A list of the top-25 NHL free agents, speculation on potential off-season changes for the Predators, plus updates on Jaromir Jagr and Steve Downie.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance lists the top-25 NHL free agents. Topping the list is Ryan Miller, Paul Stastny, Ryan Callahan, Thomas Vanek, Jonas Hiller, Dan Boyle, Matt Niskanen, Matt Moulson, Marian Gaborik and Jaromir Jagr. Other notables include Andrei Markov, Jarome Iginla, Andrew MacDonald, Brooks Orpik, Dave Bolland, Mikhail Grabovski, Kimmo Timonen, David Legwand, Mike Cammalleri, Daniel Alfredsson, Willie Mitchell, Stephane Robidas, Radim Vrbata, Steve Ott and Ales Hemsky.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s more depth in this summer’s free agent market compared to last summer’s, but nearly half the players on this list could be re-signed by their current teams before July 1. Miller, Stastny, Hiller, Jagr, Markov, MacDonald, Orpik, Bolland, Grabovski, Alfredsson, Vrbata and Hemsky could fall into that category.
THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper wonders if this coming summer could be the one where the Predators finally acquire a big-name scorer. He suggests Colorado’s Paul Stastny could be a good fit, and speculates the Preds could shop some grit for offensive help.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny has said he’s willing to accept a “hometown discount” to re-sign with the Avalanche. Failing that, however, he will certainly be among the most pursued players in this summer’s UFA market. The Predators should be prepared to pay big if they want him.
NJ.COM’S Rich Chere recently reported via Twitter Jaromir Jagr’s first choice is re-signing with the New Jersey Devils but so far there’s been no talks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils GM Lou Lamoriello almost never negotiates with his pending UFAs during the season. I expect he’ll make a serious push to re-sign Jagr before July 1.
PHILLY.COM: Frank Seravalli recently reported Flyers forward Steve Downie would love to re-sign but the fact there’s been no contract talks probably isn’t a good sign.