This is Anaheim Calling to the Hockey World.
Did you miss me?
Of course you did. Welcome to the Free Agency thread. Bob Murray will be looking to put some of the finishing touches on a roster that fell short last year. His emphasis should probably be defense, but anything is possible in the frenzy. That's why it's called a frenzy. Several decades of contracts will be handed out, small fortunes will be blown, millions of heads will be scratched in confusion.
As for the Ducks, I've taken the liberty of putting together a small list of people the Ducks might/should be offering contracts tomorrow.
Matt Moulson: Moulson had a trio of 30 goal seasons before falling to 23 last year playing for 3 different teams, and two of them weren't really good. He still managed to put up over 50 points on 71 games last year. He's proven he can be effective playing with top talent in NY. Services might not come cheap, but if he can find chemistry with the Twins or Kesler, he's worth at least 4.5-5 a year and the accompanying 50-60 points. He'll stabilize the top six, allowing us to keep some of the young guys in more comfortable roles. Should maybe our top forward target. Solid possession player too.
Radim Vrbata: Really, I could copy and paste my argument for Moulson. Vrbata is a top six guy who was extremely effective on Phoenix's power play. I refuse to call them Arizona until the season starts. He's just older, which makes me like him less.
Mikhail Grabovski: I wasn't really thinking about center shopping after the Thompson trade, but then Murray made Perrault a UFA, so we might need somebody. Grab is a good possession center who has drawn tough match ups and still come out on the other end, all things considered. Give him minutes and you can count on a 40-50 point pace. If you can get him at say three years and 3.5-4 a year, the Ducks would be a little bit closer to the center depth that the Kings have. It would also give them plenty of veteran centers who can drive play and protect the skill wingers as they develop. The more I think about to, the more I like it.
Ales Hemsky: Potentially the playmaker to Kesler's shooter. Hemsky can be a top six wing, and let's be honest, we probably need at least one more. He's not necessarily a reclamation project, but he's a guy who has had injury trouble that has effected his numbers. Probably not as much of a guaranteed point producer as others on the list, but the skill is there. If he can play 70 games in a place that isn't Edmonton, the numbers might climb north of 50 again.
Paul Stastny: it might sound crazy, but he's probably the only center available that could hang with the offensive numbers that Jeff Carter can throw at you. He might not necessarily stop Jeff Carter head-to-head, but he has the skill to affect a game just like Jeff does. Kesler does too, but as the years creep up on him, he might become more Stoll than Carter. That's not bad; it just means that hitting a home run like Stastny could really change the structure of this team into a force to be reckoned with. I don't think I need to sell you in the numbers. This is the home run. It would out us head and shoulders above all but a couple teams.
Defense: Seriously, we need some help.
Anton Stralman: Arguably the best guy on the market. Blueshift Banter can tell you everything you need to know about this guy, and why they love him. They can't tell you why Sather chose Girardi instead Stralman. Of course, it's not all gravy. He's only recently become a guy who gets tough minutes, and had a few high PDO seasons recently. He should come with a little buyer beware warning.
Michael Del Zotto: LOL, J/K
Joni Pitkanen: A peculiar option. Relatively young at 30 and a former top guy for Carolina, everything really caught up to Joni. He's been plagued by injuries, including a season ending foot injury that led to him playing only 22 games. He makes the list because he's a gamble that might be worth investigating, but not necessarily a risk worth taking. He could be a solid top four guy on the cheap or he could be Sheldon Souray 2.0. More of something I think Murray might kick the tired on than something we really want.
Matt Niskanen: This man is gonna get paid like taxes. Whether or not you think he should, probably depends on how you feel about PDO. The guy has faced middling competition, and the two times he's cracked 30 points it was due to obviously high shooting percentages, over 10%. He's probably a 25 point second pairing defender who should get $4 million, but will get closer to six and not be a top pairing guy. Niskanen is probably the emotions of a contract year, but he's a right handed shot who is probably better than Ben Lovejoy, so he makes the list.
Clayton Stoner: Who doesn't want this name on the team? If you don't want to cheer for some dude named Stoner, I don't want to know you as a person.
Dan Boyle: He's probably the only legitimate top pairing guy in free agency. The only problem is he might not be a top pairing guy anymore. He'll want more than one year, and the Ducks already struck out on Souray's over 35 contract. Still, Boyle could solve all the PP concerns and probably help Cam take the next step towards being a top defender. He's won a Cup and I think we could use a little more of that on this team. Boyle is the real deal, but his services are in high demand. Of course, only the Ducks would give him the opportunity to stick it to the Sharks and bring a Cup to an old California rival.
Christian Ehrhoff: apparently, the Ducks aren't interested and haven't contacted his agent. Because we can't have nice things. Ehrhoff was pretty good on a very bad Buffalo team. I know he's a lefty, and we shouldn't want anymore of those, but he's pretty good at hockey, so there's that.
There's no way to list every possible target, that's what capgeek is for. These are just some names to get the discussion going while we all enjoy the frenzy!