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MeisterBruinmaker 09-29-2003 03:52 PM

Potential 2004 UFA list
I am breaking this out of another string...it's a list of the top skaters (top-9 F's, top-4 D's, #1 G's) that are headed to unrestricted free agency. Some will be tendered by their teams prior to July 1, 2004. Please make any corrections:

- Brian Rolston*
- Josef Stumpel
- Craig Conroy
- Alexei Zhamnov
- Andrei Nikolishin
- Peter Forsberg
- Mike Sillinger
- Tyler Wright
- Yanic Perreault
- Greg Johnson
- Keith Primeau
- Michael Nylander
- Joe Nieuwendyk

- Paul Kariya (under league avg)
- Rob Niedermayer
- Sami Kapanen
- Scott Thornton
- Dallas Drake
- Gary Roberts
- Darcy Tucker
- Steve Konowalchuk

- Glen Murray*
- Mike Knuble*
- Scott Young
- Ziggy Palffy
- Niklas Sundstrom
- Scott Walker
- Alexei Kovalev
- Daniel Alfredsson
- Mark Recchi
- Teemu Selanne
- Scott Mellanby

- Sean O'Donnell*
- Dan McGillis*
- Alexei Zhitnik
- Sean Hill
- Jon Klemm
- Richard Matvichuk
- Nicklas Lidstrom
- Chris Chelios
- Mathieu Schneider
- Jason Smith
- Steve Staios
- Stephane Quintal
- Scott Niedermayer
- Adrian Aucoin
- Roman Hamrlik
- Janne Niinimaa
- Teppo Numminen
- Mike Rathje
- Chris Pronger
- Al MacInnis
- Jassen Cullimore
- Chris Therien
- Sergei Gonchar
- Ken Klee

- Felix Potvin*
- Sean Burke
- Nikolai Khabibulin
- Patrick Lalime
- Johan Hedberg
- Ed Belfour

NUMBER OF UFAs by team:
*Bruins = 6
Leafs = 5
Blues = 4
Stars = 4
Avalanche = 3
Wings = 3
Flyers = 3
Blackhawks = 3
Capitals = 3
Islanders = 3
Canadiens = 3
Lightning = 2
Kings = 2
Oilers = 2
Senators = 2
Coyotes = 2
Sharks = 2

Gary 09-29-2003 04:38 PM

and they say money cant buy happiness :joker: someone with a open pocketbook could build 2 cup calibre teams with the players above. WOW

Bruwinz37 09-29-2003 04:54 PM

I guess this sets up the question......what should the Bruins do?

I say decide on one or two guys you want to keep, and then trade the rest off for younger, ready to play, more affordable assets.

I would try my damndest to keep Murray and Knuble. Trade Rolston, OD, McGillis at the deadline. Get guys who are not in the *prospect* stage, but rather in the ready to step in to full time duty stage. Heck, if Bates Battaglia could fetch Radim Vrbata, then Brian Rolston should get a nice return. If the Bruins were smart they would try to wrap Murray up before the end of the year, but they wont, and he will command big bucks. If they look to trade him as well they could see a significant return on Murray as well.

From my point of view this is the Bruins only option. This is unless they go out and get a quality #1 like Burke that has them in the race, but that does not seem likely.

Not only would we get young ready to contribute guys from these deals we would put ourselves in an envious position of having financial freedom with the new CBA and still have our core of Thornton, Samsonov, and Boynton....plus guys like Zinoviev, Bergeron, Jillson, Jurcina and Morrisson getting ready to make that next step.

Think of it this way (HYPOTHETICALLY)....Detroit is making a run at the Cup and we have Brian Rolston to deal....they make a deadline deal and we end up with Jiri Hudler.....Philly needs a scorer and we end up with Jeff Woywitka or Jeff Carter. Technically I guess it is a step backwards in terms of making a run at the Cup, but the Bruins have no choice, so better to be proactive and get something before you lose these guys for comp picks, and then add a few players through UFA to *compliment* the core of players you have. There seem to be a plethora of very good defenseman, and perhaps we could finally fill MDKarl's dream of bring Scott Walker to the Bruins!

If the Bruins dont look like they are in a position to make a run for it this year, then this is what they MUST do in order to have success in the coming years. I fear though, that MOC will be under extreme pressure that he will lose his job and he wont make the right moves. I fear even further that if he makes the right moves the local media and fans won't even come close to understanding why it was the right move and further point to cheapness as their lazy excuse to why the Bruins arent succesful (disclaimer:this is not directed at anyone on this board). Myself, well I just hope they do the right thing and dont look back.

MeisterBruinmaker 09-29-2003 10:20 PM

Gary - there sure are some serious players on that list. Surely several of them wouldn't be there if their paychecks weren't so astronomical. Thank the Lord these outrageous salaries are looking like they are coming to an end.

Bruwinz20 - Don't start it up with me again -- juuuuust kidding. :lol:

Seriously, I know where you are coming from. We both know that sadly enough, the Bruins are not in any shape to make a serious run (again), unless they land Burke and somehow get a real #2 center. So then it seems like it would make sense to dump off these short term assets, reload for next year and be done with it.

However, there are a few problems I can see. One, with the great emphasis Jeremy Jacobs places on the business, he would never endorse a plan that guts his team's chances for the playoffs. He's said it himself that he doesn't agreee with how some of these teams deplete their talent and then have to languish as they rebuild. I can see his point about how the product would not be "attractive," but let's also be real here, JJ knows his bottom line would be at risk. I don't think it's any mistake that we've never heard peep from him as the Bruins made the playoffs 30 years straight yet never won a cup. Sure the B's were close a few times, but I think evidence is overwhelming that JJ is a business man first, fan second. So I guess I'm saying that in my mind, that rules out the B's intentionally jeopardizing their chance for the playoffs, unless they are already far out of it like in 1996.

The second problem I see is that I believe this year will be much different in terms of the trade market. High salary players and pending UFAs may end up having low value by virtue of a saturated market. That doesn't mean I think Kovalev would go for an 8th pick if he was being shopped, but it could mean the return on players that we don't want to keep is not what we would get in year's past (Rolston, O'Donnell, McGillis). Nobody can be sure, but that's the read I have.

I think what we will see happen is more of the same. The Bruins will abide by their financial policies and try to manage the best they can around it, quite possible jeopardizing their chance for higher competition in the process. Maybe they make some offers to a few of their pending UFAs before they actually reach free agency. The carrot could be a chance for the player to line up a multi-year deal in a time of uncertainty. For instance, the B's could say to Rolston, "we're offering you a chance to make $10M over the next three years while having the peace of mind that comes with security and a team that wants you." Who knows.

I do think that it's entirely possible O'Connell may wait it out altogether, regardless of the possibility that he may lose key players. He may believe that if the UFA threshold is lowered and a cap is instituted, then the market will be flush with talent and the demand will be limited due to "cost certainty." The thing is, nothing is guaranteed. Meanwhile, he runs the risk of losing needed or talented players that may be hard to replace. It's not just the talent the B's lose, it's the character, roster longevity, presence, etc.

To that end, I like your plan of targeting the right players and then ensuring they are retained. Murray and Knuble are excellent picks. I would like one of McGillis or O'Donnell too, believing that veteran experience on the backline is of paramount importance. I think they should be doing this regardless of their record this season. They need to build around certain players, and they should figure out which ones are key to their future. Again, in my mind, it's not only about talent but intangibles. As Gary noted in the other string about leadership, the Bruins can help themselves establish a level of accountability, leadership and longevity by picking and keeping the right players over the long haul.

As you said, if the B's lose a few players, then with their young talented prospects and the potential candidates on the UFA market, they could hopefully put a few more core pieces in place to build around for another 3-4 years. However, what I would like to see stop over the next few seasons now that the B's are looking to the CBA as their savior is the short term, fly-by-your-pants reactionary driven strategy that hasn't gotten the job done. The Bruins should be looking to build a quality top-4 and two scoring lines that they can take to the bank for a better part of 4-5 years. With Thornton, Samsonov, Boynton, Axelsson and a ton of young talent in the form of Jillson, Jurcina, Morrisonn, Bergeron, Samuelsson, Huml, Toivonen, Stuart, etc etc, they have the makings in place to do it. All they need to do is put the pieces together and add the right players as needed from the outside and KEEP THE GROUP INTACT.

Though I think what JJ said in "we'll see how good my management really is" is quite shortsighted and even hypocritical considering he is top dog who ultimately demands the accountability for success (not to mention evangelizes the organizational philosophies), there is truth to it. If the NHL gets it's cost certainty, then there will be no more excuses for management about not being able to keep players or arrange a winning plan. Still, your point about O'Connell being under pressure and possibly taking heat for moves that may be for the best is quite valid. Fans and the media may not understand the full picture, and they may only care about the short term gratification. If O'C loses Murray, Rolston & McGillis because he's planning for a better tomorrow, he will definitely take a ton of flack. People may not be able to see that a huge group of UFAs may become available, or that few teams will be in a better position to spend than the B's.

Who knows, but I can say that I just hope they do the right thing. I am very suspicious of their judgment and motivations though...very. This is their big chance to ultimately redeem themselves and show once and for all that they really do care about winning.

Bruwinz37 09-30-2003 12:49 PM

You are right about management not sacrificing playoffs for the future. I guess my scenario would only work if the Bruins were on the outside looking in as in 1996-97 when they dealt Oates and Tocchet.

If I were GM I would make the deals anyway. Just because you do make the trades for younger players doesnt mean they cant help you in the playoffs too. You see it many times that younger guys who get more responsibility thrive when the time comes. The guys we are talking about dealing have yet to thrive in the playoffs.....so where is the loss?

Still a Bruin fan 09-30-2003 01:33 PM

Jacobs Inc. sees a post-CBA wherein a guy like Amonte (5.8450 is really more like 3.75.
Seeing that Murray is at 3.85, it's quite likely they will consider him post-CBA worthy of that money.
Players won't like to hear offers for less than what they were offered by that team the first time around.
In that sense, Murray is at least a possibility to retain.
Knowing you're certain to be RW aside Joe Thornton is a pretty good gig.

As has been said, their will be loads of free agents next year and the year after.
I don't think we need to over-analyze what will happen then .
Whatever the case, you'll still generally have to be the high bidder for a free agent in order to land him. That won't ever change.
There may become even more emphasis on choices, but I don't expect any cap to be so low as to stymie the most aggressive management teams from continuing to be the most succesfull.

Bruinaholic 09-30-2003 04:30 PM

Im sure Pronger is not a UFA, hes currently making 9$ per and is only 29,Lalime also hasnt been in Pro's for 10 seasons and is 27-28,Gonchar too is definitly making over the league average and is still only 28.
Alfreddson too hasnt been in a Pro for 10 years and makes well above the league average, so asides from those guys i think the list is pretty accurate...thats a load of talent right there though

MeisterBruinmaker 09-30-2003 06:33 PM


Originally Posted by Bruinaholic
Im sure Pronger is not a UFA, hes currently making 9$ per and is only 29,Lalime also hasnt been in Pro's for 10 seasons and is 27-28,Gonchar too is definitly making over the league average and is still only 28.
Alfreddson too hasnt been in a Pro for 10 years and makes well above the league average, so asides from those guys i think the list is pretty accurate...thats a load of talent right there though

Hmmm. You made me re-check.

Pronger - is 28 and will not be a UFA. My bad.

Lalime - is 29, born 7/7/04 so he will not be an UFA either.

Gonchar - will be 30 on 4/14/04 and his contract will expire at the end of the season. So he's on the list.

Alfredsson - is 30 and his contract expires after this season, he will be an UFA too.

Good catch. I keep a running list of UFAs so I will take Pronger and Lalime off. Originally, I compiled a list of 29 year-old players who's contracts were expiring as of 7/1/04. My interest was that if the CBA reduced the free agency threshold to 29, I'd have an idea who could be unrestricted. That list was separated from the one above, but apparently not completely. :D Anyhow, the rest of the players listed here should be correct -- but if you (or anyone else) sees any other errors, please point them out.

Bruinaholic 10-01-2003 02:42 PM

not to be a jerk,but i dont think Gonchar would be a UFA even though hell be 30 on 4/14/04.....wouldnt he be in the same boat as ROlston was this past summer,Rolston became 30 this past febuary i believe and his contract expired after the season, so he was 30 entering the offseason and he went to Arbration for a 1 year contract....so GOnchar next summer(CBA pending) would be in the same boat as Rolston was this summer....correct me of im wrong :dunno:

Enoch 10-01-2003 04:14 PM

I think Foote for the Avs contract ends this year as well.

Enoch 10-01-2003 04:21 PM

I take that back, it ends in 2005

MeisterBruinmaker 10-01-2003 04:36 PM

Good question. I went to Spectors and got the lastest 2004 Free Agent list from Cory Brolund. First, the age for unrestricted free agent status is 31, so every player with an expiring contract who is born before 7/1/73 would qualify. I don't know what I was thinking, but anyone who is 30 would not qualify. That means Gonchar and a few others like Jason Smith and Peter Forsberg will not be on the list.

Still, the Bruins have among the most combined impact players in the league entering unrestricted status. If they can play their cards right, they could be OK. I am suspect of their ability and motivation, but maybe this will be their ultimate moment of redemption. Who knows. Either way, having Murray, Rolston, Knuble, McGillis, O'Donnell and your starting goalie on the list is concerning. The Bruins should re-sign Murray to keep their top line intact (and dangerous), but after that they are still in a precarious position. They cannot afford to lose Rolston unless they amass some level of depth at center between now & then. On defense, losing the veteran experience and presence of O'D & McG would weaken their resolve.

Unless there is drastic changes before then, heading to 2004 free agency, the Bruins will need the following:
- #1 RW
- #2 or 3 Center (or both)
- #2 or 3 Veteran Defenseman
- Possibly a #1 goalie, or a reliable, experienced back up

Obviously, some of the players listed below will not reach free agency, such as Nik Lidstrom, Dan Alfredsson and maybe Mike Ricci (captain). But even so, there could be a bonanza of solid players available at a time when teams are more cautious about spending than ever.

Some of the best include:
CENTERS: Conroy, Francis, Zhamnov, Zholtok, Johnson, Nedved, Primeau, Damphousse, Ricci, Nieuwendyk
WINGERS: Selanne, Kariya, Palffy, Kovalev, Alfredsson, S. Thornton, Bondra, Konowalchuk
DEFENSEMEN: Carney, Zhitnik, Boughner, Klemm, Matvichuk, Numminen, Rathje, MacInnis, Marchment
GOALIES: Belfour, Hedberg

As a matter of fact, think about some of the players which may become available before the trade deadline. If any of Carolina, Washington, Calgary, Chicago and LA fall out of the race, some good players could be on the block.

Dan Bylsma, (III)
Keith Carney, (III)
Craig Johnson, (III)
Todd Reirden, (III)

Byron Dafoe, (III)
Bill Lindsay, (III)

Rich Brennan, (III)
Ted Donato, (III)
Mike Knuble, (III)
Sandy McCarthy, (III)
Dan McGillis, (III)
Ian Moran, (III)
Glen Murray, (III)
Sean O'Donnell, (III)
Felix Potvin, (III)
Brian Rolston, (III)
Steve Shields, (III)
Rob Zaumner, (III)

Brian Chapman, (III)
James Patrick, (III)
Alexei Zhitnik, (III)

Craig Conroy, (III)
Dave Lowry, (III)
Dean McAmmond, (III)
Jamie McLennan, (III)
Kryzstoff Oliwa, (III)
Brad Werenka, (III)

Bob Boughner, (III)
Jeff Daniels, (III)
Ron Francis, (III)
Sean Hill, (III)
Glen Wesley, (III)

Theo Fleury, (III)
Alexander Karpovtsev, (III)
Jon Klemm, (III)
Igor Korolev, (III)
Steve Passmore, (III)
Steve Poapst, (III)
Alexei Zhamnov, (III)

Andrei Nikolishin, (III)
Teemu Selanne, (III)
Paul Kariya, (V)

Fred Brathwaite, (III)
Espen Knutsen, (III)
Sean Pronger, (III)
Tyler Wright, (III)

Rob DiMaio, (III)
Claude Lemieux, (III)
Richard Matvichuk, (III)
Teppo Numminen, (III)
David Oliver, (III)
Jarrod Skalde, (III)
Don Sweeney, (III)
Ron Tugnutt, (III)
Rob Valicevic, (III)
Scott Young, (III)

Chris Chelios, (III)
Kris Draper, (III)
Dominik Hasek, (III)
Tomas Holmstrom, (III)
Brett Hull, (III)
Niklas Lidstrom, (III)
Kevin Miller, (III)
Mathieu Schneider, (III)
Steve Yzerman, (III)

Scott Fergusson, (III)
Steve Staios, (V)

Todd Gill, (III)
Jonas Hoglund, (III)
Paul Laus, (III)
Lyle Odelein, (III)

Derek Armstrong, (III)
Jaroslav Modry, (III)
Bryan Muir, (III)
Zigmund Palffy, (III)
Luc Robitaille, (III)
Josef Stumpel, (III)

Brad Bombardir, (III)
Jim Dowd, (III)
Darby Hendrikson, (III)
Jason Marshall, (III)
Wes Walz, (III)
Sergei Zholtok, (III)

Andreas Dackell, (III)
Joe Juneau, (III)
Yannick Perrault, (III)
Stephane Quintal, (III)

Wade Flaherty, (III)
Andreas Johansson, (III)
Greg Johnson, (III)
Jim McKenzie, (III)
Jason York, (III)

Criag Darby, (III)
Stephen Guolla, (III)
Igor Larionov, (III)
Grant Marshall, (III)
Corey Schwab, (III)
Turner Stevenson, (III)

Mariusz Czerkawski, (III)
Brandon Smith, (III)
Garth Snow, (III)

Matthew Barnaby, (III)
Pavel Bure, (III)*
Alexei Kovalev, (III)
Eric Lindros, (III)*
Vladimir Malakhov, (III)*
Mark Messier, (III)
Boris Mironov, (III)
Petr Nedved, (III)*
Martin Rucinsky, (III)
Chris Simon, (III)

Daniel Alfredsson, (III)
Jody Hull, (III)
Curtis Leschyshin, (III)
Shaun Van Allen, (III)

Neil Little, (III)
Keith Primeau, (III)
Mark Recchi, (III)
Chris Therien, (III)
Eric Weinrich, (III)
Peter White, (III)

Chris Ferarro, (III)
Peter Ferarro, (III)
Bryan Helmer, (III)
Gary Shuchuk, (III)
Mike Sillinger, (III)
Todd Simpson, (III)
Landon Wilson, (III)

Drake Berehowsky, (III)
Marc Bergevin, (III)
Martin Brochu, (III)
Kelly Buchberger, (III)
Mike Eastwood, (III)
Brian Holzinger, (III)
Mario Lemieux, (III)
Reid Simpson, (III)

Murray Baron, (III)
Dallas Drake, (III)
Jeff Finley, (III)
Alex Khavanov, (III)
Al MacInnis, (III)
Scott Mellanby, (III)
Chris Osgood, (III)

Vincent Damphousse, (III)
Mike Rathje, (III)
Mike Ricci, (III)
Scott Thornton, (III)

Dave Andrychuk, (III)
Jassen Cullimore, (III)
Janne Laukkenen, (III)
Darren Rumble, (III)

Ed Belfour, (III)
Tom Fitzgerald, (III)
Travis Green, (III)
Trevor Kidd, (III)
Bryan Marchment, (III)
Joe Nieuwendyk, (III)
Mikael Renberg, (III)

Magnus Arvedsson, (III)
Dallas Eakins, (III)
Johan Hedberg, (III)
Darren Langdon, (III)
Mats Lindgren, (III)
Jiri Slegr, (III)

Peter Bondra, (III)
John Gruden, (III)
Steve Konowalchuk, (III)
Kip Miller, (III)
Micheal Nylander, (III)

If the B's re-signed Murray, Knuble & McGillis, then added Francis and Zhitnik, they could be reinvent themselves as a legit contender in short order:


#7 Girard/Morrisonn

Bruinaholic 10-02-2003 03:54 AM

I wouldnt wanna take on a 41 year old Francis, id make pitches to Mike Ricci,Kariya,Nedved,PErrault,Lindros,Primeau or Holzinger only at respectalble prices.
B's need to keep Murray,Rolston and Mcgillis IMO(and maybe Sandy Mac if he shows hes got something left, Knuble,O'donnel and all the others can walk cuz we have the prospects to fill there spots.

MeisterBruinmaker 10-02-2003 05:32 PM


Originally Posted by Bruinaholic
I wouldnt wanna take on a 41 year old Francis, id make pitches to Mike Ricci,Kariya,Nedved,PErrault,Lindros,Primeau or Holzinger only at respectalble prices.
B's need to keep Murray,Rolston and Mcgillis IMO(and maybe Sandy Mac if he shows hes got something left, Knuble,O'donnel and all the others can walk cuz we have the prospects to fill there spots.

I think Ricci is a great player and I'd love to hve him, but I'm not so sure it would happen. First, he's the captain -- not to mention heart and soul of the Sharks, so I don't know if San Jose will let him walk. Second, his intangibles makes him a highly coveted player at a time when it's completely unknown whether the Bruins will even want to shop. That makes me think that if other teams want him, which they will, they would be willing to overspend no matter if it's on the eve of a new CBA. Lastly, his best role is really as a #3 center, not a #2. He is a great 2-way player but you really want someone who can anchor a second scoring line.

With the Bruins having Bergeron in the wings, it's possible they want a 1 or 2 year solution until he's ready. Figure he may be able to step in next season, but more likely he will need 2 years of development. So with that in mind, I thought of Francis. He is relatively durable, very intelligent, total leader and still plays a great 2-way game. But if his game has vastly diminished, there are other choices. Part of the equation may be whether the B's are looking for someone short term or not. Either way, they could look at Conroy, Primeau and Damphousse, all who could be effective #2 centers.

Conroy is smooth and has more intangibles than he gets credit for. If the Bruins lost Rolston but brought him in as the #2, I wouldn't be that disappointed. As long as someone could effectively slot in as the third line center.

Primeau has fallen from grace, but part of that is due to his role on the team and Hitchcock's dedication to defense. Still, he is mostly an up & down guy, not a playmaker. He can shoot and play the boards, so he would be best with a skater and a playmaker. This why he could be a good fit -- the B's are loaded with those types (Hilbert, Huml, Samuelsson even Zinovjev).

Damphousse is on the decline, but he has Cup experience and he can still be a savvy playmaker. He's not big or very fast, so he'd match up better with at least one big crasher who could shoot and a savvy quick skater.

The rest, well, Zhamnov and Nedved I question their heart. Zholtok and Johnson are better for the 3rd line. Nieuwendyk may be further diminished.

As far as new UFA wingers, if the B's keep Murray and Knuble, then they wont have much room left. With Samsonov, Ax, another year of Lapointe and a boatload of youngins, they should be set.

I do think they will need to keep either McGillis or O'Donnell. IF not, me thinks they will have to get someone else because they will need the veteran experience and presence on D.

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