First Look at the Free Agency Frenzy: Central Division

Feb 21, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Jiri Hudler (26) battles for position with Chicago Blackhawks center Patrick Sharp (10) in front of goalie Corey Crawford (50) during the third period at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Red Wings 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

You should all know by now that I recently found myself adventuring through CapGeek, looking at what each team is dealing with this summer. Since there was quite a bit of information in there, I have decided to share the interesting stuff here with you guys.

Division by division, I am looking at each's teams UFAs and RFA's for this year, FAs for next year, and give a quick summary of their situation. Of course, I will also look at what players we could poach from those teams, whether through UFA negotiations or trades or offer sheets. If you want more info on a team's non-roster players, those are towards the bottom of the CapGeek pages for those teams. With the Northwest, Northeast and Southeast already done, the division from last post's tie is the Central division.

Chicago Blackhawks

Capgeek page, 2011-2012 individual stats

2012 RFAs: Brandon Bollig

2012 UFAs: Andrew Brunette, Brendan Morrison, Sean O`Donnell, Sami Lepisto

2013 FAs: Marcus Kruger, Viktor Stalberg, Jamal Mayers, Bryan Bickell, Nick Leddy, Ray Emery

What are they up to? Chicago doesn’t really have much to worry about, aside from stabilizing their bottom 6 once again. Relying on Corey Crawford and Emery in net could be risky though, so they might look for other options there.

Can Vancouver poach anyone? There's not really anyone we could poach from Chicago. All their UFAs this year played much less than the full season, save for left-winger Brunette, who had 27 points and a -13 in 78 games.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Capgeek page, 2011-2012 individual stats

2012 RFAs: Maksim Mayorov, Jared Boll, Nikita Nikitin, Shawn Hunwick

2012 UFAs: Kristian Huselius, Darryl Boyce, Radek Martinek, Brett Lebda, Aaron Johnson, Curtis Sanford

2013 FAs: Vinny Prospal, Cam Atkinson, Ryan Russell, Colton Gillies, Mark Letestu, Steve Mason, Allen York

What are they up to? The big story here is obviously whether or not Columbus can trade away Rick Nash. Meanwhile, behind the headlines, they have a few of their other dedicated players with expiring contracts. They also need to figure out what they can pull off for goaltending, with lots of expiring contracts here.

Can Vancouver poach anyone? This would actually be a good team to try sending Roberto Luongo to. They have the cap space, despite trying to stay as close to the floor as possible, and they have never had a good goalie. Meanwhile, coming the other way, having Curtis Sanford back as a backup to Cory Schneider would work well. Getting Huselius is also an idea, although he only played 2 games last year due to several injuries.

Detroit Red Wings

Capgeek page, 2011-2012 individual stats

2012 RFAs: Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Kyle Quincey

2012 UFAs: Jiri Hudler, Tomas Holmstrom, Ty Conklin

2013 FAs: Valtteri Filppula, Danny Cleary, Gustav Nyquist, Andrew Miller, Jan Mursak, Ian White, Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith, Jimmy Howard, Joey MacDonald

What are they up to? Although they are not the superstars of the team, Detroit does have to worry about a couple members of their main group this year. Helm, Abdelkader and Quincy all had solid seasons, so they could easily be due for raises. Hudler and Holmstrom will both likely return as well. Same old Detroit.

Can Vancouver poach anyone? These FAs are definitely worth consideration. Detroit will likely sign Abdelkader as quickly as possible, so perhaps grabbing Quincey is a possibility.

Nashville Predators

Capgeek page, 2011-2012 individual stats

2012 RFAs: Jack Maclellan, Sergei Kostitsyn, Colin Wilson, Alexander Radulov, Shea Weber, Jack Hillen, Anders Lindback

2012 UFAs: Andrei Kostitsyn, Paul Gaustad, Jordin Tootoo, Brandon Yip, Brian McGrattan, Ryan Suter, Hal Gill, Francis Bouillon

2013 FAs: Patric Hornqvist, Nick Spaling, Craig Smith, Matt Halischuk, Gabriel Bourque, Kevin Klein, Roman Josi

What are they up to? Haha, there goes their stellar defense! Actually, let me correct that: there goes the entire team! Weber and Suter are noticeably the biggest names on there, but that’s quite a few of their well-known players hitting unrestricted free agency this year. Not only that, but they have even more next year. Seriously, they currently only have 4 players signed past next summer!

Can Vancouver poach anyone? This presents a nice opportunity for Vancouver. One of our recently growing rivalries, and we can steal a player of two from them. The prices will be incredibly high on Weber and Suter, so unless Gillis pulls off some magic, scratch them off your lists. Sergei Kostitsyn could be good as a winger for Ryan Kesler. Hal Gill has definitely been around for a while, and could add some depth to our defense, although he is 37 years old now.

St Louis Blues

Capgeek page, 2011-2012 individual stats

2012 RFAs: Chris Stewart, T.J. Oshie, David Perron

2012 UFAs: Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner, Scott Nichol, Chris Porter, Barret Jackman, Carlo Colaiacovo, Kent Huskins

2013 FAs: Andy McDonald, Patrik Berglund, Matt D`Agostini, B.J. Crombeen, Alex Pietrangelo, Kris Russell, Ian Cole, Kevin Shattenkirk

What are they up to? Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott are both signed for a couple more years, so St. Louis will have dangerous goaltending for a while yet. This makes it easy to tell how the team that finished 2nd in the West this regular season had their highest scorer having only 24 goals. They are going to start focusing on their defense group, with several FAs both this year and next.

Can Vancouver poach anyone? Count their three RFAs as out of the question, they were all in the team's top 10 for getting points this year. Langenbrunner has been a solid player for several years, and the 36-year-old will likely be looking for a shorter term contract with which to finish his career. He could be a temporary choice for that elusive right-wing spot we've been trying to fill with left-wingers for several years. If we could somehow trade for Shattenkirk, that would add some defensive depth.

Only two divisions left to do. Check back again tomorrow.

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