Complete NHL Free Agent Signing List – 05/07/13 to 05/08/13 (UPDATED: INCLUDES BOUWMEESTER, CLIFFORD ETC.)

Image courtesy of espn.go.com.

***UPDATED AS OF 05/08/13 – NEW ADDITIONS INCLUDE BOUWMEESTER & CLIFFORD***

The list continues to expand!  This free agent signing tracker is a complete, comprehensive list of (hopefully!) every player signed to an NHL deal since July 5th, coupled with mini-scouting reports gathered from TSN.ca, NHL.com, Robert Vollman’s Player Usage Charts, CapGeek, Hockey’s Future, and various other sites.

Enjoy, and let me know if I’ve missed any signings or contract terms!

ANAHEIM DUCKS

  • Dustin Penner returns to the Ducks. Image courtesy of bleacherreport.com.

    SAKU KOIVU – 1 year @ $2.5m.  Legendary centerman re-signs for another tour of duty with the Ducks.  Despite being 38, still putting up good numbers and playing well defensively.

  • MATT BELESKEY – 2 years @ $1.35m.  25 year old left winger has 209 NHL games to his name with 56 career points.  A fairly decent, physical 4th liner, won’t be any better than he is now but is a decent player for what he provides.
  • NOLAN YONKMAN – 1 year @ $600k.  Huge 32 year old defender is a veteran of 601 AHL games and 74 at the NHL level.  Tonnes of experience, though even at the AHL level is a middle-of-the-pack player.  Should provide some leadership and experience guiding Ducks’ defense prospects in the minors.
  • ALEX GRANT – 1 year @ $550k.  24 year old defender finally establishing himself as a legitimately decent AHL defender.  Not a ringing endorsement, but he could actually find himself among the first of Anaheim’s call-up options if he continues his form or putting up decent point totals from the blueline.
  • MAT CLARK – 1 year @ $550k.  22 year old defender has struggled to make an impact at the AHL level in three full seasons, but still might have a faint chance at a bottom pairing role in the future.
  • ZACK STORTINI – 1 year @ $600k.  Veteran enforcer has not played in the NHL since 2011, being exclusively in the AHL since then.  Is actually not a bad hockey player, being fairly solid defensively and not totally inept offensively, but no-one will be confusing him with a Shawn Thornton any time soon.  Could find himself back in the NHL if all breaks right for him.
  • DUSTIN PENNER – 1 year @ $2m.  The big guy returns to where he started his career.  Smart signing, Penner is long overdue for an offensive rebound, and is a quality two-way option.  Has a big opportunity what with the trading of Bobby Ryan, and being reunited with his old line-mates.
  • KYLE PALMIERI – 3 years @ $1.47m.  22 year old skilled winger was impressive in his first “full” NHL season (albeit lockout-shortened) with 21 points in 42 games, along with 5 in 7 playoff games.  With the departure of Bobby Ryan, will be looking to battle with returnee Dustin Penner for top-line minutes, and could very well win the day.  A bargain contract, and for 3 years?  Wonderful negotiating by the Ducks!

BOSTON BRUINS

  • Jarome Iginla finally becomes a Bruin. Image courtesy of csnne.com.

    CHAD JOHNSON – 1 year @ $600k.  27 year old minor league goalie with small amount of NHL experience.  Still young enough for a goalie that he might turn into something more, but unlikely.

  • JAROME IGINLA – 1 year @ $6m.  The Bruins finally get their guy.  Veteran star forward was ok but not great with Pittsburgh, but is still a very good offensive player at 36.
  • TUUKKA RASK – 8 years @ $7m.  26 year old goalie has been brilliant since his first full NHL season in 2009/10, but this was his first time playing the undisputed starter, and all he did was post a .929 SV% and 2.00 GAA and improving to .940 and 1.88 in the playoffs to guide the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals.  One of the top goalies in the league, though he does have the benefit of playing behind a strong defensive system, but an indisputable star all the same.  $7m does feel a bit much – it does for any goalie, given how much their performance can differ year-to-year – but all the same it’s nice that they’ve locked him in.  And Toronto traded him for Andrew Raycroft…
  • PATRICE BERGERON – 8 years @ $6.5m.  Probably the top two-way player in the game, Bergeron is a tenacious, skilled and defensively dominant forward with speed and smarts.  Every single team in the league wants a Patrice Bergeron, and the Bruins have theirs locked in for a further 8 seasons.
  • JORDAN CARON – 1 year @ $640k.  22 year old former first rounder had an underwhelming season, logging 11 goals and 18 points in 47 AHL games, though he did get in to 17 NHL games tallying 3 points.  In 3 pro seasons has yet to “wow” anyone with his performance, though Boston’s Player Usage Chart suggests he played tough minutes in nearly broke even in shot differentials.  Unlikely to be a scorer at the NHL level, but so far looks like he could be a pretty useful defensive player with some skill and a good physical game.

BUFFALO SABRES

  • Rasmus Ristolainen may make the NHL this year. Image courtesy of hockeysfuture.com.

    DREW BAGNALL – 2 years @ $550k.  Tough 29 year old defender, primarily in AHL – only 2 NHL games to date.  Minor league signing.

  • ALEXANDER SULZER – 1 year @ $725k.  29 year old D-man, spent the last several years as a No.7 guy including with Buffalo, can move the puck a bit and not be too much of a defensive liability.
  • RASMUS RISTOLAINEN – 3 years @ $1.775m.  One of the top defensive talents in the 2013 draft, Ristolainen is a big, two-way defender who may be almost NHL ready.  Doesn’t perhaps have the elite upside that someone like Seth Jones may have, but certainly projects to be a good top 4 option, at least in a few years after he learns the NHL game.
  • LUKE ADAM – 1 year @ $735k.  Former AHL rookie of the year in 2010/11 has not done a lot since, notching just 50 points in 94 games in the last two seasons combined – an unimpressive total for a big scoring center at 23 years old.  After a promising rookie season in the NHL in 11/12, only saw 4 NHL games this season.  Will need a big year to stand a chance at another contract, but it looks like that 10/11 season may have been something of a fluke.
  • MATT HACKETT – 1 year @ $715k.  23 year old goalie has 3 pro seasons under his belt, with 13 NHL games in that time and has looked overall fairly decent, if unspectacular.  With a good AHL season, and with Ryan Miller’s future in Buffalo uncertain, could find himself backing up Enroth in Buffalo at some point.
  • NICK CRAWFORD – 1 year @ $550k.  23 year old defender has good size and two-way ability.  Is a good skater and plays a simple game; likely isn’t ready for much NHL action yet, but with another good pro year could earn some time.
  • BRIAN FLYNN – 2 years @ $637.5k.  24 year old former NCAA star forward, Flynn enjoyed a quality rookie pro year, scoring 32 points in 45 AHL games and 11 points in 26 NHL games in 2012/13.  A hardworking guy who can likely provide some scoring from the bottom 6, has a good chance at making the NHL full time.

CALGARY FLAMES

  • Corban Knight becomes a Flame. Image courtesy of calgarysun.com.

    GREG NEMISZ – 1 year $725k.  Former first rounder hanging by a thread in Flames organisation.  Once touted as a part of the future Calgary forward group, has struggled in the AHL let alone in 15 NHL games.  Will need a big season in Abbotsford or likely to be let go next year.

  • MIKAEL BACKLUND – 2 years @ $3m.  One of the more underrated centers in the league, 24 year old Backlund has not developed yet into the offensive player that was originally hoped, but instead has grown into a fine tough-minutes player who can dominate top competition in terms of shot differential.  Performed at his best points-per-game rate (0.5) so far in his career in 2012/13, so perhaps the offense is starting to come.  A nice contract for a quality forward.
  • CORBAN KNIGHT – 2 years @ $3.75m.  Highly sought after following a quality NCAA career, the Flames traded for his rights from Florida.  Good offensive skills combined with size, quality face-off ability and top notch defensive acumen make for a quality prospect in a system devoid of this kind of talent.
  • CHAD BILLINS – 1 year @ $925k.  Small defender who had a decent NCAA career followed by a strong first year in the AHL with Grand Rapids.  At 24, doesn’t have a huge window of opportunity, but if he continues his current trajectory he could find himself on the Flames’ depleted roster sooner rather than later.
  • CHRIS BREEN – 1 year @ 577.5k.  6’7″ defender has had 3 full AHL seasons and hasn’t shown much at all offensively at that level, though that wasn’t his calling card in junior either.  Hockey’s Future describes the 24 year old as hardworking with decent skating and shutdown capability, but at the moment it doesn’t appear like he’s much of an NHL option – even shutdown defenders showed some semblance of offense in the minor leagues.
  • PAUL BYRON – 1 year @ $643.5k.  24 year old center is decent at the AHL level, and has got into 34 NHL games with 8 points to show.  Despite his size, has good speed and plays a decent two-way game.  Unlikely to make the NHL roster full-time, but a good depth option.
  • SEAN MONAHAN – 3 years @ $1.775m.  Star forward in the OHL was drafted 6th overall this year.  Has good size and a very well developed two-way game, and was a quality player on an awful team.  Will likely need a year or two more of development in junior to work on his skating and overall game, but this is a top notch prospect for a team clearly building down the middle.
  • PATRICK SIELOFF – 3 years @ $925k.  19 year old defender had atrocious offensive stats when they drafted him in 2012, and they didn’t get much better in his rookie OHL season.  Hockey’s Future however describes him as a tough, stay-at-home defender with a little bit of skill and lots of leadership.  Is a project in the purest sense of the word, and could likely find himself either with another year of junior ahead of him, or if he turns pro will probably be in the ECHL before he goes to the AHL.
  • LANCE BOUMA – 1 year @ $577.5k.  23 year old has seemingly been in the system forever.  Hasn’t really been a scorer at any level, but the center has managed to play in 43 NHL games over the last 3 years, tallying 4 points.  Plays an energetic, agitating style and has decent offensive capability.  Only played 3 AHL games this year due to a knee injury.
  • MARK CUNDARI – 1 year @ $600k.  23 year old defender has developed into a pretty good two-way defender at the AHL level, and enjoyed a good NHL debut this year with 3 points in 4 games.  Will likely start in the AHL, but could easily find himself playing a decent number of NHL games if all goes well.
  • JOSH JOORIS – 2 years @ $925k.
  • T.J. BRODIE – 2 years @ $2.125m.

CAROLINA HURRICANES

  • Elias Lindholm could be a big part of the Canes’ future. Image courtesy of zimbio.com.

    ANTON KHUDOBIN – 1 year @ $800k.  Inexperienced backup goalie has superb numbers over 21 career NHL games behind good Bruins team.  How will he fare with a worse team and likely more games?

  • MIKE KOMISAREK – 1 year @ $700k.  Veteran d-man had awful time with Toronto, but is likely still a capable depth defender.  Bargain contract, 1 year, no risk.
  • RILEY NASH – 2 years @ $550k.  24 year old forward has had a fairly winding road; former 1st round pick of EDM, refused to sign with them & subsequently traded to the Canes.  Mediocre at AHL level, at least offensively, but played 32 NHL games last year posting 9 points in a depth role.  Wasn’t a liability defensively either.  May turn out as a decent bottom 6 player, but still on a 2-way contract.
  • MATT CORRENTE – 1 year @ $550k.  25 year old defender a former 1st round pick, but has not yet seen more than 34 NHL games.  Is a solid two-way guy in the minors, but a depth option at the NHL level.
  • AARON PALUSHAJ – 1 year @ $600k.  23 year old right winger is a quality AHLer, and showed pretty well with Colorado in 2013, but has yet to stick in the big leagues.  HF describes him as having a decent all-round game, but is simply looking for an opportunity to stick.
  • JARED STAAL – 1 year @ $550k.  The 22 year old right winger is the youngest of the NHL’s Staal brothers, and the least successful to-date.  Big and tough, but not nearly as skilled as his siblings, he showed some offensive ability in junior but as of yet that has not translated at all to the minor leagues.  In tough to be anything more than an occasional call-up.
  • ELIAS LINDHOLM – 3 years @ $1.775m.  The 5th overall pick in this year’s draft, Lindholm had a tremendous season in Sweden’s top league, a league which doesn’t tend to give much ice time to youngsters.  Also has a good two-way game.  Will spend the upcoming season in Sweden, and should challenge for a roster spot next year.  Very exciting young player.
  • MIKE MURPHY – 1 year @ $550k.  24 year old goalie with 4 professional seasons under his belt including 2 NHL games, Murphy hasn’t yet displayed good enough play in the minor leagues to be considered a legitimate NHL backup, and hasn’t even had an AHL season as a starter yet.  Plenty of time to develop (goalies develop by sundial) but doesn’t look to have the greatest potential at this time.
  • ZAC DALPE – 1 year @ $550k.  23 year old center is a good AHL forward, putting up solid point totals, although perhaps isn’t the offensive powerhouse some hoped for.  Possesses a great shot and isn’t a liability defensively, and could find himself on the NHL roster this fall to provide some more offense for the Canes.
  • NATHAN GERBE – 1 year @ $550k.  26 year old left winger was bought out this summer by Buffalo, after 3 modestly successful NHL seasons.  This could end up a useful contract for the Hurricanes, who got him on a two-way contract at league minimum, as Gerbe has offensive skill (crashed this season but had 31 points in 2010/11 and 25 the following year, as well as quality AHL numbers) but doesn’t offer much defensive value.  A useful bottom 6 scorer is his most likely slot, provided the team is ok with having a 5’5″ player in that slot (I’m presuming they are since they signed him).

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

  • Nikolai Khabibulin returns to the Windy City. Image courtesy of totalprosports.com.

    MICHAL HANDZUS – 1 year @ $1m.  Veteran center had poor regular season but good playoffs, winning his first Cup with 11 points in 23 games.  OK depth center, but not what he used to be.

  • MICHAL ROZSIVAL – 2 years @ $???.  Veteran defender decent for Blackhawks during Cup run, nice depth piece for a young team.
  • NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN – 1 year @ $2m.  40 year old goalie returns for second tour of duty with the Hawks.  Had a tough time with injury and form in Edmonton, aside from the odd stretch, and it’s surprising he’s still in the league, but he might be OK behind a good team like Chicago in spot duty.
  • MARCUS KRUGER – 2 years @ $1.325m.  23 year old forward struggled offensively this year with just 13 points in 47 games following a decent rookie season in 11/12.  Plays an important role defensively however, with heavy PK minutes and the most extreme zone-start on the team (starts less than 40% of his face-offs in the offensive zone) whilst posting a strong shot differential number against middling competition.  Good player, great contract, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see his responsibility rise and his offensive numbers along with that.
  • KYLE BEACH – 1 year @ $550k.  Big power forward entered Chicago’s system with incredible hype back in 2008 after being the 11th overall pick that year, but has yet to have anything above a mediocre season in the AHL, and has not even played 1 NHL game yet.  With just 26 points in 66 games last year with Rockford, Beach keeps getting chances to prove himself, but at this point it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.
  • RYAN STANTON – 1 year @ $550k.  Two-way defender has had 3 solid seasons in the AHL, and even made it into 1 NHL game this year.  Hockey’s Future describes the 23 year old as a physical, smart but not overly skilled defender.  Has a good chance at a bottom pairing role should injuries arise for the Hawks this season.
  • MIKE KOSTKA – 1 year @ $550k.  27 year old defender is big and is a quality two-way player at the AHL level.  Enjoyed a quality NHL debut, tallying 8 points in 35 games with Toronto, but they opted not to keep him.  This, despite the fact that Kostka posted very good shot differential numbers against above average competition.  A very smart signing for Chicago, and he’s cheap too.
  • THEO PECKHAM – 1 year @ $575k.  Big 25 year old defender – his nickname in junior was “Wreck’um Peckham”, which should give you an idea as to his style.  Can really lay out hits, but also can actually play hockey.  Enjoyed a decent rookie NHL season, but has struggled with injury and inconsistency since.  Is a decent skater, can take and make a pass, and has decent defensive skills.  Biggest issue is reportedly his conditioning, a frequent bone of contention with his coaches since he turned pro.  If he gets his backside in gear, he could be a really good 6th/7th defender for the Blackhawks.
  • DREW LEBLANC – 2 years @ $575k.  24 year old forward had a strong NCAA career, and possesses good skill and two-way ability.  Hockey’s Future describes him as a strong skater, a brilliant passer and decision maker, and a leader.  We’ll have to see how he adjusts to the pro game, but this could be yet another quality signing for the Hawks.
  • BRAD WINCHESTER – 1 year @ $550k.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

  • Matt Duchene signs on for the long haul. Image courtesy of zimbio.com.

    NATE GUENIN – 1 year @ $600k.  Depth defender, more of an AHL player with capability to step in to NHL action on occasion.

  • ANDRE BENOIT – 1 year @ $900k.  First significant NHL action this year. 29 years old so likely not an NHL regular, but perhaps a decent 7th defender.
  • GUILLAUME DESBIENS – terms TBC.  Depth winger, OK AHL forward can chip in the odd game in the NHL.
  • JT WYMAN – 1 year @ $???.  Another depth winger much the same as Desbiens, with perhaps a little more scoring, but not much.
  • NICK HOLDEN – 2 years @ $???.  AHL defender, pure and simple.  Can likely be a call-up option occasionally, but definitely a minor-league signing.
  • NATHAN MacKINNON – 3 years @ $3.775m.  18 year old junior phenom went 1st overall to Colorado this year, and gives the team unbelievable talent down the middle.  Already likely one of the fastest skaters in the NHL, he’s highly skilled on offense, gritty and possesses a nice two-way game.  A simply outstanding addition.
  • COLIN SMITH – 3 years @ $628.3k.  Small but immensely talented, the 20 year old center enjoyed a brilliant final WHL season scoring 106 points in 72 games with Kamloops.  Also has decent two-way skills and excellent speed, along with a willingness to engage physically and a hard-working style (hat-tip to Mile High Hockey for the scouting report).
  • MATT DUCHENE – 5 years @ $6m.  Highly skilled center may end up taking a secondary role to that of shiny new draft selection Nathan MacKinnon, but for the time being Duchene is the team’s best and most proven offensive performer.  Took a big step forward this year after a poor 11/12 season, and also displays a strong two-way game, dominating tough competition 5v5 in shot differentials.
  • BRAD MALONE – 1 year @ $735k.  24 year old forward has had a couple of OK seasons for Lake Erie in the AHL, whilst also earning 22 NHL games and putting up 4 points, whilst also wracking up the PIMs.  Could earn a 4th line role down the line if he continues to develop.

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

  • Nathan Horton wants the quieter life. Image courtesy of stanleycupofchowder.com.

    NATHAN HORTON – 7 years @ $5.3m per.  28 year old RW very effective power forward type when healthy, brilliant in playoffs for Boston.  Good signing in terms of player, but dollar amount and term rather big.

  • PATRICK MCNEILL – 1 year @ $600k.  26 year old defender has spent almost entire pro career, beginning in 2007, with Hershey of the AHL, putting up good offensive numbers and decent plus/minus.  Could well see his first NHL action this year as a call-up for the bottom pairing and powerplay.
  • THOMAS LARKIN – 2 years @ $600k.  Huge 22 year old defender just finished up his NCAA career.  Has apparently struggled to use his size to his advantage, so the Blue Jackets will be looking to develop that side of his game, but he clearly has some ability on both sides of the puck.  The first ever Italian-trained player to be drafted by an NHL club.
  • DAVID SAVARD – 1 year @ $709.275k.  22 year old defender has enjoyed 3 pretty good seasons in the AHL whilst also getting in 35 NHL games with 10 points in that time.  Has size, speed and skill, as well as a hard shot, and could well find himself getting a full NHL season in this year.
  • SPENCER MACHACEK – 1 year @ $632.5k.  The 24 year old former Thrasher/Jet is a good AHL forward, putting up solid point totals ever since turning pro in 2008.  Has 9 points in 25 NHL games so far, so isn’t incapable at that level either.  Plays a responsible two-way game, and could very well still develop into a decent third liner in the NHL.
  • BLAKE PARLETT – 1 year @ $577.5k.  24 year old defender is a decent two-way player at the AHL level.  Acquired in the deal for Marian Gaborik, he likely won’t challenge for a roster spot yet, but with another good year could be considered for a call-up.
  • CODY GOLOUBEF – 1 year @ $826k.  23 year old defender was a decent if unspectacular defensive defender — with a little offensive upside — in the NCAA, but has been a pro for 3 seasons now with 12 NHL games to show for it.  Improved his two-way game in the AHL this year and was rewarded with an 11 game stretch in the NHL, scoring 1 goal.  Will likely be in the AHL again this year, but with the opportunity to grab more games if his development continues.

DALLAS STARS

  • Valeri Nichushkin could be an NHL star. Image courtesy of iihf.com.

    DAN ELLIS – 2 years @ $900k.  Backup goalie, has had up and down years.  OK in small stretches, but can’t be asked to shoulder too much of a load.

  • CHRIS MUELLER – 1 year @ $???.  27 year old forward with 37 NHL games so far, and 323 in the AHL with 189 points.  Small but gritty, could be an end-of-the-roster type player.
  • VALERI NICHUSHKIN – 3 years @ $2.125m.  One of the big question marks in this year’s draft, Nichushkin was expected to go from anywhere from 3rd to 23rd thanks to both his nationality and his unknown ceiling as a prospect.  Apparently looked like King Kong at the draft combine compared to other prospects, Nichushkin is a massive guy who skates brilliantly and possesses great offensive skills.  Plays a power forward type game.  Could be an NHL star, could be a dud, but it would be wise to bet on the former.
  • LANE MACDERMID – 1 year @ $660k.  23 year old left winger has never been a big-time offensive contributor at any level – and don’t let his 2 goals in 6 games for Dallas last year fool you otherwise.  An enforcer through and through, but is not a bad hockey player overall in that he can contribute some offensive production.

DETROIT RED WINGS

  • Daniel Alfredsson hopes to bring another Cup to Detroit. Image courtesy of senshot.com.

    STEPHEN WEISS – 5 years @ $4.9m.  Had a miserable year with injury and poor production, but has been top-end 2nd line center for years and will likely rebound particularly in Detroit’s puck possession system, something Weiss is very adept at.

  • DANIEL ALFREDSSON – 1 year @ $5.5m.  40 year old RW has had an outstanding career, and whilst Sens fans will hate to see him leave, Alfie has more than earned the right to go where he chooses.  Should do well.
  • BRENDAN SMITH – 2 years @ $1.2625m.  24 year old highly touted defender has spent years developing in college and in the AHL, and finally took a big step towards becoming a full-time NHLer in 2013.  Didn’t show a huge amount offensively, but he definitely has some sublime skills in that area as well as already being a decent defensive player in the NHL.  Could easily become a top 4 defender as early as this season, and maybe eventually a top pairing guy.
  • LUKE GLENDENING – 1 year @ $575k.  24 year old forward was an average NCAA player, and has been the same at the AHL level.  The Wings may see some two-way value in this player, as he has posted a decent +/- figure in his pro career so far, and he does have some offense, but nothing to get excited about yet.

EDMONTON OILERS

  • Sam Gagner & Boyd Gordon are now team-mates for the next 3 years. Image courtesy of edmontonjournal.com.

    ANDREW FERENCE – 4 years @ $3.25m.  34 year old defender not the top 4 guy he used to be, but might be able to play decent 3rd pairing minutes.  More term and more money than he should have been offered, but hopefully he can play the role expected of him n Edmonton.  I’m not convinced.

  • BOYD GORDON – 3 years @ $3m.  Very, very good third line center: strong defensively, excellent on faceoffs, can chip in on scoring.  Interesting to see how he performs in Edmonton’s less defensive system.  Hopefully will be better than Belanger experiment.  A bit expensive, but that’s how free agency works.
  • JASON LABARBERA – 1 year @ $1m.  Veteran backup goalie has been very good over 10 year NHL career.  Won’t threaten Dubnyk for starter’s role, but will be capable in his stead.
  • JESSE JOENSUU – 2 years @ $???.  25 year old Finnish winger.  Good scorer in Finland, a decent skater and pretty skilled, along with a physical mindset makes him an interesting depth forward.
  • RYAN HAMILTON – 2 years @ $600k.  Depth winger has proven to be a good AHL scorer, waiting for a chance at NHL level.  Is 28, so unlikely he’ll develop much more and will likely remain a fringe AHL/NHL guy, but decent depth guy who can play with a physical edge.
  • RYAN JONES – 1 year @ $1.5m.  Divisive bottom 6 forward; aside from this past season (eye injury set him back) has decent scoring numbers and many rave about his effort and two-way play, whilst others bemoan his poor puck possession numbers and state his chaotic style simply gives the appearance of effort.
  • WILL ACTON – 2 years @ $680k.  Defensive center who, at 26, is still finding his way in the AHL following a decent NCAA career.  Could find himself a call-up option for the Oilers as a 4th line center given their current depth, or lack-thereof.  Doesn’t score much, but faceoff ability and defensive prowess will be his calling cards.
  • BRAD HUNT – 2 years @ $550k.  24 year old defender who had a decent rookie AHL season with Chicago this year.  Small at 5’9″, but evidently pretty skilled, Hunt will be part of a young d-corps in Oklahoma City.
  • DENIS GREBESHKOV – 1 year @ $???.  The Oilers continue to load up on bottom pairing defensemen with the re-signing of Denis Grebeshkov, who has played in the KHL since 2010, but played nearly 3 seasons for Edmonton prior to that before being traded to Nashville.  At the time of the trade, was a possible top 4 option, but his career in the KHL has seen mixed to poor results.  Could conceivably still be a very good bottom pairing puck mover, and the Oilers are sensibly taking low risk gambles on defensive depth.
  • SAM GAGNER – 3 years @ $4.8m.  The 23 year old center is remarkably already a veteran of 6 NHL seasons, despite being only 9 months older than team-mate and “young star” Jordan Eberle.  With this deal, he avoids a situation where he could become the youngest UFA in NHL history next season, and it’s a good deal.  Gagner has had his ups and downs, but finally looks to be making progress offensively.  Struggled big time defensively this year, but some funny things were going on with his line (with Hemsky and Yakupov) that likely won’t be repeatable.  Has his flaws, but provides an incredible skill level, leadership and passion to a team in need of those qualities.
  • TAYLOR FEDUN – 1 year @ $675k.  25 year old defender who is slightly undersized but has good skating ability, Fedun finally managed to get his pro career underway following his horrific accident during a preseason game in 2011 which almost curtailed his entire career.  A former NCAA standout with Princeton, Fedun was extremely impressive in that camp and looked to be almost NHL ready, but that year off has really set him back.  Was great in the AHL when he finally got the chance, showing off a fine two-way game, and could still end up in the NHL, but that lost year combined with Edmonton’s vastly improved depth at the position have really pushed back his odds of making it with the Oilers.
  • DARNELL NURSE – 3 years @ $1.775m (unconfirmed).  The second defenceman chosen in the 2013 draft at 7th overall, Nurse boasts an impressive array of tools.  He’s big (6’4″), a top notch skater, plays with an edge and physicality, took on a shutdown role against top opposition whilst just 17 and excelled, and perhaps has underrated offensive ability despite still putting up 41 points in 68 games in the OHL.  Has top pairing potential – though perhaps not superstar potential like Seth Jones – but will need at least a year or 2 more of development before he’s ready for NHL minutes, and it’ll likely be 4 or 5 years before he starts to hit his stride.

FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • Alex Barkov might form quite the 1-2 punch with Huberdeau. Image courtesy of iihf.com.

    MIKE MOTTAU – 1 year @ $700k.  Depth defender has 313 NHL games under his belt, can certainly step in if required.

  • JOEY CRABB – 2 years @ $600k.  Veteran depth forward, 30 years old so likely won’t challenge for full time NHL spot but a decent call-up option.
  • MATT GILROY – 1 year @ $???.  28 year old defender a former college star, has been mediocre in the NHL with 46 points in 209 games.  Can play as a bottom pairing guy, but shouldn’t be asked to do more.
  • JON MATSUMOTO – 1 year @ $???.  Decent AHL forward has just 14 NHL games at age 26, and his opportunity is dwindling as he is a purely offensive player; likely will be a call-up option but nothing more.
  • JACK SKILLE – 1 year @ $???.  Former high draft pick has really struggled to be an effective pro player, but even at 26 keeps getting chances.  Has 49 points in 178 career games with Chicago and Florida.
  • FREDERIC ST DENIS – 1 year @ $???.  27 year old defender is a good AHLer and has seen 17 games of NHL action.  Decent depth option.
  • JACOB MARKSTROM – 2 years @ $???.  23 year old goalie has seemingly been “on the verge” of NHL action forever, but after a season where he played nearly half the Panthers’ games (in a shortened season) it looks like he’s nearly ready to see some significant time in the net.  Didn’t have great numbers, but that’s expected of a rookie goalie.  Sharing time with veteran backup Scott Clemmensen should ease the load somewhat, but expect to see a mix of up and downs from the talented netminder.
  • ALEKSANDER BARKOV – 3 years @ $3.575m.  Outstanding talent drafted 2nd overall in the 2013 draft.  Ripped apart the SM-Liiga, a pro men’s league, despite being just 17, and is surprisingly polished defensively for someone so young.  Should make the NHL this year.
  • MICHAEL CARUSO – 1 year @ $650k.  25 year old defender has 5 full AHL seasons under his belt, and played his first 2 NHL games just this past season.  Doesn’t boast much offensively, but seems a solid enough defenseman who is likely a call-up option but certainly not the first one.
  • COLBY ROBAK – 2 years @ $675k.  23 year old defender was a very good offensive player in junior, and has done pretty well bringing some of that with him to the AHL.  Has played 19 NHL games over the last 2 seasons with just 1 assist to show for it.  Still developing, but will really need to impress soon to get a serious shot at NHL time.
  • SCOTT TIMMINS – 1 year @ $600k.  23 year old center has already defied the odds for a 165th overall pick (2009) by playing in 24 NHL games, but has yet to really do a lot in that time scoring just 1 goal (and that was 2 years ago).  Is a middling offensive player in the AHL, but Hockey’s Future describes him as playing a smart, well-rounded game who plays a determined checking style.  Decent 4th line potential.
  • SCOTT GOMEZ – 1 year @ $900k.

LA KINGS

  • Dustin Brown blocks out the sun. Image courtesy of hookedonhockeymagazine.com.

    JEFF SCHULTZ – 1 year @ $700k.  Defensive defender not the top 4 option he used to be, but hard to complain at this price point.  Should be a decent third pairing guy who can be sheltered by LA’s strong defensive system.

  • BRIAN O’NEILL – 1 year @ $???.  25 year old forward had an OK if unspectacular first pro season following 4 brilliant years at Yale of the NCAA.  His college stats suggest there is much more there offensively than 15 points in 49 games, so look for him to do better next season, unless his 5’8″ frame is really holding him back.
  • MAXIM KITSYN – 3 years @ $602k.  21 year old forward out of Russia possesses good size and skills.  HF describes him as “supremely talented” with a power forward type game, but struggled with consistency in the KHL.  Is a project, but hopefully playing in the AHL will hone his game.
  • ALEC MARTINEZ – 2 years @ $1.1m.  25 year old defender plays a low-key two-way game, with minutes in all situations whilst playing well in a sheltered role at 5v5.  Likely won’t be much better than he is now, but as it is he’s a decent bottom pairing D-man.
  • JAKE MUZZIN – 2 years @ $1m.  24 year old defender had a decent rookie season with 16 points in 45 games and a +16 rating, whilst logging decent 5v5 and PP time.  At 6’3″ also lends a physical element, dishing out 70 hits in 2013.  Was also pretty dominant in shot differentials in a pretty sheltered role.
  • DUSTIN BROWN – 8 years @ $5.875m.  The Kings’ undisputed leader and fan favourite, the crash-and-bang style of Brown coupled with his decent offensive ability has proved effective, as has his interesting penalty drawing “techniques”, which have made him something of a pariah outside of Kings Country.  This contract is somewhat on the expensive side, and definitely long, given that Brown has never scored more than 60 points, but he is a very consistent goal scorer – he has 5 straight 20+ goal seasons, and would have been easily on pace for another if this season was full-length.  Is a good 5v5 performer as well which has value, I’m just not convinced that he’ll ever live up to this big of a contract.
  • TREVOR LEWIS – 1 year @ $1.325m.  26 year old forward hasn’t lived up to his former first round status in the sense of being a scorer, but has been an important part of the Kings’ bottom 6 for the last 3 seasons.  Provides some physicality, can play on the PK, and can offer a small amount of offense.  Got smoked 5v5 this season playing slightly above average competition, so they might want to shelter him a bit more.
  • JORDAN NOLAN – 2 years @ $700k.  24 year old center has, like Lewis, been a big part of the Kings’ bottom 6 over the last couple of seasons.  With 70 NHL games now under his belt, it’s clear that Nolan won’t be a scorer – he has just 10 points in that span – but he did show some offense in junior and the AHL so it’s not like he’s incapable.  Big and physical, he plays minimal minutes in extremely sheltered situations (easy competition, 64% offensive zonestarts) and still gets destroyed in shot differentials at 5v5.  This won’t be a popular opinion, but I think he’s by-and-large over-rated by many.
  • ANDREW BODNARCHUK – 2 years @ $550k.
  • COLIN MILLER – 3 years @ $602.5k.
  • KYLE CLIFFORD – 2 years @ $1.075m.
  • COLIN MILLER – 3 years @ $602.5k.

MINNESOTA WILD

  • Matt Cooke brings his antics to Minny. Image courtesy of senatorsextra.com.

    MATT COOKE – 3 years @ $2.5m.  Yes he’s probably one of the least likeable players in league history, notorious for dishing out horrendous hits and injuring star players, but he’s actually a pretty good hockey player when he puts his mind to it with 360 points in 935 career games.  That said, he’s 34 and who knows how he’ll be on a less high-powered team – this is an overpayment with too many years attached.

  • JON LANDRY – 1 year @ $625k.  29 year old defender has spent entire pro career bouncing between the ECHL, CHL and AHL, with stints in Germany and the UK thrown in for good measure.  A decent offensive contributor everywhere he’s gone, he’ll be a nice addition to the Wild’s farm team as a veteran presence.
  • JONATHAN BLUM – 1 year @ $650k.  Formerly highly-rated defender, Blum is now 23 and yet to make a significant impact in the NHL, playing in just 91 games with 22 points to show for it.  In 2013, was sheltered by playing against soft competition and didn’t fare well even at that level with poor shot differentials.  A longshot at this point for a decent NHL career.
  • JUSTIN FONTAINE – 1 year @ $600k.  25 year old right winger was a star in the NCAA, and his offense has translated well to the AHL.  Is pretty much a pure offensive player, and the Wild will like that.  May get a shot to make the team this year, but likely will be a primary call-up option.
  • KYLE MEDVEC – 1 year @ $577.5k.  25 year old defender was a solid if unspectacular player in the NCAA, and he hasn’t been any better than that in the AHL.  Is a purely defensive player with huge size, and at this point is basically just a minor league option.
  • CARSON MCMILLAN – 1 year @ $575k.  24 year old center was a decent junior player but has not seen his offense translate to the AHL level.  He’s a good skater though and has a physical element to his game, who also has strong defensive skills, so he may well be able to add to his 15 NHL games.
  • TYLER CUMA – 1 year @ $575k.

MONTREAL CANADIENS

  • Sven Andrighetto blows by a defender. Image courtesy of habsworld.net.

    NICK TARNASKY – 1 year @ $550k.  28 year old left winger who is mediocre at the AHL level, not doing much more than wracking up PIMs.  Minor league option, though his 245 NHL games probably ensure he’ll see at least some time in the bigs.

  • GABRIEL DUMONT – 2 years @ $562.5k.  22 year old and yet another small player (5’9″) in the Canadiens’ system, Dumont was a dominant junior player but is still developing as a pro.  Saw 10 NHL games this year with 3 points.  HF describes him as a fearless checker, and he could conceivably be a decent bottom 6 forward in the NHL.
  • RYAN WHITE – 1 year @ $700k.  25 year old center was a decent junior scorer, but has been middling in the AHL and even worse in the NHL, with 11 points in 89 games since 2009.  Played just over 8 minutes per game at 5v5 and 1 minute per game on the PK, so is clearly just a depth center with a little defensive ability, but he is a defensive liability at 5v5 against some of the easiest competition in the league, albeit with pretty damn difficult zonestarts.
  • MICHAEL McCARRON – 3 years @ $1.137m.  Huge power forward prospect taken earlier than many expected in this year’s draft, McCarron hasn’t quite put forth a strong offensive season yet, but the tools are all there for people to see.  Whilst not a great skater, he has improved and his size and physicality enables him to play a strong possession game.  Will likely need at least a couple more years to develop, and it is somewhat surprising that he signed given he was committed to Western Michigan of the NCAA this year; he will now play for London of the OHL.
  • STEFAN FOURNIER – 3 years @ $583k.  Big 21 year old right winger has completed his junior eligibility, and will be looking to translate decent scoring numbers to the minor-pro leagues, particularly after a brilliant run to the QMJHL championship with Halifax where he had 16 goals and 29 points in just 17 games, followed by winning the Memorial Cup.  Possesses a physical game, and looks to be a power-forward type player.
  • SVEN ANDRIGHETTO – 3 years @ $633.333k.  Drafted just this season by Montreal as a 20 year old over-ager, Andrighetto is a tiny right winger out of Switzerland who has blossomed into a star at the QMJHL level, particularly in this year’s playoffs where he had 30 points in 14 games.  Ben Kerr at lastwordonsports.com gives a nice look at the player, saying whilst small he is strong on his skates and has excellent speed and agility, along with a great shot and passing skills.  He is also quite gritty and not afraid to go to the tough areas of the ice, though his size limits his defensive effectiveness at times.  Interesting player to watch, and will likely play in the AHL this season.
  • ROBERT MAYER – 2 years @ $620k.  23 year old goalie has 4 pro seasons to his name, none of them seemingly as his team’s undisputed starter.  His stats are decidedly mediocre, as they were in junior, and whilst goalies usually take a long and winding road to the top, I can’t see Mayer making it past this level.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

  • Seth Jones fell to Nashville at 4th Overall. Image courtesy of fullscalesports.com.

    ERIC NYSTROM – 4 years @ $2.5m.  OK bottom 6 forward can chip in on offense and hit a lot.  Severely overpaid for what he offers, though does also offer strong PK ability.

  • MATT HENDRICKS – 4 years @ $1.85m.  Veteran winger much like Nystrom can chip in on offense and hit a lot.  Again overpaid at this price point, but like Nystrom also offers decent PK ability.
  • MATT CULLEN – 2 years @ $3.5m.  Elder statesman center, is very capable two-way guy though likely will see a drop in performances as he approaches 40, making this contract a bit on the expensive side.
  • VIKTOR STALBERG – 4 years @ $3m.  Underrated soft-competition killer, big body can score at a decent clip and slide up and down the lineup.  A good signing.
  • SETH JONES – 3 years @ $3.225m.  A stunning slide to the 4th overall pick and Nashville in this year’s draft, Jones was regarded for much of the year as the consensus top prospect in this year’s draft.  The mere fact that he is a defenseman likely cost him that opportunity, but the son of former NBA star Popeye Jones is an outstanding prospect nonetheless.Great size, great skater, great offensive and defensive ability, he is basically everything a team wants in a defender.  Could stand to be more physical, but doesn’t shy away from that either.  This should mitigate the loss of Ryan Suter quite nicely, although he likely won’t be an impact player for at least a couple more years yet.
  • RICHARD CLUNE – 2 years @ $850k.  26 year old left winger is a solid defensive player in the AHL who can chip in on scoring, but somewhat surprisingly stuck with the Predators for the entire 2013 season, managing 9 points in 47 games.  He was sheltered somewhat, and wasn’t all that bad at 5v5.  May be an OK option for the bottom 6 again next year.
  • NICK SPALING – 1 year @ $1.5m.  24 year old center has not been that productive offensively in 5 pro seasons, but has been an OK two-way player for the Preds over 226 career games so far.  Is a disaster in terms of shot differential at 5v5, so they may want to shelter him more.
  • BRYAN RODNEY – 1 year @ $550k.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

  • Jaromir Jagr comes to Jersey. Image courtesy of nesn.com.

    RYANE CLOWE – 5 years @ $4.85m.  Has lost a step, but still a capable scorer with great physical play and “grit”.  Can’t help but see this deal as an overpay however, given he isn’t getting any younger.

  • MICHAEL RYDER – 2 years @ $3.5m.  Consistently inconsistent goal scorer should add some offense to a Devils club always in need of such a player.  Still putting up numbers despite his 33 years.
  • ROSTISLAV OLESZ – 1 year @ $1m.  Former 7th overall pick in 2004 has mostly been in the AHL over last 2 years, but was a decent NHLer and that was mostly for contract reasons.  Can likely be a decent bottom 6 option.
  • MATT D’AGOSTINI – 1 year @ $550k.  Experienced 26 year old forward has had an up and down career in the NHL, struggling for a few years with the Canadiens then catching on with the Blues where he seemingly broke out in 2010/11 with a 21 goal, 46 point season, but has just 24 points in 84 games since then.  Still a fairly decent 4th line guy however.
  • MAREK ZIDLICKY – 1 year @ $3m.  36 year old defender traded to the Devils in 2011/12 from Minnesota and was a solid addition for their run to the Cup Finals that year.  Was one of their better defenders this year, putting up 19 points in 48 games whilst playing great against middling competition 5v5 (with an offensive zone push).
  • RAMAN HRABARENKA – 3 years @ $692.5k.  Big Belarussian defender has spent the last four years in North America, first in the QMJHL and last year in the AHL with the Albany Devils.  Probably a long shot to make the NHL, but possesses desirable traits – size, a big shot, decent defensive skills – so you never know.
  • DARCY ZAJAC – 2 years @ $525k.  Younger brother of current Devils forward Travis, Darcy has 3 pro seasons under his belt following a middling NCAA career.  Possesses good size but has not been overly impressive in terms of scoring numbers in the AHL.  A longshot for an NHL job, though he’ll likely get a chance at some games thanks to his name.
  • JACOB JOSEFSON – 1 year @ $725k.  22 year old center is a former first round pick in 2009, but over 91 NHL games since 2010 he hasn’t managed to do a whole lot offensively with just 22 points in that span, including just 3 in 22 games this year.  Is a decent performer in the AHL, so has the ability, but is running out of time and chances to show he deserves top 6 minutes in the NHL, and doesn’t appear to offer much defensively either.
  • JAROMIR JAGR – 1 year @ $4m.  The 41 year old superstar continues his retirement tour of NHL teams, and hopefully he can continue to inject offense on a team that sorely needs it.  There’s no reason to believe he can’t given that he has 89 points in 118 games since his return to the NHL, plus another 18 in 33 playoff games.  A wonderful, wonderful player who can probably simply keep playing until he decides call it quits (or until certain debts are paid off).  Watch for him to hit the incredible 1700 career points mark this year if all goes well.
  • MIKE SISLO – 1 year @ $550k.  25 year old right winger was a decent NCAA player and has been just about average in 2 AHL seasons.  Has good speed and plays a physical style, could be a call-up option for the bottom 6 should they need him.
  • KEITH KINKAID – 1 year @ $550k.  24 year old goalie has good size and was a strong NCAA performer, and has been OK in his first 2 pro seasons, even getting in 1 NHL game this past season.  Not a true NHL option, at least not yet, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he makes it.
  • MIKE HOEFFEL – 1 year @ $660k.  24 year old left winger has good size and was a decent NCAA player, but hasn’t seen his offense translate to the AHL just yet.  Does have good speed and plays with energy, whilst having decent defensive tools, so he could yet be a bottom 6 NHLer, but likely not yet.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

  • Could PM Bouchard and JT make magic on the Island? Image courtesy of gonepuckwild.com.

    PIERRE MARC BOUCHARD – 1 YEAR @ $2M.  Veteran winger has great skill, but injury and inconsistency not to mention playing in the Wild system has limited his offensive output.  Interesting signing, no risk so should be fun to see him play with Tavares etc.

  • PETER REGIN – 1 year @ $750k.  Big winger has shown some scoring ability in the past with Ottawa, but had poor last couple of years partly thanks to injury.  No risk signing, could be decent bottom 6 guy.
  • EVGENI NABOKOV – 1 year @ $3.25m.  Aging goalie still managing to cling to NHL spot despite poor season.  Unfortunately goaltending is really the only thing holding the Islanders back, and this doesn’t solve it.
  • CAL CLUTTERBUCK – 4 years @ $2.75m.  Acquired from Minnesota on draft day for Nino Niederreiter, 25 year old Clutterbuck is a rambunctious forward with a penchant for hitting anything in sight.  Also happens to be a pretty handy hockey player, putting up a decent amount of offence.  Contract might be a slight overpay, just as sending El Nino to get him was an overpay, but hey if he fills what the Islanders consider to be a need…
  • JOSH BAILEY – 5 years @ $3.3m.  An interesting contract for the 23 year old former 9th overall pick.  This season, with 19 points in 38 games, represented his best offensive output on a per game basis, but that is clearly not his calling card at this level.  He was rushed into the NHL at 18, but despite some struggles along the way has managed to maintain a solid if underwhelming offensive output and also has some OK defensive ability.His 5v5 shot differential is pretty poor, but consider that he is playing some of the toughest competition and it looks more respectable.  This contract would appear to be a bit of an overpayment for a guy who likely tops out as an OK defensive player and OK offensive player, but cap worries aren’t really an Islanders problem just yet.
  • THOMAS HICKEY – 2 years @ $675k.  24 year old defender was a surprise selection at 4th overall in 2007 by LA, and hasn’t really lived up to that number yet.  With just 39 NHL games under his belt since then, and just 4 points, he doesn’t really have the look of a star that you’d hope to get at that point in the draft, but after being nabbed by the Islanders this year he was able to get his first chance at NHL action and was solid, playing some on the PK and being strong in shot differential in a sheltered role at 5v5.  We’ll see whether he sustains that going forward, but he has a good chance here, and his AHL stats suggest he has more in the way of offense too.
  • BRETT GALLANT – 1 year @ $550k.  24 year old left winger was a poor junior player, and is a poor minor pro player.  Racks up the penalty minutes wherever he goes, and when you Google his name, most of the links are to “HockeyFights.com”, so you can guess his role.  Not sure why a contract spot would be given up to him, but hey-ho.

NEW YORK RANGERS

  • Ryan McDonagh is a key piece to the Rangers’ lineup. Image courtesy of sbnation.com.

    AARON JOHNSON – 1 year @ $600k.  Quality bottom pairing defender seems to struggle to find an NHL home, but when he gets a chance he puts up decent offense.  More likely to be a depth option with powerplay specialties than a regular.

  • BENOIT POULIOT – 1 year @ $1.3m.  Generally regarded as a disappointment for a 4th overall pick, the big 26 year old winger actually had a pretty good season with Tampa (20 points in 34 games), as well as good underlying two-way numbers.  An astute signing by the Rangers.
  • RYAN MCDONAGH – 6 years @ $4.7m.  24 year old defender has just 169 NHL games to his name but has all the looks of a perennial all-star at the position.  Defends at an exceptionally high level, despite his age, and can score to boot.  Will likely only get better, and the Rangers have him until he’s 30 years old for under $5m per season.  Brilliant, brilliant signing.
  • DOMINIC MOORE – 1 year @ $1m.  32 year old center has 185 points in 530 games, but it is his defensive ability that is most valued.  Good bottom 6 center, though it has been a year since he played competitive hockey after suffering personal tragedy.  Nice to see him back, and with the team that first gave him an NHL opportunity.
  • CARL HAGELIN – 2 years @ $2.25m.  24 year old speedster has been quite the revelation for the Rangers, posting decent offense in his 2 years with the team (62 points in 112 games) whilst being an absolute demon 5v5 in terms of shot differential, absolutely dominating tough competition.  Really great hockey player, and this is a bargain contract for the Rangers.
  • JUSTIN FALK – 1 year @ $975k.  Large 24 year old defender has 108 NHL games under his belt with 15 points and 100 PIMs.  That should tell you what kind of player he is.  Can play on the PK and isn’t a liability playing easy minutes at 5v5.
  • BRANTON MASHINTER – 1 year @ $605k.
  • TROY DONNAY – 3 years @ $716.667k.
  • MATS ZUCCARELLO – 1 year @ $1.150m.

OTTAWA SENATORS

  • Clarke MacArthur has been a solid two-way player in Toronto. Image courtesy of nationalpost.com.

    CLARKE MACARTHUR – 2 years @ $3.25m.  Left winger is a good top 6 option, can score and is reliable defensively.  A very adept signing by the Senators.

  • JOE CORVO – 1 year @ $900k.  36 year old puck moving D with 683 NHL games and 300 points; a bit of a journeyman having played for 5 NHL teams, is returning to the Canadian Capital for his second stint.  A decent bottom pairing guy at this point, for a bargain price.
  • MARK BOROWIECKI – 2 years @ $575k.  23 year old defender had a solid first year of pro following a pretty decent NCAA career.  Dobber Hockey calls him a defensive defender with a mean streak and physical play, not to mention a great work ethic.  Posted surprisingly good offense for a defensive guy.  Could challenge for a roster spot.
  • DAVID DZIURZYNSKI – 1 year @ $640k.  23 year old forward has been a decent bottom 6 forward at the AHL level for 3 seasons now, but hasn’t really gotten much better, at least not offensively.  Did earn 12 games with the Senators earlier this year, scoring 2 goals.  Big guy though and can hit and fight.
  • ERIK CONDRA – 2 years @ $1.25m.  26 year old right winger has evolved into a decent bottom 6 contributor for the Senators, chipping in points whilst playing heavy PK minutes and outshooting middling competition at 5v5.  Nice player, nice contract.
  • MIKE HOFFMAN – 1 year @ $660k.  23 year old left winger is a solid AHL player and earned 3 NHL games in 2013.  HF describes him as being skilled with a “great shot and good speed”, but he can also kill penalties.  Still has the chance to develop into a bottom 6 NHLer, but at 23 his window is getting smaller.
  • COREY COWICK – 1 year @ $625k.  23 year old center was a fairly decent junior player, but has played 3 pro seasons now and not really shown much – he can’t even generate much offense at the ECHL level.  Apparently plays a power forward game, but at this rate it isn’t bringing him much success.
  • PATRICK WIERCIOCH – 3 years @ $2m.  22 year old defender was an outstanding player at the NCAA level, providing great two-way play, and now has 3 pro seasons under his belt.  Is a quality AHL defender, generating offense and playing a smart puck-moving style, and was rewarded with his first full NHL season in 2013, where he was brilliant – he notched 5 goals and 19 points in 42 games, second only among rookie defencemen to Edmonton’s Justin Schultz – and was dominant in shot differential in sheltered situations, so could be ready for more responsibility.  This man has a bright future if he continues to perform this well.
  • LUDWIG KARLSSON – 2 years @ $1.475m.  Big 22 year old defenceman just out of the NCAA after 2 years, Corey Pronman describes him as “solid skill, big shot… low to mid tier prospect”.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

  • Sean Couturier is a quality two-way forward at just 20. Image courtesy of bigstory.ap.org.

    YANN DANIS – 1 year @ $???.  Veteran backup goalie is a star at the AHL level, and has had good NHL stints previously but isn’t much better than a call-up option at this point.

  • RAY EMERY – 1 year @ $1.65m.  Another veteran backup goalie, this time at the NHL level. Emery enjoyed an exceptional season behind Corey Crawford with Chicago, winning the Cup there finally.  Returns to the Flyers for a 2nd tour of duty, likely won’t see as pretty stats as with Chicago but still a decent goalie.
  • ERIK GUSTAFSSON – 1 year @ $1m.  24 year old defender is undersized but has been a pretty decent bottom pairing option over parts of 2 NHL seasons.  Can post a bit of offense and is solid defensively.
  • SEAN COUTURIER – 2 years @ $1.75m.  This guy is an incredible hockey player, and many don’t even know it yet.  The 20 year old has just 123 NHL games to his name, but is already taking on some of the toughest competition on his team with difficult zonestarts, and knocking the shot differentials out the park – AT AGE 20!!!  Things like that don’t happen very often.  Sure, his already underwhelming scoring numbers slid slightly from his rookie season, but it’ll come – he was brilliant in juniors, and you don’t usually just lose that.  The situations he’s used in don’t exactly breed offense.  And even if the offense doesn’t come, the Flyers have on their team a big, tough minutes center who can chip in on scoring.  Every team wants that.

PHOENIX COYOTES

  • Mike Ribeiro should spark the Coyotes’ offense. Image courtesy of bleacherreport.com.

    MIKE RIBEIRO – 4 years @ $5.5m.  A very interesting signing by Phoenix, who at long last acquire an exceptional offensive forward.  The problem is, Ribeiro isn’t getting any younger and has seen his defensive abilities fall off significantly.  This could either work out great, or fail horribly.

  • THOMAS GREISS – 1 year @ $750k.  Pretty decent backup goalie, but hasn’t seen much NHL action (just 44 games since 2007).
  • KYLE CHIPCHURA – 3 years @ $875k.  Decent bottom 6 forward re-signs with Phoenix.
  • CHRIS SUMMERS – 1 year @ $550k.  25 year old defender is pretty much past prospect status at this point; is a decent defensive AHL player with little offensive upside but might be a capable 7th defender or call-up option.
  • ANDY MIELE – 1 year @ $???.  25 year old forward was a dominant NCAA performer with Miami of Ohio, and has become a strong AHL forward.  Has 8 NHL games under his belt with no points.  Tiny frame but gifted offensively (as per Hockey’s Future).  Will be looking to stick on a scoring line in Phoenix.
  • LAURI KORPIKOSKI – 4 years @ $2.5m.  26 year old forward had a bit of a down year with just 11 points in 36 games, but has shown in the previous 2 years he could be a highly effective 2 way forward.  Plays big PK minutes, as well as 5v5 and 5v4, plays a pretty physical game, although he could stand to be better in shot differentials at 5v5.
  • TIM KENNEDY – 1 year @ $???.  27 year old forward is a depth player – quality at the AHL level but more of a stop-gap at the NHL level.  Has had a decent NHL season before – 26 points in 78 games in 2009/10 – but has barely had a sniff since then.
  • MAX DOMI – 3 years @ $1.425m.  Excellent offensive prospect drafted 12th overall this year.  Has incredible skill and explosive speed, very important for a smaller player.  Lacks on the defensive side of things and with consistency, but he’ll likely have at least a year or two more in junior before turning pro to work on those things.
  • DAVID RUNDBLAD – 2 years @ $???.  22 year old defender has been a quality puck mover in this 80 AHL games over the last 2 seasons, putting up 55 points, but has yet to establish himself in the NHL thanks to the Coyotes’ depth at the position.  Not sure how much longer they can keep him waiting, and he may well push for a job in training camp.
  • BRANDON YIP – 1 year @ $675k.  28 year old winger was a strong NCAA player a few years ago, and spent surprisingly little time in the minor leagues, having been in the NHL constantly since 2009/10.  Put up some decent scoring numbers in his first two seasons with Colorado, but wasn’t great in Nashville.  Is a bit of a liability even in sheltered minutes at 5v5, and doesn’t kill penalties, so if he’s not scoring he’s not doing much.
  • MATHIEU BRODEUR – 1 year @ $605k.  23 year old defender was pretty invisible in his first two pro seasons, but put himself back on the prospect map with a solid 19 point performance in the AHL this year.  Described by HF as a defensive defender with puck moving ability, his massive size (6’5″) will always mean he’s a player of interest, and hopefully he continues to develop.
  • BRETT HEXTALL – 1 year @ $687.5k.
  • BRANDON MCMILLAN – 1 year @ $709.5k.
  • MARK LOUIS – 2 years @ $550k.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

  • Rob Scuderi returns to the Penguins. Image courtesy of bigstory.ap.org.

    ROB SCUDERI – 4 years @ $3.375m.  Veteran defender integral part of 2 Cup wins with PIT and LAK.  Not as young as he used to be, but still very capable bottom pairing guy returning to where he made his name.

  • CRAIG ADAMS – 2 years @ $700k.  Veteran 4th line center remains in Pittsburgh for a little while longer.  Decent depth forward, stays healthy, chips in on scoring and fairly reliable defensively.
  • CHRIS CONNER – 1 year @ $550k.  Small 29 year old winger has 159 NHL games with 45 points and 335 AHL games with 267 points.  Good AHL forward, but only really a replacement level NHLer.
  • HARRY ZOLNIERCZYK – 1 year @ $550k.  25 year old was a decent NCAA forward and has become solid at the AHL level, also getting in 44 NHL games with the Flyers over the last couple of seasons.  Acquired from the Ducks for Alex Grant, Zolnierczyk will be a depth forward who can fill in for a few games here and there.
  • BOBBY FARNHAM – 1 year @ $550k.  24 year old forward former NCAA player, played his rookie pro season last year following a decent if unspectacular NCAA career.  A long-shot for an NHL career, he’ll have to post better numbers than he has done so far.
  • DUSTIN JEFFREY – 1 year @ $625k.  25 year old forward is a top AHL scoring forward, but is still establishing himself at the NHL level.  With 90 games and 27 points over 5 seasons, he’s hung around a lot without sticking, so his time is running out.  He also hasn’t been dressed for a single NHL playoff game in that time, which shows the team doesn’t yet have trust in him yet for a full-time role.  Very unlikely he develops as a top 6 guy, but could yet prove to be a bottom 6 producer – though unfortunately he lacks physicality and defensive capability.
  • ERIC HARTZELL – 2 years @ $550k.  24 year old goalie just completed 4 years of NCAA hockey, in which time he developed into a top player at that level.  Named to the NCAA 1st All-Star Team and also the US College Player of the Year, HF describes him as a “technically sound goalie with a terrific glove”, who’s only real weakness is average lateral mobility.
  • BRENDAN MIKKELSON – 1 year @ $550k.  26 year old defenceman who has plenty of pro experience, playing 196 AHL games with 66 points and 131 NHL games with 10 points since 2007.  At this point he is a number 7 defender who can move the puck and skate well, but doesn’t look to be a full-time NHL defender.
  • ROBERT BORTUZZO – 2 years @ $600k.  Big 24 year old defender who plays a two-way style, but has not seen his offensive production flourish in recent times in the AHL.  That said he is still pretty good defensively, and earned 15 NHL games this year with 4 points to show for it and almost broke even in shot differential.  If he continues to develop, he does still have bottom-pairing potential.
  • BRIAN GIBBONS – 1 year @ $550k.

SAN JOSE SHARKS

  • Scott Hannan becomes a Shark again. Image courtesy of sbnation.com.

    SCOTT HANNAN – 1 year @ $1m.  Another veteran defender returning to his roots, Hannan is just hanging on to his NHL career having lost a step, but is still a decent depth option with tonnes of experience.

  • MATT PELECH – 1 year @ $???.  25 year old right winger is a depth forward even at the AHL level, though has managed to squeeze in 7 NHL games over the years with Calgary and San Jose.  Barely replacement level.
  • ALEX STALOCK – 1 year @ $???.  25 year old goalie has been a solid AHL goalie, though not great, but has managed to work his way into a couple of NHL games.  Definitely a minor league signing.
  • ROB DAVISON – 1 year @ $???.  33 year old defender has played all over the place (even here in the UK!) over the years, and has 219 NHL games to his name.  Spent last year in Austria, but returns to the team that drafted him, most likely as an AHL veteran to help the prospects.
  • ADAM COMRIE – 1 year @ $550k.  22 year old defenceman has 3 pro seasons to his name and finally made a bit of progress this year.  He scored 33 goals in 45 ECHL games and 15 points in 24 AHL games.  Is also big and tough, and will be looking to establish himself firmly in the AHL in 2013/14.
  • MAREK VIEDENSKY – 1 year @ $550k.  6’4″ center has not had much success in the AHL in two pro seasons so far, but the Slovak did score 19 points in 20 ECHL games this year.  Has some defensive ability too, but unless he shows more offense in the AHL is unlikely to make an NHL impact anytime soon.
  • BRACKEN KEARNS – 1 year @ $550k.
  • JOE PAVELSKI – 5 years @ $6m.

ST LOUIS BLUES

  • Derek Roy should spark some offense for the Blues. Image courtesy of bleacherreport.com.

    KEITH AUCOIN – 1 year @ $625k.  AHL superstar forward is a decent depth option at the NHL level and showed pretty well in a full season with the Islanders.

  • MAXIM LAPIERRE – 2 years @ $1.1m.  Decent 3rd/4th line center who can chip in on scoring and is responsible defensively.  Most well known for his chippy, agitating play – love to have him, hate to play him kind of guy.
  • CADE FAIRCHILD – 1 year @ $605k.  24 year old D-man re-signs with Blues.  Had great rookie pro season last year but below average this year.  Bets are he rebounds, but at the moment he’s not close to adding much to his 5 career NHL games.
  • MARK MANCARI – 1 year @ $600k.  27 year old right winger has good size and is an excellent AHL scorer with 480 points in 563 games.  Has 13 points in 42 NHL games, but with his size and toughness could likely survive as a decent bottom line forward with offensive upside.
  • ALEXANDRE BOLDUC – 1 year @ $550k.  28 year old forward is a decent AHLer but nothing better than replacement level at the NHL level.
  • DEREK ROY – 1 year @ $4m.  Much maligned by Sabres fans, but the 30 year old center has 455 points in 591 NHL games and is a strong two-way option at 5v5.  Best offensive years are likely behind him, but still a good 2nd line center.
  • TYLER SHATTOCK – 1 year @ $605k.  23 year old right winger has good size, but has not seen his scoring numbers come with him from junior to the minor pro ranks.  Has the versatility to play either wing or center in his favour, as well as a willingness to go to the net and score garbage goals, but has not shown anywhere near enough offense to be considered an NHL prospect of note yet.
  • CHRIS STEWART – 2 years @ $4.15m.  The big 25 year old power forward impresses at times, but for most people has not shown great consistency in his career so far, going long stretches without much production or physicality, but when he turns it on he can be a force.  Lead the offense-starved Blues in scoring last year, but benefited greatly from an unsustainably high shooting percentage that will likely decrease this year.  He’s also a defensive liability at 5v5 play.  This contract is a bit on the high side for a player as streaky as Stewart and who doesn’t offer much when he’s not scoring, but it’s only 2 years and should be tradeable should they need to.
  • JAKE ALLEN – 2 years @ $800k.  22 year old goalie got into 15 NHL games this year, and impressed at times with his play.  Still has yet to really be dominant in the AHL, but certainly has talent – HF describes him as having excellent lateral movement and strong positioning, along with great puck moving ability – but will need to continue developing for at least the next year or two before he is really ready for the NHL.
  • MAGNUS PAAJARVI – 2 years @ $1.2m.
  • JAY BOUWMEESTER – 5 years @ $5.4m.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

  • Valtteri Filppula travels to the East Coast. Image courtesy of sbnation.com.

    VALTTERI FILPPULA – 5 years @ $5m.  Quality two forward adds versatility (can play center and wing) and puck possession ability to Lightning after a good career in Detroit.  Should rebound from mediocre season, but not sure he’s a $5m per year player.  Still a good player to have though.

  • JONATHAN DROUIN – 3 years @ $3.225m.  The most offensively skilled player in this year’s draft, Drouin was simply on fire in the QMJHL this past season, often overshadowing team-mate and eventual 1st overall pick MacKinnon.  Slightly undersized and lacking in defensive skills, Drouin nonetheless is one of the best offensive prospects in years and a puck possession monster, which should override any worries such as those.  A possible Martin St Louis replacement down the line?
  • MARK BARBERIO – 1 year @ $605k.  23 year old defenceman is a top puck moving talent in the AHL, having scored 134 points in 215 games down there since 2010, and earned his first 2 NHL games with Tampa this year.  Not bad for a 152nd overall pick.  According to HF, he has a smart first-pass and can quarterback the powerplay, whilst possessing great puck control skills and a hard shot, but can struggle defensively at times, though he has improved on this.  Stands a good chance of more NHL action this year.
  • KRISTERS GUDLEVSKIS – 3 years @ $611.667k.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

  • Carl Gunnarsson has been quality for the Leafs. Image courtesy of cbc.ca.

    TJ BRENNAN – 1 year @ $600k.  Young defender is brilliant at the AHL level and had a solid first full NHL season.  Nice low risk signing on a player who could be very good.

  • DAVID CLARKSON – 7 years @ $5.25m.  Todays leading contender for worst deal of the day, Oiler fans breathed easy as the Leafs overpaid for a guy who has never scored more than 46 points in a season and hits a lot.  A good player, no doubt, and has a lot of desirable traits, but is horrendously overpaid over a long, long period.
  • TYLER BOZAK – 5 years @ $4.2m.  Toronto’s “number 1 center” returns after being minutes from free agency, and not at nearly the cost many thought it would be at.  This is probably the high-end of what he should be paid, and I don’t think it’s a particularly bad deal, but whilst Bozak is a pretty good NHL player Toronto would really benefit from having a real number 1 C.
  • JOE COLBORNE – 1 year @ $???.  Hulking center was once the hope of the franchise, but has failed to become a number 1 center at the AHL level, let alone in the NHL.  There is still hope for him as an NHL player, but at age 23 his window is closing unless he can reinvent himself as a defensive player.
  • TROY BODIE – 1 year @ $???.  Larger winger has defied his draft position (278th overall in 2003) to become depth NHL forward, getting in 107 games over the years.  Is in no way anything more than a 4th liner, but hasn’t even seen the NHL since 2011.
  • CARL GUNNARSSON – 3 years @ $3.15m.  I saw a fair amount of complaining about the amount Gunnarsson got with this signing, and it’s hilarious.  The guy takes on tough competition with difficult zonestarts and still performs very well at 5v5 shot differentials.  All the while he posts respectable offense without much PP time, playing physical, and being a heavily used PKer, I’m shocked he didn’t get more in this contract.  A good deal, very good.
  • CHRIS GIBSON – 3 years @ $650k.  20 year old goalie was not signed by the LA Kings – who originally drafted him in 2011 – after 2 thoroughly underwhelming post-draft seasons in the QMJHL.  Once highly touted, there are major questions about his future, but he will turn pro and you simply never know with goalies.  HF says positioning, rebound control and his glove hand are his strongest attributes.
  • PAUL RANGER – 1 year @ $1m.  The Leafs’ defensive depth just got a whole lot better with this signing.  Ranger finally returned from his self-imposed hockey exile after nearly 3 years away, and played 51 strong games for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, scoring 25 points.  It remains to be seen whether he can make an impact still at the NHL level, but he’s still just 28, has good size, an excellent AHL season very recently, and was very, very good the last time he was in the big leagues.  A low risk move by the Leafs, but this could prove to be a great signing.
  • SPENCER ABBOTT – 1 year @ $650k.
  • MARK FRASER – 1 year @ $1.275m.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

  • Yannick Weber should give the Canucks some depth. Image courtesy of habseyesontheprize.com.

    BRAD RICHARDSON – 2 years @ $1.15m.  Versatile forward spent last few seasons as bottom 6 forward in LA, will play exactly the same role in Vancouver.

  • YANNICK WEBER – 1 year @ $650k.  Depth defender has had some good stretches in the NHL, but still is a bottom pairing D at best, but for a team like Vancouver depth is vital.
  • MIKE SANTORELLI – 1 year @ $550k.  27 year old forward showed good scoring skills in the minors, but hasn’t emerged at the NHL level as anything more than a depth forward, save for one 20 goal season 2 years ago.  Risk free signing given term and amount.
  • BENN FERRIERO – 1 years @ $550k.  26 year old right winger has developed into a pretty strong AHL forward, and has done enough since turning pro 4 years ago to be considered a borderline NHL player with decent offensive skills.  Has 96 NHL games with 23 points.
  • BRANDON DEFAZIO – 1 years @ $550k.  24 year old forward was an OK NCAA player, and has been an underwhelming minor-pro player in his 3 seasons since.  At this point doesn’t look to be a future NHLer.
  • JEREMIE BLAIN – 3 years @ $588.33k.  21 year old defender was a top player in the QMJHL, but due to perceived attitude issues (as well as an organisational logjam at the position) Blain was never signed by the Oilers after they drafted him.  He earned a pro contract with Chicago of the AHL (Vancouver’s then-affiliate) in 2012/13 though, and whilst he wasn’t very good for them, he was much much better for their ECHL affiliate, putting up 31 points in 47 games.  A big longshot for an NHL career, but does have quality two-way skills and can play tough when needed.
  • KELLAN LAIN – 2 years @ $600k.  Huge forward just out of the NCAA, Lain didn’t really do much there except pile up penalty minutes.  Thanks to his size, he does have defensive ability as well as being great on faceoffs at the NCAA level, not to mention a willingness to block out the sun in front of the opposition goalie.  Is an OK skater, but will have to show more offense to be considered for an NHL role – he had 0 points in 13 AHL games once his college season ended.
  • ZACH HAMILL – 1 year @ $550k.  24 year old center has not developed as thought for a former 8th overall pick.  He was solid in the AHL for his first couple of seasons, but injuries seem to have taken their toll the last couple of years.  He has 20 NHL games on his record, with just 4 points (no goals) to show.  This is a reclamation project for Vancouver, as he is still young enough and has pedigree to perhaps turn things around, but it’s unlikely at this point.
  • DALE WEISE – 1 year @ $750k.  24 year old right winger found his niche with the Canucks after being traded from the Rangers two years ago.  Adding size and physicality to their 4th line, Weise can also PK a bit, though he was something of a liability at 5v5 against below average competition – albeit with a difficult zonestart percentage.
  • JORDAN SCHROEDER – 1 year @ $600k.  Small 22 year old center continued his adaption to the pro game, enjoying a pretty decent AHL season (33 points in 42 games, by far his best yet in just over 3 seasons) and getting into his first 31 NHL games, scoring 9 points.  Was a bit of a liability at 5v5, even in sheltered minutes, and will need to continue to be sheltered moving forward as he continues to develop, though his path is not unraveling as originally thought.
  • YANN SAUVE – 1 year @ $708k.  23 year old defender was a decent two-way player in the QMJHL, but in 3 pro seasons has yet to see much success.  With the lockout, was forced down to the ECHL for 32 games, indicating he may be going backwards in his development, but he did score 19 points down there so perhaps all is not lost.
  • COLIN STUART – 1 year @ $550k.  31 year old left winger is a veteran pro hockey player, with 474 AHL games and 204 points to his name since 2004, along with 56 NHL games and 13 points with Chicago, Buffalo and Atlanta.  He’ll be a veteran presence on the new farm team in Utica, and could also be a useful depth call-up for the Canucks here and there.
  • RONALDS KENINS – 2 years @ $680k.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

  • Karl Alzner has blossomed into a top young defender. Image courtesy of japersrink.com.

    TYSON STRACHAN – Terms TBC.  28 year old defender has 120 NHL games on his resume, but is a depth option at best.

  • KARL ALZNER – 4 years @ $2.8m.  24 year old defender may not get the headlines that his frequent defense partner John Carlson, but he is an integral part of the Capitals’ defensive unit.  Doesn’t put up big numbers, but that’s not his job – any points he puts up are a bonus when considering just how good he is defensively.  Plays big minutes at 5v5 and on the PK with little-to-no powerplay time, which makes any points he puts up even more impressive.  He’s a dominant force when playing against tough competition with difficult zonestarts.  A terrific player on a bargain contract for the Caps.
  • PETER LEBLANC – 1 year @ $550k.  25 year old forward is a pretty average player at the AHL level.  May be an acceptable replacement player at times, but doesn’t look to be trending towards a full-time NHL career.
  • NICOLAS DESCHAMPS – 1 year @ $726k.  23 year old winger has played 3 professional seasons, all in the AHL, and has moved from organisation to organisation, playing for 3 different teams in that span.  His offensive production has fluctuated wildly year to year, with HF suggesting his lack of “grit” may have something to do with his inconsistency despite his clear offensive talent.

WINNIPEG JETS

  • Bryan Little is one of the team’s top young forwards. Image courtesy of jets.nhl.com.

    ADAM PARDY – 1 year @ $600k.  29 year old defender an AHL/NHL tweener, an OK call-up option.

  • JEROME SAMSON – 1 year @ $600k. 25 year old right winger is pretty good at the AHL level – though inconsistent year-to-year – but has shown the ability to fill in on occasion in the NHL.
  • ANDREW GORDON – 1 year @ $550k.  27 year old right winger has had some very good AHL seasons and some OK ones, as well as a few cups of coffee in the big leagues.  Another call-up option.
  • MATT HALISCHUK – 1 year @ $650k.  25 year old winger has carved out a decent NHL career for himself, playing 157 NHL games with the Devils and Predators and notching 54 points.  Most certainly a bottom six player, he plays just over 11 minutes a game at 5v5 and is a secondary PK option.  Is however something of a liability at 5v5 in terms of shot differential, so wouldn’t want to be playing any more minutes than he currently is.
  • ERIC TANGRADI – 2 years @ $1.35m.  24 year old forward is a decent AHL player, but has struggled to put up much offense in the NHL with just 9 points in 81 games so far.  Scored 4 points in 36 games after coming over from Pittsburgh this year, but does provide great physical play and was actually pretty strong in shot differential in a sheltered role.  Decent 4th liner in that regard, and it’s not too late for him to discover that scoring touch in the NHL.
  • PATRICE CORMIER – 1 year @ $575k.  23 year old forward has had good stretches in the AHL, but only had 11 points in 35 games this year for St John’s, and 0 points in 10 NHL games.  Received just about the most sheltered minutes a player can get, and whilst he didn’t give up much in shot differential, he didn’t get much done either.
  • PAUL POSTMA – 2 years @ $712.5k.  24 year old defender is a very strong AHL forward with size and two-way ability, and played his first extended stretch in the NHL this season notching 9 points in 34 games.  Is stuck behind several other options on the Jets’ depth chart, so has to impress if he hopes to stick with the team.
  • JOHN ALBERT – 1 year @ $585k.  24 year old center just finished his 2nd pro season following a successful NCAA career, but hasn’t been much better than OK since joining the Jets organisation.  Plays a decent two-way game who is a good passer and an excellent skater, will hopefully bounce back somewhat in 2013/14, or he will find himself looking for work elsewhere.
  • ANTHONY PELUSO – 2 years @ $562.5k.  24 year old right winger played his first 5 NHL games this year, scoring 2 assists, but overall in 4 pro seasons has not shown much at all except the ability to pile up PIMs.  Provides little more than toughness.
  • BRYAN LITTLE – 5 years @ $4.7m.  25 year old center has 404 NHL games under his belt and 227 points, and overall has been a very consistent offensive performer, averaging 47 points per season, which is nothing to scoff at.  Still quite young, I wouldn’t be surprised if he could push the 60 point barrier once or twice in his career.  Also plays big minutes in all situations, whilst taking on the toughest competition on the team and still coming away with a strong shot differential.  This is a great signing for the team.
  • ZACH REDMOND – 1 year @ $715k.  The 25 year old former NCAA defender shocked many this year with his excellent play during his first NHL action, scoring a goal and 3 assists in 8 NHL games, but unfortunately a gruesome accident on the ice led to his femoral artery being lacerated and he was forced to miss the rest of the season.  Is a very strong AHL player already, and will be a strong candidate to make the team out of training camp.  An excellent skater with good size, he plays a very mobile puck moving style.
  • MICHAEL HUTCHINSON – 1 year @ $600k.  23 year old goalie has been solid since turning pro in 2010, though has not yet fully established himself as an AHL starter.  HF describes him as having excellent quickness and poise, as well as good technical ability, but is very streaky, perhaps the reason for him not earning the starting job in the AHL yet.
  • EDWARD PASQUALE – 1 year @ $575k.  22 year old goalie has been OK in 3 AHL seasons, but nothing spectacular.  Is still very young for a goalie and does have good all-round talent, so who knows what could happen if allowed to develop for a few more years.
  • BLAKE WHEELER – 6 years @ $5.6m.  The 26 year old forward seems to have really found a home with the Jets after struggling with inconsistency with the Bruins.  Leading the team in scoring in 2011/12 with 64 points, he was second on the team this year to Andrew Ladd with 41 points, and led the team in goals this year with 19.  Wheeler also drives the play consistently in the right direct at 5v5 whilst playing a physical game.  This is slightly on the high end of the payscale, and Wheeler did shoot at a 14.7% success rate this year, a rate well above his career average and may well come down again, but even so he’s proven himself to be a very valuable player to this team, and it’s nice to see them locking down their core.
  • ERIC O’DELL – 1 year @ $630k.  23 year old center has been very good in the AHL over 2 seasons so far, notching 55 points in 59 games with St John’s.  Described as having great hockey sense and a pro shot, he is a very good prospect for NHL time in 2013/14.
  • ZACH BOGOSIAN – 7 years @ $5.14m.  Despite only being 23 years old, Bogosian – the 3rd overall pick in 2008 by the Thrashers – is already a veteran of 5 NHL seasons.  He’s had an up-and-down time, with many not believing him to have been worth the hype, and others claiming he may be underrated.  Certainly his box-car numbers have never been anything to write home about, hitting a career high of 30 points in 2011/12 – solid but not overwhelming, although he would have hit 34 this year if he’d kept his pace over an 82 game season.  He’s also a -42 in his career, if you put much stock in that statistic.  So far, so meh.  Bogosian is a big minutes player though, averaging 22:57 per game this year in all situations, and does offer some physicality.Delving deeper, his shot differentials at 5v5 are not good at all, though he is playing very tough competition with less than 50% offensive zonestarts, so he’s not doing great but it’s kind of explainable.  In over his head I think would be an apt description.  At 23, he’s still learning an extremely difficult position in the best league on the planet, so I wouldn’t be fretting about him just yet, but I get the feeling the Jets are paying for “hoped for” performance for a guy with a high draft pedigree; ordinarily, a player who’s done what he has would probably be more in $4m range (I haven’t looked into comparables there, just guessing, but I feel that would have been a fairer number).

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