NHL Free Agent Targets: Forwards Part One

Wardo hates the Canucks. It's as good a reason as any to bring him in.

Looking at free agent targets is a risky business. For one, as soon as we write it up, the guy could re-sign with his old team and nothing comes of our efforts. The other thing is, the Wild have their own list of targets, players that they actually value, and can focus on just them. We need to address a much bigger pool, simply because people will be asking about them.

Thus the rest of the free agent posts. We really don't feel the Wild are necessarily in the market for any of them, but people will ask about them, so we will address them, and see what we can do to either put the thought to rest, or to make sure people don't get overly anxious about any player in particular.

Make the jump to have a look at Todd White, Scottie Upshall, and Joel Ward.


Todd White

#12 / Center / New York Rangers

5-10

198

May 21, 1975



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2010 - Todd White 18 1 1 2 -2 2 0 0 0 11


Current Cap Hit: $2.375 million
Age: 36

JS: Umm...no. I was sad to see him go when he was let go by the Wild, and he struck gold playing with Ilya Kovalchuk for a while, but he's old and wouldn't bring much to the table now.
Verdict: Pass.

Bryan: Let's see. The Wild are going with a youth movement, they have no need for a center, and Todd White did little or nothing last year. The only reason I can find to sign Todd White is that he always seems to be worth a second round pick at the deadline. 
Verdict: Pass

Nathan: Not interested
Verdict: Pass


Scottie Upshall

#8 / Right Wing / Columbus Blue Jackets

6-0

200

Oct 07, 1983



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2010 - Scottie Upshall 82 22 12 34 -7 52 2 0 2 191


Current Cap Hit: $2.25 million
Age: 27

JS: Here's a guy who has been underachieving his entire career. He now carries lower expectations and isn't quite that bad. He surpassed the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career. Another first for him was playing an entire 82 game season. However, he had a pretty bad season compared to last year when he netted 32 points in 49 games, as opposed to 34 points in 82 games this year. His durability is the big question mark though, as he can pretty much be depended on to bring at least 30 points, but if he could play an entire season at his 2009-10 level, he could prove to be a good, fairly inexpensive addition. The thing is though, he would probably just be the new Kobasew, so I'll pass.
Verdict: Pass.

Bryan: I like Scottie Upshall. He has a mean streak, he plays physically, and he puts some points on the board. I'm really just not sure what the Wild would do with him. He's certainly young enough to fit in with the youth movement, but has enough experience to provide some veteran leadership as well. JS brings up a good point though, he just has that Kobasew feel about him. Not sure I like that. He is going to command a bit of a raise, and likely doesn't want to play third or fourth line minutes, so it's just not a fit.
Verdict: I just don't see it. Sorry folks

Nathan: Have we not filled our douchebag quota?
Verdict: Hells no.


Joel Ward

#29 / Right Wing / Nashville Predators

6-1

218

Dec 02, 1980



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2010 - Joel Ward 80 10 19 29 -1 42 5 0 4 157


Current Cap Hit: $1.5 million
Age: 30

JS: Joel Ward has blossomed into a dependable, bottom-six forward in his time away from Minnesota, but you can bet his price tag is going to inflate after his excellent showing in the playoffs where he was one of very few players who played beyond the first round to post a point total higher than his number of games played. Plays with energy and grit, which is a combination well-liked by any fan and coach, but do we need to sign him to an inflated contract to be a 25-30 point player in the regular season? Another question to ask would be: What would a Clutterbuck-Ward combo look like? It's intriguing for sure, but if the signing price is too high, I believe he's better off elsewhere, preferably the Eastern Conference.
Verdict: Sign 2-3 years at around 2-2.5 mil per year, otherwise, pass.

Bryan: I would love to see Wardo come home again. He had a great playoffs, and will get a bit of a pay day is my guess. He'll cross the $2 million threshold this offseason, and the Wild already have plenty of mid-grade players making more than mid-grade money. His offensive production is commensurate with about what he is making, but free agents don't often take exactly what they are already making. It's too good to be true anyway. If he can play the left side, maybe he fits on a third line with Darroll Powe and Cal Clutterbuck
Verdict: Two years, no more than $1.75 million per

Nathan: Once upon a time, the Wild had a chance to lock up Joel Ward but failed. As a result he turned into a solid bottom six guy in Nashville. As a result of that "solid" label, his value is elevated in a weak class.
Verdict: I'd take a shot at 2 years, 1.67-2M/year, but he'll likely get close to 2.25/year

Round two is in the books. Anyone like anyone in this group?

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