- Calgary Flames—Craig Conroy—38, $1M
- Maple Leafs—Wayne Primeau,—34, $1.4M
- Chicago Blackhawks—John Madden—37, $2.75M
- Ottawa Senators—Matt Cullen—33, $2.8M
This is the second of a four-part series, reviewing each of the eight remaining Boston Bruins’ impending free-agents for the 2010-11 NHL season.
Taking many things into consideration, I’ve ranked these players from least important to most—who the Bruins’ brass should keep, and who should go. The NHL free-agency deadline, July 1.
Name, position, status, 2009-10 cap-hit:
Steve Begin: Center, UFA—$850
Johnny Boychuk: Defense, UFA—$500K
Daniel Paille: Left wing, RFA/arbitration eligible—$1.125M
Mark Recchi: Right wing, UFA—$1M
Miroslav Satan: Right wing, UFA—$700K
Vladimir Sobotka: Center, RFA—$750K
Mark Stuart: Defense, RFA/arbitration eligible—$1.3M
Blake Wheeler: Right wing, RFA—$2.825M
Of the eight, here are the five and six:
6. Steve Begin UFA Center
A hustler (no, not that kind), solid penalty-killer, heavy-hitter, and a solid all-around fourth-liner…yes, I’m a huge Steve Begin fan. Inked with a one-year deal worth $850K last off-season, Begin proved his worth with Shawn Thornton on the energy line, and alongside Daniel Paille on the PK. But all the good stuff he brought to the team this season just won’t be enough. He was an absolute pest when he played in Montreal (like Steve Ott) but somehow turned that agitator role down here in Boston. Unfortunately, his position is going to be filled by someone else in a black-and-gold jersey this season. I’d like to rank Begin higher on the totem pole, but it just wouldn’t make any sense. With the slew of up-and-coming centers in the Bruins’ system, this slot is open to any of them.
Bottom Line: Begin continues his journey throughout the NHL in the same role, with a similar contract.
5. Blake Wheeler RFA Right Wing
Age, size, versatility, and potential: four things that No. 26 has on his side when it comes to contract negotiations. The 23-year-old packed on 15 lbs. during last off-season, but obviously didn’t know how to put it to work on the ice. At 6’5″ 205 lbs., Wheeler has got to learn how to play as a power forward for him to succeed in Boston…or any other city for that matter. Being a restricted free-agent, the Bruins have already extended a qualifying offer to Wheeler…who is also arbitration eligible this season (see below for qualifying offers and salary arbitration).
“I’m calling it“: Wheeler gets dealt by this Friday’s draft, along with their 15th overall pick, as part of a package for Boston to move up into the top-7-ish selection.
Qualifying offers explained:
Arbitration eligible: (in a nutshell)
Coming soon, Part III: numbers 3 & 4
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