Ryan Dadoun

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UFA Frenzy: What's Left?

Monday, July 10, 2017


We’re a week into the UFA period and as expected the big names have been scooped up.  There are some potential impact players still looking for work though.  With that in mind, let’s highlight the most noteworthy players still on the free agent market.

 

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Jaromir Jagr – Any sort of ‘What’s Left’ list needs to predominately feature Jaromir JagrWayne Gretzky is the only player with more career points than Jagr and while he is 45 years old now, Jagr can still contribute offensively, as illustrated by his 16 goals and 46 points in 82 contests last season with Florida.  The Panthers don’t plan on re-signing Jagr though and concerns about his speed at this point might be part of the reason why he’s still looking for work.  Even still, he could potentially be a great influence on a young and inexperienced team or a nice complimentary player on a contender.

 

Andrei Markov – Like Jagr, Andrei Markov is in the twilight of his career, but the 38-year-old defenseman is also coming off a strong season.  He had six goals and 36 points in 62 contests while averaging 21:50 minutes per game.  Markov has spent his entire career in Montreal and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him re-sign with the Canadiens despite the wait.  Montreal still has the money to make it happen after missing out on Alexander Radulov, so the only question now is if the two sides can find a common ground.

 

Cody Franson - Cody Franson is coming off a two-year, $6.65 million contract with the Buffalo Sabres, but he didn’t ink that deal until September 2015.  It will be interesting to see if he has to wait until the fall to secure a contract this time as well.  When Franson last tested the free agent market he was coming off his second straight 30-plus point campaign, but he didn’t reach the 20-point mark in either of his two seasons with Buffalo.  It didn’t help that he dealt with some injuries during the two season period.  Franson doesn’t seem like he’s in that strong of a negotiating position, but he won’t turn 30 until August so it’s fair to believe he still has quite a bit left in the tank and at the least he would be a solid third-pairing option.

 

Thomas Vanek – Among the remaining UFAs, Thomas Vanek leads the pack in terms of points last season with 48 in 68 contests.  He’s recorded at least 40 points in every season of his career and given that he’s not too old at the age of 33, it seems reasonable to believe that he still has a fair amount left to give.  When he was at his best he was a top-tier forward, but even now he’d be a nice addition to many team’s second line.

 

Mike Fisher – This one is a different case than the others.  The issue with Mike Fisher probably isn’t that he hasn’t gotten a contract he likes yet.  Instead it’s more likely that he’s still weighing his future as he’s been considering retirement.  If he does decide to return though, the Nashville Predators would presumably be interested in re-signing their captain after their run to the Stanley Cup Final.  In addition to his leadership role, Fisher is also still a solid second or third-line center, although Nashville does have some more depth up the middle now after acquiring Nick Bonino.

 

Shane Doan – Moving on to a captain that’ll have to find work elsewhere, Shane Doan was informed by the rebuilding Arizona Coyotes that they wouldn’t be making him an offer.  It’s an unfortunate way to see the tenure of Doan end given that he’s spent his whole career with the Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes franchise and even stuck with them through their years of off-ice turmoil.  Doan reportedly had four teams contact him just before the UFA market opened, so there’s clearly been some interest in him, which isn’t surprising.  At the age of 40 (41 in October), he’s not much of an offensive threat, but he can still play a bottom-six role and provide any team with some added veteran leadership.  As an aside, it would be nice to see him have a serious run at the Stanley Cup.

 

Mark Streit – Speaking of the Stanley Cup, Mark Streit won his first championship at the age of 39.  Like the other aged veterans on this list, he’s not the star he once was, but can still help in a supporting role.  The Penguins aren’t expected to re-sign him though and while his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers, do have defensive openings, they’ll likely want to save those spots for their young players.  There’s a chance that he might actually have a reunion with the team that drafted him, the Montreal Canadiens, instead if they aren’t able to agree to terms with Markov.

 

P. A. Parenteau - P. A. Parenteau bounced back in 2015-16 with 20 goals and 41 points in 2015-16, but he regressed again in 2016-17 with 13 goals and 38 points in 67 games with the New Jersey Devils and Nashville Predators.  He’ll probably be something of a bargain bin gamble for some team, but sometimes those pay off.  It certainly did with the Leafs as they got that 41-point campaign for the price of $1.5 million.

 

Jiri Hudler – Speaking of the bargain bin, Jiri Hudler is coming off a disastrous season where he missed a big chunk of time due to an illness.  In the end he had just 11 points in 32 contests.  It was just the 2014-15 campaign when he had 31 goals and 76 points and while we don’t expect another campaign like that out of him, Hudler could be a pretty affordable option for a second-line forward.  Don’t be surprised if he bounces back next season, giving the team that gambles on him good value.

 

Jarome Iginla – Let’s close out another former star.  Jarome Iginla has arguably declined more severely than players like Jaromir Jagr (though who ages as slowly as him?) and Andrei Markov.  Iginla used to be the safest bet in the league to score at least 30 goals per season, but in 2016-17 he was limited to 14 goals and 27 points in 80 contests with the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings.  At this point it’s not clear if Iginla can contribute enough offensively to justify a top-six forward role, but there might still be a team out there interested in his veteran leadership and his role on their supporting staff.



Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.
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