When push comes to shove, we didn't have that "go to" guy to score the big goal when we needed it. Could Modano have been that guy if he hadn't gotten his wrist sliced ?? Could Fil have been that guy if he was given one more minute of ice time per game ?? Is Franzen that guy if he ever stays healthy ?? Is Cleary that guy and we just don't know it ?? Are Helm or Eaves developing into that guy ?? Do we go UFA shopping for that guy ?? The list of high scoring unrestricted free agents this July 1st is pretty impressive, and trading Hudler for draft choices & pushing MoDo and Drapes into retirement frees up $5.5 mil. to go shopping with.
Of our UFA's, re-signing Eaves first makes the most sense. He's almost as fast as Helm and he's proven he has an offencive upside. Mursak and Emmerton are out of options and need to make the club. Early returns have Emmerton turning into last years Mattias Ritola. Tatar on the 3rd line and Mursak on the 4th line isn't out of the question after what we saw from them this past season, but we won't know for sure until training camp and exhibition games kick in. Miller would obviously be a defencive signing, and after the numbers he put up in Grand Rapids this past season, I'd like to see what the older Filppula can do in the NHL.
Signing a UFA in the class of a Tim Connolly or Erik Cole or Michal Handzus would give us 3 strong forwards to rotate on the right side, and would probably keep Tatar in Grand Rapids for another season. Signing a Jason Arnott or Steve Sullivan or Jamie Langenbrunner would be an upgrade from this past seasons situation with Modano. Out of all of the skilled UFA's come July 1st, if I had to choose just one to be our new "go to" guy, I'd have to pick Langenbrunner. At age 35, he's certainly got 1 or 2 more good years left, would work well on a line with Bertuzzi and Abdelkader, and he'd be another former captain to offer up stability and Stanley Cup experience to the locker room. Getting him the hell out of Dallas for 2 years at $2.25mil. each should be a piece of cake.
If Hudler hadn't come back last season, Alex Tanguay was my UFA choice before Calgary snatched him up, and he had a great season on a line with Iginla and Morrison. Let's hope Langenbrunner doesn't turn into another one of those "geez, we coulda had him" guys.
Tomorrow ... Salary Cap Issues ?
For a look at everything including snazzy graphics, go here:
For a look at a 2011-12 roster I'd like to see Ken Holland put on the ice, go here: