The pickings, they are slim.
Unless you believe Kyle Wanvig is finally going to turn the corner, there’s not much left in an NHL free agent market that was pretty bare to begin with.
After one week of unrestricted free agency, all the big prizes (Marian Hossa, Ryan Malone, Brian Campbell) have been scooped up. If your team hasn’t already done something significant to improve its fortunes in 2008-09, it’s time to give Peter Forsberg a call and see which way he’s leaning for the upcoming season. (NHL? Sweden? Retirement?)
Meanwhile, here’s the best of the rest of the leftover UFAs:
(Note: The Old Men Of The S.S.S. Line – Joe Sakic, Teemu Selanne and Mats Sundin – aren’t included as they haven’t said whether or not they’re coming back. Besides, if they do, it’s almost certain that Sakic would return to Colorado, Selanne to Anaheim and Sundin…well, who knows, but it appears Vancouver and Montreal are the front-runners, with Toronto coming up dry. Neither is Pavol Demitra, who appears destined for Vancouver.)
Brendan Shanahan, RW – He shoots, he scores, he leads. There’s no secret to Shanahan’s game, although precisely what he has left to give is something to ponder. Know this, though: whatever he has left at age 39, Shanahan will leave it on the ice. The team that drafted him, the Devils, as well as the Habs appear to be chasing the 600-goal winger.
Jason Williams, RW – Thirteen goals and 36 points in 43 games for Chicago last season before being sidelined by a hernia. Two 20-goal seasons to his credit and he turns 28 in August. He’s got 49 goals in 201 games since the lockout. He’s flashed 30-goal potential, only to get hurt. Someone should take a chance.
Ladislav Nagy, C – A couple years ago, it looked like he was on the verge of stardom in Phoenix. He’s only 28 and might be the most skilled forward available. The down side? Questions about his desire and a frustrating propensity for injury.
Chris Gratton, C – Need a big body, a third- or fourth-liner to muscle opponents? Here you go.
Marek Malik, D – Don’t put him in the top four, but he’s OK for depth. He’s big and has some mobility…and scored a really cool shootout goal a few years ago.
Stephane Yelle, C – He’s old and he doesn’t score anymore. And he’s always a factor in the playoffs.
Darren Haydar/Jason Krog – This tandem shredded the AHL last season – they’ve been doing that for a while, actually – and led the Chicago Wolves to a Calder Cup. On the other hand, if they couldn’t make the Atlanta Thrashers, what NHL team could they play for?
Ray Emery, G – When he’s good, he’s very, very good. But when he’s bad…
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