Corey Abbott

In The Crease

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Free Agent Remnants

Thursday, August 16, 2012


The free agent crop this off-season was viewed as being fairly thin in terms of impact players and the cupboard is nearly bare slightly over a month later.  However, there are still some players of interest from a fantasy point of view.  Let's take a look at some of those players and where they could land:  

  Shane Doan (RW) - Doan is the best player available right now on the open market.  He is patiently waiting for updates regarding Phoenix's ownership situation before deciding whether to sign elsewhere or stay.  His heart is clearly still with the Coyotes, but in the meantime he has garnered plenty of interest from other clubs.  Doan has been rumored to have narrowed his choices before and the latest offering suggests that the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix are the current favorites to land his services.  Playing with higher level talent on either the Rangers or Canucks would enhance his fantasy value more than if he stayed in the desert, but not by much.  Doan is a dependable scorer, who brings grit and character, but he has only hit the 30-goal plateau twice and he's topped 70 points in his career just two times as well.  He should be able to provide whatever team he ends up on with 50-60 points and plenty of hits and shots which makes him an attractive fantasy option.   

  Carlo Colaiacovo (D) - As far as value goes, Colaiacovo has a great deal to offer compared to other free agent defensemen still up for grabs.  He can score, hit, block shots and log decent amounts of ice time.  The problem with Colaiacovo is that he is an injury risk and that will hurt him as he searches for a new contract.  The good news is that there are some good teams in need of blueliners.  Colaiacovo should get interest from Philadelphia, Detroit and Carolina.  The Flyers feature a depleted corps, thanks to long-term injuries to Andrej Meszaros (torn Achilles tendon), Andreas Lilja (hip surgery) and Chris Pronger (concussion), as well as the free agent departure of Matt Carle to Tampa Bay.  The Hurricanes and Red Wings are also in need of an extra body or two after losing players in the summer.  Colaiacovo is capable of putting up around 30 points, but just remember that he has played in just under 70 games for the past three seasons and doesn't take many shots on goal.       

  Kristian Huselius (LW) - Injuries have limited Huselius to 41 games over the last two years with Columbus.  He appeared in only two contests in 2011-12 because of a troublesome groin injury and missed most of the year before that due to a high-ankle sprain.  What makes him an intriguing free agent, if he can overcome his injury woes, is that after the NHL lockout he scored 20 goals or more five straight times.  There hasn't been much in the way of rumors surrounding his status or interested parties, but Huselius could be a good fit on a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The Pens always seem to be in the market for a veteran-type winger with some puck skills to place in their top-six group and they have been quiet in that department so far this summer.  The New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings aren't afraid of reclamation projects either, so a move there wouldn't be surprising at the right price either. He will likely be given an opportunity only after he makes good on a tryout basis. Huselius can score and could merit a look on your fantasy team if he gets an NHL roster spot.      

  Andrei Kostitsyn (LW) - When the Nashville Predators obtained Andrei Kostitsyn from the Montreal Canadiens at the NHL trade deadline, a number of pundits rolled their eyes.  The Preds gave up a 2013 second round pick and the conditional pick that they got in the Hal Gill deal, to acquire him, which was a fair bit considering he had registered only 12 goals and 12 assists in 52 games at the time.  Secondly, it seemed the club was reaching too much in their attempt to salvage his talent as they did for his brother Sergei Kostitsyn.  Andrei was a pleasant surprise at first with the Predators, as he contributed 12 points in 19 games to end the year and he had four points in eight playoff games.  However, his off-ice activities earned him a postseason suspension from the Predators and that stigma could hurt his chances of landing with another NHL organization.  But under the right circumstances, he can chip in 40-50 points and that should get him another chance.  Look for a team like the Florida Panthers, Columbus Blues Jackets or possibly the San Jose Sharks to take a look at him.   

  Jason Arnott (C) - It was surprising to many that the St. Louis Blues chose not to retain the services of Arnott at the end of the 2011-12 season.  He notched 17 goals and 17 assists in 72 games , while averaging just over 14 minutes of ice time.  Arnott is a good leader and he proved he can still chip in offensively despite his better days being behind him.  The Vancouver Canucks were rumored to be interested in his services earlier this month.  That would be a good place for him to play, as they could use his voice in the locker room and are in need of some depth at center with Ryan Kesler expected to be sidelined until December after off-season shoulder surgery.  Calgary could be an option as well, considering their lack of strength down the middle.      

  Jaroslav Spacek (D) - The big defenseman skated in only 46 games last season between Montreal and Carolina.  He appeared in 59 games the year before, as injuries have started to plague him during what could be the later stages of his career.  Still, Spacek can provide solid defense and some offense.  He owns a plus-64 rating over the past seven seasons and produced 15 points in 2011-12.  He could be a good fit in Detroit or Philadelphia, given their need to add to their back ends.  He likely won't return to the 40-point mark, which he exceeded twice before in his career, but if he can avoid sick bay he could register 20-30 points and block a reasonable amount of pucks.  

  Dwayne Roloson (G) - The 42-year-old netminder had a horrendous 2011-12 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning.  He posted a 13-16-3 record with an .886 save percentage, a 3.66 GAA and one shutout, which was a far cry from his strong showing in a Bolts uniform the previous year ,after joining the team from the Islanders.  Roloson probably isn't able to carry the load anymore, but he can still be a decent veteran backup.  Teams like the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs could be in the mix as possible destinations.  Under those circumstances, Roloson could get anywhere from 15-25 starts and possibly more, if teams need to settle down their incumbent starters.      

  Pavel Kubina (D) - Kubina didn't have much of an impact after arriving in Philadelphia last season from the Tampa Bay Lightning.  In 17 games with the Flyers, he collected four assists, 12 penalty minutes and a minus-3 rating.  He hasn't been the same offensively as he used to be, but he still possesses a heavy shot and he can get the job done defensively.  Kubina can be a good source of blocked shots, hits and penalty minutes this campaign, while making modest contributions on offense.  Possible teams that could have an interest in him include Detroit, Edmonton or Dallas.  Don't rule out a return to Philadelphia though, as they could use help on the blueline and Kubina did express his interest to remain with the team at the end of the year.         



Corey Abbott is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him Twitter @CoreAbbott.
Email :Corey Abbott



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