UFA Tracker

Rumor Roundup: Several notable names still awaiting free agent deals

The first month of free agency is over and still several notable names remain on the free agent market. While defensemen Cody Franson and Christian Ehrhoff have been rumored to be close to deals, depth forwards such as Curtis Glencross, Lee Stempniak and Jiri Tlusty still haven’t found places to play next season and could be had for the right price.

It’s been over a month since the NHL’s unrestricted free agent market opened. While most of the best players in what was a shallow pool of talent were signed weeks ago, several notable players remain available. Here’s a look at several of the notables:

Cody Franson: It was assumed the soon to be 28-year-old Franson would be snapped up on opening day, but he’s still available. He’s seeking a multi-year deal and wants a substantial raise over the $3.3 million he earned last season.

Franson claims he’s spoken with five or six teams, including the Boston Bruins. He’s also linked to the Arizona Coyotes, but GM Don Maloney told The Arizona Republic he’s not signing any more one-way contracts unless he gets a favorable deal.

Christian Ehrhoff: Last month, Ehrhoff’s agent claimed his client would accept a one-year deal. The German magazine Eishockey News reports Ehrhoff confirms receiving an offer from the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he’s also speaking with other clubs. The Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins could be among the suitors.

Marek Zidlicky: The Bruins also spoke with the 38-year-old Zidlicky, who tallied 34 points last season split between New Jersey and Detroit. However, there’s no indication the two sides are getting closer to a deal.

Brad Boyes: Last month, TSN.ca’s Travis Yost wondered why the 33-year-old Boyes remains unsigned. He believes the right winger can still contribute offensively on a short-term deal for a club seeking affordable offensive depth. As with many of the players on this list, teams with interest in Boyes are likely hoping to sign him at a discount.

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Jiri Tlusty: The 27-year-old Tlusty hasn’t ruled out returning to the Carolina Hurricanes, where he had his best NHL seasons. He’s also been suggested as an option for the Arizona Coyotes, but they seem intent on evaluating their promising young forwards.

Mike Santorelli: The versatile, much-travelled 29-year-old center remains without a contract. The Edmonton Journal’s Bruce McCurdy believes Santorelli could be a good fit with the Oilers, but it remains to be seen if GM Peter Chiarelli feels the same way.

Lubomir Visnovsky: Injuries and age (39 by next week) have likely brought Visnovsky’s NHL career to a close. It’s believed he could play next season in the Czech Republic or Switzerland.

Curtis Glencross: His performance eroded following his late-season trade from Calgary to Washington, hurting his free-agent value. Glencross’ name hasn’t surfaced in the rumor mill for nearly a month. If he’s not signed before September, he could end up accepting a training-camp tryout.

Lee Stempniak: The 32-year-old right winger tallied 10 points in 18 games with the Winnipeg Jets following his late-season trade from the New York Rangers. Like Glencross, Stempniak hasn’t been mentioned much in the rumor mill. He could also face a training-camp tryout.

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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