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Backchecking: The 2010 NHL Unrestricted Free Agents

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Scott Cullen
4/22/2010 4:53:38 PM
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When July 1st rolls around, NHL teams are ready to spend big money on free agents, whether it's going to make a sizeable change in their fortunes or not.

Here's a quick look at the top 12 Free Agent Contracts who signed with new teams after the draft last summer (including the Jay Bouwmeester deal).

Marian Hossa (12 years, $62.8-million) has been a good, though probably not great, player for the Blackhawks.

Marian Gaborik (five years, $37.5-million) was an impact player for the Rangers; the only consistent offensive threat on the team.

Jay Bouwmeester (five years, $33.4-million) didn't have the desired impact and was one of those pointed at as an underachiever when the Flames ultimately missed the postseason.

Martin Havlat (six years, $30-million), who was effectively bumped from Chicago by Hossa, struggled in Minnesota early on, but got better with 46 points in 54 games from the start of December.

Mike Cammalleri (five years, $30-million) struggled coming back from injury late in the year (no goals, two points in nine games), but his 26 goals did rank second on the Habs.

Mattias Ohlund (seven years, $26.25-million) was ostensibly brought in to groom Victor Hedman, but the Lightning might have expected more than zero goals from him.

Brian Gionta (five years, $25-million) might have been considered a dubious signing by the Canadiens, but his 28 goals (in just 61 games) led the team.

Mike Komisarek (five years, $22.5-million) got off to a poor start with the Maple Leafs before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

Nik Antropov (four years, $16-million) had a career year with the Thrashers, even raising his game after the Ilya Kovalchuk trade.

Nikolai Khabibulin (four years, $15-million) wasn't terrible early in Edmonton, but the 37-year-old's back woes limited him to 18 games.

Rob Scuderi (four years, $13.6-million) plays an efficient 19 minutes per game in Los Angeles and was plus-16 for a team that made the jump to the playoffs.

Jaroslav Spacek (three years, $11.5-million) seemed like a costly signing for Montreal, but didn't have a bad season. He's been effective, at times, against Alexander Ovechkin in the playoffs.

Given those results, it's hardly a sure thing that free agent signings are going to dramatically alter a team's place in the standings, but sometimes it's about selling hope.

The Rangers wouldn't have had a shot at the playoffs without Gaborik and the Canadiens surely wouldn't have made it without Cammalleri, Gionta and Spacek.

The Blackhawks might have been Cup contenders with or without Hossa but, at least theoretically, he figures to improve their chances as he hopes to reach the Stanley Cup final for the third straight season, with his third different team.

For the others, the good news is that they weren't signed to one-year deals, so they still have a chance to make a difference.

Looking at this year's free agent class, Kovalchuk may be the prize, but a year from now, it could also very well be someone who signs for significantly less that ends up making the difference.  

After all, who was making a big deal about the Avalanche signing Craig Anderson in the summer of 2009?

The first group of players consists of those that may be ready to call it a career.  Keith Tkachuk already announced his retirement and surely some others in this group will too.  But, some of them will be back for more.

With that brief recap out of the way, and the disclaimer that any of these players can be removed from free agent consideration by signing with their teams before July 1, here is a look at the summer of 2010 NHL Unrestricted Free Agent Class:

The methodology used for the TSN.ca Rating can be found here.

(Ages as of July 1, 2010)

ONE MORE YEAR?

Teemu Selanne, RW, Anaheim
Age: 39
Stats: 27-21-48, plus-3, 16 PIM in 54 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 80.66
Comment: 27 goals in 54 games shows there is plenty left in the tank should the Finnish Flash decide to keep going.

Scott Niedermayer, D, Anaheim
Age: 36
Stats: 10-38-48, minus-9, 38 PIM in 80 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 73.91
Comment: A minus player in each of the last three seasons, after one minus year in first 14 seasons.

Adam Foote, D, Colorado
Age: 38
Stats: 0-9-9, plus-8, 64 PIM in 67 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 63.38
Comment: Still logging serious minutes (19:21 per game) when healthy.

Mike Modano, C, Dallas
Age: 40
Stats: 14-16-30, minus-6, 22 PIM in 59 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.64
Comment: Send off in Minnesota sure looks like the end has come for brilliant two-way pivot.

Rob Blake, D, San Jose
Age: 40
Stats: 7-23-30, plus-14, 60 PIM in 70 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 73.89
Comment: Came on after slow start and still capable of handling top-pair role.

Paul Kariya, LW, St. Louis
Age: 35
Stats: 18-25-43, minus-7, 36 PIM in 75 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 71.31
Comment: Rumoured to be considering retirement; his production has dipped in recent seasons.

Mark Recchi, RW, Boston
Age: 42
Stats: 18-25-43, plus-4, 34 PIM in 81 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 72.75
Comment: A plus player and the Bruins' fourth-leading scorer.

Miroslav Satan, LW, Boston
Age: 35
Stats: 95-14, plus-8, 12 PIM in 38 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.28
Comment: Still a useful contributor when he joined the Bruins for second half of the season.

Robert Lang, C, Phoenix
Age: 39
Stats: 9-20-29, minus-4, 28 PIM in 64 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 64.71
Comment: Point total his lowest since 1997-98.

Craig Conroy, C, Calgary
Age: 38
Stats: 3-12-15, minus-6, 25 PIM in 63 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 60.46
Comment: Nine games away from 1,000 for his career.

Doug Weight, C, N.Y. Islanders
Age: 39
Stats: 1-16-17, minus-1, 8 PIM in 36 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.81
Comment: Trouble staying healthy and only one goal in 36 games; tough to put in traditional top-six role.

Aaron Ward, D, Anaheim
Age: 37
Stats: 1-12-13, minus-15, 62 PIM in 77 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 60.50
Comment: Role is declining, but still hits and blocks shots.

Kirk Maltby, RW, Detroit
Age: 37
Stats: 4-2-6, plus-1, 32 PIM in 52 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 60.55
Comment: Loyal foot soldier played fewest games since 1994-95 (lockout season).

Mathieu Schneider, D, Phoenix
Age: 41
Stats: 2-7-9, plus-5, 16 PIM in 25 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.85
Comment: Flopped in Vancouver, then better after late-season deal to Coyotes.

Darryl Sydor, D, St. Louis
Age: 38
Stats: 0-8-8, minus-6, 15 PIM in 47 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 59.44
Comment: 47 games the fewest since he played 18 in 1991-1992.

Jere Lehtinen, RW, Dallas
Age: 37
Stats: 4-13-17, minus-8, 8 PIM in 58 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 63.56
Comment: Defensive ace has been worn down by injuries in recent years.

Vyacheslav Kozlov, LW, Atlanta
Age: 38
Stats: 8-18-26, minus-15, 33 PIM in 55 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 63.96
Comment: Does he have another bounceback season left in him? Will any team give him the chance?

Dean McAmmond, C, New Jersey
Age: 37
Stats: 8-9-17, minus-1, 40 PIM in 62 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 63.29
Comment: Has played for nine teams and is now four games away from 1,000 for his career.

Scott Walker, RW, Washington
Age: 36
Stats: 5-3-8, minus-3, 32 PIM in 42 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.48
Comment: Years of playing hard have taken a toll; only 141 games played in last three seasons.

Shean Donovan, RW, Ottawa
Age: 35
Stats: 2-3-5, minus-4, 40 PIM in 30 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 57.73
Comment: Fewest games played since 1994-95, when he made his NHL debut.

Brad May, LW, Detroit
Age: 38
Stats: 0-1-1, minus-5, 66 PIM in 40 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 55.15
Comment: Held his own in ten scraps before getting sent to AHL.

TOP SIX FORWARDS

Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, New Jersey
Age: 27
Stats: 41-44-85, plus-10, 53 PIM in 76 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 88.46
Comment: Marquee name of the free agent class; took some risk by reportedly turning down more than $100-million offer by Thrashers.

Patrick Marleau, LW, San Jose
Age: 30
Stats: 44-39-83, plus-21, 22 PIM in 82 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 90.32
Comment: Hitting free agency at a good time, with a career-high in goals and plus-minus; should be in demand.

Tomas Plekanec, C, Montreal
Age: 27
Stats: 25-45-70, plus-5, 50 PIM in 82 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 79.96
Comment: Talented and determined player who can play in all situations.

Alexander Frolov, LW, Los Angeles
Age: 28
Stats: 19-32-51, minus-1, 26 PIM in 81 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 71.94
Comment: Production has dipped in each of last three seasons, but size and skill will attract suitors.

Matthew Lombardi, C, Phoenix
Age: 28
Stats: 19-34-53, plus-8, 36 PIM in 78 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 75.44
Comment: Speedster could cash in with few scoring centres available.

Ray Whitney, LW, Carolina
Age: 38
Stats: 21-37-58, minus-6, 26 PIM in 80 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 74.08
Comment: Durable, productive and a threat on the power play.

Alexei Ponikarovsky, LW, Pittsburgh
Age: 30
Stats: 21-29-50, minus-1, 61 PIM in 77 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 74.50
Comment: Big winger can skate and has more than 20 goals in four of the last five seasons.

Maxim Afinogenov, RW, Atlanta
Age: 30
Stats: 24-37-61, minus-17, 46 PIM in 82 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 71.07
Comment: Showed he can still be a productive scorer when healthy.

Todd Bertuzzi, RW, Detroit
Age: 35
Stats: 18-26-44, minus-7, 80 PIM in 82 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 68.75
Comment: Has settled in 40-44 point range for last three seasons.

Olli Jokinen, C, N.Y. Rangers
Age: 31
Stats: 15-35-50, plus-3, 75 PIM in 82 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 73.70
Comment: No longer an elite producer; should be a better fit, at least economically, in second-line role.

Lee Stempniak, RW, Phoenix
Age: 27
Stats: 28-20-48, even, 26 PIM in 80 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 75.12
Comment: Might have been a free agent afterthough until he scored 14 goals in 18 games after trade to Coyotes.

Brendan Morrison, C, Washington
Age: 34
Stats: 12-30-42, plus-23, 40 PIM in 74 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 75.04
Comment: Not a big point producer any more, but a career-best plus-minus.

Bill Guerin, RW, Pittsburgh
Age: 39
Stats: 21-24-45, minus-9, 75 PIM in 78 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 63.12
Comment: Hard to believe he'd be just as productive with any other centre.

Tomas Holmstrom, RW, Detroit
Age: 37
Stats: 25-20-45, plus-5, 60 PIM in 68 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 74.64
Comment: Crease-crasher has always been a Red Wing and is coming off a strong season.

Saku Koivu, C, Anaheim
Age: 35
Stats: 19-33-52, plus-14, 36 PIM in 71 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 77.64
Comment: Still productive in a complementary role; should be demand for his services.

Pavol Demitra, C, Vancouver
Age: 35
Stats: 3-13-6, plus-3, 0 PIM in 28 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 69.98
Comment: Talented yet oft-injured player hasn't had a minus-rating since 1995-96.

Alex Tanguay, LW, Tampa Bay
Age: 30
Stats: 10-27-37, minus-2, 32 PIM in 80 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.54
Comment: Could be forgotten coming off career-worst season, but might still make it work in the right situation.

THE OTHERS

Colby Armstrong, RW, Atlanta
Age: 27
Stats: 15-14-29, plus-6, 61 PIM in 79 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 69.23
Comment: Hitter plays a solid two-way game and should be in demand as a result.

Matt Cullen, C, Ottawa
Age: 33
Stats: 16-32-48, minus-7, 34 PIM in 81 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 72.57
Comment: Third-line centre with some offensive upside slumped after deal to Senators.

Eric Belanger, C, Washington
Age: 32
Stats: 15-26-41, plus-2, 32 PIM in 77 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 71.75
Comment: Very good third line centre; don't get fooled by hot streaks into thinking he's more.

Matt Cooke, LW, Pittsburgh
Age: 31
Stats: 15-15-30, plus-17, 106 PIM in 79 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 73.50
Comment: Notorious after his hit on Marc Savard, but had a really good year on line with Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy.

Raffi Torres, LW, Buffalo
Age: 28
Stats: 19-17-36, minus-11, 34 PIM in 74 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.49
Comment: One of league's most punishing hitters also has occasional goal-scoring outbursts.

Dominic Moore, C, Montreal
Age: 29
Stats: 10-18-28, minus-3, 43 PIM in 69 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.90
Comment: Not as productive as 2008-2009, but is established as sound third-line pivot now.

Mike Comrie, LW, Edmonton
Age: 29
Stats: 13-8-21, minus-9, 30 PIM in 43 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.95
Comment: Not a hugely successful return home, but 13 goals in 43 games indicates he can still contribute.

Owen Nolan, RW, Minnesota
Age: 38
Stats: 16-17-33, minus-12, 40 PIM in 73 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.22
Comment: Has slowed, yet still has 73 goals in four seasons after being off from 2004 to 2006.

John Madden, C, Chicago
Age: 36
Stats: 10-13-23, minus-2, 12 PIM in 79 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.77
Comment: Veteran checker still useful in reduced role.

Kyle Wellwood, C, Vancouver
Age: 27
Stats: 14-11-25, plus-6, 12 PIM in 75 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.66
Comment: Not strong or fast enough to take full advantage of puck skills, but has improved all-around play.

Fredrik Modin, LW, Los Angeles
Age: 35
Stats: 5-6-11, minus-8, 26 PIM in 44 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 61.25
Comment: Oft-injured, but appears to be refreshed by move to Kings.

Rob Niedermayer, C, New Jersey
Age: 35
Stats: 10-12-22, plus-3, 45 PIM in 71 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.21
Comment: Strong season with Devils produced best plus-minus since 1996-1997.

Christopher Higgins, LW, Calgary
Age: 27
Stats: 8-9-17, minus-9, 32 PIM in 67 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.48
Comment: Disastrous free agent year for three-time 20-goal scorer, so could be a bargain signing.

Jim Slater, C, Atlanta
Age: 27
Stats: 11-7-18, plus-1, 60 PIM in 61 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.93
Comment: Buried early in the season, but worked his way into regular duty.

Adam Burish, RW, Chicago
Age: 27
Stats: 1-3-4, plus-2, 14 PIM in 13 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 62.18
Comment: Gritty forward missed much of season recovering from knee surgery.

Taylor Pyatt, LW, Phoenix
Age: 28
Stats: 12-11-23, plus-13, 39 PIM in 74 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 69.58
Comment: A fresh start in Phoenix brought a solid two-way season with career-best plus-minus.

Eric Nystrom, LW, Calgary
Age: 27
Stats: 11-8-19, even, 54 PIM in 82 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.53
Comment: Checking winger set modest offensive career highs.

Glen Metropolit, C, Montreal
Age: 36
Stats: 16-13-29, minus-1, 24 PIM in 69 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.93
Comment: Hard-working vet came out of nowhere to score 10 PP goals.

Ruslan Fedotenko, LW, Pittsburgh
Age: 31
Stats: 11-19-30, minus-17, 50 PIM in 80 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.69
Comment: Disappointing season with career-low in goals and plus-minus.

Jason Williams, RW, Detroit
Age: 29
Stats: 6-9-15, minus-7, 8 PIM in 44 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 64.08
Comment: Hurt and not very productive in return to Motor City.

Jeff Halpern, C, Los Angeles
Age: 34
Stats: 9-10-19, minus-14, 39 PIM in 71 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 59.94
Comment: Veteran checker has had role cut back since deal to Kings.

Scott Nichol, C, San Jose
Age: 35
Stats: 4-15-19, even, 72 PIM in 79 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.56
Comment: A valuable depth player for Sharks, with career-high in points and strong face-off work.

Arron Asham, RW, Philadelphia
Age: 32
Stats: 10-14-24, minus-2, 126 PIM in 72 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.31
Comment: 18 NHL forwards had at least 10 goals and 100 PIM this season; Asham was one of them.

Richard Park, RW, N.Y. Islanders
Age: 34
Stats: 9-22-31, minus-8, 28 PIM in 81 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.07
Comment: Durable veteran's point totals in last three seasons: 32, 31, 31.

Adam Mair, C, Buffalo
Age: 31
Stats: 6-8-14, minus-2, 73 PIM in 69 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 60.52
Comment: Scrappy fourth-liner might need a fresh opportunity elsewhere.

Steve Begin, C, Boston
Age: 32
Stats: 5-9-14, minus-7, 53 PIM in 77 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 63.10
Comment: Julien favourite brings grit, but minutes need to be managed.

Jed Ortmeyer, LW, San Jose
Age: 31
Stats: 8-11-19, plus-4, 37 PIM in 76 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.77
Comment: Rejuvenated career with solid season in San Jose.

Jamal Mayers, C, Calgary
Age: 35
Stats: 3-11-14, minus-3, 131 PIM in 71 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 60.24
Comment: Still provides toughness and played better after deal to Flames.

Andrew Ebbett, C, Minnesota
Age: 27
Stats: 9-6-15, minus-8, 8 PIM in 61 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 62.17
Comment: Smallish pivot played for three NHL teams in 2009-2010.

Matt Ellis, LW, Buffalo
Age: 28
Stats: 3-10-13, minus-1, 12 PIM in 72 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 61.21
Comment: Modest production and honest effort from fourth-liner.

Evgeny Artyukhin, LW, Atlanta
Age: 27
Stats: 9-7-16, minus-4, 72 PIM in 54 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 61.66
Comment: Giant can be a punishing hitter, but can't seem to achieve potential and climb depth chart.

Marek Svatos, RW, Colorado
Age: 28
Stats: 7-4-11, minus-13, 35 PIM in 54 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.68
Comment: Will a team try to salvage one-time 30-goal scorer?

Brad Winchester, LW, St. Louis
Age: 29
Stats: 3-5-8, plus-3, 108 PIM in 64 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 63.31
Comment: Big winger uses his size, but saw goals drop from 13 to 3.

Matt Hendricks, LW, Colorado
Age: 29
Stats: 9-7-16, plus-1, 74 PIM in 56 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.18
Comment: Mucker finally made it to NHL as a 28-year-old rookie.

Ryan Johnson, C, Vancouver
Age: 34
Stats: 1-4-5, minus-4, 12 PIM in 58 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.02
Comment: Blocks shots (1.47 per game) like no other forward in the league.

Tim Jackman, RW, N.Y. Islanders
Age: 28
Stats: 4-5-9, minus-4, 98 PIM in 54 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 61.33
Comment: Offers size and toughness on fourth line.

Jon Sim, LW, N.Y. Islanders
Age: 32
Stats: 13-9-22, minus-4, 44 PIM in 77 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.18
Comment: Rallied from AHL demotion in 2008-2009 to tie career-high in games played.

Jamie Lundmark, C, Toronto
Age: 29
Stats: 5-7-12, minus-7, 20 PIM in 36 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 62.12
Comment: Has bounced around to a few organizations, but is skilled enough to help out in short term.

Fernando Pisani, RW, Edmonton
Age: 33
Stats: 4-4-8, minus-16, 10 PIM in 40 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.21
Comment: Health has been an issue; production has declined significantly.

Wayne Primeau, C, Toronto
Age: 34
Stats: 3-5-8, minus-1, 35 PIM in 59 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 59.66
Comment: Has played for seven teams, but has only played 126 games in last three seasons.

Stephane Veilleux, LW, Tampa Bay
Age: 28
Stats: 3-6-9, minus-14, 48 PIM in 7 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.40
Comment: Only three forwards worse than his minus-44 over last three seasons.

Chris Durno, LW, Colorado
Age: 29
Stats: 4-4-8, plus-3, 47 PIM in 41 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 60.94
Comment: Got a half-season of play as a 29-year-old rookie.

Petr Sykora, RW, Minnesota
Age: 33
Stats: 2-1-3, minus-7, 8 PIM in 14 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.50
Comment: 10-time 20-goal scorer fell out of favour quickly with Wild, then got hurt.

Rickard Wallin, C, Toronto
Age: 30
Stats: 2-7-9, minus-7, 20 PIM in 60 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.58
Comment: Can't translate European scoring exploits to NHL.

ENFORCERS

Shawn Thornton, RW, Boston
Age: 32
Stats: 1-9-10, minus-9, 141 PIM in 74 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.79
Comment: Tough and skates well enough to handle regular fourth-line action.

Zenon Konopka, C, Tampa Bay
Age: 29
Stats: 2-3-5, minus-11, 265 PIM in 74 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 56.74
Comment: Odd skill pairing: one of the league's top face-off men and the most active fighter.

Jody Shelley, LW, N.Y. Rangers
Age: 34
Stats: 2-7-9, plus-5, 115 PIM in 57 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 61.18
Comment: Fairly effective once he arrived on Broadway.

Krys Barch, RW, Dallas
Age: 30
Stats: 0-6-6, even, 130 PIM in 63 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.19
Comment: Active scrapper, despite giving up size to heavyweights.

Eric Boulton, LW, Atlanta
Age: 33
Stats: 2-6-8, minus-1, 113 PIM in 62 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.99
Comment: Consistent enough to play a limited role.

Derek Boogaard, LW, Minnesota
Age: 28
Stats: 0-4-4, minus-12, 105 PIM in 57 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 53.73
Comment: Hasn't scored a goal since Jan.7, 2006, but if intimidation is the goal...

John Scott, D, Minnesota
Age: 27
Stats: 1-1-2, minus-3, 90 PIM in 51 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 57.15
Comment: Nearly as intimidating as tag-team partner Boogaard.

Wade Belak, RW, Nashville
Age: 33
Stats: 0-2-2, even, 58 PIM in 39 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 55.47
Comment: One goal in 239 games since the lockout, but he's a legit heavyweight.

Raitis Ivanans, LW, Los Angeles
Age: 31
Stats: 0-0-0, minus-8, 136 PIM in 61 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 52.44
Comment: Sees less than five minutes of ice time per game.

David Koci, LW, Colorado
Age: 28
Stats: 1-0-1, minus-2, 84 PIM in 43 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 54.00
Comment: Among players who dressed in at least 25 games, his 3:03 of ice time per game was a league-low.

TOP FOUR DEFENCEMEN

Nicklas Lidstrom, D, Detroit
Age: 40
Stats: 9-40-49, plus-22, 24 PIM in 82 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 81.13
Comment: Slight decline from his peak, but still not far from Norris consideration.

Sergei Gonchar, D, Pittsburgh
Age: 36
Stats: 11-39-50, minus-4, 49 PIM in 62 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 82.15
Comment: Has at least 30 power play points in four of five seasons with Penguins.

Paul Martin, D, New Jersey
Age: 29
Stats: 2-9-11, plus-10, 2 PIM in 22 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 73.52
Comment: Missed most of the season recovering from forearm injury, but a legit top-pair blueliner.

Dan Hamhuis, D, Nashville
Age: 27
Stats: 5-19-24, plus-4, 49 PIM in 78 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 69.69
Comment: Can get overlooked with Preds, but will be highly sought-after commodity on open market.

Anton Volchenkov, D, Ottawa
Age: 28
Stats: 4-10-14, plus-2, 38 PIM in 64 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 68.09
Comment: Blocks shots like few others, but has also missed 47 games in last three seasons.

Zbynek Michalek, D, Phoenix
Age: 27
Stats: 3-14-17, plus-5, 30 PIM in 72 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.04
Comment: Quiet and durable; has missed just 17 games over last five seasons.

Dennis Seidenberg, D, Boston
Age: 28
Stats: 4-28-32, plus-6, 39 PIM in 79 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 77.57
Comment: Eight defencemen had at least 150 hits and blocked shots this season; Seidenberg was one.

Pavel Kubina, D, Atlanta
Age: 33
Stats: 6-32-38, even, 66 PIM in 76 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 73.13
Comment: A nice bounceback season; very reliable for Thrashers.

Henrik Tallinder, D, Buffalo
Age: 31
Stats: 4-16-20, plus-13, 32 PIM in 82 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.97
Comment: Has size and, when he's on, can be a shutdown-type defender.

Toni Lydman, D, Buffalo
Age: 32
Stats: 4-16-20, plus-10, 30 PIM in 67 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 68.79
Comment: Remains a viable top-four defenceman; solid defensively and decent puck-mover.

Joe Corvo, D, Washington
Age: 33
Stats: 6-12-18, minus-10, 12 PIM in 52 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.04
Comment: His season was ruined by a bad cut in his leg and likely won't be full strength until next season.

Kim Johnsson, D, Chicago
Age: 34
Stats: 7-10-17, plus-10, 30 PIM in 60 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 68.00
Comment: Not a big point producer, but has logged a lot of minutes. Late-season concussion complicates matters.

Derek Morris, D, Phoenix
Age: 31
Stats: 4-25-29, plus-2, 37 PIM in 76 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 69.69
Comment: May be a better fit as No. 5 in Phoenix, but could still fit top four with other teams.

Willie Mitchell, D, Vancouver
Age: 33
Stats: 4-8-12, plus-13, 48 PIM in 48 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.73
Comment: One of league's better defensive defencemen, but hasn't played since January 16th due to concussion.

Jordan Leopold, D, Pittsburgh
Age: 29
Stats: 11-15-26, minus-2, 28 PIM in 81 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 69.19
Comment: Has bounced around a bit in recent seasons, but still a capable puck-mover.

Carlo Colaiacovo, D, St. Louis
Age: 27
Stats: 7-25-32, plus-8, 60 PIM in 67 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 72.96
Comment: Doesn't get top-four playing time, but really productive; might be tempting for a team that needs his puck skills.

Shaone Morrisonn, D, Washington
Age: 27
Stats: 1-11-12, plus-8, 68 PIM in 68 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.03
Comment: Steady enough player, but could get bumped out by younger options in D.C.

Kurtis Foster, D, Tampa Bay
Age: 28
Stats: 8-34-42, minus-5, 48 PIM in 71 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 73.44
Comment: Fantastic season coming off broken femur and handled heavier workload as season went on.

Adrian Aucoin, D, Phoenix
Age: 36
Stats: 8-20-28, plus-2, 56 PIM in 82 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 68.79
Comment: After years of injuries, has missed seven games in last three years.

Andy Sutton, D, Ottawa
Age: 35
Stats: 5-8-13, minus-10, 107 PIM in 72 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 63.67
Comment: Expertly uses his size to hit and block shots.

Mike Mottau, D, New Jersey
Age: 32
Stats: 2-16-18, plus-4, 41 PIM in 79 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 64.63
Comment: Late bloomer who handled more than 22 minutes per game.

Brett Clark, D, Colorado
Age: 33
Stats: 3-17-20, plus-6, 28 PIM in 64 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 70.13
Comment: Volchenkov only blueliner who blocked more shots per game.

THE OTHERS

Randy Jones, D, Los Angeles
Age: 28
Stats: 5-16-21, minus-3, 28 PIM in 48 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.49
Comment: Moves the puck well and played okay in spurts with Kings.

Mark Eaton, D, Pittsburgh
Age: 33
Stats: 3-13-16, plus-5, 26 PIM in 79 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 64.19
Comment: Workmanlike veteran had career-highs in points and games played.

Milan Jurcina, D, Washington
Age: 27
Stats: 1-6-7, plus-2, 24 PIM in 44 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 61.26
Comment: Has been sidelined with a sports hernia injury, but is big and has booming shot.

Sean O'Donnell, D, Los Angeles
Age: 38
Stats: 3-12-15, plus-14, 70 PIM in 78 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 65.14
Comment: Plays safe and sound game; has missed seven games in last four years.

Jay McKee, D, Pittsburgh
Age: 32
Stats: 1-9-10, plus-6, 54 PIM in 62 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 64.01
Comment: Defensive blueliner now handles a significantly reduced role.

Andreas Lilja, D, Detroit
Age: 34
Stats: 1-1-2, minus-2, 4 PIM in 20 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 57.30
Comment: Missed more than a year before coming back for the last 20 games of the season.

Mike Weaver, D, St. Louis
Age: 32
Stats: 1-9-10, plus-10, 29 PIM in 77 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 64.73
Comment: Lack of size limits his minutes, but he's tremendous on penalty kill.

Francis Bouillon, D, Nashville
Age: 34
Stats: 3-8-11, plus-5, 50 PIM in 81 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 64.12
Comment: Tenacious battler who appeared in a career-high 81 games.

Brian Pothier, D, Carolina
Age: 33
Stats: 5-10-15, plus-4, 21 PIM in 61 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.37
Comment: Can't stay healthy, but still a useful mobile defenceman.

Ruslan Salei, D, Colorado
Age: 35
Stats: 1-5-6, minus-1, 10 PIM in 14 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.26
Comment: Injuries limited him to 14 games, but he does have a track record of handling significant minutes.

Marc-Andre Bergeron, D, Montreal
Age: 29
Stats: 13-21-34, minus-7, 16 PIM in 60 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 74.38
Comment: Defensively challenged, but only three blueliners have scored more than his 27 goals over the last two seasons.

Brett Lebda, D, Detroit
Age: 28
Stats: 1-7-8, minus-2, 24 PIM in 63 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 57.69
Comment: Not big, but has also accrued 60 playoff games in the last three seasons.

Freddy Meyer, D, N.Y. Islanders
Age: 29
Stats: 4-11-15, minus-2, 40 PIM in 64 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 66.27
Comment: Mobile and lays his body on the line; a serviceable third pair guy.

Martin Skoula, D, New Jersey
Age: 30
Stats: 3-8-11, plus-3, 10 PIM in 52 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 63.71
Comment: Lemaire favourite was a spare part for Penguins before Devils picked him up.

Niclas Wallin, D, San Jose
Age: 35
Stats: 0-7-7, minus-5, 49 PIM in 70 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 60.18
Comment: Plays lesser role with Sharks, but that might be the best fit for him.

Nick Boynton, D, Chicago
Age: 31
Stats: 1-7-8, plus-5, 71 PIM in 49 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 61.10
Comment: Salary made him a liability, but could still handle depth role.

Garnet Exelby, D, Toronto
Age: 28
Stats: 1-3-4, minus-8, 73 PIM in 51 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 56.00
Comment: Not a good season with Leafs for physical blueliner.

Sheldon Brookbank, D, Anaheim
Age: 29
Stats: 0-9-9, plus-10, 114 PIM in 66 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 62.67
Comment: Not a bad depth option and even handled more minutes late in the season.

Christoph Schubert, D, Atlanta
Age: 28
Stats: 2-5-7, minus-6, 69 PIM in 47 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 59.49
Comment: May present most value as a depth player who can fill in on D and wing.

Paul Mara, D, Montreal
Age: 30
Stats: 0-8-8, minus-16, 48 PIM in 42 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 56.58
Comment: Game has been in decline and injuries didn't help him any this year.

Shane Hnidy, D, Minnesota
Age: 34
Stats: 2-12-14, minus-6, 66 PIM in 70 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 59.59
Comment: Minimal playing time (13:32 per game), but a career-high 14 points.

David Hale, D, Tampa Bay
Age: 29
Stats: 0-4-4, minus-2, 25 PIM in 25 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 57.22
Comment: Has never played as many as the 65 games he played as a rookie in 2003-2004.

Lukas Krajicek, D, Philadelphia
Age: 27
Stats: 1-2-3, minus-14, 35 PIM in 50 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 53.69
Comment: Appears, with his fourth franchise, that his potential is going largely unfulfilled.

Jason Strudwick, D, Edmonton
Age: 34
Stats: 0-6-6, minus-18, 50 PIM in 72 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 54.39
Comment: With the sinking Oilers, ended up playing a career-high 72 games.

Nathan Paetsch, D, Columbus
Age: 27
Stats: 1-1-2, minus-3, 12 PIM in 21 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 55.81
Comment: Showed promise in 2006-2007 (24 points in 63 games), but has been limited to mostly part-time role since.

Mike Van Ryn, D, Toronto
Age: 31
Stats: 3-8-11, plus-2, 14 PIM in 27 GP (2008-09)
TSN.ca Rating: 72.44
Comment: Was playing pretty well before suffering serious knee injury.

GOALTENDERS

Evgeni Nabokov, G, San Jose
Age: 34
Stats: 44-16-10, 2.43 AAA, .922 SVPCT, 3 SO in 71 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 89.03
Comment: Has 131 wins in the last three seasons, but this year's playoffs will measure his value to Sharks.

Marty Turco, G, Dallas
Age: 34
Stats: 22-20-11, 2.72 GAA, .913 SVPCT, 4 SO in 53 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 73.97
Comment: 53 games his fewest since 2001-02, but should get a starting job for a team in need of veteran stability.

Chris Mason, G, St. Louis
Age: 34
Stats: 30-22-8, 2.53 GAA, .913 SVPCT, 2 SO in 61 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 75.87
Comment: Has quietly been an above average starting goaltender in two seasons with Blues.

Dan Ellis, G, Nashville
Age: 30
Stats: 15-13-1, 2.69 GAA, .909 SVPCT, 1 SO in 31 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 69.27
Comment: Overtaken in Predators' crease by Pekka Rinne, but a potential starter or 1A-type goaltender.

Jose Theodore, G, Washington
Age: 33
Stats: 30-7-7, 2.81 GAA, .911 SVPCT, 1 SO in 47 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 76.07
Comment: Maligned despite going 21-1-3 since the beginning of January.

Antero Niittymaki, G, Tampa Bay
Age: 30
Stats: 21-18-5, 2.87 GAA, .909 SVPCT, 1 SO in 49 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.80
Comment: Earned majority of starts with Lightning; what does that mean for his future?

Martin Biron, G, N.Y. Islanders
Age: 32
Stats: 9-14-4, 3.27 GAA, .896 SVPCT, 1 SO in 29 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 54.63
Comment: Struggled at times behind Islanders defence, which doesn't necessarily earn another starting gig.

Ray Emery, G, Philadelphia
Age: 27
Stats: 16-11-1, 2.64 GAA, .905 SVPCT 3 SO in 29 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 70.77
Comment: Had some good moments in his return to the NHL, but injuries put him on the shelf.

Peter Budaj, G, Colorado
Age: 27
Stats: 5-5-2, 2.64 GAA, .917 SVPCT, 1 SO in 15 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 73.10
Comment: Not up to starter's workload, but pretty good as a backup.

Michael Leighton, G, Philadelphia
Age: 29
Stats: 17-9-2, 2.83 GAA, .905 SVPCT, 1 SO in 34 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 67.87
Comment: Who would have guessed that he'd be the Flyers' goaltending saviour?

Johan Hedberg, G, Atlanta
Age: 37
Stats: 21-16-6, 2.62 GAA, .915 SVPCT, 3 SO in 47 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 75.97
Comment: Had his best season as a 36-year-old.

Alex Auld, G, N.Y. Rangers
Age: 29
Stats: 9-7-3, 2.96 GAA, .895 SVPCT in 24 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 58.57
Comment: Has played for seven teams in the last five years.

Patrick Lalime, G, Buffalo
Age: 35
Stats: 4-8-2, 2.81 GAA, .907 SVPCT, in 16 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 64.07
Comment: 9-21-5 in the last two years as Ryan Millers' backup.

Vesa Toskala, G, Calgary
Age: 33
Stats: 9-12-3, 3.48 GAA, .880 SVPCT, 1 SO in 32 GP
TSN.ca Rating: 45.20
Comment: A mess with the Leafs, but played alright in a few appearances in Calgary.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.

 

Ilya Kovalchuk (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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