The case for…

16Jul07

With Sheldon Souray signing in Edmonton, it’s down to slim pickings in the UFA market now, and that means that we’re heading into about six weeks of relative quiet. While debating the scraps of the UFA junkpile isn’t quite as fulfilling as talking about Chris Drury or Scott Gomez, there’s still some talent in there–and in the right situation, you might be able to see some career revivals going on.

Who’s worth taking a chance on? Let’s have a look:

The case for Peter Forsberg
Injuries, injuries, injuries–when talking about Peter Forsberg these days, that’s pretty much the only topic on anyone’s lips, and for good reason. Forsberg showed that he could still be a highly effective player when he was healthy last season. At this point, 60 games is a miracle for Forsberg, especially since word is that he probably can’t start skating for some time even if he decides to come back.

So let’s assume he comes back for 40 games and slowly builds up to form. If that’s the case, then he would be rounding into form during the stretch drive and priming for the playoffs. For a team that needs a dynamic top-flight center (and really, outside of Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and San Jose, who doesn’t?) and has enough depth to weather the storm until Forsberg is ready to go, it’s a reasonable risk/reward evaluation.

Teams that could work for Forsberg: Colorado, Detroit, Atlanta

The case for Alexei Yashin
Yup, pretty much everyone in the world sans Carol Alt hates Alexei Yashin, and it’s not just because he wears turtlenecks on ice. If Yashin was only getting paid, say, $2.5 million a year, would the Islanders still have bought him out? His point totals speak for themselves–he’s pretty consistently got about .75 points per game over the past few seasons, and can really help out a power play. If Yashin can go away from the spotlight with a coach who can push the right buttons at the right price, I think he’s still worth a gamble. Yashin’s got a notorious locker room presence, but most reports seem to say that he’s more of the type to keep to himself rather than stir controversy a la Sean Avery.

With a strong locker room and the right bench bosses, Yashin can probably help a team out as a second-line center–just not for a gazillion dollars.

Teams that could work for Yashin: Minnesota, Detroit, Calgary, New Jersey

The case for David Aebischer
Just a few years ago, Colorado fans were chanting “Abby, Abby” after Aebischer made a big save. How much would you like to bet that every single Avs fan wants to reverse the Aebischer for Jose Theodore deal? Remember, at one point Aebischer was Colorado’s #1 goalie with some pretty darn good stats, and while the past two seasons haven’t been that kind to Aebischer (more so in Montreal than in his last half-season in Colorado), he’s still got pretty good career numbers with a 2.51 GAA and .912 save percentage.

Can Aebischer still be a #1 goalie? He’s under 30 and has done it before–and he comes with a bargain basement price tag. There’s a chance, in the right situation, that Aebsicher can reclaim that form.

Teams that could work for Aebischer: Phoenix, Minnesota, Edmonton, Tampa Bay

The case for Michael Peca
Mike Peca’s best years are behind him–that’s a fact. After nasty knee injuries and concussions, age and wear have slowed him down, and he’ll never be the 50-point guy we saw in Buffalo. However, when healthy, Peca’s still a good skater with great shorthanded instincts and abilities. He may not throw out as many thunderous hits as he used to, but he’s still got the tenacity to get under an opponent’s skin — that’s a trait that won’t go away. Peca’s also a noted locker room good guy, and always gives his all despite putting his body at risk.

Heart, grit, penalty killing, and a little bit of offense. There’s quite a few teams that could use that.

Teams that could work for Peca: San Jose, Philadelphia, Florida

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3 Responses to “The case for…”

  1. 1 OddyOh

    I’d like to see Peca re-up with the Leafs, but only for 1 million, 1.2 maybe. When he was healthy, he definitely brought qualities to the table that the Leafs don’t have. I’d rather have Peca than Jeff O’Neill back, that’s for sure.

  2. 2 FAUXRUMORS

    1) Yashin would be a ‘perfect fit’ with a SE division team. Anonymity is what would be best for Yashin. Going to play in Canada would be a huge mistake for him and the potential team
    2) Peca should retire
    3) Forsberg will come back in january to a cotending team: Either Phlly of the Avs depending who has the most dough to spend/is in contention

  3. 3 E

    the thing about aebi, in montreal anyway, is that he hasn’t handled the pressure of being a #1 well. when he was alternated with huet he did quite well, but once huet was injured and the onus fell entirely on him, he did miserably. maybe it was just a run of bad luck at the wrong time, but it looked an awful lot like choking. another telling thing is that the swiss national team took the starting position away from him during these past world championships.

    personally, i’d love to see him get another chance at proving he can be consistent enough to be a starter, but at this point i’m skeptical that he’ll get signed as anything more than an inexpensive backup.


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