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All UFA Team 2010

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.

Forwards

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

Defencemen

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

Goalies

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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Comments

jayskate's avatar

Saki Koivu Montreal Canadiens

niceee haha, those were the days

Posted by jayskate from Newfoundland, Canada on 07/01/10 at 12:35 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

I don’t think it hit me until just now, but man, there is a huge number of Europeans on the market today.  Any theories that could back that up or is this merely a coincidence?

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/01/10 at 12:38 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I don’t think it hit me until just now, but man, there is a huge number of Europeans on the market today.  Any theories that could back that up or is this merely a coincidence?

A preliminary answer to his question might be that Europeans are a long way from home.  They lack loyalties to particular parts of the country because they have no family ties there.  Many would rather be playing at home in Europe if the money and opportunity was the same for them there.  Thus their hockey decisions are more driven by financial considerations, afterall it is financial considerations that brought them to the NHL in the first place. Most players have their best chance to sign a big money contract if they are on the open market.

I think we would see the same situation in reverse if the major hockey league was in Europe and North Americans had transplanted themselves to another continent to play there.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/01/10 at 12:48 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/01/10 at 10:48 AM ET

Makes sense, though is the % this high on an annual basis with the Euros or are we seeing one of those peak years in a pre-established trend?


Anybody have suggestions on a good blog at noon EDT?  My MSG maxhockey.com stop no longer exists and I would prefer to stay away from the mainstream TSN’s and Yahoo’s of the world.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 07/01/10 at 12:57 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

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 is a result of the way revenue sharing is set up under the current CBA.  While it may keep the largest-grossing teams from hoarding all of the talent, it also prevents the smallest-market teams from being able to afford their own talent.  The NHL has unwittingly created a system that closely resembles the MLB as far as making smaller market teams little more than farm clubs for those who can afford to pay for talent.  Parity is a concern of the big markets.

The only difference is that in Major League Baseball, the small-market teams can still make operating profits.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/01/10 at 12:59 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Makes sense, though is the % this high on an annual basis with the Euros or are we seeing one of those peak years in a pre-established trend?

I think we are probably seeing a peak year this year.  I don’t know that there is any meaningful reason why 16 of 23 players on this team are European (as opposed to the 12 or 13 we have seen in the past).  I think its just a fluke that can happen with relatively small numbers and may not be real.  I could have just as easily selected John Madden, Mike Modano (though I think he will almost certaintly retire), Lee Stempniak, Willie Mitchell, Alex Tanguay etc. as part of this team.  However, I felt there was another (usually European) plaayer who might be a better bet.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/01/10 at 01:11 PM ET

Reggie Dunlop's avatar

is it just me or does the d and goalies look stronger this year than last?

Posted by Reggie Dunlop on 07/04/10 at 08:26 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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