Who Do You Think We're Getting? Source: Itonlyhurtsinmybrain.com

Daily Pucking Grind. Free Agent Frenzy. July 1st.

Today’s music choice on Friday Flashback we go back to 1987 for With Or Without You By U2.

Got your shopping list ready?  Have you called in sick, or taken a personal day?  Cause you and I both know that nothing, and I mean nothing will get done today.  July 1st should just become a national holiday.  Noon eastern is when all the fun begins, and the money starts flying around.

So what would you do if you had the bankroll that the Florida Panthers have?  There are some obvious positions that need to be filled, and while this year’s free agent list isn’t quite the best, there are some players that can help.  Because of the financial position that the Florida Panthers are in…needing to spend about $22 million dollars…. they may need to overspend.  However when you consider what Dale Tallon is selling, who wouldn’t come here?  No state income tax.  To a guy like Brian Campbell that’s a lot of extra spending money in his pocket.  That’s just one reason to come here.  But, he’s also looking for players that are hungry to win and determined to be a part of a franchise that’s on the way up.  I heard Dale yesterday on Hockey Central, the Fan590 from Toronto and he said, “we want people that want to come here and play, not come here to retire”.  We’ve heard similar statements like that before, but this time, you can believe that the country club atmosphere is over.

So here are my top five players to go after.  Some might be a pipe dream and others may fit in just right, but it will be interesting to see how close we really come to this.

Brad Richards:  This one is a pipe dream, but I have to put him down since we have the money.

Ville Leino:  Hard nosed, can score and plays with grit.

Erik Cole:  Solid veteran, can be a leader in the dressing room, and potentially your captain.

Scottie Upshall:  A player in the David Booth style who has more sandpaper.

Eric Belanger:  Big center, excellent on defence and good faceoff man.  Plus who can’t like a guy that takes his own tooth out of his mouth during a game, never missing a shift?

My two sleeper picks?

Brent Sopel:  Shot block expert on defence, won the Cup with the Hawks.

Simon Gagne:  Yes, injury prone, on the downslide of his career, but he did look rejuvenated in the post season.  Maybe a two year deal if the price is right.

Now, here’s five guys I don’t want:

Raffi Torres:  If I have to explain this, you must be new here.

Kyle Wellwood:  No need for South Beach diet jokes.

Michael Ryder:  Enigma, a talented one, but he’s too moody.

Tim Connolly:  Soft, too many concussions, not enough grit for me.

Radim Vrbata:  Another moody European.  Been around too many teams and no change of scenery has really helped.

My biggest question involves goaltending.  How long will the Panthers wait to see what Tomas Vokoun is going to do?  Do they focus on him right away, or do they play the waiting game?  This is a big question mark and I would hope they have some plans in place in the event he doesn’t sign.  I would bet that they have a dollar amount that they’ll spend and Vokoun and his agent must know what that is.  I want him back, but at the right price.  I just don’t want it to linger.

The only links you get today are regarding tracking free agency:

Here’s the TSN Free Agency Tracker, updated as players sign.

What do all 30 teams need? NHL.com.

Scott Cullen with a look at the crop of talent that’s available.  TSN.com.

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Tags: Brad Richards Dale Tallon Florida Panthers Kyle Wellwood Raffi Torres Scott Upshall Soluth Beach Diet Tomas Vokoun Ville Leino

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