The 2011 Habs Offseason: UFA Forwards

In light of the recent Hal Gill signing and recent debates on how to best construct the Canadiens lineup this season, I've decided to put together an analysis of the current situation in the forward depth chart and who is available on the UFA market.

Most of last year’s forward lineup is either signed or a restricted free agent (RFA), which will probably preclude any major changes to over the off-season.

The current signed lineup looks like this:

Mike Cammalleri (6) – Tomas Plekanec (5) – xxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxx- Scott Gomez (7.3) – Brian Gionta (5)

Travis Moen (1.5) – Lars Eller (1.27) – xxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxx – xxxxxxxxxxx – xxxxxxxxxx

Total (26.11)

I will assume that all RFA’s will be retained and guess their salary for next season.

Mike Cammaleri (6) – Tomas Plekanec (5) – Andrei Kostitsyn (3.25)

Max Pacioretty (1.35) - Scott Gomez (7.3) – Brian Gionta (5)

Benoit Pouliot (1.35) – Lars Eller (1.27) – Travis Moen (1.5)

Tom Pyatt (.55) – David DesharnaisRyan White (.6)

Total (33.8)

I believe the cap will be raised once more to around $61 to 62 million and that the cap budget for forwards will be around $35 to 38 million. If the cap is raised then there will be room for another $2 to 4 million forward, otherwise there will be room for only another 1-2 depth players. 

As it is a thin market for top six forwards, this is not a promising prospect, few are better than internal options. Unless Gomez or Kostitsyn are moved for salary room an upgrade to the current top-six is unlikely and few players available are truly superior to those two. Let’s look at which forwards are pending Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) this summer.

To examine who is available I've compiled a list of the top producing UFA forwards. I've selected 0.35 points per game, a decent number for a third line role, as the threshold for players that might be worthy additions to the top nine.

Forward Free Agents: Per Game Scoring (>.35)

Name

Pos

Age

Team

GP

G

A

P

+/-

PIM

SOG

GPG

APG

PTSPG

Selanne, Teemu "

F

40

ANA

73

31

49

80

6

49

213

0.42

0.67

1.10

Richards, Brad "

F

30

DAL

72

28

49

77

1

24

272

0.39

0.68

1.07

Tanguay, Alex "

F

31

CGY

79

22

47

69

0

24

120

0.28

0.59

0.87

Hejduk, Milan "

F

35

COL

71

22

34

56

-23

18

170

0.31

0.48

0.79

Prospal, Vaclav "

F

36

NYR

29

9

14

23

4

8

61

0.31

0.48

0.79

Jokinen, Jussi "

F

28

CAR

70

19

33

52

3

24

136

0.27

0.47

0.74

Fleischmann, T. "

F

26

COL

45

12

19

31

2

18

98

0.27

0.42

0.69

Leino, Ville "

F

27

PHI

81

19

34

53

14

22

117

0.23

0.42

0.65

Morrison, Brendan "

F

35

CGY

66

9

34

43

13

16

89

0.14

0.52

0.65

Cole, Erik "

F

32

CAR

82

26

26

52

-1

49

201

0.32

0.32

0.63

Gagne, Simon "

F

31

TBL

63

17

23

40

-12

20

154

0.27

0.37

0.63

Connolly, Tim "

F

29

BUF

68

13

29

42

-10

20

151

0.19

0.43

0.62

Vrbata, Radim "

F

29

PHO

79

19

29

48

5

20

240

0.24

0.37

0.61

Stillman, Cory "

F

37

CAR

65

12

27

39

5

24

116

0.18

0.42

0.60

Recchi, Mark "

F

43

BOS

81

14

34

48

13

35

132

0.17

0.42

0.59

Laich, Brooks "

F

27

WAS

82

16

32

48

14

46

207

0.20

0.39

0.59

Brunette, Andrew "

F

37

MIN

82

18

28

46

-7

16

117

0.22

0.34

0.56

 














Kopecky, Tomas "

F

29

CHI

81

15

27

42

-13

60

178

0.19

0.33

0.52

Ryder, Michael "

F

31

BOS

79

18

23

41

-1

26

165

0.23

0.29

0.52

Samsonov, Sergei "

F

32

FLA

78

13

27

40

-2

14

123

0.17

0.35

0.51

Sullivan, Steve "

F

36

NAS

44

10

12

22

4

28

79

0.23

0.27

0.50

Weight, Doug "

F

40

NYI

18

2

7

9

-3

10

26

0.11

0.39

0.50

Belanger, Eric "

F

33

PHO

82

13

27

40

11

36

127

0.16

0.33

0.49

Miettinen, Antti "

F

30

MIN

73

16

19

35

-3

38

168

0.22

0.26

0.48

Goc, Marcel "

F

27

NAS

51

9

15

24

10

6

111

0.18

0.29

0.47

Dupuis, Pascal "

F

32

PIT

81

17

20

37

16

59

171

0.21

0.25

0.46

Kovalev, Alexei "

F

38

PIT

74

16

18

34

-6

44

151

0.22

0.24

0.46

Langenbrunner, J. "

F

35

DAL

70

9

23

32

-18

45

153

0.13

0.33

0.46

Sturm, Marco "

F

33

WAS

35

5

11

16

6

23

57

0.14

0.31

0.46

Higgins, Chris "

F

27

VAN

62

13

15

28

5

16

160

0.21

0.24

0.45

Darche, Mathieu "

F

34

MTL

59

12

14

26

7

10

90

0.20

0.24

0.44

Arnott, Jason "

F

36

WAS

73

17

14

31

-6

40

169

0.23

0.19

0.42

Upshall, Scottie "

F

27

CLB

82

22

12

34

-7

52

191

0.27

0.15

0.41

Reasoner, Marty "

F

34

FLA

82

14

18

32

2

22

124

0.17

0.22

0.39

Zherdev, Nikolai "

F

26

PHI

56

16

6

22

5

22

135

0.29

0.11

0.39

Larose, Chad "

F

29

CAR

82

16

15

31

-21

59

176

0.20

0.18

0.38

Fedotenko, Ruslan "

F

32

NYR

66

10

15

25

9

25

120

0.15

0.23

0.38

Modano, Mike "

F

40

DET

40

4

11

15

-4

8

79

0.10

0.28

0.38

Handzus, Michal "

F

34

LAK

82

12

18

30

-5

20

94

0.15

0.22

0.37

Frolov, Alexander "

F

28

NYR

43

7

9

16

4

8

78

0.16

0.21

0.37

Wellwood, Kyle "

F

27

SAN

35

5

8

13

10

0

50

0.14

0.23

0.37

 

There are many teams looking to upgrade their forwards and not many impact UFAs.  Many of the remaining will be resigned by their current team. Therefore the remaining players are apt to go at a premium this summer, suggesting that there will be little value for money at the top.  Thus, the best players are likely to be priced out of the Habs market. 

Meanwhile, the roles of the lesser players are best filled internally as Montreal has a few good options there (like re-signing Darche and/or Jeff Halpern).  Therefore I look to the middle market for players that might be useful additions to the top 9.

Quite a few free agents are unlikely to be options for the Habs this summer, such as Selanne, who probably wouldn't leave Anaheim, or Richards who would be priced out of the Habs market. A look at players I think have a decent likelihood to hit open market.

 

Forward Free Agents: Per Game Scoring (>.35) That Might Hit Open Market 

Name

Pos

Age

Team

GP

G

A

P

+/-

PIM

SOG

GPG

APG

PTSPG

Richards, Brad "

F

30

DAL

72

28

49

77

1

24

272

0.39

0.68

1.07

Prospal, Vaclav "

F

36

NYR

29

9

14

23

4

8

61

0.31

0.48

0.79

Jokinen, Jussi "

F

28

CAR

70

19

33

52

3

24

136

0.27

0.47

0.74

Fleischmann, T. "

F

26

COL

45

12

19

31

2

18

98

0.27

0.42

0.69

Morrison, Brendan "

F

35

CGY

66

9

34

43

13

16

89

0.14

0.52

0.65

Gagne, Simon "

F

31

TBL

63

17

23

40

-12

20

154

0.27

0.37

0.63

Connolly, Tim "

F

29

BUF

68

13

29

42

-10

20

151

0.19

0.43

0.62

Vrbata, Radim "

F

29

PHO

79

19

29

48

5

20

240

0.24

0.37

0.61

Stillman, Cory "

F

37

CAR

65

12

27

39

5

24

116

0.18

0.42

0.60

Recchi, Mark "

F

43

BOS

81

14

34

48

13

35

132

0.17

0.42

0.59

Laich, Brooks "

F

27

WAS

82

16

32

48

14

46

207

0.20

0.39

0.59

Brunette, Andrew "

F

37

MIN

82

18

28

46

-7

16

117

0.22

0.34

0.56

Kopecky, Tomas "

F

29

CHI

81

15

27

42

-13

60

178

0.19

0.33

0.52

Ryder, Michael "

F

31

BOS

79

18

23

41

-1

26

165

0.23

0.29

0.52

Samsonov, Sergei "

F

32

FLA

78

13

27

40

-2

14

123

0.17

0.35

0.51

Sullivan, Steve "

F

36

NAS

44

10

12

22

4

28

79

0.23

0.27

0.50

Belanger, Eric "

F

33

PHO

82

13

27

40

11

36

127

0.16

0.33

0.49

Miettinen, Antti "

F

30

MIN

73

16

19

35

-3

38

168

0.22

0.26

0.48

Goc, Marcel "

F

27

NAS

51

9

15

24

10

6

111

0.18

0.29

0.47

Dupuis, Pascal "

F

32

PIT

81

17

20

37

16

59

171

0.21

0.25

0.46

Kovalev, Alexei "

F

38

PIT

74

16

18

34

-6

44

151

0.22

0.24

0.46

Langenbrunner, J. "

F

35

DAL

70

9

23

32

-18

45

153

0.13

0.33

0.46

Sturm, Marco "

F

33

WAS

35

5

11

16

6

23

57

0.14

0.31

0.46

Higgins, Chris "

F

27

VAN

62

13

15

28

5

16

160

0.21

0.24

0.45

Darche, Mathieu "

F

34

MTL

59

12

14

26

7

10

90

0.20

0.24

0.44

Arnott, Jason "

F

36

WAS

73

17

14

31

-6

40

169

0.23

0.19

0.42

Upshall, Scottie "

F

27

CLB

82

22

12

34

-7

52

191

0.27

0.15

0.41

Reasoner, Marty "

F

34

FLA

82

14

18

32

2

22

124

0.17

0.22

0.39

Zherdev, Nikolai "

F

26

PHI

56

16

6

22

5

22

135

0.29

0.11

0.39

Larose, Chad "

F

29

CAR

82

16

15

31

-21

59

176

0.20

0.18

0.38

Fedotenko, Ruslan "

F

32

NYR

66

10

15

25

9

25

120

0.15

0.23

0.38

Handzus, Michal "

F

34

LAK

82

12

18

30

-5

20

94

0.15

0.22

0.37

Wellwood, Kyle "

F

27

SAN

35

5

8

13

10

0

50

0.14

0.23

0.37

Torres, Raffi "

F

29

VAN

80

14

15

29

4

78

115

0.17

0.19

0.36

Ward, Joel "

F

30

NAS

80

10

19

29

-1

42

157

0.13

0.24

0.36

Bergenheim, Sean "

F

27

TBL

80

14

15

29

0

56

182

0.17

0.19

0.36

 

Clear cut top-six players are rare in this market, if Montreal is looking to add another winger I'd suggest it is down to Jokinen, Fleichmann, Gagne, Vrbata and Laich as legitimate options. If none of these are available at a reasonable price and look to be a good fit for the team, I'd suggest the Habs are better off standing pat on top-six forwards.

Personally, unless Gagne or Laich is interested in coming for reasonable dollars ($4 million or less) I think the current top six group is good enough to make the playoffs and if an upgrade is warranted, it should be revisited at the trade deadline. 

If there is no major acquisition then there is certainly space and available players to make an addition to the third line. For a third line role, players like Upshall or ex-Hab Higgins or MInnesota's Miettinen might be worthy pickups to improve the forward depth and give better options for the bottom 6 centers to work with.

Trades are another option for improving the top nine, but as I, like all fans, lack the knowledge of who is available for what price on that market, I cannot make a meaningful analysis of the options there.

Numbers courtesy of capgeek.com

edit: removed Glencross

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Eyes On The Prize

You must be a member of Eyes On The Prize to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Eyes On The Prize. You should read them.

Join Eyes On The Prize

You must be a member of Eyes On The Prize to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Eyes On The Prize. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker