Wednesday signals the opening of free agency and, while it may not be a bumper crop of players available, there are still a few names who can be impact players next season. Defensemen Mike Green, Andrej Sekera and Cody Franson highlight whats available on the blueline, and there’s potential to be some steals when it comes to depth forwards.
On the eve of the 2015 NHL free agent period, here’s a look at the latest speculation involving the notable UFAs.
Mike Green: Considered by most observers the best player available in this summer’s UFA market, the 29-year-old Green should attract interest from several clubs. Among the suitors could be the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers. The Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika included Green on his list of possible free-agent targets for the Stars.
Alexander Semin: He enters the UFA market following a contract buyout by the Carolina Hurricanes. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press wonders if the Detroit Red Wings could have interest in the 31-year-old winger. Semin’s a right-handed shot, a commodity the Wings currently don’t have enough of on their roster.
Michael Frolik: If the Winnipeg Jets fail to re-sign the 27-year-old Frolik, several clubs could come calling. The three-time 40-point scorer is already linked to the Montreal Canadiens. DKonPittsburghSports.com’s Josh Yohe claims Penguins GM Jim Rutherford recently spoke with Frolik’s agent.
Justin Williams: The 2014 Conn Smythe winner’s reputation for clutch scoring and consistency (four 40-plus point seasons in the last five years) should attract interest from playoff contenders seeking championship experience. The Washington Capitals need offensive depth at right wing. ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun speculates the Pittsburgh Penguins could take a look at him.
Matt Beleskey: ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reports a dozen teams reached out to the 27-year-old winger. He’s reportedly met with several Eastern Conference clubs. Beleskey was linked to the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins. LeBrun’s colleague Craig Custance claims Beleskey also met with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Cody Franson: Despite the decline in Franson’s play following his trade last February from Toronto to Nashville, NBC Sports’ Dhiren Mahiban reports there’s considerable interest in the 27-year-old blueliner. Mahiban lists the Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Stars and, yes, the Maple Leafs among clubs that contacted the Franson camp in recent days.
Mike Richards: Reports earlier this week claiming the Los Angeles Kings might buy out Richards prompted Sportsnet’s Luke Fox to suggest the Toronto Maple Leafs target him. Fox’s recommendation came before it was revealed the Kings terminated his contract citing a material breach. Richards is also part of an RCMP investigation though no charges have been laid. Given all this, it’s unlikely the Leafs – or any NHL club – will pursue Richards until these issues are resolved.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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