These guys could get paid and paid big today. They aren’t Steven Stamkos or Keith Yandle, but they are the best in a very tight market for talent.

  • Kyle Okposo Possibly the best known right wing available. Risky, but for the several desperate teams, he’s a very attractive figure.
  • Luke Schenn, his coaches either love him or bench him and it is hard to say which defense starved team will drop the trump card for this physical, right shooting blueliner.
  • Chad Johnson, let’s face it he might not be as flamboyant as the since retired NFL player with the same name, but he finished last year with a better save percentage than the previous year’s Vezina winner, and did it on a worse team.
  • Jhonas Enroth, another guy who has proved he can put up very respectable numbers on teams that come in for a lot of derision.
  • Justin Schultz as the youngest UFA defenseman to average more than 20 minutes last season, and an owner of a shiny new Stanley Cup ring, he is unlikely to land anywhere he doesn’t want to be.
  • Loui Ericsson he returned 30 goal form and did it while playing a two hundred foot game. At thirty, he’s still got a couple good years in him and he has shown more willingness to play against grimy defenders than most fans in Dallas would have given him credit for.
  • Kris Versteeg, the professional mover owns a couple cup rings, plays both right and left wing.
  • Frans Nielsen, another twenty goal season under his belt, his strongest playoff run to date, and he put up more points than any other center available, and he’s good on the dot.

July 4, 2013 I analyzed the Seguin (and company) for Ericsson (and company) trade, and said to ask in five years to see who won. Given the number of young players in the deal (Seguin, Morrow, Fraser, Smith) it is still to early to tell who won the trade. That doesn’t mean either team is getting what they want.

Loui Ericsson was the biggest, best known return for the Boston Bruins. Last year his season was crushed as thoroughly by two concussions as he was by the hit that lead to the John Scott suspension. This season the former 36 goal scorer is fourth on the team in scoring. That would be a lot more impressive if he had more than three goals to his name. Or if he were assisting like a hall of fame bound center, but he’s not. It’s not all his fault, but the Bruins aren’t even in the top 10 in scoring for the first time in years, they are in fact in the bottom third. Ericsson has been consistently dissapointing, not every bit of it can be laid at his skates, but the fact remains they traded for a top line winger and got a depth player.

Tyler Seguin is scoring at a level commiserate with his OHL resume and his second overall selection. That’s awesome. It gives the fans something to cheer for, and gives the team a chance to win every night. Right now he even leads the team and the NHL in goal scoring. Not to shabby an accomplishment. But the Dallas Stars wanted him to be a center when they picked him up from Peter Chiarelli and company who were weary of his off ice youthful exerberence and on ice indifference to three zone play. If you take a look at who he has played with over the course of the season he’s spent about half of his time at right wing playing with Jason Spezza.

The problem there is that the Stars wanted Seguin not just at center but as their number one center. Call me kooky, but in my book your number one center doesn’t play wing to the guy brought in to player further down the depth chart. Seguins failure to thrive in the center position pushes the teams thin depth out of balance. The Stars are 10th in total goal for, and way down in 23rd on the powerplay, that’s not a failure of talent its a failure of balance.

Seguin isn’t taking many faceoffs and what few he’s taking he’s not winning. Cody Eakin, Jason Spezza, Vernon Fiddler, Shawn Horcoff, are all ahead of Seguin in faceoffs taken. Just a handful behind Seguin is left wing Jamie Benn. Even the notoriously poor faceoff man Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is better at winning draws than Tyler Seguin. The bottom line is that Seguin’s abject deficiency at faceoffs, whatever the reasons for it may be, is hurting the team, and will continue you to hurt the team until it is remedied or they bring in yet another number one center. What that turns all his goal scoring into is failing with style.