Is it too soon to be talking about this summer? With the last couple of weeks of snow and cold here in Michigan, I think it's a great time to start talking about summer.
Let's start with available UFA's. Instead of listing a whole bunch, here the link to Cap Friendly's list:
I honestly don't see Yzerman landing many (if any) impact UFA's, because I think a couple of kids coming in will be an upgrade in itself. When it comes to our own UFA's, I am hoping for most to hit the road (if they weren't traded at the TDL.) Honestly though, I can see Yzerman re-signing Ryan (if he wants to stay (and not traded)) and maybe Merrill and, yes, Staal. Maybe none, I wouldn't be surprised either way. In the G department, there isn't many out there better than Bernier (that would come here) so I can see Bernier coming back for a year or two, and I think most of us would be ok with that. (this is all depending on who was and who wasn't selected by Seattle and who may or may not be traded.) Helm and Filppula have to go (IMO) and I do believe the Gagner experiment is over too. I would choose Staal over Nemeth, but you never know what will happen if DD is done, he may re-sign both. Unless someone other than Seider is ready to come in. You would think that Cholowski and Lindstrom would be getting some looks this season (especially since we suck and we should just consider this a 56 game training camp/pre-season) but that is up to Blashill on who plays and doesn't, so, once again, I blame him for everything. I would also offer Glenny another contract.
RFA-wise, we have a lot of them Erne, Djoss, Hronek, Bertuzzi, Cholowski, Lindstrom, Svech, Brome, Rasmussen, Hirose, Smith, Turgeon, Smith and Hicketts. A few of these names are slam dunks to get contracts, a lot of the others depend on if they aren't selected by Seattle. BUT, there is quite the possiblility they all get qualified and re-signed.
Obviously we want to draft the highest possible. Right now, only Ottawa is worse than us winning percentage, so that puts at #2, but barely, we could end up worst again. Let's hope that the league does the right thing and makes the bottom 5 teams be the only ones to have a shot at #1, and only being able to fall one spot. That is my hope. Also teams that finish out of the top 5 should only be able to climb 2 spots at the most. Not saying this is what might happen, just throwing an idea out there. Here are a couple of top 10 lists:
...a bit of a mix up in all of those, but for you U of M fans, you are well represented in the top 10! (Even Luke Hughes has committed to U of M.)
AND of course, my ultimate off season upgrade is to FIRE ALL of the coaching staff (yesterday!) and get a whole new philosophy in here.