Memo to Sather: Avoid 2010 UFAs, Wait for 2011

With the signings of Patrick Marleau and Tomas Plekanec, the UFA market for 2010 went from thin to bare.  There are very few big time UFA's available, and each will certainly be overpaid this summer as a result.  The summer of 2010 will be the summer to be a UFA, big contracts from teams with oodles of cap room await those who hit the market.

Maybe it is a blessing in disguise that the Rangers have no cap room to work with this summer.  I found myself looking ahead to 2011, and I must say, it is one of the best free agent classes I have ever seen.  The list includes Brad Richards, Chara, Jovanovski, Thornton, Lidstrom, Giguere, Semin, Markov, McCabe, Vokoun, Gagne, St. Louis, Patrice Bergeron, Connolly, Brewer, Kaberle, Bryzgalov, Mikko Koivu, Ehrhoff, Hejduk, and Backes.

That is one hell of a list.  Currently, the Rangers have just 8 players committed to contract when the summer of 2011 hits, and $22 million in cap space to work with.  With that many UFAs set to hit the free agency, it would be the ultimate buyers market, thus bringing prices way down.  The top notch guys will get their money, but the aging veterans who put up consistent numbers will see their salary demands take a big hit.  This class is comparable to the 2009 MLB free agent class, which featured Sabathia, Teixeira, etc.

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