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Thursday, June 30, 2011
Countdown to July 1: Notable forwards still set to hit market

By ESPN.com

Here is a look at some of the top free-agent forwards who are still set to hit the market at noon ET on Friday (listing their teams and cap hits in 2010-11):

Brad Richards, Dallas Stars ($7.8 million cap hit this past season): The 30-year-old native of Prince Edward Island was on his way to a top-five finish in the NHL scoring race before a concussion shelved him in February. He had 91 points in 2009-10 and would have been in the same range again without the injury.

Ville Leino, Philadelphia Flyers ($800,000 cap hit this past season): At 27, he's in his prime and would be a sought-after commodity if he hit the market. The Flyers likely have the room to keep him, given the money unloaded from the Jeff Carter and Mike Richards trades.

Tomas Fleischmann, Colorado Avalanche ($2.6 million cap hit this past season): The 26-year-old was on fire after arriving in Denver and playing alongside Matt Duchene, putting up 21 points (8-13) in 22 games before being shut down by a blood clot in his lung. Providing he comes back fully healthy, Fleischmann can put up some offense.

Tim Connolly, Buffalo Sabres ($4.5 million cap hit this past season): His 13 goals and 42 points (12-25) in 68 games was his worst offensive output since 2002-03 (not counting his two-game season in 2006-07). According to The Buffalo News, the Sabres’ talks with Connolly’s agent, J.P. Barry, have not involved any concrete offers.

Sean Bergenheim, Tampa Bay Lightning ($700,000 cap hit this past season): The forward seemingly came out of nowhere and became a postseason hero, scoring nine goals in 16 playoff games to help lead the Lightning to the East finals.

Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks ($4.5 million cap hit this past season): He’s technically set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but it will be a shock if he signs anywhere else. He's going to re-sign with Anaheim or retire. He finished within the top 10 in league scoring with 80 points (31-49) in 73 games.

Other UFA-eligible forwards: Milan Hejduk, Colorado Avalanche; Erik Cole, Carolina Hurricanes; Simon Gagne, Tampa Bay Lightning; Michal Handzus, Los Angeles Kings; Jamie Langenbrunner, Dallas Stars; Alexander Frolov, New York Rangers; Scottie Upshall, Columbus Blue Jackets; Nikolay Zherdev, Philadelphia Flyers; Maxime Talbot, Mike Rupp, Pittsburgh Penguins; Eric Belanger, Phoenix Coyotes; Jason Arnott, Washington Capitals; Brendan Morrison, Calgary Flames; Alexei Kovalev, Pittsburgh Penguins.