by PuckStopsHere on 07/01/10 at 11:12 AM ET
I like to make an all star team of the best unrestricted free agents available each year so that I can do some analysis later and try to determine how good the team would have been if they had all been acquired by the same squad. Usually that all UFA team winds up well above the salary cap but does not look too competitive as an NHL team.
Here is last year’s team and i am yet to do any serious analysis (I will in a couple days). I screwed up on this team in that I announced it a few hours before free agency began in earnest and its two best players, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, re-signed in Vancouver before the start of free agency. Thus, those two players will have to be removed from any analysis, as they were never actually available as free agents. Had the eventual NHL MVP and the second team All Star left winger been on the team it would have been much better than it actually was.
Here are my picks for the 2010 All UFA team. Essentially these are the unrestricted free agents to be that I think are most likely to be successful in the 2010/11 season.
Maxim Afinogenov Atlanta Thrashers
Colby Armstrong Atlanta Thrashers
Pavol Demitra Vancouver Canucks
Alexander Frolov Los Angeles Kings
Olli Jokinen New York Rangers
Paul Kariya St Louis Blues
Saki Koivu Anaheim Ducks
Ilya Kovalchuk New Jersey Devils
Matthew Lombardi Phoenix Coyotes
Alexei Ponikarovsky Pittsburgh Penguins
Vaclav Prospal New York Rangers
Teemu Selanne Anaheim Ducks
Marek Svatos Colorado Avalanche
Ray Whitney Carolina Hurricanes
Sergei Gonchar Pittsburgh Penguins
Dan Hamhuis Pittsburgh Penguins
Pavel Kubina Atlanta Thrashers
Paul Martin New Jersey Devils
Zbynek Michalek Phoenix Coyotes
Henrik Tallinder Buffalo Sabres
Anton Volchenkov Ottawa Senators
Chris Mason St Louis Blues
Evgeni Nabokov San Jose Sharks
When looking at this team, I notice that it has three Atlanta Thrashers (Afinogenov, Armstrong and Kubina) and that leads the team (Pittsburgh also has three players but one of them Dan Hamhuis never played a game for the team). That doesn’t include Ilya Kovalchuk, who is also on the team and was a Thrasher until the trade deadline last year. Atlanta is being hit by player loss due to unrestricted free agency harder than any other team and that does not make the immediate future of their team look particularly good.
This team is a relatively weak All UFA Team when compared to years past. If a team thinks they will build through free agency this summer, they are likely doomed to failure. The free agent class does not look good enough to allow it.
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