OTTAWA, CANADA - OCTOBER 27: Jason Garrison #52 of the Florida Panthers fires a slapshot from the top of the circle to score a goal against the Ottawa Senators during a game at Scotiabank Place on October 27, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Now we come to the UFA's in our own division, the Southeast. There are a number of potential UFA's from Southeast Division teams and they range from some that are very intriguing to standard role players to your run-of-the-mill career AHLers. The Capitals and Lightning have a pretty large number of UFA's that they must address this offseason. And while the Capitals are one of the top salary cap teams in the league, the other four teams are in the bottom half, with three of them being in the bottom 10. So while the free agent market this summer might not be filled with high quality players, these Southeast Division teams look like they will have money to spend if they so desire.
You probably know the drill by now, but just to reiterate. I broke down the UFA's by team with a small blurb on each player. If the UFA played in less than 20 games in 2011/2012, I simply listed them without a blurb. This list will very slightly because we will be looking at player from our own team. So instead of going after a particular person on July 1st, we must determine if we should & can resign some of our own. Up next on the UFA docket will be the Western Conference. I will start off with the Central Division and should have something up by Monday. Please take a look and let me know your thoughts on these potential free agents.
Bryan Allen - D - I think most Caniacs would agree that Allen is the type of defenseman we need. Someone who is big, physical, and focuses on the defensive side of the game. We have many offensive defenseman, but Allen helps to give a little more balance to our blueline. He's never going to be an offensive juggernaut, but he can contribute at times. I'm not 100% sure what will happen with him, but I'm guessing he moves on and the Canes will be hoping to find his replacement.
Jaroslav Spacek - D - Spacek was a great mid-season addition for Carolina, not so much for what he provided, but for what he helped the Canes get out from under (Kaberle's contract). It was said that he was a great locker room addition, but he was also somewhat productive in his limited time. He probably doesn't have a lot left in the tank, but the Canes could resign him to help mentor all of the young defensemen. My guess is that he signs elsewhere or possibly retires.
Mikael Samuelsson - RW - Samuelsson is a very solid all-around player. He is defensively responsible, but at the same time he can be a pretty potent scorer. He is getting up there in age and consistently misses games due to injuries. He wouldn't be a bad addition for a year or two, but you can't necessarily count on him for a full season.
Marco Sturm - LW - Sturm appears to be on the downside of his career and it seems to have taken effect quickly. He was a 20+ goal scorer 4 times since the lockout, but only has 8 combined goals over the past 2 seasons. He has some wheels, but I don't see him regaining form at 34 years old.
John Madden - C - Madden still is an effective checking center and penalty killer, but his time is really over. He didn't even sign with an NHL team until January. I don't think his body can handle a full NHL season.
Jason Garrison - D - Garrison had a breakout year this season. He set career highs in goals, assists, and +/-. He is a very solid two-way defenseman that has a nice combination of some size and some speed. He really kind of reminds me of a higher end Jay Harrison, but you would obviously like to see more consistency before offering a big contract, but his next contract will be based on this past season and his potential. I actually wouldn't mind seeing him in Carolina, but I don't foresee that happening.
Scott Clemmensen - G - Clemmensen is a good backup goalie, but nothing really special. He'll probably find another NHL job, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him sign a two-way contract.
Tim Wallace - RW - Wallace is a typical 4th line energy guy. He's not strong offensively or defensively and will probably never have a full-time NHL job. He will probably jump around between teams and leagues.
Ryan Shannon - W/C - Shannon is a small forward that shows some flashes every once in a while, but isn't very consistent. His size is also a concern, so I don't think the Canes would be interested in him at all.
Adam Hall - RW/C - A winger that has some size and has had a couple of ok seasons, at least he has shown enough to stick around the NHL. Not really a type of player that will make a much of a difference, but he will probably be on some roster next season.
J.T. Wyman - RW/LW - He's a fringe NHLer. He's got decent size and some speed, but isn't strong enough in any particular area to be more than a bottom 6 guy.
Brett Clark - D - Clark is an older defenseman that isn't really good or bad. I consider him a run-of-the-mill guy, not someone you go out to pick up unless you are trying to fill out your defense. He can put up some points, but I don't think he's a player the Canes could use.
Mike Commodore - D - The former Hurricane has not exactly been at his best over the past couple of seasons. He's got size and plays with an edge, but doesn't always make the best decisions. He no spring chicken anymore, but he should have a couple of seasons left. He probably won't be signed immediately, but I'm pretty sure some team will sign him before the season starts.
Bruno Gervais - D - You can almost see what Bruno can be from time-to-time, but he just never seems to put it all together. He's ok in both ends of the ice, but consistency seems to escape him. I'm sure he'll get a contract somewhere, because a GM will see the potential that is there.
Dwayne Roloson - G - A goalie that seemed to defy age for many years might have come back to earth last season. Roli is 42 and coming off a bad year. I think retirement is in his immediate future.
Players with less than 20 games this past season - Sebastien Caron G, Jon Kalinski C/LW, Alexandre Picard LW, Scott Jackson D, Brandon Segal RW, Michael Ouellet RW, Mike Angelidis LW, Trevor Smith C/LW, Richard Petiot D
Alexander Semin - RW - Semin is the biggest name in the Southeast Division. He has the skill of a top 10 NHLer, but his heart/work ethic is nowhere near his talent. He has 40 goal, 80+ point ability, but the question is; can someone get him back there? Some team is going to take the risk and hope for the best, but I can't see the Canes as one of those teams that would take that risk.
Mike Knuble - RW/LW - Knuble had a horrible year for him. A streak of 8 straight seasons of 20+ goals ended this past season and it was probably because a combination of his age catching up to him and a mid-season coaching change. Knuble was a nice power forward that did great around the goal, but I don't see him regaining form.
Jeff Halpern - C/RW - An aging bottom 6 forward that has been on 4 teams in the past 3 seasons. Will that be 5 in 4 years, I think so. He's not spectacular, but he can still get the job done. Not for the Canes, but for someone.
Keith Aucoin - C/W - The former Cane/Rat has continued his success in the AHL and continued to get a shot in the NHL, even at 33. He's not the answer to any team's hole, but he can fill-in in the case of an emergency. He will get a two-way deal with someone and probably see a couple of NHL games next season.
Dennis Wideman - D - Wideman is an offensive defenseman that showed improvement in his two-way game last season. I think he will be one of the top defensive free agents this summer and will probably get a nice contract. I believe he is a good defenseman, but not really the type of blueliner the Canes need, so I would pass on him.
Tomas Vokoun - G - Vokoun was expected to come in and take the Capitals to the next level. He didn't have a bad season, but he wasn't as good as expected. He only played in 48 games and missed the Playoffs due to injury. He is still a good goalie, but I don't expect he will be getting a starting gig going into next season.
Players with less than 20 games this past season - Dany Sabourin G, D.J. King LW, Joel Rechlicz RW, Sean Collins D, Christian Hanson W/C, Chris Bourque LW, Zach Miskovic D, Jacob MicFlikier LW, Kyle Greentree LW
Tanner Glass - LW - Glass is a good team player that will do whatever is asked of him. He'll never be more than a depth player, but he will chip in with a goal every once-in-a-while. He takes the undisciplined penalty every now and then, but he a physical 4th liner.
Kyle Wellwood - RW/C - Wellwood isn't a bad player, but is definitely on the smaller side and needs to be lined up with some size. He is a decent playmaker, but doesn't really fit into our top 6 and that's where he needs to play to be effective. I suspect that he will probably resign with the Jets.
Tim Stapleton - W/C - Stapleton is another smaller player, that is probably just on the NHL side of a fringe player. He had his best NHL season, by far, last season and he could repeat the season in the right situation. He's definitely not material for the Canes, but he will be somewhere next year.
Randy Jones - D - Jones is a very inconsistent defenseman. He owns good size and can collect some assist, but he's nothing more than a depth defenseman. He wouldn't be bad as a 7th defenseman, but the Canes have plenty of younger players that can handle those duties.
Mark Flood - D - Flood got his first extended taste of the NHL last season and didn't do poorly. The former River Rat is an offensive D-Man, so he's not what the Canes need, but he should be able to garner a two-way contract with some team.
Chris Mason - G - The aging backup goaltender had an average season. He not capable of being a starter anymore, but is not a bad option for a team that uses it's #1 a lot. If something happens to Boucher, Mason might be a good pickup for backup duty.
Up next: The Central Division.