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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Top Remaining UFA Forwards

+35 Year Olds

Below are the top remaining UFA forwards with a bit of a scoring touch. I've only included those that scored at least 20 points or at least 10 goals. And I've grouped them into those that are 35 and older and those that are younger than that important cap related threshold.

Among the +35 year old group, Teemu Selanne is the the obvious cream of the crop. However, I would bet that Selanne will only sign in ANA if he decides to come back at all. Morrison is still recovering from a knee injury in March while playing on the top line in Calgary.

Stillman and Kovalev are still capable of good games and putting up points, especially on the PP. Prospal showed he can come back from serious right knee surgery (played at close to a PPG rate), though speed was never his game anyway. And Madden can still skate and pot the odd goal despite getting virtually zero PP time.

Selanne, TeemuW
Update: re-signed by ANA
Morrison, BrendanC
Update: re-signed by CGYEvSPKPPTOIG%Pts%
Stillman, CoryW
Update: retiredEvSPKPPTOIG%Pts%
Kovalev, AlexeiW
Update: signed by Atlant (KHL)EvSPKPPTOIG%Pts%
Madden, JohnC
Rumored: MIN or retireEvSPKPPTOIG%Pts%
Prospal, VaclavW
Update: signed by CBJ 

Under 35 Year Olds

This next group, players that are under 35 years of age, is a diverse lot. Samsonov leads the bunch in points and is accustomed to playing top six minutes. He can probably be had for a small cap hit unless he decides to sign in Europe. Schremp had a bit of a break out year last season but is still looking for a contract.

Zherdev is the most talented of the younger guns, but his commitment to playing shift in and shift out is a real problem. Dumont pretty much fell off the map this season, as NSH didn't even bother keeping him for the remainder of his contract, but rather buying him out. Winchester can hit and grind, and pot the odd goal. He'd have a hard time keeping up in a top six rotation though.

Samsonov, SergeiW
small but lots of assts on PPEvSPKPPTOIG%Pts%
Schremp, RobC
Update: signed with Modo in SELEvSPKPPTOIG%Pts%
Zherdev, NikolaiW
best G/GP average in younger group
Update: signed with KHL's Atlant
Dumont, J.P.W
bought out in NSHEvSPKPPTOIG%Pts%
Winchester, BradW
a grinder who got 10 goals
Update: tryout with SJS

  • EvS - even strength time on ice per game
  • PK - short-handed time on ice per game
  • PP - powerplay time on ice per game
  • TOI - total time on ice per game
  • G% - goal per games played percentage
  • Pts% - points per games played percentage

Nik Zherdev

Perhaps the most intriguing of all of the remaining UFAs is Nik Zherdev. Is there one more NHL team willing to give the talented winger a shot? I would guess probably, but they'll likely have to stave off the KHL to do it.

"He's been an intriguing player for quite a few teams," his agent Jay Grossman told Sporting News. "It's a question of when are we going to be satisfied and when are they going to pull the trigger?"

The wild card though may be Zherdev's recent arrest in Russia:
"He's an unrestricted free agent this offseason … an offseason that has started with Zherdev getting arrested in Russia for a violent incident with his wife, according to the newspaper MK."

On the ice though, Zherdev was better than perhaps his reputation may otherwise have one believe. For instance, "balanced Corsi takes that into consideration and balances it so Corsi can be compared amongst players that play the same role. And Zherdev shines, by far the best Flyers player in the department last season according to the metric.

I wonder if there is any chance of Zherdev going back to Columbus where it all began? The Blue Jackets just lost Kristian Huselius for up to six months after on off-season training mishap. I would guess the headache that may come with Zherdev's signing isn't worth it, considering the plethora of other decent enough options still available.

July 21, 2011 Update: 
@dchesnokov Dmitry Chesnokov Twitter: Zherdev's Russian agent says the player is considering only NHL offers at this point; will only look to the KHL if NHL doesn't work out.

July 22, 2011 Update: 
@SlavaMalamud Slava Malamud Twitter: Tough day for Zherdev. Dissed by Holmgren first, then Magnitogorsk says it's not interested in acquiring his rights.

July 25, 2011 Update: 
@JawandaPuck JawandaPuck Twitter: Atlant (Mytishchi) club GM said: "if Nikolai Zherdev wants play in Russia, he'll play with Atlant." own rights, no trade

SPORT.RU Report: "After the Philadelphia Flyers refused to renew the contract with the 27-year old Russian winger Nikolai Zherdev , the player has expressed interest in the Winnipeg Jets".

July 28, 2011 Update: 
Zherdev interview: "I have no timetable. I’m not in a hurry, I have time. I remember a case a few years ago I had already played ten games in Russia and then one NHL team gave me a good offer. Now I’m just focusing on getting prepared for a new season and choose the best contract for me. The agent handles everything else.

"I don’t know all the details of the situation. The agent does. But I can say that I’m seriously considering all offers from both NHL and KHL. The weather is not a priority to me. The most important thing is to get a good role on the team, a good coach and a good contract. Everything related to climate and geography doesn’t basically mean anything.

"I met with Vityaz GM Alexei Zhamnov a little while ago, he played three years in Winnipeg. He said it’s very cold and a lot of snow there in the winter, which just makes it an ideal place for hockey. Great! Manitoba doesn’t scare me."

July 29, 2011 Update: 
@JawandaPuck JawandaPuck Twitter: Alexei Kovalev signing w/ Atlant #KHL, means Nikolay Zherdev is more likely to play in the NHL this season #NHLJets #NHL

Zherdev's KHL rights are held by Atlant and their GM has stated he has no intention of trading them. Those rights may come in handy even if Zherdev starts in the NHL this season, but decides to finish in the KHL.

Aug 3, 2011 Update: 
@dchesnokov Dmitry Chesnokov: Zherdev couldn't find the offer he was looking for in the NHL and joined his formed KHL club Atlant where he will be teammates with Kovalev.

Apparently the NHL offer(s) were to low and he took the better deal from Atlant and gets the chance to play with Alexei Kovalev.

Alexei Yashin

Alexei Yashin back to the NHL? Certainly the Phoenix Coyotes are desperately in need of a #1 center. I would imagine though, if Yashin had a choice, he'd want to stay in the eastern conference, specifically with the Islanders. 

"Last season, we had a long break in the KHL and I came back to New York...Charles called and invited us back to the Nassau Coliseum for an Islanders game against Nashville. We sat in the suite and had a really nice time. It was great to see the Islanders again.

"In my five seasons there, we made the playoffs four years. That's pretty good, but it's not enough. I wished we developed into more of a success, but I only have positive things to say about the Islanders, Long Island, the fans and ownership. I still root for the Islanders.

"About two years ago, we were talking to the Islanders. The idea was about what it would take for me to join them late in the year and for the playoffs after my season in the KHL. The Islanders didn't make the playoffs and the idea didn't go any further. Let's face it, that's a long shot." 

Since 2007, the 6'4" 225lbs pivot has been playing in the KHL with two different clubs: Yaroslavl and St. Petersburg. Those two cities obviously passed the girlfriend litmus test. Yahin's life partner of 11 years is former supermodel and actress, Carol Alt, a Long Island native. St. Petersburg is beautiful and Yaroslavl is not far from Moscow. I'm sure Alt would also be thrilled with a return to Long Island.

July 20, 2011 Update: 
Apparently Alexei Yashin is available again and has received an offer from an NHL club according to his agent as quoted by Sovetsky Sport:
Reporter: And in the NHL, Alexei interest still there?
Mark Gandler: One proposal from the NHL, we have already received.
Reporter:  From the "Islanders"?
Mark Gandler: I will not discuss the club. We consider the feasibility of the proposal.
July 22, 2011 Update:
@dchesnokov Dmitry Chesnokov Twitter: Yashin's agent Mark Gandler to SovSport: "At this time we are negotiating with the #Islanders...and are seriously considering their offer."

@KatieStrangNYI Katie Strang Twitter: #Isles-Yashin reunion? Both Snow and Yashin's agent Mark Gandler confirm to Newsday they have discussed possibility

@dchesnokov Dmitry Chesnokov Twitter: Coach for Avtomobilist (a KHL club that was in the running for Yashin) says "the club can't compete with the Isles and Metallurg offers."

July 24, 2011 Update:
@KatieStrangNYI Katie Strang Twitter: Per Yashin's agent: Nothing new this weekend re: discussions between #Isles and Alexei Yashin

July 25, 2011 Update:
@KatieStrangNYI Katie Strang Twitter: Yashin said he will "look at all situations" and take time to decide on the future. "We'll see what is the right decision for me." #Isles

@mirtle James Mirtle Twitter: No surprise here but was told only NHL team that Yashin could land with would be the Isles. It's them or the KHL again.

July 27, 2011 Update:
@KatieStrangNYI Katie Strang Twitter: Yashin's agent Gandler said via email today there was nothing new to report; GM Garth Snow declined to comment #Isles

July 28, 2011 Update:
@andystrickland Andy Strickland Twitter: Nothing is imminent between the Islanders and Alexei Yashin...if he does sign it's not expected to happen before next week #Isles

Aug 24, 2011 Update:
Garth Snow quoted by the NY Post: "Right now, I don't have any plans to add another forward to our group," Snow told The Post. "As much as we'd like to add quality veterans, we're not going to box out our young guys." Looks like it was just another off-season of Alexei Yashin back to NYI false 'hope'.

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