Who Is The 'Right' Fit Among These Wingers?
Wednesday, 30.06.2010 / 11:34 AM / News
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The names won't jump off the page at you, but there are still some significant right wings that could be up for grabs come noon ET on July 1 when the NHL's free-agent signing period officially begins.
Unless you think Teemu Selanne is still a No. 1 winger, none of the players on the list that follows will be signed to play guaranteed minutes on a top line. Some used to be locks for that, and others still could with the right fit (Colby Armstrong?).
Nevertheless, they all have value and we'll find out what that will be in the coming days and weeks. Here are nine right wings that could be on the move:
Teemu Selanne -- Reports are that if the Ducks are serious about winning, not rebuilding, then Selanne wants to be back in the fold. If not, he could opt for retirement like now former teammate, Scott Niedermayer. Selanne obviously can still bring it considering he scored 27 goals in 54 games this season, but his motivation is to win and he'll probably want to try to do that with Saku Koivu, Anaheim's other on-the-fence UFA.
Maxim Afinogenov -- The Thrashers reportedly offered him a one-year contract in May, but Afinogenov wants something better, so he should hit the open market. He rejuvenated his career with a career-high 24 goals to go along with 37 assists this past season, so he's hoping to build off that with a bigger contract. Where he gets that deal he is seeking remains to be seen.
Colby Armstrong -- Armstrong, like Afinogenov, may not be back in Atlanta next season despite the fact that he was an alternate captain and was being considered for the captaincy. He had a great time in Pittsburgh and a great relationship with Sidney Crosby before being traded in the Marian Hossa deal two years ago, but the Penguins have their own free agents to deal with as well. Still, Armstrong, only 27, will be sought after.
Miroslav Satan -- Teams aren't going to move mountains (cap space) to get him, but Satan proved with the Bruins this past spring that he can still deliver the goods. He had 5 goals and 5 assists through nine playoff games, but like the rest of the Bruins, he fell apart in the final four games against the Flyers. Satan probably won't get any more than a one-year deal, but he could deliver some big goals.
Jamal Mayers -- He is 35 and there are a lot of miles on that 6-1, 220-pound body. Mayers had a decent run with the Flames after being traded to Calgary from Toronto in the Dion Phaneuf deal. He can still drop the mitts and go, which is to say he can still play a physical game. Mayers is a decent pick-up for a team that needs that element of physicality in its bottom six.
Arron Asham -- We saw in the Stanley Cup Final that he can be a valuable forward when put on the side of a playmaking center like Claude Giroux. Asham, who had 4 goals and 3 assists in the playoffs, is one of those guys that coaches love to have. He's an honest and consistent player. He'll always give an effort. He won't get big money, but he'll earn every penny.
Lee Stempniak -- Who knew that Stempniak could produce at a point-per-game clip like he did for the Coyotes last spring? Who knew he could be a sniper that pumped in 14 goals in just 18 games after being traded off the scrap heap in Toronto? Stempniak earned himself some extra cash and maybe an extra contract year with his finish to the 2009-10 season, but he was also scoreless in seven playoff games.
Bill Guerin -- This list of right wingers is not littered with great goal scorers or playmakers, and outside of Armstrong, none of them have ever played with Crosby either. Guerin can still put the puck in the net and he has a history (albeit short) with Crosby, so it wouldn't be shocking to see him re-sign with the Penguins. It's in Guerin's best interest to want to be alongside Crosby, too.
Adam Burish -- If we're being realistic, any team that signs Burish has to understand that its getting a guy that is probably more suited for the regular season than the postseason. He can be a fill-in player for 10 or more minutes a night or a healthy scratch over the course of 82 games, but he's not going to offer much of an impact in the playoffs because his style isn't necessarily condusive for it. However, if you're looking for a guy to be great in the dressing room and a media darling that will take the pressure off some of the bigger names, than look no further than Burish. Everyday in the Stanley Cup Final the guy had a crowd of interested reporters around him, and he wasn't even playing.
Nine more: Marek Svatos, Evgeny Artyukhin, Fernando Pisani, Owen Nolan, Petr Sykora, Pavol Demitra, Jed Ortmeyer, Shawn Thornton, Richard Park
Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Staff Writer