Another July 1 will arrive on Sunday and in the hockey world that mean's the free-agent frenzy begins.
This isn't an overly strong unrestricted free-agent class, but there are some intriguing candidates to follow. Here is a list of a half-dozen of the most interesting free-agents in the hockey world. Stay thirsty my friends.
The 35-year-old Doan, who made $4.55-million last season, has expressed on many occasions his desire to remain with the Phoenix Coyotes. He has spent his entire 16-season career with the organization. He is loyal to Coyotes and doesn't want to move his family.
But the Coyotes ownership situation remains in flux. Two Glendale, Ariz. residents hope to gather about 2,000 signatures in an attempt to repeal the 20-year, $324-million lease agreement approved by city council for prospective owner Greg Jamison. If enough signatures are secured by next week, the lease agreement would go to a referendum in early Nov.
In the meantime, it will be interesting if somebody takes a run at the veteran Doan, who has averaged 25 goals a season since the 2004-05 lockout.
Only Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators' Shea Weber scored more goals, at 19, among defencemen this past season. Garrison checked in with 16 in only his second full NHL season.
At age 27, the native of White Rock, B.C. is a late bloomer. He never scored more than five goals in a year in his three seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. But he has a booming shot that can fit on any power play and he's also very capable in his own end.
With Dennis Wideman signing with the Calgary Flames this week, Garrison becomes more popular with teams looking to strengthen its blue line, like Detroit, Vancouver and St. Louis. Garrison, Sheldon Souray and Matt Carle are considered fine consolation prizes for the teams that lose out on Ryan Suter.
Will the skillful forward be the latest long-time Devil to follow the likes of Bobby Holik, Scott Gomez, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Rafalski, Paul Martin and John Madden out of New Jersey through free agency?
There are concerns with the Devils ownership. But what seemed like a certainty a few months ago - that Parise would change addresses as an unrestricted free agent - has become muddled with New Jersey's unexpected run to the Stanley Cup final. If Parise departs the Devils cause, the franchise will stumble backwards.
There also is the possibility that Parise winds up on the same team with his buddy Ryan Suter. The pair of 27 year olds played together for the United States at the 2003 and 2004 world junior tournaments, the 2005 world championship and the 2010 Olympics.
Twenty-six of the 30 teams expressed interest in this young defencemen, who has yet to play a pro hockey game and turns 22 a week from Friday. Schultz and his agents have trimmed down their shortlist to five teams that include the Senators, Oilers, Canucks, Rangers and Maple Leafs. An excellent skater, Schultz scored 40 goals in 121 games at the University of Wisconsin from the blue-line position.
The Anaheim Ducks initially drafted Schultz in the second round in 2007. But he became a free agent because a loophole after he left school in February.
There is a danger when buildup envelopes an unproven young talent like Schultz, who hails from West Kelowna, B.C. Remember Fabian Brunnstrom? There also was plenty of hype surrounding Hobey Baker-winner Matt Gilroy when his four years at Boston College were up in 2009. He has played with three NHL teams in three seasons and is a free agent again. But Schultz is younger and has time on his side.
Almost every team would like to shore up their blue line with the addition of the 27-year-old Suter. Whenever anyone asked Barry Trotz about the Weber the Nashville coach would be quick to also talk up Suter's many positive traits.
There is a chance that Suter re-signs to remain in Nashville. But he will test the free-agent market. Still, don't expect the Predators to trade his rights before the free-agent period begins on Sunday like they did with Kimmo Timonen, Scott Hartnell and Dan Hamhuis in the past five years.
Only defencemen Brian Campbell (26:53) of the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks Duncan Keith (26:53) averaged more ice time than Suter's 26 minutes and 30 seconds this past season. He also finished among the top-10 in defencemen scoring with 46 points.
This list was going to stop at five, but then news broke on Friday that New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur had hired agent Pat Brisson to listen to offers that will come Brodeur's way. Like Doan, it seems inconceivable that after 19 seasons in New Jersey the 40-year-old Brodeur would walk away from the Devils.
But 19 days have elapsed since the Los Angeles Kings beat the Devils in the Stanley Cup final and Brodeur is no closer to re-upping with the Devils, who as mentioned above have been hindered by ownership problems. So you can't blame the Montreal native for, at least, being curious to see what opportunities may be out there.
Throughout the Devils surprising playoff run Brodeur stated many times that he wanted to play another season, but that a lengthy lockout could dampen his spirit to continue. He also addressed the possibility of playing for a team other than the Devils. "It'll definitely have to be something really, really weird that I'm going to do that," he said. Maybe something weird is about to happen.
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