesses.
Other free agents looking for a new team (and money) include future hall of famers Martin Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr, Phoenix captain Shane Doan, sniper Alexander Semin, and Detroit’s Jiri Hudler.
With so many names looking to change uniforms, these next few weeks will be exciting for players and fans alike. Is Parise worth his contract? What about Suter? Let me know what you think in the comments.
Source for stats: hockeydb