Fans in Zurich, Lisbon and Athens – among other cities – aren’t too pleased today after some of their biggest star free agents decided to try the open market.
Elite defensemen like Shea Weber, Brent Seabrook, Dustin Byfuglien and Keith Yandle are among the prizes available in the free agent frenzy that will start Sunday afternoon. GMs will then have two days to make offers to the players.
Weber can anticipate the largest paycheck and maybe even a raise over his $7.5 million salary in Season 5. The hard-shooting and hard-hitting defenseman has it all: He has only missed 6 games in five seasons with Oslo, London, Copenhagen and Lisbon and he scored 21 goals and 72 points in Portugal last season. He has always been a plus player and is always near the top of the league list in hits.
Pekka Rinne, who was the top goalie in St. Petersburg for three seasons and the top guy in Gothenberg the last two years, is looking for a new boss, as is Athens goalie Cam Ward.
Forwards on the market who can be difference-makers include Zach Parise, who has already suited up for Prague, Gothenburg and Lisbon in his career; Rick Nash, who played in Belfast during their lean years and spent the last two seasons in Edinburgh; and big centremen Jason Spezza and Jeff Carter. Both men could be on their third EURO teams next week.
Zurich stands to lose three top players this weekend, including two goalies. Roberto Luongo, Devan Dubnyk and Patrick Sharp are all unrestricted free agents. Lisbon has lost a handle on Weber, Parise, Alex Steen and backup goalie Jan Laco. Athens is in a little trouble defensively with both Byfuglien and Ward opting for free agency and Berlin was dinged up when Matthew Carle and Tony Martensson did the same.
Here’s the all-free-agent team this year. If you had enough cash, you could add these six to your lineup this weekend. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Goalie: Pekka Rinne (Gothenburg)
Defense: Shea Weber (Lisbon) and Brent Seabrook (Bern)
Forward: Zach Parise (Lisbon), Jason Spezza (Prague) and
Rick Nash (Edinburgh)