The top unrestricted free agent blueliners

Darren Dreger
6/29/2008 5:41:04 PM
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There are many compelling storylines swirling around this years group of soon-to-be unrestricted free agent defencemen.

The domino effect will be in play, with most teams in the market for high-end blueliners circling Brian Campbell and Wade Redden.

TSN asked a group of 12 general managers, coaches and player agents to submit a list of the defencemen expected to generate the most attention on Tuesday.

Needless to say, Campbell and Redden are 1-2.

The Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks are in on the hunt, however many more teams are expected to join the bidding when the market opens.
Michal Rozsival ranks high among general managers in search of a 'go-to' defenceman. Rozsival chews up big minutes and can score, a combination that guarantees he's a hot commodity.

Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik scored high, with some pointing out that one spectacular shift in the third period of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final when he registered five hits as an example of the type of physical presence he can provide.

Brad Stuart and Nik Kronwall made for a formidable pairing in helping the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup championship. Stuart would prefer to stay in the west and won't have any trouble finding a team to pay him between $3.5 million and $4.5 million.

Montreal's Mark Streit and former Hab Ron Hainsey received similar support, placing them both in the Top 10. Streit recorded 34 power play points, tied for second among defencemen and is expected to go quickly in the $3 million to $4 million range.

Rounding out the list are Mike Commodore and Jeff Finger.

Commodore provides Stanley Cup experience, sound defence and some muscle - he loves to battle.  Finger is a prototypical late-bloomer who Colorado would like to keep in the mix, however because of the attention he's receiving as a quality puck-moving defenceman, Finger may be a top 10 unrestricted free agent.

Darren Dreger

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