NHL Free Agency: Team needs, potential targets for all 30 teams
Free agency in the NHL is upon us. Here's a look at what teams have on the way out, what they need on the way in and some potential targets.
Lists put together by Brian Stubits and Adam Gretz of Eye on Hockey.
|• Out: Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, Matthew Lombardi, David Steckel, Radek Dvorak, Toni Lydman
• Needs: Top- six winger*
Anaheim had a strong start to the season last year and seem to be going in a pretty good direction and are at a point where they don't have a lot to do; they already did their bulk by re-signing Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Anything else depends on their free agents.
Potential Targets: They don't have to look far. It begins with waiting to see if Teemu Selanne is coming back for another year and re-signing Koivu. After that the Ducks will probably remain a very quiet team but if they do something it would be about trying to find a little more secondary scoring, somebody to help fill the void that is starting to open from Selanne's nearing retirement.
|• Out: Jaromir Jagr, Nathan Horton, Andrew Ference, Wade Redden, Anton Khudobin, Kaspars Daugavins
• Needs: Right wing, Backup goaltender
The Bruins had the fortune of being able to keep their team almost completely together after their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 but the same luck won't be found this time. They do not have much room under the cap at all to maneuver, taking them out of the running for any big free agents. It should be a relatively quiet period for the Bruins.
Restricted Free Agents: Kaspars Daugavins, Tuukka Rask. The big one is obviously Rask, with whom the Bruins continue to work toward a new deal. It will get done and it will be expensive, using up what little cap space the Bruins have left. Daugavins meanwhile was not tendered an offer and so he's on his way out of Boston.
Potential Targets: The pressing need is at goal and after they get Rask re-signed, they could very well re-up Khudobin as well. The other holes on the team will likely have to come from within the organization. Filling Ference's spot shouldn't be tough with the crop of defensemen they have. Replacing Horton and Jagr on the wing is the hard part. Here's a name popping up a lot: Daniel Alfredsson. He's likely staying in Ottawa but if he goes anywhere, maybe it's Boston.
|• Out: Jochen Hecht, Adam Pardy, Alex Sulzer
• Needs: Veteran Forward
The Buffalo Sabres began a rebuilding process last season that is going to continue into the summer and next year. It's going to put the Sabres in a spot of not being active on the free-agent market, the types of players they would like to add aren't going to be found on that market.
Restricted Free Agents: Cody Hodgson, Brian Flynn. The big one is Hodgson. He was part of the big trade with Vancouver two seasons ago and is still a young and up-and-coming center. It shouldn't be too much longer before the Sabres re-sign him, he figures to be a key player for them going forward. Flynn was a late callup to the Sabres but showed well with 11 points in 26 games.
Potential Targets: As stated above, the Sabres shouldn't have much interest in the free-agency market. They are going through a rebuild and as it stands have a pretty complete roster, the FA market should be of little interest to them. However they would like to try to get a little veteran presence on the team and that immediately puts former Sabre Danny Briere on their radar.
|• Out: Brian McGrattan, Steve Begin, Anton Babchuk
• Needs: Goaltender, Centermen, Defenseman
The Flames are finally admitting what they're doing, they're in a rebuild. So the free-agent market isn't a place they should go but you know Jay Feaster, they probably will. One way or another they do need to try to address the goaltending hole right now assuming Miikka Kiprusoff is indeed retiring.
Restricted Free Agents: Mikael Backlund, Chris Butler, T.J. Brodie, Mark Cundari. All four players have received qualifying offers, giving Calgary a chance to match if they were presented with offer sheets. Re-signing the three defensemen is especially important.
Potential Targets: That's where you can never know with Feaster. They have a glaring hole at center that they have been trying to address; will that continue with somebody like Valtteri Filppula or will they go the patient route? They could be settled on D if they re-sign the RFAs. Goaltender is a lot more interesting. Dare they take a shot on Ilya Bryzgalov? What about Anton Khudobin?
|• Out: Joe Corvo, Jamie McBain, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Chad LaRose, Tim Brent
• Needs: Defense
The Hurricanes made two of the biggest moves last offseason by adding Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin. They helped a Carolina roster that was one of the most dynamic ones in the league offensively and were a part of one of the highest scoring teams in the league. The only problem: They couldn't stop anybody from scoring.
Restricted Free Agents: Jared Staal. His biggest accomplishment at this point is being the younger brother of Jordan, Eric, and Marc.
Potential Targets: They already addressed their defense a little bit by trading Jamie McBain to Buffalo for Andrej Sekara at the draft, but that's probably not enough to fix what was hurting this team on the blue line last season. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a lot of quick fixes in free agency, either. One name that stands out a little bit is former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi.
|• Out: Dave Bolland, Michael Frolik, Viktor Stalberg, Ray Emery, Michal Handzus, Michal Rozsival.
• Needs: Center, backup goalie
Chicago is losing a bit of depth this offseason but let's not feel too bad for them. They're still loaded and have a Stanley Cup to keep them company for the summer. They're going to need a backup goalie to replace Ray Emery, and another center would certainly help thanks to the draft-day trade of Dave Bolland to Toronto.
Potential Targets: Unless they work out a new deal for Emery they're going to need somebody to backup Corey Crawford. Former Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss has always had some ability and he's still young enough that he still has a chance to get better. Losing Bolland will hurt a little bit down the middle so they're going to have to find somebody to help fill that No. 2 center role. They still have $9 million in cap space at the start of free agency and Valtterri Filppula seems like the type of player who could fit in with the Blackhawks style of play.
The Avalanche seem to be trying to piece together their former glory days with the front office and coaching additions of Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and Adam Foote, which is followed by a trade for Alex Tanguay. Just because somebody was great on the ice doesn't mean they're going to be great behind the bench or in the front office so it remains to be seen how this experiment is going to work out. But after using the No. 1 overall pick on Nathan MacKinnon the Avalanche are pretty loaded when it comes to young forwards. MacKinnon joings a roster that already has Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, and Ryan O'Reilly up front, not to mention veterans like Paul Stastny, P.A. Parenteau and Steve Downie. That's not a bad group to build around for offense. The only problem is whether or not they can stop anybody from scoring.
Restricted Free Agents: Tomas Vincour.
Potential Targets: The Avalanche don't seem eager to jump into the free agent frenzy and overpay for players. They still need defense as they're bringing back a roster that gave up more than three goals per game a season ago and surrendered the fifth most shots per game. Andrew Ference could be an interesting target but since he's now one of the top defenseman available (which says more about the crop of free agents than it does about Ference) he's probably going to be out of their desired price range.
|Columbus Blue Jackets|
|• Out: Adrian Aucoin, Vinny Prospal
• Needs: Offense
Thanks almost entirely to the play of Sergei Bobrovsky in net the Columbus Blue Jackets nearly pulled off the impossible last season and qualified for the Western Conference playoffs, narrowly missing out on the last weekend of the season. The concern: How much of that late season success was real, and how much of it was a mirage aided by a goaltending player well above his career norms? Hopefully for Blue Jackets fans it's the former. It's probably going to end up being the latter. They made a huge move at the deadline to get Marian Gaborik, and he's going to help them, but they're still one of the worst offensive teams in the league and need somebody who can push the play up the ice and get pucks at the net.
Restricted Free Agents: None.
Potential Targets: Pretty much anybody who can score. In this class that's Danny Briere, David Clarkson, Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder or Nathan Horton. The Blue Jackets have nearly $8 million in cap space and could be players for any of the top free agents, but will they get involved in the bidding wars for players that likely won't make a difference? A player like Damian Brunner, if he hits the open market, seems like the type of guy that might make a lot more sense. What about taking a chance on Pierre-Marc Bouchard in the hopes that he might stay healthy for a full season? The talent is certainly there.
|Free Agency Needs|
The Stars haven't made the playoffs since the 2007-08 season and are getting a fresh start in 2013 with a new coach (Lindy Ruff) and general manager (Jim Nill). They've already gone out and added Sergei Gonchar and were in the running for Vincent Lecavalier before he agreed to terms with Philadelphia. It's pretty obvious they're trying to make some sort of a statement this summer and they're probably going to try and get into the mix for one of the other top free agents that's available.
Restricted Free Agents: Lane McDermid
Potential Targets: After missing out on Lecavalier will they turn their attention to a player like Danny Briere? Or would first-year general manager Nill have any interest in bringing in a player like Valtteri Filppula who he's familiar with from his Detroit days? Kari Lehtonen is fantastic in net, but they need somebody to back him up. The only problem Lehtonen has is that he's had some injury problems throughout his career so whoever that backup turns out to be is going to have to be reliable.
|Detroit Red Wings|
|• Out: Valtteri Filppula, Danny Clear, Damien Brunner, Ian White
• Needs: Second-line center, Winger
The Red Wings, as is customary, do have some room below the cap, but that's typcially how GM Ken Holland likes to be positioned. It doesn't mean they will use it, however. They don't have a lot they'll be looking to achieve but they will be involved on some of the biggest names.
Restricted Free Agents: Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith. There shouldn't be any issues with any of these three, they are all likely to be re-signed soon. The Wings already took care of RFA Jakub Kindl, these guys will follow suit.
Potential Targets: Before they can go much further they need to figure out the situations with Cleary and Brunner. It's possible neither will be back at this point and if they're not, they will probably be that much busier. Either way, they will be looking to fill Filppula's spot. It seems like they will be one of the teams most interested in Stephen Weiss.
|• Out: Ryan Jones, Lennart Petrall, Jerred Smithson, Ryan Whitney, Mark Fistric, Theo Peckham, Nikolai Kkabibulin
• Needs: Defensemen, Bottom-six forwards, Backup goaltender
Craig MacTavish is on the job now and he has promised big changes for the franchise. They have shown some interest and will certainly be on the hunt for a defenseman, whether it happens in free agency or trade is another matter. They have reportedly hot after Braydon Coburn in Philly. It should be a summer of change.
Restricted Free Agents: Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Theo Peckham. Peckhamn was not offered a qualifying offer, meaning he's free to go and sign with another team. The other two were given offers and will surely be kept, Gagner still figures into their plans going forward you'd think.
Potential Targets: MacTavish has come in and almost ripped apart the bottom six in Edmonton so he's going to have to fill those holes in different ways. I'd guess they don't look to spend too heavily, but MacTavish is a bit of an unknown right now. They will get a defenseman one way or another -- they've also been rumored to be interested in free agent Paul Ranger -- and as for goalie? Well that's the interesting one. Anton Khudobin could look pretty good paired with Devan Dubnyk.
|• Out: Stephen Weiss, Jose Theodore, Tyson Strachan, Jack Skille
• Needs: Top-line center, Scoring forward, Depth defenseman
The Panthers don't have an area where they couldn't improve dramatically after finishing worst in the league in goals against and tied for worst in goals for. But they were also hurt badly by injuries and are slowly working in their cupboard full of prospects.
Restricted Free Agents: Peter Mueller, Shawn Matthias, Jack Skille, Jacob Markstrom. Mueller proved to be a nice addition on the cheap however he was not tendered. That doesn't mean he won't be back, they were just afraid of arbitration. Matthias had a breakout season as a valuable and versatile centerman. Markstrom is the future in net. Skille, meanwhile, wasn't tendered an offer, ending his time in Florida.
Potential Targets: They need a 1C somewhere because I don't see one on the roster for this season. In the end they probably will stay in-house and put a player who isn't ready to be a 1C yet up there. They could use a veteran who can score, too. However Dale Tallon says he's not interested in spending on the FA market this year though they could target a veteran defenseman.
|• Out: Dustin Penner, Brad Richardson, Rob Scuderi, Keaton Ellerby
• Needs: Winger
The Kings don't have a lot of room to maneuver below the salary cap so it's a good thing they don't really need much. They still have the majority of the Cup-winning team from two seasons ago intact. GM Dean Lombardi does have work to do on his own free agents.
Restricted Free Agents: Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Keaton Ellerby. Offers have been sent to all of the RFAs here except for Ellerby. He didn't cost a lot to acquire and he didn't find a role in LA so it's not much of a surprise. However it won't be cheap or easy to re-sign this whole group and keep LA under the cap.
Potential Targets: The Kings need help on the wing that Penner is vacating. If he is indeed gone then the big target will be Jarome Iginla. Given his history with Darryl Sutter, it's a natural connection, not to mention they're still a contender, something he'd look for at this point in his career. Lombardi still seems like he wants Scuderi back but it's probably asking too much. They should have enough D to move on regardless.
The Minnesota Wild stole the show in free agency last season by adding Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The result was perhaps the most expensive No. 8 seed in NHL history. It's because of that spending spree a year ago, combined with big contracts for players like Danny Heatley, Jason Pominville and Mikko Koivu, that they're not going to be in the market for anybody this season. There's simply no cap space for them to add a significant piece to this team, barring a trade or a buyout.
Restricted Free Agents: Jared Spurgeon.
Potential Targets: They're just not going to be any sort of a player in free agency given how little cap space they have to work with.
|• Out: Michael Ryder, Colby Armstron, Jeff Halpern, Tomas Kaberle, Yannick Weber
• Needs: Top-six forward
The Canadiens were in a tough spot when GM Marc Bergevin took over last year. The team not only was a mess but their salary cap situation was just as rough. With a few moves and the use of their two buyouts -- one on Kaberle -- they are in a much better position moving forward and do have enough space to try to make a play in free agency.
Restricted Free Agents: Ryan White, Yannick Weber. There were questions whether either player will get a qualifying offer to remain with the Habs. White is a guy who plays on that edge and over it sometimes but the Habs, who lack a bit of size/grit, could keep him around. Weber, however, was not tendered a qualifying offer, making him a free agent.
Potential Targets: For them it was likely going to be all about Vincent Lecavalier but he headed to Philly. They do have a little bit of cap space but Marc Bergevin showed last year that he doesn't want to become a huge free-agency player and if they can't get in on Lecavalier they might just go a little more low key and look for some of those guys labeled "role players." If they do go for somebody, big forwards like Ryane Clowe, Dustin Penner or even Jaromir Jagr could be targets. Oh, and Danny Briere's name has come up, too.
The Predators added to their impressive organizational depth on defense at the draft by walking away with the No. 4 overall pick with Seth Jones, and that's great for their blue line. They're probably going to need to make sure they shut out every team they play because they're may only score one or two goals per game.
Restricted Free Agents: Nick Spaling.
Potential Targets: They need to score and they have cap space, but will they be willing to dive into the free agent pool and go after somebody like a Danny Briere or David Clarkson? Michael Ryder seems like the type of forward that might do well on this team and they could certainly use somebody with a shot like his. Damian Brunner doesn't have a big track record in the NHL but he shouldn't break the bank and has the type of skill Nashville needs up front. Matt Cullen also seems like the type of forward that would fit in with what Nashville does.
|New Jersey Devils|
|• Out: David Clarkson, Marek Zidlicky, Alexei Ponikarovsky
• Needs: Top-six winger
The Devils already addressed what was perhaps their biggest need heading into the offseason when they acquired Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks for the No. 9 overall pick in the draft. Goaltending sabotaged the Devils' season far more than some realize last season and if Schneider is allowed the opportunity to take over for Martin Brodeur sooner rather than later, it might get New Jersey back into playoff contention. That said, they're losing another key player with David Clarkson hitting the open market.
Restricted Free Agents: Jacob Jofeson, Adam Henrique. Henrique is the big name here even if he is coming off a bit of a down-year for the Devils (11 goals, 5 assists) after his huge rookie campaign in 2011-12.
Potential Targets: Cap space isn't an issue, but the Devils aren't a team that's going to spend to the cap and if they couldn't come to terms with Clarkson, their own player, it's hard to see them being a player for Nathan Horton or Valtteri Filppula. Perhaps they could find a way to get a player like Jarome Iginla or Michael Ryder to help fill some of that goal-scoring void.
|New York Islanders|
|• Out: Evgeni Nabokov, Brad Boyes, Marty Reasoner, Keith Aucoin
• Needs: Goaltending
The Islanders put themselves back on the NHL map last season by snapping their playoff drought and giving the No. 1 seed Penguins everything they could handle. They're young, fast and can score. The only thing holding them back right now: Goaltending. With better goaltending they probably could have knocked off the Penguins in the first round and maybe put together a little bit of a run in the playoffs.
Restricted Free Agents: Cal Clutterbuck, Josh Bailey, Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey.
Potential Targets: Their biggest need is perhaps the thinnest position in this year's free agent class, which is really saying something given how weak the group is. Ray Emery might be a veteran option, but perhaps the most intriguing name on the free agent list is former Boston Bruins backup Anton Khudobin. He's still somewhat young, played well for the Bruins, and shouldn't break the bank financially.
|New York Rangers|
|• Out: Roman Hamrlik, Michael Sauer, Steve Eminger, Matt Gilroy, Ryane Clowe
• Needs: Offense
Rick Nash was supposed to be the missing piece for the Rangers and their offense last season and while he did produce for them, the Rangers ended up being one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Perhaps a new approach and a new direction with Alain Vigneault replacing John Tortorella behind the bench will help.
Restricted Free Agents: Derek Stepan, Carl Hagelin, Ryan McDonagh, Justin Falk. There's a few key players on that list, including Stepan, Hagelin, and McDonagh. Falk was just acquired on draft weekend.
Potential Targets: There's no Zach Parise or Alexander Semin for teams to pursue in this free agent market, which means a team like the Rangers that needs some scoring will either have to look for a trade, or get into a bidding war for Nathan Horton or David Clarkson. Since it's the Rangers, either option is a possibility. Horton or Clarkson could certainly help but given the overall depth of this free agent class they're probably going to get overpaid which is something the Rangers have tried in the past in free agency. It's a habit they should probably try to break.
|• Out: Daniel Alfredsson*, Sergei Gonchar, Guillaume Latendresse, Peter Regin, Mike Lundin
• Needs: Defenseman, Top-six forward, Alfredsson
The Senators are always a tough team to read because you can never be sure what kind of budget they are operating on. However they have had success in the last two years under coach Paul MacLean and keeping with a pretty steady approach of building from within. They do have the money to do some things if they choose.
Restricted Free Agents: Erik Condra, Patrick Wiercioch. You can expect both of these youngsters will be returning without much issue. Wiercioch was a particularly nice find last season as the Senators' blue line depth was challenged. He could take a much more prominent role without Gonchar.
Potential Targets: First and foremost is Alfredsson. He's technically a loss because he is going to be a free agent, but he's already said he's coming back and there's a very slim chance he'll be anywhere but Ottawa. They could look to solidfy the defense by filling Gonchar's spot; a guy like Andrew Ference could be a target. They could also be one of the teams to look at a few of the big-name forwards/centers such as Mike Ribeiro.
|• Out: Ilya Bryzgalov, Danny Briere,
• Needs: Goaltending, goaltending, and more goaltending.
Free agency hasn't even officially started yet and the Flyers have already made the biggest score by agreeing to terms with the recently bought out Vincent Lecavalier. The Flyers, as they always are, have been the busiest team in the league this offseason by buying out Bryzgalov and Briere and already snagging Lecavalier. They have limited cap space, already used both compliance buyouts, and are looking down the barrel at Steve Mason starting 50 games in net.
Potential Targets: Right now Steve Mason is the only goalie on the NHL roster. Steve Mason has also been one of the worst goalies in the NHL -- if not the worst -- over the past four years. This is not good enough. The Flyers have been connected with just about every goalie that's available, including Ray Emery, Evgeni Nabokov, and Tim Thomas, who seems ready to make a return to the NHL at age 39.
|• Out: Boyd Gordon, Kyle Chipcura, Jason Labarbera
• Needs: Forwards, Lots of forwards, Backup goaltender
This is where GM Don Maloney makes his money. He has a task ahead of him with just seven forwards under contract for next season right now. There are a few more he needs to re-sign but unless he does it all from within house, he'll need a little help in the free-agent market. Hopefully for his sake, a more stable future now will help.
Restricted Free Agents: Lauri Korpikoski, Mikkel Boedker. Each player has been sent a qualifying offer and should both be on their way back, the Coyotes certainly need both of them. That saves a few bodies from outside they have to bring in.
Potential Targets: It's really hard to pinpoint targets for Maloney, he always seems to do a good job of finding guys who are under the radar and getting production from them. Maybe they would go for somebody like Matt Cullen, a veteran who they could get for pretty cheap and try to get a little more life out of. As for goalie, if they go out of the organization perhaps a guy like Al Montoya might make a nice backup to Mike Smith. There are plenty of options.
|• Out: Tyler Kennedy, Brenden Morrow, Jarome Iginla, Douglas Murray, Matt Cooke
• Needs: Bottom-6 forwards, defense depth
The Penguins are keeping their core together and managed to re-sign Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz, and Pascal Dupuis to long term contract extensions. The core is in place, but now they need some depth to fill out the roster, particularly on their third and fourth lines and their third defense pairing.
Restricted Free Agents: Dustin Jeffrey, Robert Bortuzzo. Jeffrey might be able to fill some of the depth on their third or fourth line. He's produced at times when given a chance, and given their cap situation it might be time to get him a consistent look in the lineup.
Potential Targets: Cap space is going to be an issue, but Viktor Stalberg might be an intriguing target for third-line duty and they're going to need somebody to play on their third defense pairing next to Matt Niskanen. What about a guy like Adrian Aucoin?
|San Jose Sharks|
|• Out: Scott Gomez, Tim Kennedy, Scott Hannan
• Needs: Bottom-six depth
San Jose has become one of those teams that is there every year but they don't typically do a lot through free agency. There was a need for them to upgrade the bottom-six a bit and through a series of trades that essentially just swapped T.J. Galiardi for Tyler Kennedy.
Restricted Free Agents: Kennedy. He's the only one on the NHL roster and he was extended a qualifying offer by the Penguins before the trade to San Jose. Obviously by the simple fact they acquired him, a deal will get done.
Potential Targets: It's quite possible the Sharks will let free agency pass without making a single move on a player that will figure into their roster for next season. To address the bottom-six need they did the Galiardi-Kennedy swap and they will likely insert rookie Tomas Hertl. This year, there's not a lot the market does for them.
|St. Louis Blues|
|• Out: Jamie Langenbrunner
• Needs: Depth on defense, goalie
Thanks to their front office, which has been one of the better ones in the NHL in recent years, the Blues have their core players signed long-term and still have some cap space to work with if they want to make a splash in free agency. They have a couple of restricted free agents that need to be taken care of this summer but they have more than $15 million in cap space at their disposal as of Wednesday.
Restricted Free Agents: Chris Stewart, Alex Pietrangelo, Kris Russell. That's a couple of key players right there, especially Pietrangelo who is not only their best defenseman, but one of the best ones in the entire league. Stewart is coming off a huge year goal-scoring wise, but is he going to be able to repeat it?
Potential Targets: They don't have a ton of needs so they may not be major players in free agency, especially since they still have a couple of their own restricted free agents to take care of.
|Tampa Bay Lightning|
|• Out: Vinny Lecavalier, Benoit Pouliot
• Needs: Top-six center, Scoring forward, Depth forward, Defenseman
The Lightning are coming off another disappointing campaign. A change in goalies didn't make too much of a difference, though they were slightly better in that department. They have more work to do but not a lot of room to work with.
Restricted Free Agents: Benoit Pouliot. He's the only one on the NHL roster and, as you can see from his name on the departure list above, he won't be coming back. The team did not tender him an offer, making him a free agent.
Potential Targets: Given their status right now against the salary cap being relatively tight, they won't be huge spenders and trying to address the situation at defense, which always seems to be an issue, will have to wait. They need to fill the hole left by Vinny Lecavalier, which will not be easy at all. Could they go after somebody such as Valtteri Filppula given GM Steve Yzerman's ties to Detroit? Or the Lightning could just decide to keep the salary down a bit and stay in-house, they have plenty of talent in the AHL.
|Toronto Maple Leafs|
|• Out: Leo Komarov, Clarke MacArthur, Tyler Bozak, Ryan O'Byrne, Mike Kostka
• Needs: Defenseman, Top-six Winger
The Toronto Maple Leafs are headed into the summer as a playoff team for the first time in nearly a decade. They have a lot of work to do to their roster, but most all of it is in-house in the form of re-signing RFAs. The Leafs finally took a step in the right direction and don't seem interested in shaking things up too much.
Restricted Free Agents: Nazem Kadri, Joe Colborne, Frazer McLaren, Carl Gunnarsson, Cody Franson, Mark Fraser, Jonathan Bernier. Is that all? Of the group the top priorities should be Kadri, who had a heck of a first full season with the Leafs, and Bernier. Bernier's rights were acquired in a trade with LA so clearly re-signing him is on the agenda. Komarov was also an RFA but he has already headed off to the KHL.
Potential Targets: The Leafs were going to be in the market for a centerman with Bozak's imminent departure, but then GM Dave Nonis took care of that with a draft-day trade, acquiring Dave Bolland. They have $16 million in cap space right now but that's with all the above RFAs to sign. There should be enough room for them to be able to take a run at David Clarkson, a physical guy who has shown an ability to score in the last couple of seasons. In other words, Randy Carlyle would like him.
|• Out: Cory Schneider, Derek Roy, Manny Malhotra, Mason Raymond, Maxim Lapierre, Andrew Alberts, Cam Barker, Kevin Ballard
• Needs: Bottom-six forwards, Bottom-six center, Defenseman, Backup goaltender
It's a summer of change for the Canucks. They already surprised by trading away Schneider instead of Roberto Luongo, but they have a lot of work to do with only 16 players signed for next season and not a lot of room to work with -- just $7.5 million.
Potential Targets: GM Mike Gillis said they want to get bigger and tougher and they brought in John Tortorella. So you have a good idea of the mold of forward they'd look for. Although he doesn't quite fit that mold, I think Boyd Gordon would be nice, somewhat similar to what Malhotra used to give them. As for defense, look for a cheap option such as a Tyson Strachan or perhaps a veteran like Scott Hannan or Toni Lydman. They probably won't seek any more help in goal and just go with Luongo and Eddie Lack.
|• Out: Mike Ribeiro, Matt Hendricks, Tom Poti
• Needs: Second-line center
Washington overcame a dreadful start to the lockout shortened season and went on to win yet another Southeast Division title under first-year coach Adam Oates. They still have Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom to lead things offensively, but with the loss of Mike Ribeiro they're once again looking for somebody to fill that hole on the second line.
Restricted Free Agents: Karl Alzner, Marcus Johansson. Alzner is one of the Capitals' top defensemen and is probably looking at a contract extension similar to the one his teammate John Carlson received (five years, somewhere around $4 million per year). He plays tough minutes and doesn't seem to be overmatched by them at a young age.
Potential Targets: Pretty much anybody that's a top-six center: Valtteri Filppula, Danny Briere, Stephen Weiss, or Derek Roy come to mind. Admittedly, some of those options (Filppula, Briere) are much better than others (Weiss).
The Jets have a couple of guys who they can build around with Evander Kane, Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom, but that's not anywhere near enough. Depth at every position is a major need and the goaltending situation remains a mess as they're married to Ondrej Pavelec on a terrible contract.
Potential Targets: The Jets need everything, but their biggest glaring weakness might be in net. Unfortunately they've already committed to Pavelec and there appears to be no going back on that. They still need a backup goalie, preferably one that might be able to push Pavelec and challenge him for playing time.
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