We’ve already covered some of the more intriguing players that will be available via free agency, but it doesn’t appear likely that the big-ticket guys like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter will end up in New York. The 2012 free agent class is extremely thin, but at the draft last weekend GM Glen Sather confidently stated the team would still be “fairly aggressive” in free agency. So who else could the organization pursue on July 1st?
Today we’ll look at the forwards.
Ray Whitney – Scares many off because of his age (40), but he actually seems to be getting more productive somehow. Wants to be paid, but doesn’t require a long-term commitment. Might make a lot of sense on a one- or two-year deal.
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Next up in Scouting The Market: Lee Stempniak. Read the rest of the Scouting The Markets here.
Lee Stempniak is an enigmatic winger who split time between Toronto and Phoenix last season. The 27 year old was tremendous in Phoenix, scoring 14 goals in 14 games. He put up a line of 28-20-48, He’s been up and down in his career. He scored 27 goals in his first full season with St. Louis, but just 13 the next season. After an injury, and a move to Toronto, he scored 25 goals in 123 games.
Stempniak would benefit from a winger like Gaborik to take off some of the pressure. Teams will focus on Gabby, leaving Stempniak open for opportunities. That could lead to a big year. He’s a scorer, but has some grit, and isn’t afraid to jump into the fray. He’s a legitimate top 6 forward.
Stempniak made $3.5 million last year. After his explosion with the ‘Yotes, Stempniak can expect a hefty raise. Somewhere in the $5 million range seems right.
Assuming he’s the only acquisition, here’s what the lines could look like:
What do you think of Stempniak? Worth the price of admission? Let us know in the comments.