NHL Free Agency + New York Islanders: Targets, dreams, offer sheets?

No and no. - Elsa

An open thread and quick look at the free agents in play as the silly season officially opens.

The NHL free agency period kicks off today, so this will be our open thread as the signings officially begin.

First off, some news already cleared as the window for signing free agents opens:

And of course the Islanders have some unsigned restricted free agents, with Darren Dreger saying there is lots of "talk" about offer sheets* around the league including Travis Hamonic and Josh Bailey.

*As in, agents says: "Please offer sheet my RFA."

As for who is on the market, here is the CapGeek list, and here are a few names to watch:

Goalies

Ilya Bryzgalov -- Fan and media are torn on Bryzgalov, who performed well in quiet Anaheim and Phoenix but was a mutual disaster for player and team in Philadelphia. That said, at 33 he's a decent goalie, and decent is probably a move forward for the Islanders.

Johan Hedberg -- He's not a free agent, but he is on waivers after the Devils brought in Corey Schneider to compete with Martin Brodeur. Hedberg isn't good anymore.

Evgeni Nabokov -- Isles fans are familiar with the entertaining post-games and sometimes harrowing in-games that come with Nabakov. If they strike out on other options, you could see him returning.

Tim Thomas -- He was very good before taking a one-year sabbatical in his late 30s. And of course there weer memorable moments from his legendary time as an Islander.

Anton Khudobin -- The Bruins goalie stepped in as backup after Thomas took his time off, so he has enough uncertainty around him for some to dream of him running with a starter's role.

Forwards

Stephen Weiss, C -- People forget about Weiss because he got hurt this season and was shut down after 17 games, but he would have been a very valuable rental had the Panthers been able to sell him. He's been a very good center most of his career who can handle difficult matchups.

Tyler Bozak, C -- Reports say Bozak, who has benefited from playing almost exclusively with Phil Kessel, wants something like a eight-year commitment from the Leafs. That in itself is hilarious. Crazy requests or not, this player should not interest the Islanders in the least.

David Clarkson, W -- Clarkson has built his value up at the perfect time: A huge spike in his shooting percentage in 2011-12 fed a 30-goal season, and he has scored 14 power play goals over the past two seasons to inflate what people expect of him. That usually spells massive UFA overpayment.

Nathan Horton, W -- Horton is a reliable 20-goal scorer and good shooter with some injury concerns (serious concussion two years ago, shoulder surgery this spring). Those two factors might compete to determine how much he garners on the market, but at 28 he should still have some rewarding years left.

Ryane Clowe, W -- Clowe is the banging left wing who famously scored zilch with the Sharks this season before his trade to the Rangers, where he promptly scored three goals and then got hurt. With a concussion history and an expectation for physical play, proceed with caution.

Valtteri Filppula, C/W -- Filppula can play center or left wing, and his value is debated both in Detroit and by league observers trying to figure where he'll land and for how much.

Jarome Iginla, Old W -- Iginla has had a fine career and is old.

Jaromir Jagr, Old W -- Jagr is still effective. Someone will give him a rewarding one-year deal (his salary was $4.5 million for 2012-13). Though he is far from the superstar Jagr of old, he is still a contributor and visionary puck distributor at 41.

Mike Ribeiro, C -- Ribeiro, 33, is a productive center but has holes in his game. Teams that rely on him as a second-line center usually have difficulties.

Derek Roy, C/W -- I mean, this is a perfect representative of free agency: Players who were once quite good, looking to get paid at a time when they are no longer as good and are quite likely declining. After a bad final year in Buffalo, he did okay with Dallas and Vancouver this past season but not well enough for either to keep him around.

Defense

The defensive free agent cupboard is pretty bare:

Andrew Ference -- Ference was actually a weak link on the Bruins' blueline. He wouldn't give the Isles an upgrade.

Rob Scuderi -- Scuderi was a key presence for the Penguins and Kings blueline during their Cup lines, but he is 34 and it's believed the Kings are still trying to keep him.

Douglas Murray -- Heh, no. In massive decline.

Ryan Whitney -- Heh, also no. The foot injuries have ruined his career.

Marek Zidlicky -- Some imagined him as a sort of cheap, or rather just old, replacement for Mark Streit. But there is no reason to risk on him versus retaining Matt Donovan.

There are plenty more of course -- and the Isles, if they do anything today, could very well spot a name few of us were expecting. Feel free to follow along and share news and links in comments here as the insanity begins.

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