2011 free agents list: The unrestricted version

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Now that the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs and 2011 NHL Entry Draft are over, hockey fans are probably starting to think about next season and trying not to think about the long, hockey-free summer. The best distraction from that stark, puck-less reality will come on Friday, July 1 when the free agent frenzy begins.

If you want to start dreaming about all the ways your team could get better (or conversely, if you want to guess which signings might provide future nightmare fuel), it might help to look at a list of free agents.

In this first post, we’ll provide the easier-to-get (but usually more expensive to sign) group known as unrestricted free agents. These guys are at least 27 years old and could be available to any team willing to fork over the dough. These players are listed by their position, current team, age and their 2010-11 salaries.

Top 100 Forwards (for a complete list, click here)

Note: players listed by previous salaries, not ranked by perceived talent.

Brad Richards DAL 31 $7,800,000
Simon Gagne TBL 31 $5,250,000
Alex Kovalev PIT 38 $5,000,000
Michael Nylander WAS 38 $4,875,000
Teemu Selanne ANA 40 $4,500,000
Jason Arnott WAS 36 $4,500,000
Tim Connolly BUF 30 $4,500,000
Michael Ryder BOS 31 $4,000,000
Michal Handzus LAK 34 $4,000,000
Steve Sullivan NAS 36 $3,750,000
Cory Stillman CAR 37 $3,533,333
Marco Sturm WAS 33 $3,500,000
Alex Ponikarovsky LAK 31 $3,200,000
Radim Vrbata PHO 30 $3,000,000
Erik Cole CAR 32 $2,900,000
Jamie Langenbrunner DAL 35 $2,800,000
Chris Clark CLB 35 $2,633,333
Tomas Fleischmann COL 27 $2,600,000
Sergei Samsonov FLA 32 $2,533,333
Vaclav Prospal NYR 36 $2,480,000
Todd White NYR 36 $2,375,000
Chuck Kobasew MIN 29 $2,333,333
Antti Miettinen MIN 30 $2,333,333
Andrew Brunette MIN 37 $2,333,333
Scottie Upshall CLB 27 $2,250,000
Brooks Laich WAS 28 $2,066,667
Nikolay Zherdev PHI 26 $2,000,000
Ethan Moreau CLB 35 $2,000,000
Mike Modano DET 41 $1,750,000
Chad Larose CAR 29 $1,700,000
Radek Dvorak WIN 34 $1,700,000
Jussi Jokinen CAR 28 $1,700,000
Chris Higgins VAN 28 $1,600,000
Kris Draper DET 40 $1,583,333
Mike Grier BUF 36 $1,500,000
Joel Ward NAS 30 $1,500,000
Pascl Dupuis PIT 32 $1,400,000
Jarkko Ruutu ANA 35 $1,300,000
John Madden MIN 38 $1,250,000
Rob Niedermayer BUF 36 $1,250,000
Tomas Kopecky CHI 29 $1,200,000
Petr Prucha PHO 28 $1,200,000
Marty Reasoner FLA 34 $1,150,000
Todd Marchant ANA 37 $1,125,000
Vernon Fiddler PHO 31 $1,100,000
Maxime Talbot PIT 27 $1,050,000
Patrick Rissmiller FLA 32 $1,000,000
Aaron Voros TOR 29 $1,000,000
Matt Bradley WAS 33 $1,000,000
Raffi Torres VAN 29 $1,000,000
Ruslan Fedotenko NYR 32 $1,000,000
Ben Eager SAN 27 $965,000
Alexandre Picard PHO 25 $868,219
Michael Rupp PIT 31 $825,000
Brian Sutherby DAL 29 $812,500
Marek Svatos OTT 29 $800,000
Boyd Gordon WAS 27 $800,000
Ville Leino PHI 27 $800,000
Marcel Goc NAS 27 $775,000
Darcy Hordichuk FLA 30 $775,000
Scott Nichol SAN 36 $760,000
Eric Godard PIT 31 $750,000
Eric Belanger PHO 33 $750,000
Patrick Eaves DET 27 $750,000
Fredrik Sjostrom TOR 28 $750,000
Brendan Morrison CGY 35 $725,000
Sean Bergenheim TBL 27 $700,000
Arron Asham PIT 33 $700,000
Brad Winchester ANA 30 $700,000
Jonas Andersson VAN 30 $675,000
Kyle Wellwood SAN 28 $650,000
Eric Boulton WIN 34 $650,000
Drew Miller DET 27 $650,000
Tanner Glass VAN 27 $625,000
Ryan Carter FLA 27 $625,000
Andrew Murray CLB 30 $625,000
Ryan Shannon OTT 28 $625,000
Matt Ellis BUF 29 $625,000
Jeff LoVecchio FLA 25 $605,000
Jamal Mayers SAN 36 $600,000
Cam Janssen STL 27 $600,000
Jamie Lundmark NAS 30 $600,000
Mark Parrish BUF 34 $600,000
Adam Hall TBL 30 $600,000
Zenon Konopka NYI 30 $600,000
Jeff Halpern MTL 35 $600,000
Kyle Wilson CLB 26 $600,000
Kris Chucko CGY 25 $600,000
Aaron Gagnon DAL 25 $600,000
Mark Mancari BUF 25 $575,000
Andy Hilbert NYI 30 $575,000
David Koci COL 30 $575,000
Tim Brent TOR 27 $575,000
Raymond Sawada DAL 26 $575,000
Ben Guite CLB 32 $575,000
Wade Belak NAS 34 $575,000
Josh Green ANA 33 $575,000
Trevor Frischmon CLB 29 $575,000
John Zeiler LAK 28 $558,333

Top 50 Defensemen

Ed Jovanovski PHO 35 $6,500,000
Bryan McCabe NYR 36 $5,750,000
Roman Hamrlik MTL 37 $5,500,000
Scott Hannan WAS 32 $4,500,000
Tomas Kaberle BOS 33 $4,250,000
Joni Pitkanen CAR 27 $4,000,000
Kevin Bieksa VAN 30 $3,750,000
Craig Rivet CLB 36 $3,500,000
Sami Salo VAN 36 $3,500,000
James Wisniewski MTL 27 $3,250,000
Christian Ehrhoff VAN 28 $3,100,000
Ian White SAN 27 $2,999,995
Steve Staios CGY 37 $2,700,000
Brent Sopel MTL 34 $2,333,333
Jim Vandermeer EDM 31 $2,300,000
Jan Hejda CLB 33 $2,000,000
Kent Huskins SAN 32 $1,700,000
Shane O’Brien NAS 27 $1,600,000
Steve Montador BUF 31 $1,550,000
Radek Martinek NYI 34 $1,500,000
Anton Babchuk CGY 27 $1,400,000
Karlis Skrastins DAL 36 $1,375,000
Sean O’Donnell PHI 39 $1,300,000
Adam Foote COL 39 $1,250,000
Steve Eminger NYR 27 $1,125,000
Severin Blindenbacher DAL 28 $1,112,500
Ruslan Salei DET 36 $1,100,000
Andrew Alberts VAN 29 $1,050,000
Brad Lukowich DAL 34 $1,000,000
Randy Jones TBL 29 $1,000,000
Marc-Andre Bergeron TBL 30 $1,000,000
Jonathan Ericsson DET 27 $900,000
Paul Mara MTL 31 $750,000
Andreas Lilja ANA 35 $750,000
Andy Greene NJD 28 $737,500
Jason Strudwick EDM 35 $725,000
Adam Pardy CGY 27 $700,000
David Hale OTT 30 $675,000
Jeff Woywitka DAL 27 $650,000
Sean Collins WAS 27 $650,000
Alexander Sulzer FLA 27 $650,000
Nathan Oystrick STL 28 $600,000
Jordan Hendry CHI 27 $600,000
Freddy Meyer WIN 30 $600,000
Drew Bagnall MIN 27 $600,000
Tyson Strachan STL 26 $600,000
Mathieu Roy TBL 27 $600,000
Dean Arsene STL 30 $600,000
Shawn Belle COL 26 $600,000
Danny Syvret PHI 26 $600,000

Top 20 Goalies

Jean-Sebastien Giguere TOR 34 $6,000,000
Tomas Vokoun FLA 34 $5,700,000
Pascal Leclaire OTT 28 $3,800,000
Dwayne Roloson TBL 41 $2,500,000
Mike Smith TBL 29 $2,200,000
Johan Hedberg NJD 38 $1,500,000
Chris Osgood DET 38 $1,416,667
Ty Conklin STL 35 $1,300,000
Marty Turco CHI 35 $1,300,000
Peter Budaj COL 28 $1,250,000
Josh Harding MIN 27 $1,200,000
Mathieu Garon CLB 33 $1,200,000
Jose Theodore MIN 34 $1,100,000
Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers EDM 27 $1,050,000
Alex Auld MTL 30 $1,000,000
Brian Boucher PHI 34 $925,000
Joey MacDonald DET 31 $550,000
Curtis McElhinney OTT 28 $535,000
Martin Gerber EDM 36 $500,000
Ray Emery ANA 28 $500,000

Chris Kunitz found the fountain of youth in Game 7

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PITTSBURGH — Chris Kunitz has put together an impressive and often times overlooked resume during his 13 years in the NHL. He has been a top-line player on three Stanley Cup winning teams, he has an Olympic Gold Medal, and before Thursday’s Game 7 against the Ottawa Senators had scored 275 goals (regular season and playoffs) in the NHL.

By any objective measure that is a fantastic career.

During the Penguins’ 3-2 overtime win on Thursday to send them back to the Stanley Cup Final for the second year in a row, he played what was perhaps the biggest — and best — game of his career.

It could not have come at a better time for the Penguins.

Or at a more unexpected one.

Kunitz played a role in all three Penguins’ goals, scoring two of them, including the overtime winner, and providing the key screen on Justin Schultz‘s third period power play goal. As if that was not enough, he also recorded an assist on that Schultz goal.

He was, to say the least, a force and the single biggest contributor in the Penguins’ win. Even if he downplayed his overtime winner as simply being the result of a little bit of luck.

“I was just trying to get into a soft spot,” said Kunitz. “The puck fluttered off my stick a little, I don’t know if it touched [Jean-Gabriel Pageau] or kept going right in, but it looked like there was a good screen on the goalie, it looked like he maybe fell down, it just found its way into the net. Sometimes you just get lucky when you put one on net.”

Lucky or not, Kunitz was the unexpected hero in Game 7 and it came on a night where he seemed to rediscover his game.

Kunitz playing such an essential role in a big playoff win wouldn’t have been that big of a shock four or five years ago.

He has been a core player since arriving in Pittsburgh during the 2008-09 season and spent years skating on the top line alongside Sidney Crosby.  That presence on Crosby’s wing almost did more to hurt his reputation because there was always that belief he was simply a product of skating alongside the best player in the world. But he has always been more than that. He has been a legitimately good top-six winger that had also found success even when away from Crosby.

But on Thursday it was a taste of the old days with Crosby setting up the overtime winner.

“[Sheary] did a really good job bringing it up the wall and walking the blue like, and I think Sid was coming right off the bench,” said Kunitz. “When he drives it deep everyone gets scared and you can find that soft area because obviously Sid has great vision, and he put it right there. I just found a way to put it on net and got lucky.”

What makes his performance such a stunner this season, and in this game, is that it came at a time when his best days were clearly in the past and he had gone from being a top-line, core player, to being more of a bottom-six role player.

At the age of 37 that had to be expected. He was still able to do enough to be a useful contributor, but the consistent impact on the scoresheet wasn’t always there. Entering Game 7 on Thursday night he had yet to score a goal and had recorded just a pair of assists in his first 13 playoff games. Along with that postseason scoring drought he only scored nine goals during the regular season and had not found the back of the net since Feb. 16, a stretch of 78 days.

Then there he is playing the role of hero in what was, to this point, the Penguins’ biggest game of the season.

“He played his best game of the playoffs when it matters the most,” said Penguins forward Carl Hagelin. “That’s the type of guy he is and that’s the reason he has three Stanley Cup rings already. He’s just one of those guys you love having on your team.”

This is pretty much what Game 7’s in the Stanley Cup playoffs are all about. Anything can happen when a series and a season all comes down to one game.

It only takes one shot, one bounce, one play, one call or one huge performance from an unexpected player to totally re-write history.

In Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago it was Bryan Rust, representing the next wave and younger generation of the Penguins, playing the role of hero with his two goal-game.

This year, it was one of their long-time core players rediscovering his past glory for one night.

2017 Stanley Cup Final schedule: Nashville Predators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

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The Pittsburgh Penguins might celebrate their hard-fought tonight, but they’d probably be wise to rest up. It won’t be long before they’ll face the well-rested Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

That first contest will take place on Monday, May 29. The Penguins ended their series on Thursday (or, maybe Friday if you’re being a stickler) while the Predators get a week of rest after dispatching the Ducks this past Monday (May 22).

NBC and NBCSN will have you covered for what should be a fast and fascinating series with a whole lot of gold/yellow going around. Game 1 will be on NBC, Games 2 and 3 will air on NBCSN and then the remaining contests will take place on NBC.

Here’s the schedule in list form, as that may be easier to follow:

2017 STANLEY CUP FINAL SCHEDULE
Subject to Change/All Times ET

Game Date Time (ET) Pittsburgh vs. Nashville Networks
Game 1 Monday, May 29 8 p.m. Nashville at Pittsburgh NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Game 2 Wednesday, May 31 8 p.m. Nashville at Pittsburgh NBCSN, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Game 3 Saturday, June 3 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at Nashville NBCSN, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Game 4 Monday, June 5 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at Nashville NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Game 5* Thursday, June 8 8 p.m. Nashville at Pittsburgh NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Game 6* Sunday, June 11 8 p.m. Pittsburgh at Nashville NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Game 7* Wednesday, June 14 8 p.m. Nashville at Pittsburgh NBC, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
* If necessary

Penguins end Senators’ magical run, reach second Stanley Cup Final in a row

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The Ottawa Senators put up a resounding fight, but the Sens’ “Cinderella” story came to an end tonight.

The Pittsburgh Penguins needed a double-overtime in Game 7 to write the final chapter, yet that’s what happened; now the defending champions prepare to face a well-rested Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final.

An unforgettable night for Kunitz

Hot take: Mike Sullivan made the right move in placing Chris Kunitz on Sidney Crosby‘s line.

Crosby created some chances early on in Game 7, but things just weren’t clicking for the Pittsburgh Penguins. That swap opened up some opportunities for Kunitz – once a constant linemate of Crosby – and the veteran winger provided perhaps the best performance of his impressive career.

As surprising as this turn was, maybe it should have been expected; Kunitz is one of the greatest success stories of any undrafted players, after all.

Plenty of twists and turns

After a scoreless second period, the two teams traded goals within just 20 seconds; Chris Kunitz cashed in on a nice rush while Mark Stone finished a great Erik Karlsson setup to make it 1-1.

More: Video and other details regarding those opening tallies.

The third period featured plenty of drama, even if some of the larger points echoed earlier narratives. To be more precise, the Penguins leveraged their power-play opportunity to a 2-1 lead (via Justin Schultz), but Ryan Dzingel‘s rebound 2-2 goal ensured that the lead wouldn’t last.

Read more about the 2-2 goals and some controversial moments from the third period here. You may also enjoy this Marc Methot hip check on Evgeni Malkin.

The overtime period began with a frantic pace; even fans probably needed the breather. Some great Phil Kessel chances didn’t end the opening overtime period, so things went to double-OT.

Ponder Kessel’s tumultuous times in the first overtime here.

It wasn’t beautiful, but Chris Kunitz’s knucklepuck beat a keyed-in Craig Anderson to end the contest and the series. He came into Thursday with zero goals and two assists in 13 playoff games; he generated the game-winner, the game-opener and an assist, factoring into all three Penguins goals.

Deep playoff runs come down to some combination of stars being stars and unexpected heroes shining in huge moments. The Penguins keep finding ways to get that equation just right.

Penguins – Senators Game 7 goes to double overtime, try to breathe

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Try to breathe. Maybe meditate during this overtime intermission, if you need it.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators didn’t just need overtime to decide who would win Game 7 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final. It turns out that, despite an angry Penguins crowd, that they’ll need double OT.

There were plenty of big chances during that span of “free hockey.” You could probably argue that Phil Kessel was the most frustrated player during that frame; he was unable to score but generated some golden opportunities.

One really looked like it might have beaten Craig Anderson:

Wow. This one likely stings more for Kessel, as he had a ton of time and space but missed the net.

Kessel wasn’t the only player to get chances. There were a ton in this first overtime as both teams took thrilling swipes at victory. Still, number 81 provided some of the most memorable moments.

You can watch Game 7 live on NBCSN. The game can also be viewed online and via the NBC Sports App. Here is the livestream link.