NHL Free Agent Frenzy
Well we have our Stanley Cup Champions, so a big congrats goes out to the St. Louis Blues. It’s been a long time coming and you really stepped up when it was needed to give a starving city an on-ice championship! Now hopefully your owners won’t up and move to Los Angeles OR Phoenix like ALL the idiot Rams owners have done over the years.
The NHL Draft begins in an hour and a half as I type this up, so by the time I’m done the Wings will have selected someone from the NTDP Team in Ann Arbor.
Now let’s get to the meat of the article, or shall I say chum? NHL Free Agency is set to start on July 1st, and this year’s pool is Pacific Ocean deep with tons of talent at least 20-30 deep. The last few seasons there has been some Megalodon sized sharks available via free agency in Steven Stamkos and John Tavares. This season’s top free agent was, and now, is still a shark, see the theme? So I’ll break this year’s group down according to shark pecking order of dominance.
One quick gripe, how in the living hell can the Flyers justify $7.18 million per year to a career 45-55 point player? Please share those drugs. Kevin Hayes played it up in a contract year...are you not familiar with the old saying “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” As Napoleon Dynamite once said, “Frigging Idiots” Philly is paying about half their team over six million a season, way to keep not winning a Cup!
Great White Sharks
Erik Karlsson is the Great White in this class, and he is still a shark of the San Jose genus, and is worth every penny at eight years for a sum of $92 million.
The only other player available that I’d categorize as a Great White is Artemi Panarin, but was that because of playing on the top lines with Patrick Kane in Chicago and the Blue Jackets top line...or is he that smooth and good regardless of talent around him. I’ll lean towards the latter, he is very good, and a top line, top power play skater. Rumors are Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and the Blackhawks are on his horizon. The Panthers would love him and really need I most as the most talented all around team, and the most stomach sickening under achievers also.
This group has a few more Blue Jackets in Sergei Bobrovsky, and recently traded former overall number #3 Colorado pick in Matt Duchene. I imagine the Jackets would like to lock all three up and maintain the killer team chemistry these boys have, as Columbus is a player or two away from their own June parades. Bobrovsky is linked to the Panthers, Flames and Jackets, and Duchene is linked to Columbus also along with Nashville and Montreal.
Nashville also very close to being a regular Cup contender is dying for an offensive jolt and have been whispering about P.K. Subban being trade bait for some offensive punch. One thing the Preds do better than everyone is develop killer rear guards.
Next in the Tiger Shark group is Jeff Skinner, who went absolutely apeshit in Buffalo playing with a absolute stud in Jack Eichel. I’ve been hearing that Skinner is linked to the Sabres of course, and why not, but also the Islanders and Avalanche. I cannot rule out Nashville on any elite goal scorer though.
Another of the many San Jose UFA’s lands here as he is a few years older, but still an elite talent in the Lil’ General and fellow Polish brethren, Joe Pavelski. Any team needing sound leadership with deep playoff experience and can still bag 50-60 points, here is your man.
The Islanders are faced with possibly losing a key contributor to this season's past excellent year in Anders Lee. He is 28 years of age and if Long Island/Queens/Brooklyn or whatever borough they play in, will be very upset if Anders gets away. I read in The Hockey News that out of the 147 left wingers to play at least 1000 minutes at 5 on 5 the last three seasons that Lee ranks seventh in goals per 60 minutes, right behind Alexander Ovechkin.
Jake Gardiner, Robin Lehner and Mats Zuccarello round out this group. While Zucc is 31 years old, Lehner and Gardiner are 28 and 27 and both in their primes, coming off career seasons, which usually means a new tax bracket in sports for players of such ilk.
Calgary could benefit greatly with Lehner, as would any team that missed out on Bobrovsky, otherwise you’ll be stuck with what you already have or a much lesser shark in Petr Mrazek.
Oceanic White Tipped Sharks
Players in this group are Michael Ferland, Brock Nelson, Tyler Myers and Gustav Nyquist. Actually I’m throwing Wayne Simmonds in this group as well, he was just stuck in Nashville and didn’t have the same caliber of playmakers he played with in Philly. If you want a bull in front of the net who can punish and score, look no further. All these guys are very serviceable NHL players who can help propel your team further into the playoffs, but seeing the Jets lose Myers after trading Jacob Trouba to my Rangers, I don’t think so, unless they’re washing their hands on another monster rear guard.
I cannot call this player a Mako Shark because he isn’t fast, but more like an old Greenland Shark who often live well past 100 years old, which is ironically close to his actual age. Just kidding...I love you, Jumbo Joe Thornton. If San Jose can resign all these guys and get Jumbo at a discount they may be able to push for another Stanley Cup.
If you ever want to talk anything fantasy I’m here and will answer any questions @PolkaPat
Believe the team I write with when they say I always kill it in industry leagues...because I do!