Countdown to July 1: Notable defensemen still set to hit market
[Editor's note: Since we posted this blog earlier today, the Canadiens traded James Wisniewski's rights to the Blue Jackets. Columbus now has an exclusive negotiating window until the start of free agency, which is noon ET on Friday.]
Here is a look at some of the notable free-agent defensemen who are still set to hit the market Friday at noon ET:
Christian Ehrhoff, Vancouver Canucks ($3.1 million cap this past season): The Canucks traded the negotiating rights for the 28-year-old German blueliner to the New York Islanders for a 2012 fourth-round pick. If the Isles don't lock him up before July 1, he'll become an unrestricted free agent. He had a career-best offensive season, helping key the Canucks' transition game and high-octane power play en route to a Stanley Cup finals appearance.
Tomas Kaberle, Boston Bruins ($4.25 million cap hit this past season): The two sides had planned to meet this past weekend at the NHL draft in Minnesota to discuss whether there's a fit moving forward for the pending unrestricted free agent. He finished the season with nine points in 24 games and struggled through most of the playoffs. Kaberle did find his way in the Cup finals, posting three points in seven games as Boston beat Vancouver in seven games.
Bryan McCabe, New York Rangers ($5.75 million cap hit this past season): He added a veteran presence to a young blue-line group and a much-needed power-play boost. At 35, he'll have to accept less money, but he still can play top-four minutes for a few more seasons.
(UPDATED, 3 p.m. ET) James Wisniewski, Montreal Canadiens ($3.25 million cap hit this past season): The Islander-turned-Hab quietly put together a big offensive season that had him among the league leaders with 51 points (10-41) in 75 games. If Wisniewski hits the market, he shouldn't have a tough time finding good work, especially at the prime age of 27. The Habs traded away his rights to the Blue Jackets on Wednesday afternoon.
Ed Jovanovski, Phoenix Coyotes ($6.5 million cap hit this past season): He's wrapping up a five-year, $32.5 million deal with the Coyotes and was a rock for the Desert Dogs in the past five seasons. At 34, he's looking at a pay cut, but he still can help a team as a top-four defenseman.
Jonathan Ericsson, Detroit Red Wings ($900,000 cap hit this past season): He's an intriguing name. At 27, his development seemed to hit a snag this season. Yet his skating ability, size and offensive potential no doubt would lure several NHL teams to take a chance on him if he hits the market.
Other UFA-bound defensemen of note: Andy Greene, New Jersey Devils; Roman Hamrlik, Montreal Canadiens; Scott Hannan, Washington Capitals; Niclas Wallin, San Jose Sharks; Ian White, San Jose Sharks; Sami Salo, Vancouver Canucks; Brent Sopel, Montreal Canadiens; Steve Montador, Buffalo Sabres; Andreas Lilja, Anaheim Ducks; Steve Eminger, New York Rangers.
Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun was used in this report.