STG is counting down the top 10 unrestricted free agents in the 2012 class.
10. Jiri Hudler – After “The Shrimp” returned from the KHL in 2010 he had a sub-par season potting 10 goals in 73 games. In 2011-12 he rebounded with 25 goals and 25 assists in 81 games. The undersized winger can provide secondary scoring to a team that knows how to use his skill set. Which is why staying in Detroit should be in Hudler’s best interests. Where will Hudler sign? Miss Cleo’s prediction: Detroit Red Wings.
9. Jaromir Jagr – The future hall of famer has still got some fuel left in the tank. Although he has clearly lost a step Jagr is capable of providing a scoring touch and a physical big-body presence under controlled minutes. It’s evident that loyalties are not a concern of Jagr’s so it will be interesting to see where he lands if he’s not extended by Holmgren. Where will Jagr sign? Miss Cleo’s prediction: Wherever the pile of money is the highest. Bonus points if the city has a casino.
8. Olli Jokinen – After returning to the Flames in 2010 Jokinen re-ignited (pun intended) his career with a 51 point campaign followed by a 61 point effort the following year. Prior to that Jokinen struggled through 4 injury plagued seasons. This seems to have eroded the center’s status from elite to mediocre. With his recent success in Calgary expect to see him considered for an extension. Where will Jokinen sign? Miss Cleo’s prediction: Calgary Flames.
7. Dennis Wideman – Wideman is a more than capable power play specialist who posts 35-40 points regularly with potential for 50+ points on a good team. Offsetting this is the defensive liability that comes with him. Although there’s a good chance he will be re-signed there will be many teams with poor PP stats searching for someone of his skill-set come July 1st. Where will Wideman sign? Miss Cleo’s prediction: Edmonton Oilers.
6. Dustin Penner – Two time Stanley Cup Champion and pancake connoisseur, Dustin Penner, has been an injury prone power forward for the past 3 seasons. He’s 3 seasons removed from his 21 goal effort in Edmonton, however, a strong playoff campaign has inflated his stock. At 6’4” and 242 lbs (as per NHL.com), Penner has so much potential as a power forward but leaves a lot to be desired. Where will Penner sign and open an IHOP? Miss Cleo’s prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs.
5. Matt Carle – “Hot” Carle is another member of the 27 club in this year’s class of UFAs. Coming off back to back 82 game seasons, Carle, has proven to be a steady D-man with consistent 40 point potential. If Holmgren can’t get a deal done there will be a number of managers inquiring, especially after Suter is off the market. Where will “Hot” Carle sign? Miss Cleo’s prediction: Philadelphia Flyers.
4. Shane Doan – The captain of the ‘Yotes would love to stay in Phoenix but with future ownership still in limbo he may choose to listen to other offers. The gritty power forward plays on the edge and is the model of consistency. At 35 years of age Doan is getting long in the tooth, however, multiple teams will have a boner for Doaner if he doesn’t re-sign. Where will Doan sign? Miss Cleo’s prediction: Phoenix Coyotes.
3. Alexander Semin – Since the 2009-10 campaign Semin’s goal totals have been declining faster than President Obama’s approval rating. However, his shooting % has been consistent until a drop off this past year. The 28 year old, highly skilled Russian is still capable of putting up big numbers under a coaching system that suits him. Just don’t let him get into any more slap fights. Where will Semin sign? Miss Cleo’s prediction: CSKA Moscow (KHL).
2. Zach Parise – The captain of the New Jersey Devils put up a very respectable 31 goals this season and helped his team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012 after a knee injury limited him to only 13 games in the 2010-11 campaign. Like Carle, Parise is 27 years old, in the prime of his career, and is the most coveted UFA at his position. Where will Parise sign? Miss Cleo’s prediction: New Jersey Devils.
1. Ryan Suter – This dude is more highly sought after than Alaskan king crab. He would largely be considered a franchise cornerstone to whoever is lucky enough to sign him. Suter is in the prime of his career at 27 years old and has failed to register less than 30 points per season over his past 5 campaigns. He’s durable, capable of running a PP, tired of living in Shea Weber’s 5 o’clock shadow, and can shut down the opposition’s top line. Where will Suter sign? Miss Cleo’s prediction: Detroit Red Wings.