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Tag:Jonathan Ericsson
Posted on: February 26, 2012 10:18 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 12:00 pm
 

Morning Skate: Sharks, Wild meet desperate for W

Marleau and San Jose are in Minnesota. (US Presswire)

By Brian Stubits

The Morning Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

Playoff Race

6 ET, San Jose at Minnesota

Here's a bit of a shocker: The San Jose Sharks wake up Sunday morning in seventh place in the Western Conference, only three points up on the three-way tie for eighth place. A nine-game road trip can do that to a team.

Those numbers are slightly skewed. The Sharks are the only team in spots 1-11 in the West that have played fewer than 62 games and the only team in the conference thus far who has played only 60. So there are games in hand on others in the picture, including the Coyotes, who now lead the Pacific Division outright.

That's why the final game of the trip today is a big one. Those games in hand mean nada if they aren't converted into points. They can't really afford to let the Coyotes get some separation in the division race with how incredibly hot they have been lately.

For the Wild, it means just staying in the race for that eighth seed. The magic number is more or less five points. If you fall any further behind that, the chances of coming back become very long. The Wild enter Sunday's game five points behind that logjam for eighth. The home games need to turn into two points for them.

With San Jose having lost eight of their last 11 games -- and the division lead -- it means we should have two desperate hockey teams on Sunday evening. Sounds like fun.

5 ET, Montreal at Florida

The Florida Panthers scored an absolutely huge win on Saturday night in Raleigh, taking down the Hurricanes in a shootout, 3-2. They were down 2-0 until Tomas Fleischmann hit for a score with 6:02 left and new addition Wojtek Wolski tied it with under two to play. It was Florida's third straight win on the road and vaulted them back into first in the Southeast while keeping games in hand on everybody else.

Ironically enough, while they have won three in a row on the road, they have lost four straight at home. That has to change if Florida wants to see the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.

This represents the first chance a team in the Southeast Division will have a shot at reaching 70 points on the season, too. Oof. But at least Florida has played fewer games than any team, so they need to use these games in hand (four on Winnipeg, two on Washington) to push themselves back ahead of the division.

With Montreal coming to town, it's a perfect opportunity. The Canadiens have not won a game in regulation in their last six tries. The only win in that time came in a shootout four games ago. They enter today's matchup having scored two goals in the last three games, all losses.

But you can bet the Habs fans will still fill up the seats in Florida. It never quite feels like a road game for Montreal when it is in Sunrise. South Florida is a popular winter destination for the Quebecois, so Habs-Panthers is one of the rare tough tickets at the BankAtlantic Center.

3 ET, Vancouver at Dallas

That aforementioned logjam in the West? The Stars are part of it. By virtue of the tie-breakers at this point, the Stars are actually the team in the playoffs if they were to start today. Not too bad for a team that still seems to be a seller before tomorrow's trade deadline.

The Stars come into the game on a little roll, having won three in a row including Friday's 4-1 victory over the Wild. But the Canucks are a whole different cup of tea.

Vancouver has taken a lead on the Red Wings and Rangers in the Presidents' Trophy race and it would like to stay up there. The Northwest Division is damn near mathematically locked up already, they're up 18 points on Colorado. But that best record in the league is something worth fighting for, so this isn't a team that's already put it on cruise control.

Others worth watching

7 ET, Chicago at Anaheim: The up-and-down Blackhawks take on the desperate and hot Ducks. An Anaheim win could pull it within four of the eighth spot out West depending on results.

1 ET, Tampa Bay at New Jersey: It looked like the Lightning might have a little life a week ago, but not so much anymore. The Devils, though, are still fighting for that fourth spot in the East.

5 ET, Islanders at Ottawa: The above description of the Lightning describes the Islanders. The Senators are pretty safely in but still have an outside shot at the Northeast Division.

1 ET, Columbus at Pittsburgh: They most intriguing thing about this game -- other than how many points Evgeni Malkin can accumulate -- is if this is Rick Nash's final game with the Blue Jackets.

Your promised miscellany

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:14 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 1:57 am
 

Flyers' Rinaldo suspended two games for charging

By Brian Stubits

Players across the NHL had been on their best behavior since the All-Star break. Alex Ovechkin was the last player suspended and that came with a game to go before the midseason vacation.

That was until Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo decided to charge Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson on Sunday night in Detroit's 4-3 win.

For the hit, Brendan Shanahan issued the rookie Rinaldo a two-game suspension.

As usual, Shanahan is very descriptive in breaking down why Rinaldo was suspended. In this instance, he was clear in pointing out that Rinaldo could have delivered a legal check and Ericsson should have been more aware of what was coming instead of looking back at his pass.

But that doesn't absolve Rinaldo from charging and turning a good hit into a bad hit. Making this perhaps my favorite Shanahan video this year, it busts out the telestrator and a little math. Taking into account that Rinaldo is five inches shorter than Ericsson, he clearly had to launch himself into the air to connect with Ericsson's head like he did.

Rinaldo was skating on thin ice. It was just eight days ago that he was fined not once but twice in the same game. One was for a late hit, the other for a slew foot. That didn't curry him any favor, Shanahan hasn't looked down kindly on repeat offenders.

Rinaldo has been good for the Flyers in his first season in the NHL. He has also proven he fits in the mold of classic Flyers, playing a little reckless at times and proving he's not afraid to throw the gloves down.

Check out this nugget on Rinaldo from Broad Street Hockey: Rinaldo has 285 minutes on the ice versus 276 minutes in the penalty box or on suspension.

More NHL Discipline news

More from Eye on Hockey

Rinaldo fined for late hit, slew foot

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:50 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 3:50 pm
 

Rinaldo has hearing for hit on Jonathan Ericsson

By: Adam Gretz

Just a little over a week after Zac Rinaldo received a pair of fines for a trip and a late hit against the New Jersey Devils, the Flyers forward will be answering questions from the NHL once again on Monday following a charging penalty against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.

The NHL has a 1 PM disciplinary hearing with Rinaldo scheduled for Monday afternoon for this hit on Jonathan Ericsson late in the first period of Detroit's 4-2 win in the game that extended their home winning streak to a record-tying 20 consecutive games.



Rinaldo received a two-minute minor for charging on the play.

Even though a hearing is scheduled that doesn't mean a suspension is guaranteed, as it could also result in a fine or warning, or perhaps even nothing at all.

That said, the fact that Rinaldo was fined twice just last week probably isn't going to help him going in.

Previously at Eye On Hockey

Rinaldo fined for trip, late hit
More NHL discipline news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: October 31, 2011 10:33 am
 

Niklas Kronwall signs 7-year extension with Wings

By: Adam Gretz

There has been a lot of talk for a couple of weeks now that the Detroit Red Wings and defenseman Niklas Kronwall were involved in contract talks, and on Monday the team announced, via Twitter, that the two sides have come to an agreement on a seven-year contract extension.

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the contract has an average annual salary of $4.75 million.

The 31-year-old Kronwall is currently in his eighth year with the Red Wings after being a first-round selection by the team in 2000. He's scored 35 goals and recorded 148 assists in 394 games, and is perhaps best known for his physical style of play and crushing open-ice hits. Had a new contract not been worked out prior to July 1, he would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency and would have no doubt been one of the top players on the market. This new deal makes him the focal point of the Red Wings defense going forward (well, he will be when Nicklas Lidstrom retires).

With Kronwall secured through the 2018-19 season the Red Wings now have Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Jonathan Ericsson signed together for at least the next three years.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: September 30, 2011 9:03 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 10:00 am
 

Top scoring defensemen over age 40

NL2By: Adam Gretz

Earlier this week the folks at Japers' Rink put together a sensational breakdown (you can view the entire analysis right here) on how the Detroit Red Wings have "protected" their older defensemen in recent years, particularly Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski, and how it relates to the Capitals and their own offensive-defenseman, Mike Green.

Basically, what the Red Wings did was split the two veterans apart (in past years Lidstrom and Rafalski were typically paired together) and made their new partners, usually Jonathan Ericsson and Brad Stuart, go back retrieve the puck in the defensive zone and take the physical pounding from oncoming forecheckers. By doing so they limited the number of hits Lidstrom and Rafalski had to take over the course of a game and season, further allowing them to be among the most prolific scoring defensemen in the league. It didn't necessarily increase their offensive ability, but it may have saved a few unnecessary hits, which is always a good thing for players in their mid-late 30's and early 40's.

During the 2010-11 season Lidstrom finished near the top of the points list for defensemen, as he's usually done throughout his Hall of Fame career, with 62 points, trailing only the 68 that Anaheim's Lubomir Visnovsky recorded. Sixty-two points is an impressive number for any defenseman in any era, but for a player that was 40 years old it was incredible.

Rafalski ended up retiring earlier this summer, while Lidstrom is coming back for another year at the age of 41, and it's probably a good bet that these two things will once again happen in 2011: 1) Lidstrom likely won't be asked to retrieve the puck on dump-ins, and 2) He'll probably be one of the top-scoring defensemen in the league if he stays healthy.

Last month we took a look at the top scoring forwards over the age of 40, and I wanted to take a similar look at defensemen to see where Lidstrom's '10-11 performance ranked. 

I went all the way back to 1970 and pulled the top-10 individual scoring seasons for defensemen age 40 and older. Have a look.

Top Scoring Seasons For 40-Year-Old Defensemen Since 1970
Player Age Year Games Goals Points
Nicklas Lidstrom 40 2010-11 82 16 62
Ray Bourque 40 2000-01 80 7 59
Chris Chelios 40 2001-02 79 6 39
Rob Blake 40 2009-10 70 7 30
Chris Chelios 42 2003-04 69 2 21
Tim Horton 41 1970-71 78 2 20
Chris Chelios 41 2002-03 66 2 19
Teppo Numminen 40 2008-09 57 2 17
Tim Horton 43 1972-73 69 1 17
Harry Howell 40 1972-73 73 4 15

Since 1970 there have only been 30 defensemen to play in the NHL over the age of 40, so you're only looking at, on average, about one per season. The number of players that have actually been productive while doing so is even smaller. And that makes Lidstrom's point total from last year even more incredible. The only other player on the list to top even 40 points was Ray Bourque back in 2000 when he finished in a tie for third among defensemen, while only six have managed to top 20 points.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: September 28, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Central Division Preview: 'Hawks, Wings battle on

By Brian Stubits

Enjoy this while you can, there's no telling what the Central will look like next season.

One of the premier rivalries in the sport is the Blackhawks vs. the Red Wings. The only two Original Six teams in the West, they have long been fierce combatants. In recent years the Blackhawks have awoken from the doldrums, making this a great series once again.

But this could be it, especially if Detroit has its way. Realignment is coming to the NHL, that much is guaranteed after Atlanta moved to Winnipeg. The Red Wings organization has made it no secret it wants to move East, rivalry with Chicago be damned. Columbus and Nashville would both welcome a move East as well. Something's gotta give, and it will be the Central Division.

It's too bad. Because this year the division is set up to be about more than just these two powers.

Nashville is always sneaky good. People seem to sleep on the Predators every season, but you know they will be there. They are looking to build off the first postseason series win in franchise history with their three Stars in contract seasons. St. Louis seems to think its Blues are ready to make a leap, so long as they can stay healthy. That was a challenge last season. And Columbus? Well there is at least optimism for the first time in a while and some buzz around the team after the addition of Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski to join Rick Nash.

But as many strides as those teams have and are taking, in the end it will likely still be about the two powerhouses. That's because the Blackhawks are back. They suffered a little last year after winning the Stanley Cup as they had to shed a lot of salary. That meant jettisoning a good chunk of the team that won the Cup. But the core remained together and the team found its groove in the end, pushing the Canucks to the brink in the first round. But after an offseason of reinforcing the roster, Chicago figures to be in the thick until the end.

And Detroit? The Red Wings are ... well they're just the Wings. It's hard to imagine them not being good. Although this year they don't seem to be as loaded as usual, those are some pretty lofty standards. They will still be a threat not only for the division title but in the Western Conference, they can flat out score. That much we know.

So if this is it as division rivals, it should be fun.

Central Division (in predicted order of finish)

PenguinsChicago Blackhawks: Ah, it's nice to be out of salary cap hell, isn't it Chicago? After having to do major salary shedding, the Blackhawks still come out with a cast of characters that includes the names Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and newcomer Andrew Brunette. Throw in Dan Carcillo and Jamal Mayers to give the team some nastiness power and the forwards are well-rounded.

On defense they will miss Brian Campbell, just not his salary. Sure, he is overpaid, but that doesn't mean he didn't bring anything to the table for the 'Hawks. But the defensive corps is still solid, led by Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Expectations are very high in Chicago once again.

Strenghts: It's tough to find a better pair of linemates than Toews and Kane. They are both still stepping into their primes, so they have a lot more to show. Those two are also part of the reason why the power play should once again be successful. Last season the unit ranked fourth in the NHL with the man up, led by Sharp's 12 goals on the power play.

They figure to be better at killing penalties thanks to the additions of Mayers, Steve Montador and Sean O'Donnell, an area where Chicago struggled last season.

Weaknesses: Depth at center is a major concern at this point. The team has been experimenting during camp with Patrick Kane, of all players, manning the center position. Maybe it's an indictment on the centers on the roster. Perhaps it's an indication of Patrick Sharp's health (or lack thereof). Whatever the reason, it's slightly concerning.

I would also be a little worried about the backup goaltender situation behind Corey Crawford. Alexander Salak is going to have the job and he might be more than adequate in the role, we just don't know much about him at the NHL level where he has little experience.

PenguinsDetroit Red Wings: The Wings are remarkably consistent as they have made the playoffs in each of the past 20 seasons. They also stay consistent in their roster, retaining a lot of their players over time. Case in point, this year's forward group. The Wings will trot out mostly all the same forwards as a year ago for when they finished second in the NHL in scoring.

But the defensive corps received quite a shakeup after last season's 2.89 goals against average, the retirement of Brian Rafalski and loss of Ruslan Salei.

In net they have Jimmy Howard with Ty Conklin backing him up. You have to wonder how much confidence Ken Holland and Mike Babcock have in their starter Howard, though, after the team had a failed pursuit of Tomas Vokoun.

Strengths: As mentioned, the Red Wings can score, almost all of them. Last season there were 13 players that recorded double digits in goals scored, led by Johan Franzen's 28. There is certainly loads of experience in Detroit, too. These guys aren't in their first rodeos. That especially includes defensive stalwart Nicklas Lidstrom, who put of retirement for another year on the ice.

Having the leadership that players like Lidstrom can provide certainly doesn't hurt. Also, you might have heard this Babcock fellow on their bench isn't so bad.

Weaknesses: Defense, defense, defense. That is the major concern/question mark here. They revamped the D, bringing in Mike Commodore and Ian White through free agency. Young defenseman Jonathan Ericsson received a pretty lucrative new deal, so he will be expected to improve.

In the defensive vein, the goaltending will also need to get better. Of course, that goes hand in hand with the defense, but Howard has room to improve. Playing for the Wings, his record was solid -- a nice 37-17-5 mark -- but the goals against average of 2.79 (36th out of 47 eligible goalies) and save percentage of .908 (33rd best) aren't worth writing home about.

PenguinsNashville Predators: Hope is high in Smashville coming off the best showing in franchise history, making it to conference semifinals. The Predators have more or less become the NHL's version of a Moneyball team, continuing to cultivate home-grown talent and win on the cheap.

The team is led by the high-profile trio of goalie Pekka Rinne (Vezina finalist) and defensemen Shea Weber (Norris finalist) and Ryan Suter, who are all going into contract seasons. It will be interesting to see how that plays out for each of them. For some players, it's a major distraction, for others it brings out the best playing for a new deal.

If there's anything we've learned about the Predators in recent years it's not to count them out, at least as long as Barry Trotz is on the bench. Maybe this will be the year he finally wins the Jack Adams as the best coach?

Strengths: The Preds have one of the best defenses in all of hockey. That's due to a multitude of reasons stretching from Trotz's system and philosophy to the outstanding personnel on the blue line -- which might get stronger with the addition of heralded prospect Ryan Ellis -- and the elite goaltending of Rinne. All in all, it led to the team posting the third-lowest GAA a season ago.

The farm system is also a strength, it usually is for Nashville. In addition to Ellis, they have forward Craig Smith, who drew rave reviews by scoring six goals in two games in the team's rookie tournament games.

Weaknesses: You would love to have somebody who is the clear-cut scorer on the team. Unfortunately, the Preds just don't score a lot, period, forget about one player. Only two players (Sergei Kostitsyn and Patric Hornqvist) topped the 20-goal mark with Kostitsyn pacing the team with 23. Perhaps a healthy Mike Fisher can help with that, at least that's the hope.

As you'd expect with low offensive numbers, the power play placed in the bottom five of the entire league a season ago. The leading power-play scorer was Martin Erat last season with seven.

PenguinsSt. Louis Blues: After coming out of the gate firing 9-1-2 last season, the Blues slowed down as the season wore along, eventually missing the playoffs by 10 points partly because the team dealt with a rash of injuries. Despite that finish, there is positive momentum going in St. Louis and the ownership sees it. That's why they left the young core of the team pretty much untouched this offseason, just electing to bring in a couple of savvy veterans in Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott to make an impact.

You can see the potential here, especially with another year under their belts. It will be interesting to see how they fare over a full season with Chris Stewert, who they acquired midseason from Colorado last year. After getting the forward, the Blues' offense saw a big uptick in scoring, eventually finishing 10th in the league.

Defensively they came in just below the median at 18th in the league. The Blues should be in the playoff picture all season long.

Strengths: There is a good amount of individual talent here, starting with Stewart and new captain David Backes. In all, they had six players last season score 20 goals or more and one of them, Andy McDonald, reached that plateau in just 58 games. With the abundance of talented and skilled skaters this is a team with plenty of speed up and down the lineup.

You also have to like the young defensive corps that has two stars in the making with Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, who each had 43 points from the back end a season ago.

Weaknesses: We weren't entirely sure where to put goaltending in this equation since Jaroslav Halak had some struggles in his first season as a No. 1 goaltender. However he showed what he's capable of when he was with the Canadiens. But based on his just average numbers of a season ago and the unsure situation behind him (Ben Bishop vs. Brian Elliott), we'll put this as our best guess.

Another area where the Blues are lacking is in the physicality department. You wonder where exactly the toughness will come from.

PenguinsColumbus Blue Jackets: What is that coming from Columbus? Is that hope? Why yes, I think it is. GM Scott Howson was active this summer by bringing in Wisniewski and Carter along with Vinny Prospal and Radek Martinek on the blue line. In addition to signing new players, Howson was also busy in signing his current players to long-term deals, specifically R.J. Umberger and Fedor Tyutin.

Yes, the Jackets are spending money, that's not the problem. What is is the matter of how bang for the buck they are getting. To put it in perspective, the Jackets currently have a higher payroll than the Boston Bruins. The hope is that it translates into success, and a few more fans at the turnstiles as Columbus was 27th in the league in attendance last season.

Strenghts: They have struggled to score recently, but that should be done with, or at least minimized. They have a true No. 1 center now in Carter, which should only further help Nash show he is one of the best players people don't talk about in the NHL. The power play, perhaps Columbus' biggest bug-a-boo in recent seasons, should be significantly better now that they have a quarterback for the unit in Wisniewski (when he's back from suspension) and two very capable scorers up front. It had to get better from last year's 29th-ranked unit.

Weaknesses: Did somebody say goaltending? This is one area where the Blue Jackets didn't do a whole lot of upgrading. Instead, they elected to give the starting reins back to Steve Mason and signing the inexperienced Mark Dekanich to be his backup. Since winning the Calder as the league's top rookie, Mason has struggled. Last season he had a 3.01 goals against average and .901 save percentage. That's a big reason why the Jackets were 26th in scoring in the league.

And while Wisniewski helps, there still isn't much scoring threat from the blue line. Tyutin led Columbus in scoring among defensemen with just 27 points.

NHL season preview schedule
Wed., Sept. 21: Step-back players Tues., Sept. 27: Atlantic Division
Thur., Sept. 22: Breakout players Wed., Sept. 28: Central Division
Fri., Sept. 23: Southeast Division Thur. Sept. 29: Northeast Division
Mon., Sept. 26: Pacific Division Fri., Sept. 30: Northwest Division

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: July 1, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 12:01 pm
 

Wings re-sign Ericsson for three years, $9.75M

With some work to do on defense, the Red Wings decided their first stop would be re-signing Jonathan Ericsson.

The Detroit Free Press reported last Thursday night and the team confirmed Friday morning that the Wings have re-signed the defenseman to a three-year deal worth $9.75 million.

Ericsson is coming off an improved season from the year before. The Wings have wanted to see him get more physical with his big frame (6'4/220). It's a pretty hefty pay check to a guy that doesn't get top-tier minutes on the blue line, but the Wings are gaining hope he can be a player on the special-teams units.

Last season for the Red Wings Ericsson had three goals and 12 assists with a plus-8 rating.

By Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl or @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: June 29, 2011 6:10 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 10:14 pm
 

Free agency: Ehrhoff atop veteran defenseman list

It wasn't long ago that we had a free-agent defensive class that was shaping up with names like Kevin Bieksa, Andrei Markov, Joni Pitkanen and Christian Ehrhoff.

NHL Free Agency

Now all of them are off the market before it even begins. Capped off by the Sabres signing Ehrhoff to a long-term deal, each has signed contracts to stay with their teams (except in Ehrhoff's case since his rights were traded).

As a result we're left with an overall veteran group with mixed-in youngsters.

The hard part is naming a defensive headliner. Is it Ed Jovanovski, the veteran who played most recently in Phoenix? Could it be Roman Hamrlik, a 17-year veteran that still has a few miles left on the tires?

Here are this year's best defensemen (in alphabetical order).

Jonathan Ericsson -- Red Wings: The 6-foot-5 Swede is just 27 and skates well, so he's an intriguing prospect, even if he has been playing mostly as a third-pairing defenseman. At this point there is no deal in place to keep him in Detroit, but that can still be done. If not, though, there will be some suitors intrigued by the big man with very modest offensive numbers (six goals, 15 assists last season). (June 30: Re-signed with Red Wings)


Ehrhoff -- Canucks/Islanders/Sabres: He rejected an offer from the Canucks that was reportedly the exact same as Kevin Bieksa's five-year, $23 million deal and has since been sent to Long Island -- for a few days, at least. Ehrhoff has plenty of offense, scoring 14 goals with 36 assists last season in Vancouver. It's likely the Red Wings will be hot and heavy to sign Ehrhoff to fill Brian Rafalski's void now that talks have broken off with the Islanders. (June 30: Signed with Sabres)

Hamrlik -- Canadiens: At 37, Hamrlik has already declined a one-year offer from the Habs, looking to get something for two or three years. He has taken a lot of heat from the fans in Montreal, but he's still a solid player on the blue line who helped cover for an injured Markov this season. A return to Montreal is still possible, but other teams will a shot, too.


Jovanovski -- Coyotes: He's 34 but can still be a nice addition as a top-two pairing defenseman. The big question is if he can stay healthy. He will surely have a pretty hefty pay cut coming his way after the five-year, $32.5 million contract he signed with the Coyotes, but could be a target for teams like Colorado or Florida looking for experience on the back end.


Tomas Kaberle -- Bruins: He wasn't a great fit in Boston this year, as his time diminished during the playoffs. The big bug-a-boo was not giving much life to the power play, which was a year-long struggle for Boston despite the team's success. The Bruins are still trying to figure out if they want him back, but it looks like the answer will be no. He still can be an offensive contributor, though; he had four goals with 43 assists last season.

Bryan McCabe -- Rangers: Acquired by New York midseason, McCabe's greatest attraction is the offense he provides on power plays. He is coming off a big contract that was big in his falling out with Toronto when the fans didn't feel he was living up to the money. That shouldn't be a problem this time around as he won't get the big bucks.


Wisniewski -- Canadiens/Blue Jackets: He is in the 20-something crowd at 27 and has plenty of offensive potential. After coming over to Montreal from the Islanders, Wisniewski actually put up the most points of any player on this list last season with 51 (10 goals, 41 assists). There are plenty of concerns about him as a defensive player and it looks like the Blue Jackets are going to try and lock him up after acquiring him Wednesday afternoon.

Others of interest: Andy Greene (NJ), Scott Hannan (WAS), Sami Salo (VAN), Brent Sopel (MTL), Steve Montador (BUF)

By Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com