If you're a fan of the "Animaniacs" as I was, you'll remember Mr. Skullhead's "Good Idea, Bad Idea" segment, where they...well, have a good idea and bad idea based on a similar scenario. I feel that the unrestricted free agency market in the NHL is that kind of gimmick, where you look at options of a similar ilk and decide if it's a good idea or bad idea. Huzzah. In any case, I'll take the position and have two options that teams would be safe with and those that are not so safe. Got it?? Good.
GOOD IDEA: Dan Ellis-- While the goaltender market is really vast with some big names. The safest bet is Ellis. If given the chance, Ellis can as good as some of the bigger names out there, but cost a little less. Even in a even-keeled platoon program, Ellis will be able to adjust better and play to what got him some buzz after his 2006-07 campaign. While he has slumped, you can chalk that up to the team he was on rather than his own skill. He'll probably be very affordable and less of a risk than others out there.
BAD IDEA: Ray Emery-- Granted, his name has all been dropped in terms of who could be available, but some may think he could be as affordable as he was to Philadelphia. At the same time, the injury issue is always popping up with Emery; as is the inconsistency and possible turmoil in the room that it could provide. With his stats on the decline, he would probably price himself out of the market with a little more than he's worth in general and to some teams out there.
GOOD IDEA: Brian Pothier-- With a full season back under his belt after a long-term injury, Pothier could be a guy that may be overlooked, but provide a lot for the team that picks him up. While he may not be the offensive-minded player he was when he was in Ottawa, he is still a solid option in his own zone and could be an affordable pick-up and a bargain for some team in need of depth on the blue line.
BAD IDEA: Andy Sutton-- While some may view him as a cheaper option to pick up for a sturdy defenseman, the fact he got worse when he was dealt to a new team on the trade deadline isn't very promising. Though he is a big, hulking defensemen who can throw the body around; when he's going after those hits-- he could be a liability in his own end, as seen by his minus-10 output last season. Sure, a better team with more backing could help him out for a bit, but the odds are regardless of where he goes-- he'll be too much for too little.
GOOD IDEA: Matt Cullen-- His stats may not be as explosive as some others, but he does provide some kind of depth scoring and is a solid face-off guy. He'll also go all-out for a team and do what he needs to in order to make a play for his team and try to transition out of his teams zone. He has a Cup ring, which provides experience, and has a veteran presence, which should help the younger kids coming up.
BAD IDEA: Alexander Frolov-- While he has the ability to be great, the points decline for the past three seasons, couples with the issues off the ice with him should make Frolov a deterent for teams looking at giving this Russian a new home. Especially when you look at the other Russians who have burst onto the scene, Frolov was the one time forgot and his stats decline has shown as such. Maybe a change of pace and new gameplan could help him; but it doesn't seem like a likely ideal.
GOOD IDEA: Brandon Bochenski-- You can debate that Bochenski never got a great shake in any organization he was with; starting with Ottawa where he was thrust into a position he wasn't particularly set with yet. That said, it almost seems that if there's a need for a secondary or checking line guy, Bochenski could be the energy guy who could pot a couple here and there. He could move in and out of the top-six, but would probably be more suited in a checking role guy on the fringe of the second line.
BAD IDEA: Pavol Demitra-- Sure, when he's healthy, Demitra could be a great player; albeit inconsistent at times. But, the injuries could be the big factor as it seems that as he's getting into a groove, Demitra gets hurt and totally ruins his flow in terms of getting back to his form in St. Louis. Unless he'll come down from his past $4M price tag, which you'd hope he would, then he could be worth the risk; but even then it's a sketchy situation.
GOOD IDEA: Mike Comrie-- Comrie is a poor man's Mike Fisher, and not just because of the Hilary Duff/Carrie Underwood thing. He's a solid guy in his own zone and has the ability to be an impact player....if he wanted to. While motivation could be a big concern, when he wants to be one and if he's in the right setting; Comrie could be a steal at the menial price for a fringe top-six guy. Buyer beware because Comrie could be a guy could turn unhappy at a drop of the hat.
BAD IDEA: Alexei Ponikarovsky-- When he's called upon to be on the top line of a weak team, he could be fantastic, but that's probably not a spot he would want to be in. While he does have the skills, the fact is he wouldn't use them when he's on a better team. While I'm sure he'll get offers, I don't think he'll be the secondary scorer most teams would be looking for. It should be something to see if/when he gets signed, not only how much he gets, what team, and how he'd be used.
As always, it's a buyer beware and just an idea for what I think could be solid picks. They're very out there, I know-- but when have I ever been one for rationality?? It'll all depend on the team that picks them up and how they are utilized. And yes, there's guys like Frolov and Ponikarovsky who could venture to the KHL, but they'd probably want to stay in the NHL because they know they'll have paychecks where the KHL has been having issues with that in the past year.
The frenzy begins July 1st.