Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/03/13 at 12:25 PM ET
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
With the July 5 free agent frenzy fast approaching, here’s a look at the game’s top free agents and their perfect landing spots.
Ilya Bryzgalov — Flames
Jay Feaster was clear. The Flames have to “win in free agency.” Good luck with that. Rebuilding teams rarely rank highly on the wish lists of top free agents, so Calgary might have to shop off the scratch ‘n’ dent shelf. Bryzgalov fits the profile — to many teams, he’s considered more trouble than he’s worth — and he would fill a glaring hole that’s expected to open up as soon as Miikka Kiprusoff makes his retirement official. Bryzgalov would not only stabilize the back end, he’d get the Flames back up over the salary cap floor of $44 million.
Stephen Weiss — Red Wings
A homecoming of sorts (he played his junior hockey in Plymouth, MI) might be exactly what Weiss needs to salvage a career that was circling the drain in Florida. The Wings are in need of a second-line center after cutting ties with Val Filppula, and Weiss brings the speed and defensive awareness that would allow him to fit smoothly into their system. He could play on both special teams, and maybe add a bit more pop to the offense than Filppula. And after a couple of lousy years, he might be a bargain.
Andrew Ference, Rob Scuderi — Hurricanes
GM Jim Rutherford was willing to trade his first rounder to add an NHL-proven defender to Carolina’s roster. He couldn’t find a partner at the draft, but he might yet solve his problem in free agency. Ference is smart, quick, low-key and a tremendous locker room presence. Scuderi is a rock steady, stay-at-home type. Both could step onto the second pair, chip in on special teams, and bring some stability to Carolina’s back end.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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