When a sports team (or group of fans) spouts the “Wait ’til next year” line, they usually mean that the next season could bring better things. Yet after a few days of the free agent frenzy, that saying might also apply to July 2011.
It’s very early to look at future unrestricted free agents – especially since many of them will probably sign extensions at some point before then – but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun picturing different scenarios.
In the next few posts, I’ll go over some of the most promising unrestricted free agents by position.
Here are top six goalies who could land a nice new contract in July 2011.
Current Age: 30
Previous Cap Hit: $4.25 million
Breezy put together a near-Vezina level year last season and was the clear MVP of the Phoenix Coyotes. He’s young enough to be a franchise goalie for five years, maybe more.
Current Age: 34
Previous Cap Hit: $5.7 million
He’s been doomed to obscurity playing for bad-to-middling Panthers and Predators teams, but Vokoun consistently puts up the kind of numbers that make stats bloggers’ hearts aflutter. He’s a little old, but Vokoun could get a lot of attention from teams needing a short term fix in net.
Current Age: 29
Previous Cap Hit: $1.81 million
While it isn’t safe to say he’ll replicate his unexpectedly great regular season – or a playoff run in which he survived a barrage of San Jose Sharks shots and nearly lead his team to a first round upset – Anderson could earn himself a huge raise if he puts together another good year. His bank account has a lot riding on next season, even if he stays in Colorado once it’s all over.
Current Age: 26
Previous Cap Hit: approx. $717K
After years of falling short of the pro level, Jimmy Howard might have saved the Detroit Red Wings’ 09-10 season. He won’t be a cheap option after next season, but at his age, he could really make a jump if he flourishes for another year.
Current Age: 33
Previous Cap Hit: $6 million
Things haven’t been great for the Cup-winner and Conn Smythe winner the last few seasons, but he still has name recognition. He’s somewhat old, but a good season could earn him a clear No. 1 job and some security to boot.
Current Age: 37
Previous Cap Hit: $1.42 million
He’s getting a little old and really struggled last season, but he’s won Cups and developed a reputation for stepping his game up during the playoffs.