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  • NHL Free Agent Targets: Defensemen


    The free agent class this summer is, in a word, weak. NHL GMs are re-signing their talent, standing pat and making the rest of us extremely bored on July 1st. Have they no heart? 

    Current Cap Hit: $1.4 million
    Age: 27

    JS: A very large, inconsistent but able offensive defenseman, with a few kinks defensively. Sound familiar? Well, I read reports of his defensive game not being too polished, but he finished a team-leading +18 on the Flames, so he can't be that bad. Babchuk could be a wonderful addition to, at the very least, quell Burns' departure while we wait for the young guys to develop, but I would be amazed if he stayed as inexpensive as he was this year, because he was quite the bargain at 1.4 mil from what I gather. At 27, he's in his prime years, but he will command a raise that I believe could look like 3-4 million, so trading Burns just to replace him with Babchuk probably wouldn't make all that much sense.
    Verdict: Likely too expensive, if not, maybe 1-2 years at reasonable price.

    Bryan: Babchuk is a big man, and has the makings of a serviceable d-man. He has some offensive ability, and some defensive ability, but he is less than impressive as a total package. Sounds like a perfect third pairing d-man to me. Now, the rest of the NHL may see him as more than that, so he may get somewhat spendy. Not worth the gamble if the market out classes the brains tomorrow.
    Verdict: One year, $2 million

    Current Cap Hit:$1 million
    Age: 29

    Bryan: I have to admit, I don't know a ton about Jones. His stats, and what I read about him suggests he is a stay at home type, with decent speed and skill. He is inexpensive and he has a few years of experience. Even if the man isn't Randy Jones, it will be a Randy Jones type player. Plus, rumor has it he has a mean fastball. (Nathan's note: That's Randy Johnson. Jeez)
    Verdict: One year, $1.2 million

    Current Cap Hit: $900K
    Age: 27

    Bryan: Again, not a flashy guy, but the perfect target. Sure, he played for a very good Red Wings which could pad his stats a bit, but he is a solid third pairing guy. The 87 PIMs suggest he will stand up when needed, and he did score three goals, which is more than a certain defenseman currently on the roster. I like the idea of Ericsson, which likely means it doesn't happen.
    Verdict: One year, $1.1 million

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