trillion dollars stuffed in their pockets
Here are some of the players who'll be getting the most attention once the clock strikes noon tomorrow.
Ryan SuterThe good: It's extremely rare to have the opportunity to see one of the best defensemen in all of hockey patrolling your team's blueline, so Suter was pretty lucky to get to watch Shea Weber all those years.
The bad: Unlike all his brothers and cousins who are cool about it, when you ask him what it was like growing up on the famous family farm in Viking, Alberta he just stares at you like you're some sort of idiot.
Worth noting: Has been so torn over which of his many potential destinations to choose that he's spent several nights wide awake, pacing his bedroom floor in his favorite Red Wing footy pajamas.
P.A. ParenteauThe good: Shows surprising speed, according to Nassau Coliseum security guards who watched him sprint out of the building the second the season ended.
The bad: Has racked up impressive assist totals with the Islanders over the years, but there's no way of knowing if he could also do it with good players.
Worth noting: His signing will be our only chance to read the headline "Ownership and P.A. reach agreement" for the next six months.
Ray WhitneyThe good: Has been a team leader in Phoenix for the past two years, so is probably getting really good at fake-laughing at a teammate's twitter updates.
The bad: Was teammates with Raffi Torres for an entire season and never once pushed him out the cargo door of a moving airplane, so how good a guy can he be?
Worth noting: The league is trying to cut down on ridiculously back-loaded contracts that take a player well past the typical age of retirement, so they'll probably veto any Whitney deal longer than three weeks.
Jaromir JagrThe good: Makes Ray Whitney feel young.
The bad: Finished a disappointing twelfth in team scoring during the Flyers' first round series with the Penguins, with 43 points.
Worth noting: Has said he wants to finish his career in Philadelphia, which explains why he runs from the room screaming "Nice try!" whenever Paul Holmgrem offers him a long-term contract.
Alexander SeminThe good: Has a reputation as a player who never comes through in the playoffs, so would be a perfect fit somewhere like Calgary or Toronto.
The bad: Being known as the most disappointing Capitals playoff performer is sort of like being known as the most depressed Oiler fan.
Worth noting: Dale Hunter is no longer the Capitals coach, so someone should tell Semin he can come out of that storage bin he's been quivering in since April.
Shane DoanThe good: Has Winnipeg fans all excited that he could return to the Jets, which experts agree is just adorable.
The bad: Has developed the unfortunate negotiating habit of shaking hands with a potential team's owner, pausing for a few minutes, then looking around and saying "So, when does the new guy show up?"
Worth noting: Is the only unrestricted free agent in league history to insist that his contract include a no-movement clause for the franchise.
Martin BrodeurThe good: He's easily the best goaltender available in this year's free agency class.
The bad: That's not really saying much, since the second best goaltender available in this year's free agency class is the French cab driver from those old Mats Sundin commercials.
Worth noting: May have trouble negotiating a deal, since Lou Lamoreillo just hired Sean Avery to stand in front of him and wave his arms every time he tries to read an offer.
Jason GarrisonThe good: Is one of the best defensemen available because of how good he is at skating or shooting or defending or something, according to the hockey analyst who clearly seems to be stalling while he Googles who the heck this guy is.
The bad: Lacks playoff experience because he's played his whole career in Florida, and also seems to be battling post-concussion syndrome since he keeps saying weird things like "No seriously, the Panthers were in the playoffs last year, why does nobody remember that?"
Worth noting: It will be awkward when he signs with a new team and then two months later starts getting contract offera in the mail from Dale Tallon.
Zach PariseThe good: Has repeatedly said that he'll be more than happy to stay in New Jersey assuming they can satisfy his main demand, a spot on the first line with Sidney Crosby.
The bad: Despite his reputation as a two-way player the Devils would often turn to other forwards during crucial late-game situations, like when it was time to steal the other team's Stanley Cup-winning puck.
Worth noting: Will look to depart New Jersey on good terms by offering everyone in the Devils front office a firm handshake, after which he'll ask Lou Lamoriello why he's not letting go of his hand and why all those metal shutters just slammed shut over the windows and doors and oh god wait is this room soundproof?