2010 NHL Free Agency: The Forwards

With the 2010 NHL Free Agency market set to open on Thursday, we’ll
be listing the top unrestricted free agents in all three positions throughout the
day. This isn’t the
full list of free agents, but it’s a good chunk of them. The forwards:

Player

Age

Team

09-10 cap hHit

Ilya Kovalchuk
27
New Jersey
$6.389
million
Olli Jokinen
31
New York
$5.25 million
Ray Whitney
38
Carolina
$3.55 million
Mike Modano
40
Dallas
$3.45 million
Alexander Frolov
28
Los Angeles
$2.9
million
Matt Cullen
33
Ottawa
$2.875 million
Owen Nolan
38
Minnesota
$2.75 milion
Coby Armstrong
27
Atlanta
$2.4 million
Alexei Ponikarovsky
30
Pittsburgh
$2.1
million
Matthew Lombardi
28
Phoenix
$1.816 million
Ruslan
Fedotenko
31
Pittsburgh
$1.8 million
Brendan
Morrision
34
Washington
$1.5 million
Wayne
Primeau
34
Toronto
$1.4 million
Kyle
Wellwood
27
Vancouver
$1.2 million
Kirk
Maltby
37
Detroit
$833,333
Maxim
Afinogenov
30
Atlanta
$800,000
Adam
Burish
27
Chicago
$712,000
Manny
Malhotra
30
San
Jose
$700,000
Aaron
Asham
32
Philadelphia
$640,000

Quick
analysis:

Obviously all of the focus is on Kovalchuk and
where’s going, but after that this is obviously a bit of an
underwhelming group of players. The bad news for some teams — and the
good news for these free agents — is that teams will likely overspend
for just “okay” players.

If Mike Modano does decide to come back
this next season, he’s going to make a contending a team very happy.
He’ll provide solid leadership and experience, and he still has that
scoring ability that mkes him so special.

Let’s just hope that
Kyle Wellwood ends up in a city that is known for being healthy. I don’t
know if that city exists in North America, however.

Maxim
Afinogenov will be a great pickup, as he was one of the most valuable
forwards in the NHL last season. He’ll be looking for a raise, but he
won’t be completely out of reach for teams in need of a scoring forward.

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    Predators sign Arvidsson to seven-year, $29.75 million deal

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    Viktor Arvidsson has cashed in on his impressive, breakout 2016-17 campaign.

    Playing in the final year of his entry-level contract — and making $640,000 in total salary, according to CapFriendly — the 5-foot-9 tall Arvidsson erupted for 31 goals and 61 points playing on the top line last season for a Nashville Predators team that eventually made its way to the Stanley Cup Final.

    The two sides had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Saturday.

    From The Tennessean:

    Viktor Arvidsson received a new contract Saturday befitting a breakout star, with the Predators signing the energetic forward to a seven-year, $29.75 million contract, Arvidsson’s agent told The Tennessean. 

    Few unheralded NHL players last season surprised more than Arvidsson. Expected to be a secondary contributor, Arvidsson erupted offensively with 31 goals and 61 points as part of Nashville’s top line, tying for the team lead in each category. 

    Update: The Predators have since confirmed the deal, which pays Arvidsson an annual average value of $4.25 million per season, through the 2023-24 season.

    Nashville’s general manager David Poile has work remaining this offseason. The Predators still have restricted free agents Ryan Johansen — another member of that vaunted top line in Nashville — and Austin Watson left to get under contract.

    Watson and the Predators have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday. Watson is reportedly seeking $1.4 million in arbitration.

    Flames re-sign RFA goalies Gillies and Rittich

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    The Calgary Flames have re-signed goalies Jon Gillies and David Rittich to one-year, two-way contracts, the club announced Saturday.

    Both spent the majority of last season in the American Hockey League, but did get in some game action with the big club in Calgary. The 23-year-old Gillies, the Flames’ third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, played in 39 games with the Stockton Heat, posting a .910 save percentage.

    He then made his first career NHL start on April 6 against the L.A. Kings and stopped 27 of 28 shots faced for the win. He then began the playoffs as Calgary’s back-up because of an injury to Chad Johnson.

    Rittich made his debut two days later, allowing one goal on 10 shots in 20 minutes of ice time versus San Jose.

    The Flames have already taken care of their goaltending situation at the NHL level for next season, bringing in Mike Smith from Arizona and Eddie Lack from Carolina.

    Columnist: Potential new Hurricanes owner concerned with ‘revitalizing Raleigh as a hockey market’

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    The Carolina Hurricanes may have a potential new owner in Chuck Greenberg, the former CEO of the MLB Texas Rangers who also had interest in the NHL’s Dallas Stars.

    A report Friday goes into further details about Greenberg’s motivation in purchasing the Hurricanes from Peter Karmanos, who has been exploring a sale of the team for quite some time now.

    Previous reports indicate the agreement between the Hurricanes and Greenberg would keep the club in Raleigh, amid ages of speculation it may be a candidate for possible relocation to markets like Seattle or Quebec City.

    From the Raleigh News and Observer:

    Interviews with people close to Greenberg and others who have knowledge of the proposed purchase but requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks paint a picture of a front man who would be deeply concerned with the fan experience and revitalizing Raleigh as a hockey market, but lacking the money to fund the purchase himself and reliant on a group of investors to get the deal done.

    If the deal goes through, at a reported price of $500 million that likely includes a large amount of assumed debt while valuing the actual franchise closer to $300 million, Greenberg would move to Raleigh with the intention of making the team work here. That’s what Hurricanes fans long afraid of a move to Quebec City or Seattle during these years of ownership uncertainty as Karmanos has had the team on the market have been hoping to hear.

    The Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006 but haven’t made the playoffs since 2009. Despite their postseason drought, Carolina is building quite a depth of young talent, most notably on defense. They could take another positive step forward next season, perhaps contending for a playoff spot. In a bid to bolster their goaltending situation, the Hurricanes also acquired and then signed former Chicago No. 2 netminder Scott Darling.

    Predators’ Watson asking for $1.4 million in arbitration

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    It could be a busy couple of days for the Nashville Predators with two arbitration hearings scheduled through Monday.

    The first of those two was scheduled for Saturday with restricted free agent forward Viktor Arvidsson, while Austin Watson is scheduled to have his on Monday if no deal is struck before then. On Saturday Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Watson and the Predators have filed their numbers for that hearing with Watson looking to make $1.4 million, and the Predators countering with an offer of $700,000.

    Watson made $575,000 this past season for the Predators when he scored five goals with 12 assists in 77 games while mostly playing in a bottom-six role.

    The 25-year-old Watson was a first-round pick by the Predators in 2010 and has played his entire career to this point with the organization. In parts of three seasons with the big club he has scored just nine goals in 140 games.

    He played what was perhaps his best hockey with the team during the 2016-17 playoffs when he scored four goals (nearly matching his career regular season high) and added five assists during the Predators’ run to the Stanley Cup Final. All four of those goals came in the Western Conference Finals against the Anaheim Ducks, including two in their series-clinching Game 6 win. He also recorded three assists in the Stanley Cup Final.

    Given the relatively small gap here this seems like a classic “meet in the middle” situation when it comes to reaching a deal for this upcoming season.