Help me out here fellas. A few of you are better hockey strategists than myself.
Upcoming free agents with age:
Gonchar D 35
Guerin RW 39
Cooke LW 30
Fedotenko LW 30
Eaton D 32
Mckee D 31
Ponikarovsky LW 29
Leopold D 29
So defense was an issue this year, and now 4 of the top 7 defensemen are FAs. Letang, Orpik, and Goligoski will return. Lovejoy is a good candidate to make the jump next year because it's almost certain that not all 4 of these guys will be back.
Gonchar is probably going to find more money elsewhere, leaving Letang and Gogo to be the power play pointmen next year. I'm fine with having those two as the offensive-minded Dmen. The other 4 need to be more stay at home guys. Eaton is a must to bring back, and Mckee is a value as a last guy or 7th guy. Leopold is a luxury as an offensively talented guy, but he can be let go if his salary is given to a more solid guy.
D needs: Bring back Eaton, pick up one stay at home top notch defender, resign Mckee, and resign Leopold or another equal or better player.
Orpik-another shut down guy to take out top lines
Offense is much more confusing. Guerin should probably retire. Cooke should be resigned, he's too valuable as an agitator who can actually score, making him that much more agitating. Fedotenko is a goner. Poni? I just don't know. If cheap, keep him around but if not he can leave for more money I guess.
Kunitz isn't much of a top line guy, but who else is better? Dupuis maybe? AS discussed in another thread, should Malkin just be a winger? I'm gonna try and roll with that idea here...
There's a lot of question marks going into next year for a team with so much talent.