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Spending Spree!

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If you were going to make a really cheap team out of the available free agents

"Dude, someone is gonna pay me $8.5 million a year probably!"
"Dude, someone is gonna pay me $8.5 million a year probably!"
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

July 1st has been one of my favorite days of the year for a long time now. Not for Canada Day, since it is like a preamble to America's superior July 4th Independence Day. Which holiday had a blockbuster film made after it involving aliens and the guy from Fresh Prince of Bel Air? Certainly not Canada Day, though if they did have a movie like that the aliens would look like Alf, feature Carlton, and everyone resolves their differences diplomatically and peacefully. But I digress.

No, I like today because it is the start of free agency in the NHL. And the NBA too, apparently. For years I treated today like it was Christmas in July. I would sit, wait, watch and listen to see who went where. Specifically, if the Kings would ever make a damn move to make themselves contenders. Oh what a crazy era that was. Let's face it now; the Kings aren't going to make a big move since their roster is essentially a few RFA contracts away from being solidified before camps start back up some weeks from today. Now I watch to see what teams are going to overpay whatever flash in the pan. My money this year is on the Sharks giving a ton of money to one Mr. Brooks Orpik.

But I started wondering if you could put a reasonable team together under the salary cap by just buying up a crop of players who are free agents. Mind you, these "contracts" I tried to guess who would be available for a reasonably estimated contract. Feel free to dispute this and the players assembled for the "San Antonio Crack Sweat":

Milan Michalek ($6.000m) / Paul Stastny ($7.500m) / Jarome Iginla ($6.000m)
Dustin Penner ($2.000m) / Mikhail Grabovski ($4.000m) / Devin Setoguchi ($4.000m)
David Booth ($2.000m) / David Legwand ($3.250m) / Lee Stempniak ($2.500m)
Daniel Winnik ($2.000m) / Colin Fraser ($0.900m) / Matt Halischuk ($0.800m)
Ryan Carter ($0.800m) / Krystofer Barch ($0.750m)
Michael Del Zotto ($3.000m) / Joni Pitkanen ($4.500m)
Andrej Meszaros ($4.000m) / Mike Weaver ($2.500m)
Rostislav Klesla ($2.250m) / Ryan Whitney ($1.250m)
Mike Mottau ($0.700m) /
Ray Emery ($2.000m)
Al Montoya ($0.850m)

SALARY CAP: $69,000,000; CAP PAYROLL: $64,250,000; BONUSES: $0
CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $4,750,000

*Obviously I used*

Okay, so rationale...

Iginla, Michalek, and Stastny are the supposed big names out there for this year's UFAs. Stastny and Michalek are pretty good. Iginla used to be great, but has a severe case of OLD. I think paying Michalek and Iginila six million dollars a year is nuts. I think some team would probably pay either one of them that amount *coughMontrealcough*.  Stastny will probably receive even more than what I had here, which I already am laughing about. Let's say in this example though that he cannot wait to join San Antonio.

Every other left winger I think is pretty reasonable. Penner and Booth aren't popular with GMs currently, but can both be productive. Daniel Winnik is brought on for versatility and as shorts adviser. Lee Stempniak strikes me as a guy that would be forgotten about, so frankly two and half million a year may be high. Another case of overpayment for Setoguchi, but oh well. Matt Halischuk, well, I just like his name. There is no other reason for him being on this team. Krys Barch fills the mandatory face puncher role, and Ryan Carter is also a person that I hear exists.

The centers were a bit of a grab-bag, seeing as what is out there. The always shunned Grabovski is a easy pick, and while Stastny is the easy 1C-Brad-Richards-buyout-of-the-future, the third line guy required some thought. So I used no thought whatsoever and went with David Legwand. He is a guy with his best years behind him, is someone I likely overpaid in this scenario, and has better options readily available for his position. But I irrationally like him. I have no idea why. I am not a fan of the Predators (or Red Wings), have not tracked his career besides whatever team he is currently on, and have no explanation for it. It makes no sense to me either. Anyways, he's on the team. Colin Fraser rounds things out because he has three Stanley Cups, which are three more than Joe Thornton has.

Things got ugly fast though on defense. I didn't think shelling out eight million for Matt Niskanen or Anton Stralman was smart, so went with forgotten southern teams' former defensemen. Hence Pitkanen and Del Zotto. Michael Del Zotto was in Nashville for less than six months and you probably forgot he was in the league, didn't you? It happens. The second pair features a guy who seems like he would suck (Meszaros), and a guy who is actually decent for being a small dinosaur (Weaver). Then there is the reclamation project third pair of Klesla and Whitney. Who cares moving on blah blah blah. Lastly, there is Mike Mottau. I think he has played for something like 21 teams in the league already, and that knowledge about other teams is completely meaningless priceless.

I think someone is going to give Ryan Miller a ridiculous contract (Minnesota), and Jonas Hiller will get an equally stupid contract somehow also (Vancouver). That leaves Ray Emery and Al Montoya. Okay, so there are "other" goalies, but it is good to have some ethnic flair on the team, you know?

Anyways, this was my stupid project I spent twenty minutes on. Feel free to leave your own stupid rosters in the comments so we can ridicule you, too.