Sunday, July 01, 2012
2012 Free Agency Potential Targets
The day we've all been waiting for is here, with the 2012 free agency period beginning at noon today. Like all teams, the Sens have some holes that need filling, and despite a fairly weak class of UFA's, the bidding should be fast and furious as teams try to address their needs for the upcoming season. When it comes to trying to sign a UFA, here's one thing you can count on, you will overpay. It's the nature of the beast. Every free agent switching teams on July 1st is overcompensated and you just have to live with it.
The Sens head into the free agency period having locked up their offseason priority already in Erik Karlsson and have approximately twenty six and a half million dollars to spend with only minor RFA's left to sign. With that amount of cap room, the Sens have the ability to be major spenders today should they choose to, but don't expect the Sens to spend just for the sake of spending. They're willing to shell out the money if they feel the guy is really worth it, but they don't want to severely overpay 2nd tier free agents. The key on July 1st is to either give the player money or term, not both, unless they're a legitimate superstar.
The Senators most glaring needs are a top 4 defenceman and at least 1, if not 2 top 6 forwards, depending on the intentions of one Daniel Alfredsson. Ottawa has definitely been making a play for Rick Nash the past few weeks but he seems unwilling to waive his NTC to come here. With that in mind, the Sens have turned their attention elsewhere. With the assets needed to acquire Nash and still having to pay him 7.8 million per year, it makes sense for Ottawa to look for a cheaper, more viable option. They remain interested in Nash and Bobby Ryan however.
Ottawa definitely has interest in mega free agent Zach Parise but I doubt he has any interest in joining us, and that may be a good thing. While I like Parise as a player, he isn't worth the bidding war that will ensue today. He's likely to command 8+ million per year on an 8-10 year deal and for my money, he just isn't good enough for that kind of massive commitment. Our chances of landing him are slim at best.
An unexpected option until just a few days ago, power forward Shane Doan could bring some valuable experience and talent to a young Senators team in need of scoring. Even at 35 years of age Doan remains productive with 22 goals and 50 points last season for Phoenix and the only franchise he's ever known. He made 4.5 million last year and will want a raise, which won't be a problem if he doesn't want too many years. I could see the Sens going as high as 5.5-6 per year on a 2 year deal. Still, it will take a lot to lure Doan all the way east for a team that isn't considered a serious contender yet. Our chances of him being a Senator are small.
The most likely option for a top 6 forward is PA Parenteau from the NY Islanders. While he was born in Hull, he moved to Montreal at a young age and was a late bloomer in the NHL. The Sens like his game a lot and tried very hard to acquire him at the trade deadline but the asking price was too high. Here's there chance to add a 20+ goal scorer for nothing but money. He's coming off a year where he only made 1.25 million, so he will be getting a significant raise from us or someone else. At 29 he's just coming into his prime years and will want to be paid accordingly. I could see us getting him from something like 3.5 million for 4-5 years. He is likely our top UFA forward target and they will pursue him heavily. The chances of him being a Senator is high.
There are other potential UFA's out there that we could look at it that might fit us in the shorter term like Jaromir Jarg, Ray Whitney, Alxander Semin or Dustin Penner, but all but Penner are unlikely. After a very solid post season, Penner could be just what we need, a power forward. That is if he's going to play hard again The Sens may also have some interest in Jordan Tootoo.
The other massive need is on the backend. Having locked up the Norris winner a week ago, the Sens are now looking to add to a blueline that didn't look that crisp in the playoffs. Taking into consideration that the Sens will also be losing Matt Carkner and Filip Kuba, Ottawa will need to address this need 100%.
I'd like to see them pursue someone like Philly's Matt Carle, who would make the perfect partner to be paired with Erik Karlsson. Carle has played big minutes for the Flyers and posted a more than respectable 38 points last year. The two previous years he was a +30 and +19 respectively. He had a cap hit of 3.437 million last year and with the recent contracts being given out, he is likely in for a big raise to the tune of 5-5.5 million on a 5+ year deal. The Sens will make an offer and would love to get him inked for the right price. There will be many suitors however, so the Sens will have major competition on this one.
Another big potential target will be Florida's Jason Garrison, who is coming off a remarkable career year of 16 goals and 33 points while helping the Panthers back into the playoffs for the first time in a decade. He picked a good time to have a huge year. With a cap hit of only 675k last year, he is in for a massive raise. Given the market, he may command something in the 3-4 million range for 5 years or so. Garrison is a solid all around defenceman and the Sens are definitely interested. They may try and land both him and Carle as they need a couple of upgrades to their defensive corps.
That's it for now but come to Sens Town all day for all your free agency coverage. New posts when anything happens with instant analysis of any Ottawa signing. If you want to make sure you don't miss out on any breaking news or inside information, be sure to follow me on twitter @SensTown