Lots of big names found new teams July 1, but some useful players remain on the open market. Who are the 10 best of the rest?
It was a wild day, to say the least. As is customary in the era of the five-day negotiation window preceding it, free agency started with a deluge of signings as previously struck deals were made official. Per capfriendly.com, 131 players signed for $651,249,125 in total contract dollars.
But plenty of impact players remained unsigned after Day 1. The 10 best still out there after July 1:
1. JIRI HUDLER, RW
2015-16 cap hit: $4 million
Career year in 2014-15, then tanked in contract year. Still a handy playmaking forward for someone’s top six.
2. RADIM VRBATA, RW
2015-16 cap hit: $5 million
One season removed from arguably being the Canucks’ best player. Will attract teams starved for secondary scorers.
3. KRIS RUSSELL, D
2015-16 cap hit: $2.6 million
A trap signing? Lauded for shot blocking but possession numbers suggest he was a below-average defender in 2015-16. Reports July 1 suggest he’s in for a payday north of $5 million per season.
4. SHANE DOAN, RW
2015-16 cap hit: $5.3 million
Turns 40 Oct. 10, but 28 goals were most since 2008-09. He’ll stay with Coyotes. Seems destined never to change teams, a la Chris Phillips in Ottawa.
5. JASON DEMERS, D
2015-16 cap hit: $3.4 million
Solid depth addition, but a team that pays him like a top-pairing guy might end up disappointed. SIGNED JULY 2: Five years, $22.5 million with Panthers
6. JIMMY VESEY, LW
2015-16 cap hit: N/A
Great offensive potential, but college signees who become stars are the exception, not the norm. He’s not risk-free. Reminder: he can’t officially land anywhere until Aug. 15.
7. BRANDON PIRRI, LW
2015-16 cap hit: $925,000
Continuously flashes goal-scoring potential and won’t cost too much. A nice sleeper.
8. ROMAN POLAK, D
2015-16 cap hit: $2.75 million
Raised profile and price tag on a deep playoff run with Sharks. Brings nice physicality to a bottom pair, but look under the hood and the possession numbers are ugly. SIGNED JULY 2: One year (salary undisclosed) with Maple Leafs
9. P-A PARENTEAU, RW
2015-16 cap hit: $1.5 million
A cheap 20-goal scorer. Could fill a gap on a mid-level contender or join a rebuilder on a short-term deal and get flipped by trade deadline. SIGNED JULY 2: One year, $1.25 million with Islanders
10. KYLE QUINCEY, D
2015-16 cap hit: $4.25 million
Minutes and effectiveness have declined in recent seasons, but he’s still a decent enough depth guy. Will be 31 when season starts.