Winnipeg Free Agent Needs/Wants

So I was looking around on Dobber Hockey today to see what Ramsey was using for his lines as the season ended.  Here's what combos had the highest percentages in the final 10 games:

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Evander KaneNik AntropovRob Schremp

Ben Maxwell  - Tim Stapleton - Anthony Stewart

Eric Boulton  - Alex Burmistrov -  Chris Thorburn

First off, poor Alex.  They brought you over from Russia, and these were the two wingers they gave you?  Secondly, we have too many unexperienced guys with potential that COULD BE contributing regulars somewhere down the line.  We just don't know how far.  Or if at all.

Offensively, we're in for some growing pains with guys like Wheeler, Burmistrov, Schremp and to some extent Little (his big season was alongside some guy named Kovalchuk) and Kane (he's not Iginla...yet). 

To that end, I went looking on CapGeek for some experienced scoring help...

Gagne, Simon , 31, A bit of an injury concern for sure.  Has only played one full season in the last four.  Was making $5.25 million, but due to those injuries is looking at a pay cut.  Seems like Winnipeg could at least take one risky player, and if the price is right, Gagne's experience would be a big help to the development of WInnipeg's young snipers.

Connolly, Tim , 30, See above.  Some definite injury concerns.  However, isn't too old, and could help serve up some passes on silver platters to Kane, Ladd and Wheeler.  And, if we can get a reduced price due to injuries, I'd sign Tim to give us some help on the power play.

Ryder, Michael , 31, After two seasons of 18 goals and an average of 37 points, Ryder hasn't exactly raised the demand for his services.  However, he has had 4 seasons of 25 or more goals in his career and Winnipeg could use his scoring, but it seems he needs playmaker to succeed.  Something that WInnipeg doesn't curently have.

Tanguay, Alex , 31, Enjoyed an excellent season in Calgary last year with 69 points.  He's due for a raise on his $1.7 million contract.  He is however the playmaking-type player we need.  Would require some line-up shuffling due to being a LWer, along with Ladd and Kane.

Cole, Erik , 32, I'd say Cole is on par with Ryder.  With 3 seasons of 26 or more goals, he could be a useful addition.  Isn't too old yet, but has some valuable experience from 2 long playoff runs with the 'Canes.

Fleischmann, Tomas , 27,  Is bound to get a bunch of offers from teams looking for secondary scoring.  Put up 21 points in 22 games with the Avs last season and is right in his prime.  I'm thinking teams will overpay for him, and because of that, Winnipeg should be out.

Upshall, Scottie , 27,  Splitting the season in Phoenix and Columbus, Scottie cracked the 20-goal plateau for the first time last year.  However he was on pace for 30 the season before (in an injury-shortened year).  He's another guy that will probably be overpaid, but I'd keep him on the radar.

Laich, Brooks 27, Probably the second-most sought-after forward in this UFA crop (behind Richards).  While I'd love to have him, he'll be priced-out of Winnipeg.

Jokinen, Jussi , 28, Had 65 points two seasons ago and was on pace for 61 last year.  A shifty player, Jussi could be helpful to compliment our other scorers.  Like Tanguay, isn't a banger but he could be in our price category.

Leino, Ville , 27, Another 27 year old on this list, who will get lots of attention from other teams.  Was point-per-game in the playoffs two years ago and racked up 53 last season.  Isn't the experienced veteran we're looking for, but has potential.  He'll be overpaid, by some other team.

Selanne, Teemu , 40, A definite pipedream.  Not going to happen, but would sure be cool for the fans.

Arnott, Jason , 36, If he was still in his early 30's I'd be on board.  But now, at his age, WInnpeg should take a pass.  Plus, he's in the twilight of his career and probably wants to stay with a Cup contender.

Sullivan, Steve ,36, See Jason Arnott above.  He could be counted on for experience and leadership but not scoring.  Would have to come cheap.

Sturm, Marco , 33, Has put up similar numbers to Ryder, but has had two injury-riddled seasons in the past three.  Would be a gamble like Gagne and Connolly..  Looked slow with Washington in the playoffs.

Ponikarovsky, Alexei , 31, After two decent seasons with the Leafs, looked horrible in his two last stops (Pittsburgh and LA).  Isn't a sniper by any means, but used to be effective on the cycle when he played with Antropov.  I used to like his hustle and forecheck in TO, but not really the "leader" kind of guy we need.


In conclusion, Winnpeg needs some experience and scoring.  I would love to see Winnipeg get two guys off this list.  Is it feasible? yes.  Is it likely? No.  But adding two guys like Connolly and Ryder or Tanguay and Gagne could be the push this Winnipeg team needs to make the playoffs this year and add some leadership for all our young guns moving forward.

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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