What player do you think would have the most fantasy appeal out of any player likely to sign a UFA deal for less than $2 million a year?
COACH PERRY: My guess would be Matt Taormina at $1.9 million a year for 3 years. If he gets a chance on a team with a thin blueline I think he could easily top 30 points. In 30 games last year he netted seven points, an equivalent of 19.1 points over a full season. Teams like the Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars or the New York Islanders could give him the chance to compete for 15-20 minutes a game and a spot on one of the two power play units.
COACH BROUWER: Brett Clark will likely get a small raise this off-season, he is coming off a 2-year $3 million contract and I see him signing a two or three year contract worth $1.8 million a season. He struggled this season putting up only 15 points but the season prior he scored nine goals and 31 points. He is on the down swing of his career but has three seasons with over 30 points under his belt, so the offence is there. There will be a few teams lining up for his services once defenseman like Ryan Suter and Justin Schultz sign.
COACH DICKENSON: I'm going to go out on a total limb here and say Alexandre Giroux. He's way too talented of an offensive hockey player to toil away his entire career in the AHL. He's 6'3" isn't that bad of a skater and looks like a pro every time you see him play in the AHL... however he's a little older now and just never seems to get his shot. I see a lot of P-A Paranteau in his potential. If an offensively anemic team is willing to sign him to small contract, bring him up and play him with some strong talent, then he could end up being a 50-60 point guy everyone gasps and wonder where the heck he came from.
ASSISTANT COACH LANDRY: One player I think who would impress while making under two-million dollars would be Petr Sykora. The smooth skater is coming off a 44-point season while playing a steady second-line shift for the Devils. Although, he failed to produce early in the playoffs and was a healthy scratch for consecutive games, he still was one of the best players on the ice while skating the majority of shifts with Zubrus and Elias. The likely departure of Zach Parise will open up some more minutes for skaters in New Jersey and if ‘Sykies’ chooses to resign, he could find his way back to a fifty-point pace.
ASSISTANT COACH ROCCA: Sticking with the Devils trend seen here, Alexei Ponikarovsky really impressed me down the stretch for New Jersey. After a horrid start to the season in Carolina (seven goals, 15 points in 49 games), he turned things up a notch, seemingly refreshed by the move to a Stanley Cup-contending team (seven goals, 18 points in only 33 games). I don't see Ponikarovsky signing for much more than the $1.5 million he made this season and if he re-signs with the Devils, whose system he excelled in, he should be a reliable keeper league depth player capable of 15 goals and 40 points.
ASSISTANT COACH IVANCIC: PA Parenteau will be a big success, I think. Everyone talks about how his production was as a result of playing with Tavares and Moulson, but I think that could go the other way, too. Parenteau works hard and sets up his team mates, even when he was on the second line playing with average players, and was still getting points. Look for Tavares and Moulson to have some drop-off this coming year as Parenteau gets his 65 points with a new team. He's a fighter who battled to get to the NHL and will work his butt off to stay there.