Notable Goaltenders slated for Unrestricted Free Agency in the Summer of 2008:
Mikka Kiprusoff (3.333M)
Jose Theodore (5.333M)
David Aesbicher (0.6M)
Dominik Hasek (4.050M - Performance bonus of 2.0M)
Cristobal Huet (2.875M)
Olaf Kolzig (5.450M)
Notable Goaltenders slated for Restricted Free Agency in the Summer of 2008:
Pascal Leclaire (1.050M)
Henrik Lundqvist (4.250M)
Marc-Andre Fleury (1.6M)
Kari Lehtonen (1.850M)
The UFA corps looks fair week on paper, save for Kiprusoff and Huet. Kolzig will be 38 by next summer, and you can imagine Hasek will be on his last legs. Theodore's days in the future lean towards the category of a backup.
Early rumors are suggesting Kiprusoff won't be a ''push-over.'' Rumors are also suggesting he may be wishing to go to a place where he isn't in the spotlight. On a recent NHL Network segment, Mikka mentioned how he's enjoyed playing in Calgary, and its ''been a great place for me to start my career.''
Those same words were uttered by the son of billionaire-tycoon Bill Comrie.
I always had the vibe that Mike wasn't as Mr. Edmonton as the media thought him to be. I'm getting that same vibe from Kiprusoff.
This could possibly be his last contract, with the whispers of his lower-body injuries, so you can look for him to cash in. I'm looking at numbers between 7.5-8.0M, and a minimum of 3 years.
So Which Teams Will be Interested in Him?
Colorado - Sitting at 44.666M with Jose Theodore (5.333M) coming off the books. Sakic (6.75M), Brunette (1.6M), Laperriere (1M), Clark, Liles, Sauer all notable UFA's. Svatos, Wolski, Richardson the notable RFA's. Would be tight, but you can bet they'll be hunting in the market for a goaltender
Los Angeles - Sitting at 42.699M with Mike Cammalleri's arbitration to be decided. Definitely looking for a solution in net, and they will have the flexibility to do so with Nagy, Thornton, Willsie, Blake (6M), Stuart, Tverdovsky, Modry, Dallman as notable unrestricted Free agents. Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan the only notable RFA's. With the cash flow to withstand burning Cloutiers 3.1M salary in the minors, expect them to go hard after Kiprusoff.
Phoenix - Phoenix would provide Mikka with a low-key lifestyle. Cap space really isn't an issue, with Phoenix grinding with the Cap floor. Though with Phoenix rebuilding, that may prove be a hindrance.
Columbus - Sitting at 37.977M at the moment, with contracts of Chimera (1.0M), Federov (6.080M) Vyborny (2.2M), and Foote (4.6M) to expire. There will be plenty of money to play with.
Detroit - Sitting at 45.262M, with Hasek (4.050M), Draper (2.128M), Cleary (0.675M), Lidstrom (7.6M), Lilja, Chelios set to become UFA's. I would expect Lidstrom, Cleary, and Draper (reduced price), and Lilja to be brought back. A winning franchise may just lead Mikka to jump on their ship.
Montreal - Sitting at 44.683M with Huet (2.750M), Ryder (2.950M), Smolinksi (2.0M) the only significant UFA's. Kostitsyn and Murray the only significant RFA's. Montreal's attractive nightlife, and cap space flexibility may assist in a healthy marriage.
Washington - Sitting at 35.137M with Kolzig (5.450M) the only noteworthy UFA. On the restricted front however, Ovechkin, Semin, Sutherby, Eminger, and Morrisonn. Would be a bit difficult should Ovechkin be re-signed near the maximum
In any event, there will be no shortage of interest in Mikka Kiprusoff. Call it my prediction, Mikka lands in Los Angeles.