Sunday, June 27, 2010

*Updated* My Top 10 Unrestricted Free Agents for 2010

With July 1st around the corner, your best 2010 NHL Free Agents are...

10. Alex Frolov - Los Angeles Kings

Age: 27 09-10 Salary: $2,900,000 81GP 19G 32A 51PTS 26PIM -1+/-

Note: The former 1st round pick could really boost a team's offense, especially considering he has scored at least 20 goals in every season minus his rookie campaign and last season's setback. In 08-09, he recorded 32 goals and is likely in need of a fresh start. Don't expect this 6' 2" and 204 lbs Russian to last long after July 1st.

9. Matthew Lombardi - Phoenix Coyotes

Age: 28 09-10 Salary: $1,816,666 78GP 19G 34A 53PTS 36PIM 8+/-

Note: The Montreal native saw a career high in points and assists last year as a member of the Coyotes. The former Flame has always shown great quickness and agility, making him another player many teams will look at. He will certainly be looking for a raise heading into free agency.

8. Pavel Kubina - Atlanta Thrashers

Age: 33 09-10 Salary: $5,000,000 76GP 6G 32A 38PTS 66PIM 0+/-

Note: The frightening 6' 4" and 250 lbs frame that Kubina bares would be something any team would love to have on their side. The former Stanley Cup Champion and powerplay quarterback has never dipped below 20 points in his career. The big defenseman has also recorded at least 40 points in two of his last three seasons.

7. Maxim Afinogenov - Atlanta Thrashers

Age: 30 09-10 Salary: $800,000 82GP 24G 37A 61PTS 46PIM -17+/-

Note: The oft-injured, long time Buffalo Sabre experienced a fabulous season last year, recording a career high goals. Known for his blinding speed, Afinogenov also managed to participate in every regular season game last year for the first time in his career. At just $0.8 million last season, he was steal for the Thrashers, however many teams will still be scared to take a chance with this guy.

6. Vaclav Prospal - New York Rangers

Age: 35 09-10 Salary: $1,100,000 75GP 20G 38A 58PTS 32PIM 8+/-

Note: The Czech winger has been a bit of a suitcase the last little while, playing for 6 different teams in the last 9 seasons. However, scoring 20 goals last season and netting 33 back in 07-08, makes this guy a great veteran to have on a team. After three stints with the Lightning, nobody really knows where he will be going. He will likely want to go to a contender though, as he has managed just 60 playoff games, compared to nearly 950 regular season contests.

5. Ray Whitney - Carolina Hurricanes

Age: 37 09-10 Salary: $3,550,000 80GP 21G 37A 58PTS 26PIM -6+/-

Note: When will this guy get the credit he deserves! The former Stanley Cup Winner and two time NHL All-Star is one of the most underrated players in the game. With 869 career points and 4 consecutive 20 goal performances, he just keeps producing. A hot commodity at the trade deadline, this small winger will also likely want to go to a contender, considering his age.

4. Anton Volchenkov - Ottawa Senators

Age: 28 09-10 Salary: $2,500,000 64GP 4G 10A 14PTS 38PIM 2+/-

Note: Another player that is often underrated because of his role on the team. He won't blow you away with fast skating or as a sniper, but can he ever block shots! He has always been atop the league in blocked shots and hits. He is considered to be one of the toughest players around the NHL. Also known to be an excellent shut-down defenseman and Sens fans will be said to see him leave, if that's the route he chooses.

3. Evgeni Nabokov - San Jose Sharks

Age: 34 09-10 Salary: $5,375,000 Record: 44-16-10 2.43GAA 0.915SV% 3SO

Note: After 3 consecutive 40 win seasons, Nabby is the best goaltender on the market. The Russian backstopper has played for the Sharks his entire career and also set a career high in SV% last season with a mark of .922. The former Calder Trophy winner and NHL All-Star may also go to a team looking for more scoring, after his powerplay goal against the Canucks in 2002. In all seriousness, for a team looking for solid netminding Nabokov will deliver, however the price may be scary.

2. Sergei Gonchar - Pittsburgh Penguins

Age: 36 09-10 Salary: $5,000,000 62GP 11G 39A 50PTS 49PIM -4+/-

The former Stanley Cup Champion and NHL All-Star is second among Russian defensemen in scoring with 684 points. Known for his hard shot and powerplay assets, he definitely won't last long on the free agent market. The aging Gonchar has managed to record at least 50 points in 9 of the last 10 seasons.

1. Ilya Kovalchuk - New Jersey Devils

Age: 27 09-10 Salary: $6,389,300 76GP 41G 44A 85PTS 53PIM 10+/-

Here's the big boy of the 2010 free agency period, no doubt. Clearly the best player to become available, he will almost certainly continue to put up big numbers. The former Rocket Richard winner has put up at least 40 lamplighters in his last 6 NHL seasons, two of which were 50 goal efforts. He has only dipped below the 40 goal mark for two seasons, both of them being his first in the league. One team is going to have a lot more firepower next year, but boy are they going to pay for it!

Who else belongs in the Top 10?


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