Free Agent Frenzy or Fizzle?

There are 229 players out there waiting to find out how much money EURO teams might offer them to play this season. Some of them (sorry, Krystofer Barch) won’t get offers. But others may be viewed as key pieces to team puzzles.

All of them may be affected by a collective caution that is wafting around the league this off season. Each GM has received his first-ever budget demands from his owner and that has some as worried about the bottom line as they are about the top rung.

There are reasons to believe player agents’ phones won’t be ringing off the hook this month. Only 5 of the 229 free agents have Type 3 contracts and OV ratings of 80 or above. With new financial goals, many GMs will opt for calling up a farm hand for the fourth line as opposed to adding a veteran salary to the payroll.

But expect competition if you intend on offering a contract to some of these Type 3 free agent gems: Shane Doan, Ray Whitney, Martin Brodeur, and Tomas Vokoun.

Most intriguing might be Nicklas Lidstrom, who like fellow free agent Teemu Selanne is 42 and has a EURO Cup under his belt. Lidstrom might have retired from the NHL but he still wants to play in Europe and he definitely can still hang with the young guys. In fact, of the available Type 3 free agent defensemen, he is by far the most valuable.  Is he worth the $6.2 million he earned last season? Maybe not. Will he get offered that much? Maybe so.

For sure, the crop of Type 2 free agents is more appetizing than the older crop of Type 3 talent. But if you want a Shea Weber,  Zach Parise or Carey Price, you would first have to bid the most and then – if their original teams don’t match the offer – you would have to give up many top draft picks and a Chunnel-full of cash as compensation. That is, if you haven’t already traded away those draft picks.

Here is a list of the available Type 3 free agents over 70 OV at each position. Their current teams have first crack at them, so the list might be shorter when it comes time for the open market.

Goalie: Martin Brodeur (85 OV), Tomas Vokoun (83), Martin Biron (77), Niklas Backstrom (77),  Evgeni Nabokov (75), Johan Hedberg (74), Nikolai Khabibulin (72), Ray Emery (72) and Scott Clemmensen (71)

Defense:  Nicklas Lidstrom (81), Joe Corvo (75), Brad Stuart (75), Filip Kuba (74), Willie Mitchell (73), Karel Rachunek (72) and Barrett Jackman (72).

Left wing: Ray Whitney (80), Ryan Smyth (75), Steve Sullivan (73) and Alexei Ponikarovsky (71).

Center: Olli Jokinen (77), Chris Kelly (76), Jarret Stoll (75), Rich Peverley (75), Saku Koivu (73), Josh Holden (72), Jason Arnott (72), Jim Slater (71), Paul Gaustad (71) and Samuel Pahlsson (71).

Right wing: Shane Doan (81), Teemu Selanne (78), Milan Hejduk (76), Jaromir Jagr (75), Petr Sykora (73), Radek Dvorak (72) and Mikael Samuelsson (72).

The teams with the most Type 3 agents who were on their rosters for Season 1 are Schloder Division foes Geneva, Zurich and Munich, each with 7.

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