It’s almost time for NHL training camps to begin, but there are a number of recognizable names still searching for employment. Here are the top 10 remaining unrestricted free agent NHLers (not counting Teemu Selanne, who most believe will sign with Anaheim or retire):
The grinding winger is now 36 and has lost at least a half-step of skating speed, but he’s still a physical presence and effective penalty-killer. And like most players on this list, he’ll come cheap.
A healthy scratch at times down the stretch for the Preds last season, Dumont won’t have any more years where he puts up 20 or more goals. But in the right situation, with his minutes limited to slow his ebbing effectiveness, he would be a decent offensive contributor.
At 38, Madden is the oldest player on this list. That said, he still managed 12 goals for the offensively challenged Wild last season and his championship experience and penalty-killing abilities can help a team.
The 60 games he appeared in last season with Chicago were the most Pisani played in three years. However, he can be a valuable penalty-killer and chip in a goal every 10 games or so.
The butt of conditioning jokes for a couple years now, Wellwood availed himself fairly well in San Jose last season. His plus-10 rating (in just 35 games played) is the best of any NHLer on this list.
Stralman is softer than a box of ice cream left outside the gates of hell. Nevertheless, in an era where puck-moving defensemen are at a premium, some team is bound to give him a shot at moving their puck.
His goal totals have dropped every season since 2007-08, but the 37-year-old, 16-season veteran has the savvy to help out a team’s power play (12 of his 39 points last season came with the man advantage).
Although he’s 32, Samsonov has played 13 NHL seasons and always finds a way to create offense. He’s a virtual lock to score 10-15 goals and 30-40 points.
It’s hard to believe McCabe was paid as an elite defenseman, but now that his five-year, $28.75 million contract has expired, his salary (and the expectations that go along with it) can better reflect his abilities.
Don’t take this to mean Campoli is capable of suddenly becoming a top-tier offensive defenseman; clearly, he’s not a first defense-pairing type of guy, but he’s still only 27, has above-average speed and averaged more than 19 minutes of ice time a game last season. That combination will appeal to some team sooner or later.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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