What I'd want to buy for $36 million

Updated: September 28, 2006, 12:14 AM ET
By E.J. Hradek | ESPN The Magazine

Hradek's Dream Rosters: $44 million cap | $36 million cap | $28 million cap

Position Player Team Salary
Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff Flames $3.333M
Hradek: You always need a good goalie. The Vezina Trophy remains a major bargain. I can keep him.
Goalie Cam Ward Hurricanes $684,000
Hradek: Ditto for Ward. This is likely his last year as a bargain. He gets a new contract next year.
First Line: Left Wing Henrik Zetterberg Red Wings $2.65M
Hradek: I'm keeping Zetterberg, too. He might challenge the 100-point plateau this season.
First Line: Center Sidney Crosby Penguins $3.7M
Hradek: The 19-year-old Crosby again anchors my first line. I expect him to break the 100-point mark again this season.
First Line: Right Wing Mike Knuble Flyers $1.52M
Hradek: Yeah, the first line remains in tact. I believe Knuble fits nicely with Crosby and Zetterberg. Then again, I might fit in with those two guys. Well, maybe not.
Second Line: Left Wing Andrew Brunette Avalanche $800,000
Hradek: He's a very well-priced veteran who'll give me a solid effort every night.
Second Line: Center Craig Conroy Kings $2.394M
Hradek: Centers are important to me. So, I'll keep my No. 2 pivot. It's nice to have a right-hand shot behind the lefty-shooting Crosby on the depth chart.
Second Line: Right Wing Jonathan Cheechoo Sharks $3M
Hradek: Brunette's lower salary allows me to keep my 56-goal scorer. Thank you, Andrew.
Third Line: Left Wing Jay Pandolfo Devils $836,000
Hradek: This guy has been around a lot of winning teams. He understands his third-line role.
Third Line: Center Derek Roy Sabres $627,000
Hradek: On the $44 million team, Roy was the No. 4 center. He gets a promotion on this team. I think he can handle it.
Third Line: Right Wing Chris Clark Capitals $1.051M
Hradek: Clark is a solid, straight-ahead winger. Like Pandolfo, he knows his role.
Fourth Line: Left Wing Niklas Hagman Stars $675,000
Hradek: I like his salary and his wheels. If his hands were as good as his feet, he'd be dangerous player. As it is, I'll take him as a depth/energy winger.
Fourth Line: Center Mike Richards Flyers $942,400
Hradek: This kid can play in a lot of different situations. He can move up in the lineup, if necessary.
Fourth Line: Right Wing Petr Prucha Rangers $537,500
Hradek: A 30-goal scorer in his rookie year, Prucha is another player who can move up in the lineup when necessary. Plus, he is very affordable.
Defenseman Chris Pronger Ducks $6.25M
Hradek: If I have to choose between Pronger and his teammate Niedermayer, I'll take Prongs because he's a little younger and a little less expensive. But believe me, it's not an easy choice.
Defenseman Jason Smith Oilers $1.976M
Hradek: I'm going to keep Smith. He remains affordable and he works well with Pronger.
Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky Kings $1.824M
Hradek: He is among the most underrated defensemen in the league. Last season, he led the Kings with 67 points. He's a great fit.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook Blackhawks $942,400
Hradek: I wanted a right shot to work with Visnovsky. As a rookie, the 21-year-old Seabrook was among the few plus players (plus-5) on the Hawks last season.
Defenseman Dion Phaneuf Flames $785,300
Hradek: This sophomore is a holdover from the $44 million team. He's too good, too young and too inexpensive to let go.
Defenseman Duvie Westcott Blue Jackets $500,000
Hradek: You've got to save money somewhere. He averaged more than 20 minutes per game last season. He'll be my sixth defenseman.
Healthy Scratch: Defenseman Paul Ranger Lightning $450,000
Hradek: If he can play for John Tortorella, he can play for me. I used him in the same role for my $44 million team.
Healthy Scratch: Forward Eric Perrin Lightning $450,000
Hradek: After another season in Europe, Perrin hopes to get a full-time gig in Tampa. His salary and versatility earns him the last forward slot on this team.

E.J. Hradek

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
E.J. Hradek is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, joining the staff prior to its launch in 1998. He began covering hockey as a writer/editor for Hockey Illustrated in 1989.