I think Kimo Timonen would be an excellent free agent for Kevin Lowe to go after this offseason. In his post defending Smyth's value, Rivers commented that he has "a sneaking suspicion that if the Oilers do get a UFA, they'll make a major mistake on someone obviously not elite like Timonen." This got me thinking, is Timonen an elite player? From what I can tell, if Smyth is considered elite then so should Timonen. Frankly, I think that 5.5/5 would be spent wisely if we went after Timonen this offseason. He's 31, and I think it's widely agreed that defensemen begin to peak somewhere around 30 years old.
Let's shoot high here, and compare Timonen's and Lidstrom's 2006-2007 campaigns:
Numbers are courtesy of Gabe Desjardins via his site behindthenet
On ice GF/GA
Lidstrom: GF: 3.76 GA: 1.59 Ratio: +2.18
Timonen: GF: 3.90 GA: 2.50 Ratio: +1.40
Both players' numbers are very impressive. However, it's clear that Lidstrom holds a significant advantage.
Quality of Competition:
This is pretty much a wash, both players are playing tough minutes and outscoring their opposition.
Powerplay +/- over 60 minutes:
Lidstrom: +6.05 | Teammates: +5.04 | Ratio: +1.01
Timonen: +7.20 | Teammates: +5.40 | Ratio: +1.80
A clear advantage for Timonen. Moreover, his superiority is still evident when you take into account the superior teammates Timonen is on the PP with.
Shorthanded +/- over 60 minutes:
Another clear advantage for Timonen.
All and all it appears that Kimo Timonen is an elite player. He significantly outscores his competition while playing the tough minutes and excels on both the PP and the PK. Moreover, when compared to a future HHOF like Lidstrom, Timonen not only holds his own at ES, but looks like the better player on special teams.