Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Northwest Division 2008 Free Agency Preview

It's time for the next installment in my analysis leading up to the 2008 free agency period. Today I'll be looking at they ultra competitive Northwest Division. As always, player's 2007-08 salaries are in parenthesis.

Calgary Flames
Pending UFA's:
  • Craig Conroy ($2,850,000)
  • Daymond Langkow ($2,442,000)
  • Owen Nolan ($1,750,000)
  • Curtis Joseph ($1,500,000)
  • Kristian Huselius ($1,400,000)
  • Stephane Yelle ($1,250,000)
  • Jim Vandermeer ($1,225,000)
  • Eric Nystrom ($693,000)
  • David Hale ($590,000)
  • Mark Smith ($487,000)
  • Eric Godard ($475,000)
Pending RFA's:
  • none
Cap $$$ Committed: $44.8 million
Notes: This offseason could have long term effects on the Calgary Flames. While it's nice for them to not have any noteworthy RFA's, having your top three centers all be UFA's could be something of a problem. My guess is that Langkow and Yelle will be back, but I think Conroy will move on to greener pastures. Beyond that, we all know that Huselius is gone. That was pretty much guaranteed the second Mike Keenan was hired. Most of the others, with the possible exception of Curtis Joseph, will probably be back for the Flames next season, but they could end up a lot closer to the cap limit than I'm sure they would like to be.

Colorado Avalanche
Pending UFA's:
  • Joe Sakic ($6,750,000)
  • Jose Theodore ($6,000,000)
  • Peter Forsberg ($5,000,000)
  • Adam Foote ($4,600,000)
  • Andrew Brunette ($1,600,000)
  • John-Michael Liles ($1,400,000)
  • Kurt Sauer ($719,000)
  • Jaroslav Hlinka ($600,000)
  • Jeff Finger ($475,000)
  • Scott Parker ($475,000)
Pending RFA's:
  • Marek Svatos ($1,200,000)
  • Wotjek Wolski ($860,000)
  • Cody McLeod ($490,000)
  • Cody McCormick ($475,000)
Cap $$$ Committed: $28.6 million
Notes: Colorado has quite a few big name free agents, but they also have the cap flexibility to deal with them as they wish. Sakic should be back if for no other reason than I wouldn't be able to handle seeing Joe with another franchise, and Foote will most likely return making significantly less than before. Forsberg is most likely done for, but you can never say never with Foppa. Svatos and Wolski will both command hefty raises, but they will be back. The biggest question mark here is what to do with Jose Theodore? If I am the Avs front office I probably make a run at someone like Dan Ellis before bringing Theodore back. Yes, Jose had a great comeback season, but the larger body of work is nothing to write home about and he more or less singlehandedly did the team in against Detroit in the second round of the playoffs. The Avalanche would be smart to explore other options in net.

Edmonton Oilers
Pending UFA's:
  • Geoff Sanderson ($1,500,000)
  • Marty Reasoner ($950,000)
  • Curtis Glencross ($522,000)
Pending RFA's:
  • Joni Pitkanen ($2,400,000)
  • Jarret Stoll ($2,200,000)
  • Zack Stortini ($475,000)
Cap $$$ Committed: $41 million
Notes: Bashing Kevin Lowe has become old hat by now, but when you look at the current salary structure in Edmonton you really get a feel for how screwed up things are in Edmonton. They have a decent amount of cap space to bring back whoever they want to this season, but they have a couple of contracts (Souray and Penner) that may really handcuff the Oilers in the near future. Kevin Lowe's foolish moves may end up costing the Oilers a lot more than draft picks in the coming seasons.

Minnesota Wild
Pending UFA's:
  • Pavol Demitra ($4,500,000)
  • Brian Rolston ($2,432,000)
  • Keith Carney ($2,100,000)
  • Petteri Nummelin ($1,200,000)
  • Todd Fedoruk ($875,000)
  • Matt Foy ($506,000)
  • Steve Kelly ($500,000)
  • Sean Hill ($475,000)
Pending RFA's:
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard ($2,600,000)
  • Kurtis Foster ($1,025,000)
  • Stephane Veilleux ($595,000)
  • Aaron Voros ($495,000)
Cap $$$ Committed: $32.5 million
Notes: The three names that immediately jump out at you off of these lists are Demitra, Rolston, and Bouchard. I think Bouchard and Rolston will both be back, but I have a gut feeling that Demitra ends up in another uniform for next season. It will be interesting to see what Marian Gaborik has to say if that happens. Petteri Nummelin could also find some takers on the open market, especially considering his history of success in shootouts.

Vancouver Canucks
Pending UFA's:
  • Markus Naslund ($6,000,000)
  • Brendan Morrison ($3,200,000)
  • Aaron Miller ($1,500,000)
  • Byron Ritchie ($675,000)
  • Curtis Sanford ($600,000)
  • Mike Weaver ($600,000)
  • Brad Isbister ($525,000)
Pending RFA's:
  • Ryan Shannon ($550,000)
  • Nathan McIver ($495,000)
  • Rick Rypien ($475,000)
Cap $$$ Committed: $35.2 million
Notes: This is a crucial offseason for the Canucks and their fans. Not only are they dealing with the disappointment of last season, the retirement of "Mr. Canuck" Trevor Linden, and the tragic loss of Luc Bourdon, but they also have a new GM who is charged with trying to get this franchise turned around. You get the feeling that the Canucks need to bring in a big name signing just to energize the locker room and the fan base. Could this be the year those Joe Sakic to Vancouver rumors finally come true? They should at least benefit from being able to bring Markus Naslund back at a discounted rate.

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