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Okay, So They're Unrestricted

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One of the more maddening elements of the Sharks has been how they've generally spent the past few free agent periods apparently counting palm fronts outside the Tank than trying to swing some deals.  When asked why the apparent inactivity, the answer has always been the same: we're just fine the way we are, be patient, wait for the kids in the system to develop.  We're still waiting.  Yes, the team has made an effort to lock up key players through long-term deals, but the "that's just as good as signing someone from another team" speech was more than enough to spark riots outside of 525 West Santa Clara Street.  If Sharks fans did such things, which we don't.

That said, looking at the list of this year's UFA brigade indicates it might well be a year when not making much of an effort to sign people might not be such a bad thing.  Taking Brian Campbell out of the equation, there's not a whole of of "there" there this year, as this list of the top thirty players (pared down to twenty-nine) available as compiled by the fine folk at sportscity.com attests:

Top 2008 NHL Unrestricted Free Agents
Rank Player Age 2007-08 Team Notes
1 Marian Hossa 28 Pittsburgh  
2 Brian Campbell 28 San Jose  
3 Mats Sundin 36 Toronto  
4 Ryan Malone 27 Pittsburgh  
5 Jaromir Jagr 35 NY Rangers  
6 Sean Avery 27 NY Rangers  
7 Mark Streit 29 Montreal  
8 Cristobal Huet 31 Montreal  
9 Vaclav Prospal 32 Tampa Bay  
10 Daymond Langkow 30 Calgary  
11 Wade Redden 30 Ottawa  
12 Peter Forsberg 33 Colorado  
13 Kristian Huselius 28 Calgary  
14 John-Michael Liles 26 Colorado  
15 Brian Rolston 34 Minnesota  
16 Radim Vrbata 26 Phoenex  
17 Markus Naslund 33 Vancouver  
18 Michal Rozsival 28 NY Rangers  
19 Pavol Demitra 32 Minnesota  
20 Ron Hainsey 26 Columbus  
21 Jose Theodore 30 Colorado  
22 Cory Stillman 33 Carolina  
23 Michael Ryder 27 Montreal  
24 Dan Ellis 27 Nashville Re-signed with the Predators, 2 years, $3.5 million
25 Brooks Orpik 27 Pittsburgh  
26 Brad Stuart 27 Detroit  
27 Dmitri Kalinin 26 Buffalo  
28 Jason Williams 26 Chicago  
29 Ruslan Fedotenko 28 NY Islanders  
30 Paul Mara 27 NY Rangers  

Uh, yeah.  Maybe I'm missing something, but other than a possible short-term spark from Mats Sundin who on this list could genuinely benefit Los Tiburones?  And let's be real.  Marian Hossa is not coming to San Jose.  Not for the amount of money he can command.  Far better to focus on re-signing Campbell, his playoff woes notwithstanding.

Y'all know what's what, so feel free to chime in on this one.