Friday, August 13, 2010

A buyer's guide to the remaining NHL free agents - 2010

Boogard got how much?
As hockey's off-season drags on, there are still dozens of unrestricted free agents who haven't found a team for the upcoming season. Many will end up being exiled to Europe or even retirement, while others will manage to find a job in the NHL.

But which ones? Here's an honest look at the strengths and weaknesses of some of the best known free agents remaining on the market, along with a prediction of where they could ultimately wind up.

Antti Niemi
The bad: Was easily the most over-rated Stanley Cup winning goalie in the entire league last year.
The good: Doesn't know the meaning of the word "quit", although technically that's also true of all the other words in the English language.
Where he'd fit: Philadelphia, according to everyone in the entire hockey world who doesn't work in the Flyers' front office.

Lee Stempniak
The bad: Only seems to play well in Phoenix, which pretty much limits him to one-year offers.
The good: Hasn't played for the Maple Leafs since the trade deadline, so most of the loser stench has worn off by now.
Where he'd fit: Any team that only hired a scouting staff in mid-March.

Paul Kariya
The bad: Most scouts agree that his dimples are slightly less adorable than they used to be.
The good: Was at one point, many years ago, Paul Kariya.
Where he'd fit: Pretty much any team that's looking for a veteran scoring winger to play on a line with Teemu Selanne.

Ilya Kovalchuk
The bad: May have suffered a series of undisclosed head injuries during his career, based on his apparent willingness to commit to spending 17 years in New Jersey.
The good: Will no doubt be well-rested after the upcoming year-long work stoppage that he caused.
Where he'd fit: Any team that's been smart enough to preserve some cap room in 2027.

Owen Nolan
The bad: Is widely recognized as one of the worst NHL players that Belfast, Northern Ireland has ever produced.
The good: Can offer detailed scouting reports on the 30 NHL teams, all of which he's recently played for.
Where he'd fit: A team that believes it is one salt-and-pepper goatee away from contending.

Kyle Wellwood
The bad: Has occasionally experienced minor conditioning setbacks, which some bloggers have cruelly exaggerated to get cheap laughs.
The good: Is an extremely well-rounded player. Often appears to be everywhere on the ice at the same time. Has an overwhelming presence which can dominate the dressing room. Is unanimously considered to be one of the hungriest players in the league.
Where he'd fit: Any roster with a large hole to fill.

Miroslav Satan
The bad: Is always going on and on about his theory that the whole thing was just a dream by Leonardo DiCaprio's character, which is odd since he's talking about the seventh season of Growing Pains.
The good: Was an alternate on the NHL's millennial All-Miroslav team.
Where he'd fit: The New Jersey Devils, according to the International Union of Hilarious Newspaper Headline Writers.

Jose Theodore
The bad: Goal scoring totals have dropped significantly since 2000-01 season.
The good: Has been known to entertain teammates with hilarious made-up stories about winning the Hart Trophy.
Where he'd fit: Any NHL team where he wouldn't have to worry about once again losing his starter's job to Cristobel Huet. So, any NHL team.

Darcy Tucker
The bad: Is too old and broken down these days to randomly leap into opponent's benches any more; now just sort of limps over and then tumbles in.
The good: Critics who accuse him of being dirty don't have a leg to stand on, mostly because he's blown out both their knees.
Where he'd fit: Sami Kapanen's sweat-drenched nightmares.

Vesa Toskala
The bad: Often reminds you of the love child of Hardy Astrom and Andre Racicot, assuming that child was forced to play goal before developing gross motor skills.
The good: Has never been one of those irresponsible goalies who takes a brand new set of equipment and then spends the season ruining it by letting a bunch of pucks hit it.
Where he'd fit: As the backup for whatever ECHL team John Ferguson Jr. is working for these days.


  1. Hilarious. One of the best in the recent while.

  2. Hey Sean,it looks like JFJ is in Sweden because there are multiple reports that Toskala will go to the Swedish Elite League to play with Färjestad.

  3. the Wellwood one was pure gold

  4. Was very pleased with the Wellwood part. Nicely done Sean.

  5. Taking wellwood is fat jokes to a new level. Awesome.

  6. Great article! This has to hold the record for most hockey-related overweight innuendos in all of written history - which is an impressive feat.

  7. Gold. Haters gonna hate, but don't let them get you down.

  8. Lame effort. Easily your worst to date - well except for parts about Niemi, Stempniak, Kariya, Kovalchuk, Nolan, Wellwood, Satan, Tucker, and Toskala.

    ...hmmmm, it appears that even after all that counselling I still have a sore spot for Theodore stealing Iggy's Hart Trophy - who knew?

  9. Belfast is not in Ireland. facepalm.

  10. IRT anonymous
    well, DGB obviously just made a very sublimal political statement because he believes that ireland should be a single nation and that NI shouldn't be a part of the GB. i mean, it's not like it's a very sensitive political topic or so... =P

    anyway, good post, i laughed pretty hard at nolan and wellwood. and satan in ny just makes sense for that single reason, it's a shame he hasn't played there yet

  11. hahaha, Wellwood and Toskala jokes will never get old, NEVER.

  12. I'll take a pass on the Wellwood jokes. And the mashed potatoes. And the Mac and Cheese. Wellwood is just too easy a target - due to his size. I have had enough of the Wellwood jokes - but I'll have one more cinnamon roll please.

  13. Nice job DGB. Funny from start to end.

  14. Great job! I gave it 5 stars. I never get tired of the Toskala jokes.

  15. Your Wellwood and Toskala jokes? Never. Get. Old. EVER!

  16. To the commenter that said that Belfast is not in Ireland --- 50% of the Belfast population would disagree with that statement, as would I.

    Wellwood jokes were great

  17. Great post, big fan.

    However: "The good: Doesn't know the meaning of the world "quit",

    I think you meant to say "word", not "world"?

    Agree that geography is hard, but proofreading is not.

    Still a classic though. After reading this post I went back and read the "Kyle Wellwood is fat" letter and rolled around on the floor laughing. Keep up the great work.

  18. lmao love the picture and the caption to go along with this fantastic post, keep up the good work!

  19. Oi! Leave Belfast alone! It can easily be argued that Owen Nolan is the BEST hockey player Belfast has ever produced, thank you!

    Great post. I think your analysis is right on, except for the whole Belfast thing. And I, for one, respect a goalie who doesn't let his pads get ruined with those ugly black marks that are SO hard to get off of leather. Its not his fault Toronto's colors are blue and WHITE after all!

  20. Not only have the Canucks made a horrible mistake in letting go of Bernier and not signing Wellwood right now, they also need to get Penner from the Oilers. Then take them all out to dinner to let them develop some chemistry and play them as a line. I already have a name for them. The "Buffet Line" in light of the sheer array of skills and thrills they will bring to the fans.

    Also the post pretty clearly says "Belfast, Northern Ireland." Was this a correction? Because if it wasn't than you were absolutely correct in your geography. Northern Ireland is considered a separate geographic area, like Scotland and Wales and England. Combined they are Britain. Much like you would be correct to say "Toronto, Ontario".

  21. "The International Union of Hilarious Newspaper Headline Writers." - I knew that such an association had to exist!

  22. The zing to word ratio of your Wellwood entry is very high. Well done.

  23. Dear Mr. Brown:

    Please do not suggest that Vesa Toskala would be a suitable player for our league.

    Number one, his skill level is far below the level of play our fans expect.

    Number two, if he played in the ECHL, we would immediately go bankrupt from the additional electricity cost needed to keep the goal lights in the arenas on.

  24. Re Davegeek: Add Martin Brodeur to the list and they should dominate the competition, as well as the post game meals

  25. I'm slain by Wellwood. I was drinking coffee when I read this, and I'd charge you for the keyboard, but I'm legally dead now, so I can't. Thanks a lot.

  26. Great stuff about Wellwood. Only asset you omitted is his ability to execute a 1-man umbrella power-play formation.

  27. hardy astrom joke - its been a while, was disapointed to learn that there is no you tube footage of hardy.

  28. wellwood jokes will never die!!!!
    that nolan bit was pure gold as well

  29. Aww..F--k JFJ is working for the SHARKS?!?! Oh no...

  30. Awesome as usual, but Theodore was on the Caps after Huet's cup of coffee with the team. He stole the job from Kolzig, if I recall correctly.