So you’re left feeling flat and anguished by the slow, methodical process of the 2010 free agency season. It’s understandable that with Ilya Kovalchuk just having two known suitors chasing after him and other secondary free agent prizes holding tight and not rushing to go anywhere else just yet that you, the fan, might feel let down.
While your thoughts have already turned to how your team is going to do next season, are there reasons to get excited about next year’s free agency brand of Supermarket Sweep? You bet there is, and not everything will turn out to be a can of prunes either, there’s some prime pieces of steak to be had.
Anaheim: Todd Marchant, Aaron Voros, Ryan Carter, Curtis McElhinney
Atlanta: Todd White, Chris Thorburn, Eric Boulton, Brent Sopel
Boston: Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Michael Ryder, Marco Sturm, Mark Recchi, Mark Stuart
Buffalo: Tim Connolly, Mike Grier, Rob Niedermayer, Cody McCormick, Craig Rivet, Steve Montador, Patrick Lalime
Calgary: Alex Tanguay, Curtis Glencross, Steve Staios, Mark Giordano, Adam Pardy, Staffan Kronwall, Henrik Karlsson
Carolina: Erik Cole, Sergei Samsonov, Jussi Jokinen, Chad Larose, Pat Dwyer, Joni Pitkanen, Anton Babchuk, Jay Harrison
Chicago: Tomas Kopecky, Marty Reasoner
Colorado: Milan Hejduk, David Koci, Scott Hannan, Adam Foote, Craig Anderson, Peter Budaj
Columbus: Chris Clark, Ethan Moreau, Andrew Murray, Jan Hejda, Mathieu Garon
Dallas: Brad Richards, Brian Sutherby, Brandon Segal, Trevor Daley, Karlis Skrastins, Brad Lukowich, Jeff Woywitka
Detroit: Kris Draper, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Nicklas Lidstrom, Jonathan Ericsson, Derek Meech, Chris Osgood, Jimmy Howard
Edmonton: Ryan Jones, Steve McIntyre, Jim Vandermeer, Jason Strudwick
Florida: Cory Stillman, Radek Dvorak, Chris Higgins, Bryan McCabe, Nathan Paetsch, Tomas Vokoun
Los Angeles: Michal Handzus, Justin Williams, Peter Harrold, Erik Ersberg
Minnesota: Chuck Kobasew, Antti Miettinen, Andrew Brunette, Josh Harding
Montreal: Mathieu Darche, Andrei Markov, Roman Hamrlik, Hal Gill, Alex Auld
Nashville: Steve Sullivan, Joel Ward, Marcel Goc, Jerred Smithson, Jamie Lundmark, Wade Belak
New Jersey: Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner, Andy Greene, Johan Hedberg
New York Islanders: P.A. Parenteau, Zenon Konopka, Trevor Gillies, Radek Martinek, Milan Jurcina, Dwayne Roloson
New York Rangers: Vaclav Prospal, Donald Brashear (yes, he’s still there), Steve Eminger
Ottawa: Alexei Kovalev, Jarkko Ruutu, Ryan Shannon, Chris Phillips, Pascal Leclaire
Philadelphia: Simon Gagne, Nikolai Zherdev, Ville Leino, Riley Cote, Sean O’Donnell, Brian Boucher
Phoenix: Radim Vrbata, Scottie Upshall, Petr Prucha, Vernon Fiddler, Andrew Ebbett, Ed Jovanovski, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jason Labarbera
Pittsburgh: Pascal Dupuis, Maxime Talbot, Michael Rupp, Eric Godard, Craig Adams
San Jose: Joe Thornton, Scott Nichol, Niclas Wallin, Kent Huskins, Jay Leach
St. Louis: David Backes, Jay Winchester, Cam Janssen, Eric Brewer, Nathan Oystrick, Ty Conklin
Tampa Bay: Mike Smith
Toronto: Fredrik Sjostrom, Tomas Kaberle
Vancouver: Darcy Hordichuk, Tanner Glass, Rick Rypien, Joel Perreault, Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo, Christian Ehrhoff, Shane O’Brien, Andrew Alberts
Washington: Alexander Semin, Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich, Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon, Tom Poti, John Erskine
Mind you, these are just the guys who are slated to become unrestricted free agents after next season. There’s plenty of guys who are set to become restricted free agents as well including some already huge stars in the league, but you have to presume that more often than not they’ll get deals worked out with their parent clubs somehow.
This list, however, has a lot of hope for an exciting off-season in 2011 with names like Joe Thornton, Tomas Vokoun, Brad Richards, David Backes, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara sitting out as possibilities. If by some freakish stroke of magic all of these guys become free agents next year, we’ll have more than enough spice to keep next summer busy with rumors and speculation.
As it is, we live in the now and right now things are quiet and rather unexciting. But next year... Next year shows great promise for free agency hijinks.