There are some players who are quite valuable to a team, and every time I take a look at their contract status I wonder who is responsible for them not being extended by now. Some are obvious, some not so, but all are key to their teams this season and in the future.
Zach Parise is the the clear cream of the crop among forwards and arguably over all other pending UFA’s. So what’s the holdup, he’s repeated so many times that he wants to stay in New Jersey that it’s (probably) gone beyond the point where we have to doubt it.
Josh Harding of the Wild is one of the three or four best backups in the NHL this season. He’s closing in on the same number of games he played last year with better numbers. If he isn’t extended by the Wild, I can’t imagine him not getting offers to start in four or five cities that will need goaltending next season.
Shawn Thornton, not only did he have a beautiful snipe in last nights game on a short handed penalty shot but he keeps his cool and doesn’t take stupid, selfish penalties which puts him ahead of certain Washington Capitals who have been the subject of trade rumors since the dawn of time.
Jason Garrison of the Florida Panthers is having a breakout season. his paring with Brian Campbell has been a huge key to the resurgence of the former Blackhawk and Sabre. If leading the NHL in goals by a defenseman isn’t reason enough to extend someone I don’t know what is.
Ray Whitney is aging, but not declining. The Coyotes left wing is on pace to bounce back over 60 points and with a hot streak break seventy. Not bad for a guy who’s thirty and a lot or on a team ranked 24th in goals for. Imagine where he’d be with a slightly better crew around him.
Mikhail Grabovski, if anyone knows what’s up here do tell. Based on his usual performances even on a team that had to aspire to average for the last half decade, it’s safe to say there are roughly 29 other teams who could find roster and cap space for him. Any GM who didn’t at least call his agent if he’s not signed before July 1 should be dismissed.
Jiri Hudler solid depth forward and with the Red Wings struggles to promote drafted prospects this guy should be a must sign.
Ryan Suter is the elephant in the room of UFA’s to be. If traded now or soon he could bring back virtually anything the Predators wanted. If he is retained and Weber is as well, they still have the best defensive one two punch in the NHL. If he walks in July with no return GM David Poile will be lucky if the organics that end up on his face are anything as innocuous as egg.