The NHL Free Agent Market For Defensemen
With Ryan Suter being the hottest defensive commodity that could potentially be on the open market this off season, here is a look at some defensemen that will get a look from teams once Suter is off the market.
1. Matt Carle, Philadelphia Flyers
Despite expressing an interest in re-signing Carle, according to CSNPhilly.com Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren has yet to take any substantial step in doing so. And Carle, himself, has hinted at wanting to test his own market value past July 1.
However, if the potential opportunity to snag Suter blows off the table, we suspect the Flyers would make Carle a greater priority before the Detroit Red Wings try to get their hooks into the 27-year-old Alaskan native. Especially considering the uncertainty plaguing Chris Pronger‘s playing future.
2. Dennis Wideman, Washington Capitals
As recently discussed by ESPN.com’s Craig Custance, Wideman could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of this summer’s thin free agent market. If Suter and Carle re-sign in Nashville and Philly, respectively, Wideman would be in position to cash in huge.
The 29-year-old has said he’s open to re-signing with the Capitals, but doesn’t seem married to making that move.
3. Jason Garrison, Florida Panthers
The Vancouver Sun reports that Garrison would be open to signing with the Vancouver Canucks. However the 27-year-old really, really want to remain in Florida, and General Manager Dale Tallon has made it clear that securing Garrison is a top priority according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel. Plus the Panthers will have to spend some cash, to ensure they remain above the projected salary floor through 2012-13 and beyond.
4. Justin Schultz, University of Wisconsin
Perhaps the most intriguing asset of all is Justin Schultz. He however still belongs somewhat to the Anaheim Ducks. But probably not for long.
If/when the hottest defensive prospect becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, TSN’s Bob MacKenzie suggests the Edmonton Oilers could be first in line. And while several scribes in Vancouver propose the Canucks could have the hometown edge in signing the 21-year-old Kelowna native, don’t rule Detroit out of the mix either. Again, as a right-handed shot with the potential to run the power play, Schultz should fall well within General Manager Ken Holland’s sights.
Honorable mention defensemen available are Carlo Colaiacovo and Joe Corvo. The other possible route for NHL clubs could be the trade market. Possibly elite restricted free agent Shea Weber though he could easily sign a long-term deal in Nashville if Suter does so first and it appears unlikely he’d be traded, or one of the Toronto Maple Leafs several young blue-line assets.
Subscribe to NHL Trade Report updates on Facebook, on Twitter, by Email, or RSS.