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

EA Sports rolls out NHL 18 closed beta, with a lot of 3-on-3 focus

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EA Sports released a closed beta for “NHL 18” today, which gives players on Xbox One and Playstation 4 the chance to test three modes out from July 25 – Aug. 1.*

It sure seems like the beta – if not the full game – will focus on 3-on-3 overtime, and extending that experience beyond the confines of normal NHL action.

For one thing, the established EA Sports Hockey League mode will apparently include 3-on-3 overtime in the beta, and maybe more interestingly, also through full games. EA Sports explains as much:

Bringing authentic NHL 3-on-3 overtime to EA SPORTS Hockey League, you can now choose to play 3-on-3 full matches, opening up more ice for you and your teammates to get creative, pull off big plays, and showcase brand new skill moves. With more space to attack – and to make mistakes – 3-on-3 EASHL is higher stakes with more competition and skills.

Fans of the ailing sub-genre of arcade-style sports video games should take note that “NHL 18” introduces “NHL Threes.” The format hearkens back to the 16-bit days by turning off offside and icing calls, while a penalty will give a player a chance at penalty shot. Interesting. EA provided a little more information about the mode here, and it sure sounds like it could be fully featured upon release. The beta at least provides a taste of that.

(It wouldn’t be surprising if “NHL Threes” apes the previous generations “3 on 3 NHL Arcade,” which became something of a cult classic for some hockey game fans.)

Along with EA Sports Hockey League (note: a mode where you control a single player rather than a full team) and “NHL Threes,” the beta also includes the more vanilla Online Versus Play mode.

While the beta appears to be closed, EA’s NHL account is tweeting out ways to get codes on Tuesday, so it might not be too late if you’re lucky.

Without taking the beta for a test run personally just yet, this sounds like a nice opportunity for people to give the near-complete “NHL 18” a trial before the full game comes out on Sept. 15.

* – Or, as Kotaku’s Jason Schreier recently noted, maybe for a longer period of time.

Streit on Canadiens return: ‘Montreal always had a special place in my heart’

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Whether he’s Andrei Markov‘s replacement or a depth addition, the bottom line is that Mark Streit is slated for his second run with the Montreal Canadiens.

Streit, 39, would be justified in feeling like this signing could really tie his career in a nice bow.

MORE: Canadiens sign Streit

(Amusingly for everyone beyond his accountant, with a reported $700K cap hit for 2017-18, Streit is drawing almost the exact same salary as he did from the start; Streit received $600K in 2006-07 and 2007-08, according to Cap Friendly/Cap Geek.)

Back in 2004, the Canadiens drafted him … barely. He was a ninth-round pick, going 262nd overall in 2004.*

All things considered, Streit jumped to the NHL remarkably quickly, playing more than half a season in 2005-06. He would bounce from the Canadiens to the Islanders, Flyers, Penguins, and now back to Montreal. Despite him pretty well-traveled, the Swiss-born blueliner feels most at home with the Habs, as he told the team website.

“Montreal always had a special place in my heart because I started there,” Streit said. “One thing I really always missed was playing at the Bell Centre. It’s a unique rink with unique fans and a unique atmosphere. If you get the chance to play in front of them every night – with the atmosphere and the life in the city – I think it’s very motivating.”

Streit acknowledged the pressure that comes with playing there, and he’d certainly feel some if Canadiens fans are expecting a player who struggled to even crack the Pittsburgh Penguins’ postseason lineup to replace Markov.

Considering his $700K cap hit, Canadiens fans should keep expectations reasonable, especially since Streit tends to really blossom when people don’t expect much from him.

* – In case you’re wondering, that was a respectable ninth round. Danniel Winnik (717 games played, 265th overall), Grant Clitsome (205 GP, 271), Adam Cracknell (203, 279), and Jannik Hansen (580 GP, 287) all made solid careers for themselves. Not bad for guys who were drafted in rounds that wouldn’t even take place today.

Canada would consider Doan, Iginla for 2018 Winter Olympics

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When discussing the construction of Canada’s possible roster heading into the 2018 Winter Olympics, Sean Burke can be almost frustratingly coy. Still, in leaving virtually every available avenue at least conceivably open, he leaves room for some fascinating scenarios.

It might be tough to top this one discussed on TSN’s Overdrive 1050: if NHL teams pass on signing Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan, perhaps the Olympics could be their swan song?

Yes, there are quite a few “ifs” involved, but it’s an intriguing thought during the dog days of the hockey summer.

Burke likely presented more realistic possibilities in acknowledging that professional players plying their trade in Europe, particularly the KHL, might be the greatest source for talent.

“Most of our players will be guys that come from Europe playing in the KHL,” Burke said to TSN’s Overdrive 1050.

When pondering possible entries, recent international tournaments could be helpful.

Looking at Canada’s 2016 Deutschland Cup roster and who they’re sending to the 2017 Sochi Open, NHL castoffs such as Derek Roy, Gilbert Brule, Nigel Dawes, Andrew Ebbett, Chris Lee, and Mason Raymond all seem likely logical choices. College players such as Cale Makar make things more complicated – both for Canada and the U.S. – as well.

In a separate interview with TSN, Burke noted that he would rather not supply specific names himself. Even in being vague, he provided an additional interesting detail: upcoming tournaments may illuminate what Canada lacks on its roster as much as who could have a leg-up on making the team.

And, if nothing else, they’ll get a good look at some players through a rigorous process.

Wow.

That notion makes you wonder if AHL players will be at a significant disadvantage to make both Team Canada and the United States rosters. As the Associated Press notes, AHL teams look poised to loan certain players, but only for a window of Feb. 5-26.

Burke notes that he’ll want a significant chunk of his roster more or less settled around December, and he already pointed to a preference for those who are playing in Europe.

Now, that doesn’t mean Canada or the U.S. will ignore an obvious AHL talent – if available – yet it sounds like those players would face an uphill battle to making the 2018 Winter Olympics.

That said, a lot can change, especially considering how often injuries can throw a wrench in things.

As much as we’d all love to watch a “best-on-best” tournament featuring NHL players, the alternative is also intriguing: seeing how different teams construct rosters from a variety of other leagues/resources.

And, hey, it could be awfully fun to see the likes of Iginla and/or Doan leading a motley crew of young players and former NHLers. Such a thought might even get Doan to admit that he was out of bounds in blaspheming “Miracle.”

Zibanejad jumps at opportunity to be Rangers’ No. 1 center

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It’s reasonable to assume that the New York Rangers were comfortable trading Derek Stepan in part because they believed Mika Zibanejad could step into the No. 1 center role.

That puts a lot of pressure on Zibanejad, who’s never been the top pivot on an NHL team before. If that wasn’t enough, now he’ll need to justify the first big contract of his career (seeing his cap hit rise from $2.625 million to $5.35 million).

MORE: Rangers lock up Zibanejad for five years

At least he isn’t oblivious to this challenge, and as the Rangers website notes, he’s actually super happy* to raise the stakes.

“I think even before signing, seeing Derek being traded was a little bit of an alert to me that I might get a chance to play a bigger role,” Zibanejad said. “As a player, you always want more responsibility and a bigger role. It’s something that I’m working really hard to make sure that I’m … taking advantage of the chance I’m getting.”

Stepan drew criticism – arguably unfair criticism – from Rangers fans for not being quite the No. 1 center many of them wanted, so it will be interesting to see how Zibanejad handles the challenge/burden.

If you were to grade his first season with the Rangers, you might be tempted to hand him an “Incomplete.”

Injuries really limited him for much of 2016-17, but when he played, he was solid, scoring 14 goals and 37 points in 56 games. Zibanejad had a flair for the dramatic, too.

Still, in full seasons, Zibanejad’s produced nice-but-unspectacular numbers. Two straight 20+ goal seasons to finish his Senators days were helpful, but many of his stats more or less fell in line with Stepan’s production.

Now, at 24, it’s reasonable to believe that Zibanejad’s best days are in front of him. It’s also true that, while he’s received nice opportunities to succeed, he wasn’t quite getting those top-line reps that Stepan received.

In all likelihood, it will come down to expectations. If Rangers fans want Zibanejad to produce at a level far exceeding Stepan, they might be disappointed; the bar for a successful season by most forwards’ standards has changed in the NHL, and Stepan’s mostly made the grade. On the other hand, if expectations are kept in check, Zibanejad could be a very nice fit for the Rangers.

Though he might miss the Derick Brassard comparisons now that the measuring stick changed to Derek Stepan.

* – Seriously, the guy said “super happy” a lot.