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Unrestricted Free Agents: The Pacific Division + An Overall Summary

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Well, we've finally come to the end of the UFA list. This last article will focus on the Pacific Division UFA's plus I will give my overall summary of what the Canes need and some of the UFA's that might be available to fill those holes. The Pacific Division has a couple of interesting names and one player that I think a lot of fans would probably love to see return to Carolina. The Pacific had 3 teams make the Playoffs this season and the Kings look like they are going to be hoisting the Cup over the next couple of days. That could mean that a few of their UFA's and RFA's will be looking for some nice raises and could mean that a few of them will be on other teams next season. The Sharks are still looking for a way to get to the Finals and their GM is one that isn't afraid of making a big move. While they need to fill out their roster, don't be surprised to see them make a big trade at some point this offseason. It also appears that there is new ownership for the Coyotes & the Stars, so they may be a little more active in the free agent market this summer. And last, but not least are the Ducks. A team with a high level of talent, but one that struggled this past season. They will be looking to solidify a few key areas in hope of returning to the Playoffs next season. All-in-all, this could be one of the more active divisions in hockey this summer.

So as said many times (but this is the last), here is what I have done. I have broken 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. After going through the Pacific Division, I will talk a little about what I believe the Canes needs are and list a few UFA's from around the league that might be able to fill these needs. So take a look and let me know your thoughts on these potential free agents and whether you believe any could help the Canes out next season.

San Jose Sharks

Torrey Mitchell - RW/LW - Mitchell is a solid, but unspectacular bottom sixer. He's of average size, but is willing to deliver hits and plays a good defensive game. He doesn't offer a lot offense and isn't going to contribute much on either special team, but he's a nice role player. He seems to me as a version of Andreas Nodl.

Dominic Moore - C/LW - Moore is an interesting case. He's a defensive center that is good in the faceoff circle and will contribute on the PK, but he lacks physicality and usually ends up in the minus column. He can provide some offense, but he is hit & miss. He will give it his all and plays a little of the agitating role. If the Canes are looking to use Sutter as a 2nd line center, then Moore could be a 3rd line option.

Daniel Winnik - LW/RW - Winnik has the size and game that would benefit the Hurricanes. He is a defensive winger that plays a lot on the PK and can provide a small amount of offense. He will throw a few hits and block a few shots, but he's not really skilled enough for more than a 3rd line role. He would provide some more size to the Canes 3rd line and should compliment the PK. Winnik might be an option if the Canes are looking to beef up the bottom 6.

Brad Winchester - LW/RW - Winchester is another big, rugged forward, but one without a lot of skill. His size is impressive, but he doesn't have the abilities to make effective use of it. He doesn't play on the PK and isn't really that good defensively. He's intimidating and that is pretty much it. Winchester is not exactly an upgrade in any area except for size, so I would probably find someone else better suited for the Canes lineup.

Jim Vandermeer - D/LW - Vandermeer is probably best used a a depth defenseman, but might be someone the Canes could use. He's sort of a stay-at-home guy that plays with some toughness, but I'm not sure if he is consistent enough for a full-time role. He lacks speed and takes some bad penalties. If the Canes lose Bryan Allen and don't find another physical guy to fill his role, Vandermeer might be a part-time option.

Colin White - D - White is another inconsistent defensive defenseman that might be a little more apt to filling Allen's role. He will play physical and he will block shots, but that is pretty much it. He provides almost no offense and doesn't always make the best decisions. But he could come at an affordable price and can share some of his experience with the young guys. White might be a good backup plan if a more talented player cannot be acquired.

Andrew Murray - W/C - He seems like a guy that has the tools to be a regular 3rd line player, but can never seem to put it all together. He'll use his size to deliver some hits and is ok in his own zone, but his offense is limited. He's pretty strong and can play all forward positions, but his more suited for a winger role. He is probably a good depth pick up or 4th liner.

Players with less than 20 games this past season - Antero Niittymaki G, Ben Guite C, John McCarthy LW/C, Mike Moore D

Dallas Stars

Radek Dvorak - RW - Dvorak is an aging winger that could play a 3rd line role. He has some wheels and might be able to keep up with Sutter. He also has some offensive skills, but he doesn't show them too often. He is definitely a PK guy and someone that becomes a threat short-handed. He also has plenty of experience, but his playing days are drawing to an end soon.

Adam Burish - W/C - Burish is a guy that really gets under your skin. He's gritty and will do whatever is asked of him. He doesn't have a lot of offensive firepower, but he can contribute some offensively. He also doesn't really have the size that would make him a more effective checking line forward, but he isn't small either. He is solid in his own zone and will play on the PK. Burish might be an interesting option if the Canes are looking to redo the 3rd line.

Jake Dowell - LW/C - Dowell is a 4th line energy guy. He doesn't provide much offense and doesn't really play much on special teams. He's just one of those guys that does the little things and plays a responsible game. He has decent size and is willing to use his body, but he will also take a good number of penalties. He's not a bad guy, but not really something the Canes need either.

Toby Peterson - W/C - Peterson is one of these tweeners. He has enough skill to be a good AHLer, but not enough to make it full-time in the NHL. He has good speed and will do whatever he can to stay in the NHL, but his age is starting the catch up with him and he has yet to really figure out how to stay in the NHL. He's a depth guy that really wouldn't offer a lot to the Canes, but maybe his experience would work in Charlotte helping out a player like Zach Boychuk figure out what he needs to do.

Sheldon Souray - D - Souray was basically out of the league for a year and a half, but he returned and played quite well for Dallas last season. He's getting old, but he can still contribute offensively and defensively. His size is very impressive, but his skating ability is not. He is more of an offensive defenseman with a big shot from the point, but he can play an effective defensive game. He might have been more of an option a year or two ago, but I don't think Souray is what the Canes are looking for on the blueline.

Players with less than 20 games this past season - Brad Lukowich D, Andrew Raycroft G, Raymond Sawada RW, Maxine Fortunus D, Francis Wathier LW, Dan Spang D

Los Angeles Kings

Dustin Penner - LW - Penner's regular season could only be described as disappointing, but he has come alive in the Playoffs. He has great size and skill to boot, but his issue has always been consistency. He can easily be a 20+ goal guy and be effective on the PP. His weight can be an issue, but if Rod Brind'Amour could work with him, he could really get his body in great shape. Based on his regular season, he would have come pretty cheap. But based on his Playoff performance, he will likely be in the $5 million range. He is a real interesting option.

Jarret Stoll - C - Stoll is another King player that had a rough regular season, but he hasn't stepped it up as much as Penner has in the Playoffs. Stoll is generally a 40 point player that plays a very good two-way game. The question is whether he can return to that form. The Canes could look at signing him at putting Sutter as the 2nd line center, but is Stoll worth the raise that he is likely to see? I think at 15 goals, 40 points, and his solid two-way game Stoll is a $3.5 million dollar player. But will he get back to that level, that is the big question.

Colin Fraser - C - Fraser is a 4th line energy guy that plays with some grit. He has good size and will deliver a good number of hits. He's pretty responsible defensively and is an agitator, but he doesn't produce much offensively. We have guys that can play this type of game, so Fraser is not really the type of player the Canes need to add.

Ethan Moreau - LW/RW - Moreau is an aging, checking forward that appears to come to the end of the tracks. He's never been an offensive force, but now it has dwindled to next to nothing. And lately, his defensive abilities seem to be escaping him. He is a player that was placed on waivers and someone that really doesn't offer the much anymore. I can't see any team picking him up for next season.

Trent Hunter - RW - Hunter is a guy that was a solid role player until recently. He has good size, can play in many situations, and could contribute some offensively. But injuries and his lack of skating ability seem to have caught up with him. The past 2 seasons have been very rough for Hunter and I'm not sure he can get back. I'm sure some team will invite him to camp, but whether or not he will stick is still up in the air.

Players with less than 20 games this past season - Scott Parse LW/RW, Patrick Mullen D, Jeff Zatkoff G, Marc-Andre Cliche C

Phoenix Coyotes

Shane Doan - RW - Doan's stats took a step back this season, but he is still one of the better two-way power forwards around. He is a guy that can score, can distribute, can play a physical game, and is a great teammate. He's is getting older and is not the type of player that will approach 40 goals, but he is solid, just all-around solid. It would be nice to see him in a Canes sweater, next to Staal, but I can't see him leaving Phoenix for Carolina. So I don't think he is really an option.

Daymond Langkow - C - Langkow is a smaller center that has all the tools to be a productive player. But his body has taken a lot of abuse over the years and it has effective his performance. He can still be a solid player at times, but his best days are behind him. At going on 36, he probably doesn't have many good days remaining, so I don't think he is a viable option for the Hurricanes at this point.

Ray Whitney - LW - The former Hurricane is coming off of one of his best seasons and at age 40 still has something left. Many Hurricane fans would love to see him return to Raleigh and he would increase the talent on the 1st line. But he is strictly a temporary fix and you never know when those skills are going to start vanishing. I'm also not sure JR would swallow his pride and resign Whitney, but he is definitely a fun idea to think about.

Taylor Pyatt - LW/RW - Pyatt is a big defensive forward that has very good skating abilities. He is a good checker and has flashes of offense. He could be a solid 3rd line winger if he could find some more consistency in his game, but he is just too streaky. He is quite an effective 4th liner that can move up at times and would probably be worth a shot for the Canes.

Michal Rozsival - D - Rozsival is a steady defenseman that doesn't really excel in any one part of the game. He plays a smart game, makes good passes, and has ok size. But he doesn't use his size a lot and doesn't produce a lot of points. He would be a nice addition to a 3rd pairing, but he isn't what the Canes blueline needs.

Adrian Aucoin - D - Aucoin is getting up there in age and has had some nagging injuries, but he plays a very solid game when healthy. He has a huge shot and leadership abilities. He has nice size and will throw some hits & blocks, but not a lot. The question is whether time has finally caught up with him. He might be a good backup option, but not a first choice.

Patrick O'Sullivan - RW/LW - A very skilled player that doesn't have the work ethic to maintain his presence in the NHL. What he lacks is size, strength, and any sort of defensive game. We tried this guy already and it didn't work out at all, so I don't see us trying this experiment again. Say no to Patty O!

Players with less than 20 games this past season - Kurt Sauer D, Dean Arsene D, Marc-Antoine Pouliot RW/LW, Nathan Oystrick D, Alexandre Bolduc LW/C, Justin Pogge G, Matt Watkins LW/RW, Matt Beaudoin LW/RW, Tyler Eckford D

Anaheim Ducks

Jason Blake - LW - Blake is an energy winger that has scoring abilities, but he is on the decline. His age and style of play are wearing him down and you can't necessarily count on him for a full season. He could probably play a 3rd line role and provide a little offense, but any shift could be his last. It's a risk, small reward with Blake and I don't see JR gambling.

Teemu Selanne - RW - There is no doubting that Teemu still has the abilities to be an effective player in the NHL. He had 66 points and is still a great PP player. He also still possess an awesome set of hands and fabulous skating abilities. But at 41 and having considered retirement a couple of times, I say his chances of becoming a Canes are zero. There is even a chance that he doesn't come back to the Ducks, but he can still play and I say he returns for 1 more season.

Niklas Hagman - LW/RW - Hagman is a player that has times where you would like him on your team and others that you're glad he's not. He has provided some offense in the past, but is probably only a 30 to 35 point player. He is not really skilled enough for the top 6 and doesn't really play the game needed to be on a checking line. He was put on waivers earlier in the year, so I would expect that his contract price will be lower than what he made last season. He's not really the player the Canes are looking for.

George Parros - RW - Parros fills one role and he does that well. He is a big enforcer and a team-first player. If the Canes are looking to add someone to punch it out with others in the league, Parros would be a nice add. But he really doesn't do anything else. He provides very little offense and isn't really much defensively either. He would also be limited to a part-time role.

Rod Pelley - C/W - Pelley is another 4th line energy guy, the one thing that there are plenty of this summer. He is a good team-first guy that never stops, but he is very limited to what he can offer. He doesn't have much offense and isn't really big, but he can play either forward position. There are too many better players out there and already on our team for the Canes to make a play for Pelley.

Sheldon Brookbank - D/W - Brookbank is a little bit of a project defenseman, but he is a solid teammate and has becoming a little better defensively. He is a 6th defenseman at best, but plays physical and is willing to stick up for teammates. His skating is a weakness and he doesn't have the highest hockey IQ. He could be a backup, backup plan.

Players with less than 20 games this past season - Dan Ellis G, Ryan O'Marra C/RW, Jean-Francois Jacques LW/RW, Matt Smaby D, Mark Bell C/LW, Troy Brodie RW/LW, Sean Zimmerman D

Canes Needs & Possible UFA Targets

A top 6 forward - JR has even stated that the Canes are in search of a top line talent to play with Eric Staal. The problem is that this year's UFA market is very weak with such players. Obviously Zach Parise is choice number one, but almost every team out there is going to make a pitch for him and with the Devils getting to the Finals, he might consider staying if New Jersey can figure out it's financial situation. There are a couple of other options, but it could get expensive because of supply & demand. Here are my top UFA's that COULD fill this Hurricane hole.

1. Zach Parise - LW

2. Dustin Penner - LW

3. PA Parenteau - RW

4. Ray Whitney - LW

5. Alexander Semin - RW

6. David Jones - RW/LW

7. Jiri Hudler - RW/LW

8. Brad Boyes - C/RW

A 3rd line center - If the Canes are entertaining the idea of addressing their top 6 by moving Brandon Sutter up to the 2nd line center position, then they will need someone to replace him. We would probably be looking for a defensive first center that is good at faceoffs. Second, we would probably prefer to add some size to our forward ranks. Here are my top UFA's that COULD fill this Hurricane hole.

1. Chris Kelly - C

2. Paul Gaustad - C

3. Jarrett Stoll - C

4. Dominic Moore - C/LW

Some bottom 6 size - Another thing the Canes could potential look for is some size to add to their bottom 6. The more physical players that the Canes have on the 3rd & 4th line are generally the smaller guys. The guys with better size don't use it as much to their advantage. Maybe adding a 3rd or 4th liner with some size would offer some of our skilled players some protection. We might also consider a guy with some size that can contribute on the PK. Here are my top UFA's that COULD fill this Hurricane hole.

1. Daniel Winnik - LW/RW

2. Taylor Pyatt - LW/RW

3. Lennart Petrell - W/C

4. Tanner Glass - LW

5. Steve Bernier - RW

6. Adam Burish - W/C

7. Tom Kostopoulos - RW/LW

8. Travis Moen - LW/RW

A two-way or defensive defenseman - Some would say this is the Canes biggest need. We have a ton of offensive guys, but not many physical presences on the blueline, especially with Bryan Allen expected to leave. The Canes need someone that will help reduce the amount of shots Cam Ward sees. A two-way guy like Ryan Suter would be great, but he will be highly sought after. The Canes might have to look toward trade or toward a 2nd tier defensive defenseman. Here are my top UFA's that COULD fill this Hurricane hole.

1. Ryan Suter - D

2. Brad Stuart - D

3. Hall Gill - D

4. Jason Garrison - D

5. Greg Zanon - D

6. Shane O'Brien - D

7. Cory Sarich - D

8. Colin White - D

9. Adrian Aucoin - D