So with GMJR proclaiming league wide interest in possibly making deals with the flightless birds I thought I'd take the liberty to provide some outside the box suggestions regarding RFA's that may be attainable. As you know, trading for RFA's is a bit trickier considering they involve younger cap friendly players that teams usually covet. Previously I provided an outline I'd like to see the Pens follow within the UFA and trade markets. But if teams are interested in Real Deal, PM or possibly Kuni than they would have to work out a deal on our terms, which may or may not include RFA's.
Below in no particular order is the list of RFA's I would target based on their teams cap situation and depth. Some of these names may only be attainable with a 3rd team involved and others may be attainable using our position of strength. And you will probably notice that I saved the best for last.
He and Kyle Clifford have been on my trade wishlist since last season. Both are big, mobile and aren't shy about playing big. King obviously has more offensive upside and talent while Clifford is the ideal 4LW. King is versatile and skilled enough to play LW on our top 3 lines although is the ideal 3LW. This is somewhat of a long shot because GM Lombardi has done a masterful job managing the cap while also drafting and developing on par with Chicago. And with LAK having 18 players under contract for 2014-15 with over 13M in cap space available the kings shouldn't have much trouble retaining their mammoth power forward. However you can argue that their depth on D is limited with their current core lacking foot speed and youth. So would they listen if we put assets on the table? I think they would.
Cody Franson: 6'5 213lb RH dman would be an adequate replacement for Orpik's physical presence if we can't re-sign him.
Before your head explodes at the thought of trading for a toronto dman I suggest you take a quick gander at his metrics that I know you all love. At first glance you'll see his CF is under 50% but relative CF is quite strong. Factor in that his QoC is over 28% and you can count on him holding his own as a 4-6 depth dman. And if you look over the course of his career you'll see that he has consistently been a Plus player prior to joining the sinking ship that is TO.
Between toronto's perilous cap situation(12 players signed with 22M in cap space) and their lack of organizational depth, I can see them being interested in what we have to say. Especially if signing Gardiner is at all a priority. Not too mention Bolland and Kumelin. Factor in his heavy shot, offensive upside, experience facing quality competition with his poor -20 this past season and you may have a buy low scenario presenting itself.
Jason Demers: Skilled and versatile RH dman.
Trading for this player would be something I'd explore in the event Nisky signs elsewhere. We may have prospects with Demers' skill set but not his experience. SJ wouldn't want to just give him away and with their cap situation being under control this may be a reach. But considering the changes their organization may go through he could be on the table. Especially if signing Wingels or upgrading their goaltending is a consideration. He would step into a 2nd PP role and be a solid addition to our top 4-5.
Jiri Tlusty: No stranger to JR. Skilled, versatile, 1st round pedigree and solid on the boards.
Basically a well rounded forward that could step in on Sid or Geno's line as well as Sutter's. Left shot but can play his off side and has experience facing quality competition. His most impressive offensive numbers probably came in lockout shortened season where he was on pace for 40 goals but much like my Vrbata and Stewart suggestion, I can see him increasing production with our centers. Especially when you consider his status as a plus player, QoC and solid durability.
Factor in the carolina cap/budget situation and lack of organizational depth and I can see Tlusty being attainable.
Vladimir Sobotka: Skilled energy player solid on draws with speed, grit and 2-way acumen.
While we're at it we can see if STL will part with Ryan Reaves who has been on my trade wishlist going back to last season. Although STL cap situation is very much under control they usually are budget focused and may deem re-signing Schwartz, Berglund and addressing goaltending as higher priorities.
STL is known as an elite possession team but if you look at Sobotka's metrics you'll see that he's on the plus side of relative CF%. Not bad in my book. Factor in his elite QoC and I think we could make room for him.
Other names I considered including are Silfverberg and Laganiere from anaheim. But their cap situation is beyond good so I figure Silfverberg will be locked up in short order. Laganiere stood out to me along with Jeff Malcolm(goalie who faced Hartzell in NCAA finals) while playing for Yale so if anaheim doesn't have room for him I believe he could be a solid under the radar acquisition. Savard and Prout are RFA's for columbus but I'm sure they'll want to lock those 2 up instead of trading them within the division.
Now as promised, the best for last so I hope you're seated.
Could go on and on about how he will help and you all know who he is so linking his metrics is pointless.
Chances are Colorado has decisions to make between Stastny being a UFA and ROR's RFA status. If we decide reshuffling the deck is the way to go then this is the guy that would be worth the trouble. Colorado may be apprehensive re-signing him due to his current deal being setup to have a qualifying offer of 6.5M so a long term deal would need to be worked out. This would require the likes of Neal, Kuni or PM being off the books but once again, if a deck reshuffle is in the cards, ROR is worth the trouble.
Not only is he capable of playing with our centers but also has the innate ability to think the game on their level. A commodity that shouldn't be under appreciated. Would CO demand sutter in return? Probably, but I like the idea of ROR bouncing around our top 9 with Sutter and Goc being primary 3rd and 4th line centers. This would allow our PP to have 2 solid units and give Sid and Geno the kind of well rounded talent that could elevate their games as much as they could elevate ROR.
But with any trade or signing you have to ask if the juice is worth the squeeze?