Aug 042009
 

We are now into mid-August, the dog days of the hockey season, but there are still a number of pretty solid NHL players that are available as un-restricted free agents, including Nikolai Zherdev who was let loose by the NY Rangers today. That got me to thinking, if we took the best of the currently unrestricted free agents, what might the team look like. Here is one possibility.

Left Wing Center Right Wing
Alex Tanguay Robert Lang Nikolai Zherdev
Vaclav Prospal Dominic Moore Petr Sykora
Todd Bertuzzi Manny Malholtra Jason Williams
Miroslav Satan Rob Niedermayer Mike Grier
Blair Betts Maxim Afinogenov
Defensemen
Matthieu Schneider Dennis Seidenberg
Martin Skoula Marc-Andre Bergeron
Christian Backman Jassen Cullimore
Francis Boullon
Goaltenders
Manny Fernandez
Joey MacDonald

That is actually not all that horrible of a team. Every one of the forwards on the projected top 4 lines had at least 10 goals with 9 of them getting at least 15. Blair Betts is a nice reserve defensive specialist and Afinogenov has great speed and some skill that went missing last season but certainly has 15-20 goal offensive upside, if not more. On defense you have three defensemen with at least 30 points and some decent depth, though nothing exceptional. All totaled, those 18 skaters accounted for 253 goals and 646 points which isn’t too shabby considering the Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, only had 258 goals and 706 goals. Accounting for the fact that the above all-UFA team didn’t total the typical number of man-games that a normal team would have (i.e. 12*82=984 for forwards, and 6*82=492 for defensemen) and the all-UFA offensive production is more like 260 goals and 668 points.

The goaltending is clearly a little weak but if Fernandez can remain healthy enough to play 40+ games it may not be too bad. MacDonald had a decent year for the Islanders last year as well.

So my question(s) to you all is this: How many teams in the NHL as their rosters current sit are worse than the above team? Islanders? Kings? Avalanche? Lightning? Thrashers? Could the above team compete for a playoff spot in the eastern Conference?

  5 Responses to “The All Remaining UFA Team”

  1.  

    Definitely not a playoff team in my opinion. Some of these guys produced last year, but it’s still a collection of has-beens and never-was. They’re all complementary players. The line-up is missing that engine that makes a team work.
    That said, there’s a few decent pieces in the bunch. I’m surprised that Seidenburg remains a free agent. He must be holding out for money. I’d take any of Moore, Betts or Grier on my checking line.

  2.  

    I tend to agree, but if you put a true first line playmaking center on there and better goalie to go with Fernandez they wouldn’t be half bad. I didn’t include Mats Sundin because I expect him to retire but Tanguay-Sundin-Zherdev has the potential to be as good a first line as several NHL teams.

    Regardless, I think that team above could compete with the bottom dwellers in the NHL.

  3.  

    I don’t think there’s any way you could put together a team like that under the cap.

  4.  

    Actually, the difficulty might be getting it over the Floor. Just for fun, lets quickly assign a few salaries to each player.

    Alex Tanguay 5
    Nikolai Zherdev 4
    Matthieu Schneider 4
    Dennis Seidenberg 3
    Vaclav Prospal 2.5
    Robert Lang 2.5
    Petr Sykora 2
    Jason Williams 2
    Martin Skoula 2
    Marc-Andre Bergeron 2
    Manny Fernandez 2
    Manny Legace 2
    Todd Bertuzzi 1.5
    Miroslav Satan 1.5
    Dominic Moore 1.5
    Manny Malholtra 1.5
    Rob Niedermayer 1.5
    Maxim Afinogenov 1.5
    Christian Backman 1.5
    Blair Betts 1
    Mike Grier 1
    Francis Boullon 1
    Jassen Cullimore 1

    Total: 47.5

    And yes, I am being quite generous for a few of those salaries. Cullimore would be lucky to get a one way deal for anything much above league minimum. Schneider might be lucky to get $3 million let alone 4. Robert Lang probably won’t even get a job in the NHL. Likely the same for Afinogenov and a few others. There is no market for goalies right now so there is no chance that Fernandez and Legace get $2 million each. Right now you could probably get that whole roster for $40 million or under.

  5.  

    “Right now you could probably get that whole roster for $40 million or under.”

    No, you couldn’t. The reason many of these guys are still UFAs is because actual NHL teams won’t pay them this or they want more money then what you have suggested and might be able to get it from the KHL.

    Also, you might want to sign a few extra bodies when Schneider, Backman, Fernandez, and Lang all get injured. And that’s just the band aid boys.

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