2009 NHL UFAs: Top of the Class

Martin Havlat

Total Pro Sports – With the 12:00pm EST July 1st deadline just hours away it’s time to take a look at some of the big fishes that will be available in this year’s UFA pond. With the salary cap speculated to decrease for the 2010-11 season it’ll be interesting to see what kind of contracts these players end up getting.

LW & C – Daniel & Henrik Sedin: Possibly the creepiest brothers in the NHL, they’re also two of the younger, highly skilled players available this summer. They’ll be signing as a package deal, but within that package you get two talented forwards who are in the prime of their careers and will average in the 70-80 points each per season range. Update: Re-signed w/Vancouver for 5 years @ 6.1 mil per

RW – Marian Gaborik: My personal favourite in this year’s free agent class. Gaborik has been bothered with injuries during his young career as he’s only been able to play a total of 207 games the past 4 seasons. However, despite this he still has a tremendous amount of talent and Martin Havlat showed this past season that it is possible to shake the injury bug. Update: Signed w/N.Y. Rangers for 5 years @ 7.5 mil per

RW – Marian Hossa: Poor, poor Marian. Loses in the Cup final with Pittsburgh, decides to sign a one-year deal with the Red Wings thinking they have a better shot at the Cup and then he ends up losing in the Cup final again against his former team in the Penguins. One of Hossa’s best traits is that he produces in both the regular season and playoffs. In 775 career regular season games he has 719 points and in 98 career playoff games he has 76 points. Update: Signed w/Chicago for 12 years @ 5.2 mil per

RW – Martin Havlat: The man made of glass was finally able to break whatever curse it was he had and showed just how much talent he has last season. Playing in 81 games for the Blackhawks last season, the most since the 2000-01 season with Ottawa, Havlat racked up 77 points. If Martin can make a habit of staying healthy he’d be a great addition for any team looking for a skilled winger. Update: Signed w/Minnesota for 6 years @ 5 mil per

LW/C – Mike Cammalleri: Mike enjoyed a great bounce back season with the Flames last year and will look to use that as leverage when signing his new contract this summer. Cammalleri scored the most goals out of the available UFAs this year with 39. Take that with the fact that he just turned 27 on June 8 and Mike shouldn’t have a shortage of teams willing to sign him to a big contract this week. Update: Signed w/Montreal for 5 years @ 6 mil per

LW – Alex Tanguay: Only played 50 games due to injury but was still able to put up 41 points with the Canadiens this past season. Thankfully for Alex he doesn’t have a big history of injuries like a Havlat or Gaborik and is in the prime of his career at the age of 29. Update: Signed w/Tampa Bay for 1 year @ 2.5 mil

D – Scott Niedermayer: Would be surprised if he signed with anyone but Anaheim. However, stranger things have happened. Scott brings great leadership, offence, solid defense and can still skate with the best of them at the age of 35 (will be turning 36 on August 31). Niedermayer would be a great short-term signing for any contending team looking for blueline help. Update: Re-signed w/Anaheim for 1 year @ 6 mil (including bonuses)

D – Mike Komisarek: Is mostly a one dimensional player but is great at that dimension. Komisarek is as hard-nosed as they come and is entering the prime of his career at the age of 27. Despite those positives I can’t help but see a team giving him a Jeff Finger-like overpayment which could end up handcuffing the team that signs him. Update: Signed w/Toronto for 5 years @ 4.5 mil per

RW – Alexei Kovalev: Possibly the most frustrating player available this summer. Is arguably the most talented UFA available and in the entire league, but is known for only playing when he wants to. If a coach out there thinks he can get the best out of Alexei and does, Kovalev could end up being the best signing out of the 2009 UFA group. Update: Signed w/Ottawa for 2 years @ 5 mil per

G – Nikolai Khabibulin: The best goaltender available this year, but at the age of 36, how much is left in the tank? If this past year’s playoffs were any indication, then his tank’s pretty full. He played great for Chicago in the playoffs and would be a terrific signing for a team that’s looking to contend and needs to shore up their goaltending…*cough*…Washington. Update: Signed w/Edmonton for 4 years @ 3.75 mil per

Tags: Alex Tanguay, Alexei Kovalev, Daniel Sedin, Free Agents, Henrik Sedin, Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat, mike cammalleri, Mike Komisarek, NHL, Nikolai Khabibulin, Scott Niedermayer, UFA,