In preparation for the off season, over the next few days I am going to be posting lists of most of the NHL unrestricted free agents that played fairly reguler roles in the NHL last season. In my lists I am including the player offense, defense and overall ratings that can be found at stats.hockeyanalysis.com for 2006-07 and 2007-08 plus each players two year average overall rating.
It should be noted that these ratings do not take into account ice time, just how they performed in the ice time they got. Clearly some of these players played far more significant roles with their teams than some other similarly rated players but I think these ratings should give an indication of what each player is capable of. It also might point out players that just posted big numbers either because they got a lot of ice time or just played with really good line mates as these ratings do factor in who each player has played with and against. I’ll also point out that the more ice time a player plays the more reliable the ratings are. For players who played a lot over the past couple seasons you will generally find the lowest season to season difference in the ratings.
So lets start out with defensemen. After the table I will post a few of my thoughts.
In my opinion the potential steal of the defense free agent crop could be Marek Malik. His play dropped off a bit last year but he always seems to get it done defensively dating back to his days in Vancouver. His +/- ratings the past 5 seasons are +23, +35, +28, +32 and +7. But because he had a bit of an off year last year he could be had for a very reasonable price.
A defenseman to be real cautious on is Ron Hainsey of the Blue Jackets. Statistically he had a very good year in Columbus but my ratings rate him as average at best. There is talk that he might command upwards of $4-5 million but that would likely be a huge mistake. This is a guy who benefited from playing a big role on a weak team.
Mark Streit and Wade Redden might be identical players. Too bad for the team that pays Redden as if he were a well rounded defenseman as opposed Mark Streit who might earn half of what Redden will get more as a PP specialist.
Carney and Chelios show that getting old doesn’t mean getting bad. Their roles and overall contribution have diminished but in the right role they can still contribute to good teams.