Thursday, July 1, 2010

Free Agent Frenzy Shopping List

With Free Agency opening up in a few hours.  Here's my shopping list for the top FA's available.  It's a shallow class but let's take a look.

1. Top-line goal scoring winger.
2. Two Top-four defenseman
3. Second-line center

1. Ilya Kovalchuk-  It's been rumored since the trade deadline that Kovy wants to be in L.A..  Let's see if the Kings are willing to give him what he wants.  The Kings need a top-winger and he's the only one available.

2. & 3. Paul Kariya & Teemu Selanne- Niedermayer is gone in Anaheim.  Selanne's got the itch to play.  Can Dean work some magic and get these two top wingers for one more Cup run?  I know it sounds crazy but's worth a shot.  CBC's Elliot Friedman had some interesting nuggets of info.
There are reports that Kings GM Dean Lombardi doesn't really want to go in this direction; that the Kovalchuk pursuit is the brainchild of CEO Tim Leiweke. This would not be the first time Leiweke's been accused of this. I was once told a story that Teemu Selanne was ready to sign with the Kings in 2005, only to be turned down in favour of Valeri Bure. It was claimed that Leiweke was more interested in Bure, because of wife Candace Cameron, the onetime Full House star.
Kovalchuk wants a long-term deal at big money.  I think Dean Lombardi is hesitant to give that type of money to any player.  And if he is going to give out a max-type deal it's going to Drew Doughty.  I think bringing in Kariya and Selanne could be a nice fallback plan and give the Kings two top-six forwards and more importantly, buy one more year of development for all their prospects.  Now talking Selanne into leaving Anaheim would be the biggest question mark here but crazier things have happened...

4. Paul Martin- Might be the best all-around defenseman available.  Missed most of last season with injuries but has been New Jersey's best defenseman since Niedermayer left.

5. Anton Volchenkov- Do you pay a shutdown D-man that type of money.  Probably not but he'd fit nicely on the Kings blueline.  Especially with OD looking to be done in L.A..

6.  Dan Hamhuis- A solid all-around blueliner who can chip in offensively would look great in Los Angeles.  His negotiating rights were traded twice so there's a definite market for Hamhuis.

7. Willie Mitchell- Another possible OD replacement upgrade.  Missed most of last season with injuries but his physical presence and shutdown style is something the Kings could definitely use.7.

8. Pavel Kubina- He was a whipping boy in Toronto for his contract but he's a solid blueliner.  Could be a nice fit.

9. Zbynek Michalek- If Volchenkov prices himself outside of the Kings budget; Michalek is a nice fallback plan.  He can block shots with the best of them.

10. Ray Whitney- The Kings were hot on his trail at the deadline.  If he's willing to take a short-term deal; he could be a nice addition to the Kings top-6.

11. Henrik Tallinder- A good all-around game.  Could be another Rob Scuderi-type addition to the blueline.

12. Saku Koivu- Koivu could end up being the perfect no.2 bridge center for the Kings.  Can play in all situations and would be a great veteran to have on the team. 

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