Best Available UFA Forwards

Posted by Richard Pollock in Columns,Puck Prospectus Column on July 22, 2009 — No Comments

This week at Puck Prospectus, I examined the top remaining unrestricted free agent forwards on the market according to the goals-versus-threshold statistic.

Here is an excerpt:

4. Manny Malhotra (GVT 4.7)

Remember when Manny Malhotra was drafted early in the first round by the New York Rangers and pegged as the next great two-way center? Well, that never exactly turned out to be the case. Malhotra has turned into a very reliable defensive center, but his offensive skills leave much to be desired.

Malhotra can play at even strength, on the penalty kill and a little bit on the power play (however, his power play time was more so due to Columbus injuries). His 58% faceoff percentage is tremendous and would be an asset to any team. Malhotra doesn’t throw his body around recklessly, but still does hit (just under one hit per-game). Additionally, he was second in terms of blocked shots for Blue Jackets forwards (just behind Mike Peca). So, Malhotra can help a team in a variety of ways. In effect, he is arguably the best player remaining on the UFA market—aside from Alex Tanguay.

After making $1.2 million last season, Malhotra is almost certainly looking for a raise and a long-term deal. Otherwise, he would have been signed by now. Expect the character center to land a three-year deal, in the $5.5-$6 million range if things work out well. If not, he may have to bide his time on a one-year $2 million contract for the time being.

Read the entire article here.