UFA Options is a continuing series that gives a brief run-down of the unrestricted free agent market this summer, team-by-team. Our next team for consideration is the Boston Bruins.
The Boston Bruins look to be in decent shape going forward; they have six unrestricted free agents, but all of them are support players – bottom-six wingers, reserve defensemen, and their backup goaltender.
- Age is calculated based on how old the player will be during the 2009-10 season.
- QualComp/QualTeam are the Quality of Competition/Teammates rankings from Behind the Net; the number appearing is each player’s ranking by position (forward/defense) on his own team.
- Def/Off Faceoffs is a comparison of the total number of shifts starting in the defensive and offensive zones, courtesy of Vic Ferrari’s Time On Ice. A positive number indicates starting more in the defensive zone, a negative number the opposite.
- All advanced statistics are courtesy of Behind the Net.
Vital Stats: 35 years old, 6’1”, 186lbs
2008-09 Cap Hit: 1,850,000 US$
2008-09 Basic Stats: 75GP – 6G – 24A – 30PTS, -1
2008-09 Contextual: 7th QualComp, 7th QualTeam, +29 Def/Off Faceoffs
2008-09 Advanced Stats: -5.1 Corsi/60, 1.22 EVPTS/60, 2.10 GFON/60, 1.97 GAON/60
Axelsson was selected by the Bruins late in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, ad has spent his entire 797 game career in Boston. He consistently averages in the 10 goal/20 assist range, and has topped thirty points on exactly one occasion in his career. This was a poor year for Axelsson; normally he ranks far higher in quality of competition and puts up a similar performance.
Vital Stats: 42 years old, 5’10”, 195lbs
2008-09 Cap Hit: 1,500,000 US$
2008-09 Basic Stats: 80GP – 23G – 38A – 61PTS, -18
2008-09 Contextual: 11th QualComp, 8th QualTeam, +38 Def/Off Faceoffs
2008-09 Advanced Stats: -8.1 Corsi/60, 2.04 EVPTS/60, 2.36 GFON/60, 3.25 GAON/60
Recchi seems likely to retire at the end of the year. He’s had a surprisingly good season, largely spent in Tampa Bay, and has been one of the game’s better power-play specialists over the last few seasons. He was largely written off after being put on waivers by the Penguins back in December of 2007, but if he wanted to come back for another year I don’t see why a team wouldn’t take a chance on him as a stop-gap. He’s a veteran presence with a couple of Stanley Cup rings, and certainly still has some value.
Vital Stats: 35 years old, 6’2”, 186lbs
2008-09 Cap Hit: 750,000 US$
2008-09 Basic Stats: 77GP – 7G – 11A – 18PTS, +6
2008-09 Contextual: 12th QualComp, 12th QualTeam, +70 Def/Off Faceoffs
2008-09 Advanced Stats: -5.7 Corsi/60, 1.09 EVPTS/60, 1.67 GFON/60, 1.45 GAON/60
Stephane Yelle is a reliable fourth-line player, and like Recchi adds a veteran presence and has won it all with the Avalanche. He’s cheap and effective in the role, although he’s a non-factor offensively. Yelle is a useful role player but not much else at this point.
Vital Stats: 30 years old, 6’0”, 211lbs
2008-09 Cap Hit: 800,000 US$
2008-09 Basic Stats: 78GP – 4G – 17A – 21PTS, +17
2008-09 Contextual: 8th QualComp, 3rd QualTeam, -86 Def/Off Faceoffs
2008-09 Advanced Stats:: +7.2 Corsi/60, 1.10 EVPTS/60, 3.54 GFON/60, 2.20 GAON/60
I really like Steve Montador. He’s a limited player; a little undersized for a defenseman, limited in his own zone, and he needs to be used judiciously. On the other hand he’s exactly what NHL teams should want in a bottom-pairing defenseman – he adds offensive kick, particularly at even-strength, plays an intelligent game with the puck, and has a very effective passing game. As long as a coach is aware of his limitations he can be a very useful part of a good team – he fits into the same family as Brent Sopel or Marc-Andre Bergeron, except that he’s much cheaper.
Vital Stats: 34 years old, 6’2”, 205lbs
2008-09 Cap Hit: 757,500 US$
2008-09 Basic Stats: 65GP – 3G – 9A – 12PTS, +6
2008-09 Contextual: 7th QualComp, 4th QualTeam, +EV Def/Off Faceoffs
2008-09 Advanced Stats: -1.3 Corsi/60, 0.68 EVPTS/60, 2.57 GFON/60, 2.09 GAON/60
Shane Hnidy’s another limited defenseman, but like Montador if he’s used within his capabilities he can fill a role for a good team. His offensive game is limited but not entirely non-existent, and he adds a physical presence on the back end. He’s a low event player who since the lockout has been a good player on a bad team (Atlanta) or a useful player on a good team (first Anaheim, now Boston). As far as #6/#7 defensemen go, they come lots worse than Shane Hnidy.
Vital Stats: 35 years old, 6’0”, 207lbs
2008-09 Cap Hit: 4,333,333 US$
2008-09 Basic Stats: 28GP, 16W – 8L – 3OTL, 2.59GAA, 0.910SV%, 1 SO
Manny Fernandez has had an interesting career. He’s put up good numbers (for the most part) playing in Boston and Minnesota, but given Minnesota’s notoriously defensive game and how good Boston has been this season, there is still some question about where he fits in the NHL goaltending hierarchy. In all likelihood he’s a competent 1A goaltender; he can be better or worse than that, but that’s the midpoint. He will certainly have an NHL job next season with the goaltending market the way it is.