The always un-predictable DWSHL free agency period is just around the corner with, as usual, many big names available. This edition of the trap gives you an inside look on whose going where, once free agency opens up in a few weeks. Read about all of this in the season’s first edition of “The Trap.”
Theres no shortage of starting goaltending on the market this year. Top goaltenders available include long time Hanover Galaxy memeber Jose Theodore, Winnipeg's Martin Brodeur, Nashville's Jussi Markkanen, and the Blizzard's Evgeni Nabokov. Olaf Kolzig can still be considered a top goaltender, but should command a salary far less then his current expiring $13 million dollar contract with the Brahmas.
Teams that are in need of a starting goalie include such power houses as the Seattle Spartans and defending champion Nashville Battalion. The Texas Cannons, Sundsvall Vikings, Zurich Pirhanas, Boston Bandits are all in desperate need of goaltending as well and will be persistant in filling that void.
The Battalion have a very comfortable cap number at the moment and could make a serious run at one of the top goaltenders. It remains unclear if they want to make a push to retain Markkanen or go with somebody else between the pipes.
Matt Visser and the Spartans will undoubtedly persue either Nabokov or Theodore.
Something almost certain is that Theodore and Brodeur will not be back with their respective clubs for season 10. Both have been replaced by cheaper up-and-coming netminders. Vesa Toskala has become the number one goalie in Hanover while Ryan Miller is the new man for the T-Rex.
Teams looking for solid a back-up could turn to Ty Conklin, Kevin Weekes, or Brent Johnson for help.
Star defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has expressed much interest in returning to his current club, the Reno Riptide. "This is the team I broke out with and hopefully im here next season" says Visnovsky. Reports suggest the Riptide would welcome him back and Davey should try to lock him up long-term.
The possibility of Brahmas star center Joe Sakic signing another $12 million dollar contract this off-season is not likely, but he could command something in the 7-9 million dollar range wherever he ends up.
Another Brahma free agent, Olli Jokinen, will be in for a big pay day as well. He will recieve a huge increase over the $2 million he made last season. Possible destinations for Jokinen include two of his former teams, the Montreal Chevaliers and the Helsinki Nighthawks. Both clubs are in need of a solid top line center.
A writer for a Quebec paper has noted Center Michal Handzus would be a perfect compliment to Crunch scoring machine Justin Williams. When questioned earlier, GM Alex Smith would neither confirm nor deny his interest.
After a few seasons of being the go-to-guy in Montreal, Teemu Selanne could be on the move this off-season. James Wallace and the Chevaliers are likely to make a lucrative offer to the "finnish flash", as many teams will. If not Montreal, Selanne may consider joining his buddy Andy Mcdonald in Arizona.
Speedy winger Brian Gionta could return to the Vipers. The prospect of skating on a line with Peter Forsberg and Marian Hossa is tempting, but at the same time, he wants to get paid. "I know my worth" Gionta told reporters the other day. "Certainly staying with the Vipers is a possibility but I want to see what the market brings before I make any decisions."
The Prowlers could be one the biggest players in free agency. They have nearly 25 million in cap space which alone makes them an prime destination. Throw in the fact that they already have players such as Chris Pronger, Miikka Kiprusoff, and Jason Spezza, only to name a few, and you have a very impressive formula for landing key players.
Without dropping any names, GM Frank Lewis claims the Sabercats will be in the running to land a top line center.
A number of teams will take a shot at landing winger Jason Pominville. Re-building organizations like the Attack and Brahmas could make a serious run for this young sniper.
Unrestricted left winger Sean Avery will be persued by the Phantoms reports the Arizona Press.
More rumors to follow as free agency draws closer.