With July 1st rapidly approaching, let’s see who’s on the market.

Top Five Goalies:

Nikolai Khabibulin – $6,500,000 (last year) – 42 GP, 25-8-7, 2.33 GAA, .919 save pct., 3 shutouts – Age this season: 36, 37

After being waived and nearly shipped off to Siberia, the former Cup winning goalie was back with a vengeance. He overtook Cristobal Huet to become the undoubtable starter in Chicago. The Bulin Wall has been re-assembled and he was a big part of the Blackhawks run to the playoffs and their successes in them.

Martin Biron – $3,500,000 (last year) – 55 GP, 29-19-5, 2.76 GAA, .915 save pct., 2 shutouts – Age this season: 33

It wasn’t the best season for Marty Biron. He battled inconsistency and didn’t have an amazing playoffs for Philadelphia – in a short stint. He’s shown flashes of being a starting goalie but has shown some lowlights that have many believing he’s nothing more than a backup goalie or 1B at best. Biron will get the chance to show his stuff on a new team this year as the Flyers have cemented…their…goalie…hmm. Look for Biron to get a chance in Colorado perhaps.

Dwayne Roloson – $3,000,000 (last year) – 63 GP, 28-24-9, 2.77 GAA, .915 save pct., 1 shutout – Age this season: 41

Roloson is getting up there in years but he’s still an effective goaltender at this level. The Oilers have offered him a one-year deal with roughly the same salary, but with minimal time left in the hourglass, he may see the light of free agency. Roloson showed himself to be pretty competent on an otherwise anemic offensive team. He might serve well as a mentor to a young goalie.

Antero Niittymaki – $1,375,000 (last year) – 32 GP, 15-8-6, 2.76 GAA, .912 save pct., 1 shutout – Age this season: 29

The former Olympic MVP did a fine job filling in for Martin Biron this season. While seemingly all of his wins come against the Atlanta Thrashers, Niittymaki shows some potential that he can be a sufficient, adequate goaltender at the NHL level. Still concerns about him playing too deep in his crease and losing his composure during his bad stretches, but he’d be a solid backup for most NHL teams.

Manny Fernandez – $4,750,000 (last year) – 28 GP, 16-8-3, 2.59 GAA, .910 save pct., 1 shutout – Age this season: 36

Manny Fernandez at one point midseason was splitting time with Tim Thomas, and in the same token, had a better goals against average and save percentage than the new media darling Thomas. As Fernandez’s starts became fewer and farther between, his numbers suffered. He was pretty awful in the second half, but in the first half (despite being sheltered by a Claude Julien coached defense) he looked pretty strong. He could be a decent backup.

Honorable mention: Manny Legace, Martin Gerber, and Mathieu Garon.

Top Five Defensive Defenseman:

Mattias Ohlund – $3,500,000 (last year) – 82 GP, 6 goals, 19 assists, 25 points, +14, 105 PIMs – Age this season: 34

He’s just a solid, all-around defenseman. One cool customer. A top pairing defenseman that can play in any situation. A little sluggish in the skating department, but competent. Could get a pretty hefty contract out there.

Mike Komisarek – $1,900,000 (last year) – 66 GP, 2 goals, 9 assists, 11 points, E, 121 PIMs – Age this season: 28, 29

Komisarek isn’t coming off his most dominant season. Getting pummeled by Milan Lucic was something of a microcosm for him. He needs to channel his abilities and energies a little bit better and worry less about bone-crunching hits and more about defensive awareness. Like Sheldon Souray and Mark Streit before him, Komisarek is another Habs d-man that will probably hit the jackpot on July 1.

Jordan Leopold – $1,500,000 (last year) – 83 GP, 7 goals, 17 assists, 24 points, -15, 24 PIMs – Age this season: 29

Steady as she goes with Jordan Leopold. Solid defensive-minded d-man that has decent offensive instincts. Leopold was part of a midseason trade that sent him to Calgary, and then a trade at the draft that sent him to Florida – neither were an indictment on his play though. He flies under the radar for a lot of fans, but has established himself as a solid second pairing defenseman.

Derek Morris – $3,950,000 (last year) – 75 GP, 5 goals, 15 assists, 20 points, -10, 40 PIMs – Age this season: 31

Morris gets mislabeled as an offensive defenseman sometimes because of the roles he was thrust into on recent clubs. He’s a two-way guy that prefers to play a defense-first style. Certainly doesn’t hesitate to take the body, but wouldn’t be a detriment on the point of the power play either. He can play anywhere, he can play in virtually any situation, for any amount of minutes. Very versatile and low maintenance. Would be an excellent second pairing d-man for any club.

Rob Scuderi – $725,000 (last year) – 81 GP, 1 goal, 15 assists, 16 points, +23, 18 PIMs – Age this season: 30, 31

Scuderi established himself as a competent defensive defenseman this season and especially in the playoffs. Scuderi is a no-frills defensive defenseman that uses his body to block shots and passes. He doesn’t have a lot of skills or great skating ability but he simply gets the job done.

Honorable mentions: Shot blocker Greg Zanon, mean Nick Boynton, steady Karlis Skrastins, big Hal Gill, solid Greg de Vries

Top Five Offensive Defenseman

Sergei Zubov – $5,350,000 – 10 GP, 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points, -4, 0 PIMs – Age this season: 39

Zubov has only played 56 games over the last two seasons, but there’s no denying the impact that he has on a power play. He’s on his last legs, but he can still move the puck with sterling acumen. Age and injuries are major negatives here, but a one year deal that is loaded with incentives is about as ideal of a situation as a club could hope for.

Mathieu Schneider – $5,750,000 – 67 GP, 9 goals, 23 assists, 32 points, -12, 64 PIMs – Age this season: 40

Another elder skatesman. Schneider has proven that he’s still got it offensively. He’s played on four teams in the past three seasons but has still posted 123 points in his last 200 games. Again, injuries and age are a factor, but he could be a worthy short-term investment.

Jaroslav Spacek – $3,300,000 – 80 GP, 8 goals, 37 assists, 45 points, +2, 38 PIMs – Age this season: 35, 36

Spacek excelled offensively this season for Buffalo and really seemed comfortable with the puck after the trading deadline. The Czech blueliner match his career high for points this season and is likely to garner a lot of attention as a cherished silver medal for a lot of teams this offseason.

Adrian Aucoin – $4,000,000 – 81 GP, 10 goals, 24 assists, 34 points, -8, 46 PIMs – Age this season: 36

Has he finally thrown off his injury-riddled past? Let’s knock on wood for his new club. Aucoin has appeared in 157 games the past two seasons, not bad compared to the 92 in the two previous. The seasoned vet will bring the strong point shot to the power play and has established himself as at least “apt” in every facet of the game.

Dennis Seidenberg – $1,200,000 – 70 GP, 5 goals, 25 assists, 30 points, -9, 37 PIMs – Age this season: 28

Dennis Seidenberg is about as underrated as they come in the NHL today. He can do it all. He’s established himself offensively this year, though, he’s not the most offensive-minded guy in this top-10 – maybe even the least. But he can hit, block shots, play D, play in any situation. He’s a complete player and an Olympian to boot. He’s due for a big raise and a little recognition.

Honorable mentions: All-around blueliner Francois Beauchemin, heavy-shooting, heavily bearded Paul Mara, power play quarterback Cory Murphy, big man with a big shot Kurtis Foster, devastatingly bad defensively Marc-Andre Bergeron

Top Five Left Wings

Alex Tanguay – $5,375,000 – 50 GP, 16 goals, 25 assists, 41 points, +13, 34 PIMs – Age this season: 30

Tanguay had an injury shortened season but he was still very effective in an otherwise forgettable centennial season for Les Habitants. The playmaking winger has a ton of skill but has struggled to find his place in recent years. He has three seasons in which he was point per game or better on his resume already.

Daniel Sedin – $3,575,000 – 82 GP, 31 goals, 51 assists, 82 points, +24, 36 PIMs – Age this season: 29

Daniel doesn’t go anywhere without Henrik, that’s literally how it’s been since birth. They have the highest level of chemistry together, especially four-on-four. The goal-scorer of the two continues to be somewhat unheralded throughout the league. Four straight 70-point seasons, including last year’s 82 point campaign should see him starting getting mentioned with the league’s top line players.

Erik Cole – $4,000,000 – 80 GP, 18 goals, 24 assists, 42 points, E, 73 PIMs – Age this season: 31

It’s been something of a rough go of it for Erik Cole since Brooks Orpik broke his neck years ago. He rebounded in his old stomping grounds in Carolina after the deadline, but not enough to re-sign him. His playoff performance left a sour taste in some mouths. There are a lot of reservations about how effective Erik Cole can be at playing the game that he plays (physical, spirited and offensively talented). A bit of a risky proposition, but a glorious one if it pays off.

Steve Sullivan – $3,200,000 – 41 GP, 11 goals, 21 assists, 32 points, +2, 30 PIMs – Age this season: 35

Another gamble in terms of a severely injured past. Sullivan came back with a convincing performance after missing more than a year due to injury. He’s still got the wheels and the offensive ability, but how well can he hold up during a regular season – or more, a tough stretch of playoff games.

Ruslan Fedotenko – $2,250,000 – 65 GP, 16 goals, 23 assists, 39 points, +18, 44 PIMs – Age this season: 30, 31

Two-time Cup winner Ruslan Fedotenko finds himself on the market again. He had a good year with the Penguins in 08-09 but concerns about his future cap hit have made him expendable, at least for now. He’s clearly established himself as an all-around second/third line guy. A consummate professional that ups his game over the course of long playoff runs.

Honorable mentions: Taylor Pyatt, Kyle Calder, Brendan Shanahan, Stephane Veilleux, Mark Bell

Top Five Centers

Henrik Sedin – $5,375,000 – 82 GP, 22 goals, 60 assists, 82 points, +22, 48 PIMs – Age this season: 29

Henrik doesn’t go anywhere without Daniel, that’s literally how it’s been since birth. They have the highest level of chemistry together, especially four-on-four. The playmaker of the two continues to be somewhat unheralded throughout the league. Four straight 70-point seasons, including last year’s 82 point campaign should see him starting getting mentioned with the league’s top line players. …yeah, they’re that similar.

Michael Cammalleri – $3,600,000 – 81 GP, 39 goals, 43 assists, 82 points, -2, 42 PIMs – Age this season: 27

Cammalleri, a goal scoring forward that also features prominently on the left wing, has re-convinced his naysayers that he’s a premier player in this league. Despite being undersized, Cammalleri isn’t afraid to go to scoring areas to put pucks in the cage. Despite not hitting the NHL full-time after the lockout, Cammy still has a good shot at hitting 400 career goals at his current rate.

Nikolai Antropov – $2,150,000 – 81 GP, 28 goals, 31 assists, 59 points, -14, 30 PIMs – Age this season: 29, 30

The rangy forward can play all positions and when he’s playing up to his potential he’s close to unstoppable. His past two seasons have either been a tantalizing preview of what’s yet to come or a frustrating flash of brilliance that will leave many wondering what could have been. He could be in for a big pay day if a team seems enough in him.

Saku Koivu – $4,750,000 – 65 GP, 16 goals, 34 assists, 50 points, +4, 44 PIMs – Age this season: 35

Finally, it appears the Saku Koivu era has come to an end in Montreal. The upper-tier second line center has been passed off as an elite first line center for years now and perhaps some of the pressure comes off him. He may be a little over the hill, but he’d still be an upgrade at the second line center position for most clubs. Matching Saku Koivu up with an underachieving goal scorer might be the way to go.

Mats Sundin – $5,626,500 – 41 GP, 9 goals, 19 assists, 28 points, -5, 28 PIMs – Age this season: 38, 39

If Sundin returns for another season, he can still be something of a factor offensively. He was noticeably slower and had all the explosiveness of a wet napkin – but he still showed he has top-notch offensive skills. Sundin could be a player that kick starts a desperate team’s power play but short of that, he’s not a very effective 5-on-5 player anymore.

Honorable mentions: Robert Lang, John Madden, Mike Comrie, Jason Williams, Brendan Morrison

Top Five Right Wings

Marian Hossa – $7,450,000 – 74 GP, 40 goals, 31 assists, 71 points, +27, 63 PIMs – Age this season: 30, 31

So this is where all the talent is. Marian Hossa’s reputation precedes him and his decisions do too. He turned down the Wings ten year deal and decided to test the waters of free agency. One of the league’s best talents and two-way players, Hossa will look to find that elusive Cup in 2009 – I’d stay away from Ty Conklin.

Martin Havlat – $6,000,000 – 81 GP, 29 goals, 48 assists, 77 points, +29, 30 PIMs – Age this season: 28

Martin Havlat competed in 75+ games for the first time in his career (which dates back to 2000). Unsurprisingly, he notched a new career high in points in the process. Havlat is a flashy offensive talent that really showed a lot in the defensive zone this year. If he stays out of the doctor’s office, he’s a premier player in the game.

Marian Gaborik – $7,500,000 – 17 GP, 13 goals, 10 assists, 23 points, +3, 2 PIMs – Age this season: 27, 28

It’s very rare that I have Marian Gaborik third on a list of anything. When he’s on top of his game, he’s a top ten or fifteen player in the entire league. A rare mix of speed and skill that bring any fan to his or her feet. Gaborik needs to concur the injury bug more than anyone – some rough perspective, if Gaborik plays all of his game at his point pace that season, he’s sitting at: 602 points in 656 career games – and is probably a lay-up for 500 career goals (he has 219 of them through just 500 career games).

Alexei Kovalev – $4,500,000 – 78 GP, 26 goals, 39 assists, 65 points, -5, 74 PIMs – Age this season: 36, 37

Despite playing a rather uninspired or inconsistent game this year, Kovalev still found time to lead the Canadiens in points. He’s another past-his-prime forward to throw on the heap this offseason but he’ll undoubtedly find a job quickly. He needs a spark though, he needs a new challenge perhaps. The enticing milestones of 400 goals and 1,000 points are all but locks this season for him.

Brian Gionta – $4,000,000 – 81 GP, 20 goals, 40 assists, 60 points, +12, 32 PIMs – Age this season: 30, 31

So the 05-06 season was an anomaly for many players, much like 92-93. Gionta doesn’t stop working though, even when he was missing the net this year, he was still a tenacious forechecker. He wanted to will his team to the next round against Carolina, a good sign for his suitors. Though he did set a career low in goals since he’s become a full-time NHLer, he still notched a respectable 60 points (second highest mark in his career). He had a lot of chemistry with the newest member of the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge – Scott Gomez.

Honorable mentions: Ales Kotalik, Mike Knuble, Mikael Samuelsson, Petr Sykora, Maxim Afinogenov

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