Will Free Agents Take Less $$ This Year?

One thing we have talked about this offseason repeatedly is the need for the Caps to find a 2nd line center, 2nd line right wing, and an impact D-man.  Even though it is unlikely that the Caps will try to address these deficits through free agency because of the high cost, the possiblity always exists.


However, will the usual business of free agency change this offseason?  With an expected reduction of the salary cap in 2010-11, regardless of how small, GM's are having to take an even closer look at how they are manageing their funds.  That would mean, I assume, that teams are going to be hesitant to offer long term deals to free agents considering cap liablity. 


Also, the talent pool in free agency seems kind of weird this year.  The structure of free agency, most players hitting unrestricted status only after reaching their 27th birthday or later, means that you definitely know what you are getting when you sign one of these guys.  There are usually not too many guys on the upswing of their careers, but they have a proven track record and as a GM you usually know what to expect.  This year though, it seems like most of the big names are well beyond their primes, and made big money for questionable production (my assumption). 


With that in mind, is it possible that we see a year where in general free agents might sign contracts making less money than they did in their last contract?  Lets take a look at some of the guys and see if it makes sense.  For the sake of just looking at guys who make a lot of money, since money is the argument, I'll only look at guys making $3million and more.


Name                                  Position                Age                2008 Salary             Points

Mats Sundin                           C                         38                     $7 million               9-19-28

Joe Sakic                                C                         39                     $6 million               2-10-12

Saku Koivu                             C                         34                     $4.27 million          16-34-50

Mike Comrie                          C                         28                     $4 million                10-17-27

Sergei Fedorov                     C                         39                     $4 million                11-22-33

Robert Lang                          C                         38                     $4 million                 18-21-39

Mike Cammalleri                  C                         27                      $3.6 million              39-43-82

Henrik Sedin                        C                          28                     $3.575 mill                22-60-82

Steve Sullivan                       C                          34                     $3.2 million             11-21-32

Marion Gaborik                   RW                        27                     $7.5 million              13-10-23

Marion Hossa                    RW                        30                      $7.45 million           40-31-71

Martin Havlat                       RW                        28                     $6 million                 29-48-77

Bill Guerin                          RW                         38                      $4.5 million              21-27-48

Alexei Kovalev                    RW                         36                      $4.5 million             26-36-65

Brian Gionta                      RW                         30                       $4 million                20-40-60

Maxim Afinogenov            RW                          29                      $3.5 million             6-14-20

Miroslav Satan                   RW                         34                       $3.5 million             19-19-36

Alex Tanguay                     LW                          29                        $5.375 mill              16-25-41

Keith Tkachuk                   LW                          37                        $4.5 million             25-24-49

Jere Lehtenin                    LW                          36                       $4.1 million              8-16-24

Erik Cole                            LW                          30                        $4 million                 18-24-42

Daniel Sedin                     LW                          28                        $3.575                       31-51-82

Scott Niedermayer           D                             35                        $6.750                       14-45-59

Mathieu Schneider          D                              40                        $5.75                          9-23-32

Sergei Zubov                     D                             38                         $5.35                         0-4-4

Rob Blake                         D                              39                         $5 million                 10-35-45

Jay Bouwmeester            D                              25                       $4.875                        15-27-42

Adrian Aucoin                  D                                35                        $4 million                   10-24-34

Derek Morris                     D                              30                          $3.75 million           5-15-20

Derian Hatcher                D                               37                          $3.5 million              2-5-7

Mattius Ohlund                D                                32                        $3.5                             6-19-25

Christian Backman         D                               29                         $3.4 million               2-5-7

Jaroslav Spacek              D                               35                        $3.3 million                8-37-35

Filip Kuba                         D                                32                         $3 million                  3-37-40


Wow.  I hate when I start off with what I think is a perfectly good assumption, and then my research proves me completely wrong.  There really weren't as many 35+ year olds as I thought, and most of these free agents had pretty decent years.  I don't know if they are worth what they are paid, but with a few exceptions, probably don't see anything real out of line.

Obviously you would have to be careful with any of these guys over age 36.  Other than Tkachuk, Guerin, and Kovalev none of them really had very good numbers anyway.  But those guys are at or near the end of their careers anyway.  Don't see any time signing anyone over age 36 for longer than a 1 year contract.

I know it is silly to grade the defensive guys by points production, but that is what I was looking at for everyone else.  Regardless, most of those guys had better offensive numbers than anyone on our blueline not named Green.  I would expect that most of you know what the guys on the D list here bring more than I do anyway.  But again, probably don't see anyone who didn't earn their contract.

In conclusion, my assumptions were flawed.  The free agent list isn't just overpaid hasbeens this year.  There is a pretty good amount of solid 30-35 year old veterans, and a few under 30 studs who are going to get paid.  Except for the retirement age guys, and the injured guys, it really looks like most of these guys played up to their contracts, and probably will take an increase in pay in the upcoming season.  It will be interesting to see what gyrations the teams go through in the coming cap years after signing these guys.

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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