More than 3 weeks into free agency, several key names have signed new contracts. While some have chosen to re-sign with their own team, many others will be wearing a new uniform this fall.
For many players however, the uncertainly of finding a job is starting to hit home and they may have to do like others before them and lower their salary demands if they want a job in the NHL. Others will likely chose the KHL or other European pro leagues, while some will likely fill out their retirement papers.
Yet, there are still some pretty good players left out there, players who can help teams in one way or another. So heading towards the end of July, I’ve decided to put together a list of players who, in my opinion, are the best of the rest. You will notice that I did not include Teemu Selanne on purpose as it’s likely the Ducks or nothing, nor did I include newly UFA Chris Campoli. Both would be on that list otherwise.
10- Sergei Samsonov :
At 32, he still has some life in those legs and he’s coming off a 13 goals, 40 points season.
9- Cory Stillman:
Stillman isn’t getting any younger but at 37, he can still help a NHL team as his 12 goals, 39 points in 65 games can attest.
8- Vaclav Prospal:
Prospal is likely one of the most underrated players out there. Yes he’s 36 but his 9 goals, 23 points in 29 games should be enough to land him a contract somewhere.
7- Ray Emery:
The best goalie still available, he’s only 28. Will teams be able to look beyond his reputation and only focus on his 2.28 GAA, .927 Sv%? He is apparently healthy.
6- Bryan McCabe:
At 36, he’s on his last miles but it doesn’t take away the fact that he’s a gritty player who can still man the PP, as his 28 points show.
5- Scott Hannan:
He has lost some mobility over the years but he’s only 32, which is rather young for a very serviceable, experienced and punishing defenseman.
4- Chris Drury:
He says that his knee is good to go and at 34, he can be an excellent 3rd line center bringing tons of leadership to a team that needs it.
3- Brad Winchester:
Only 30 years old, the young veteran had 10 goals, 171 hits and 10 fighting majors last year!
2- Steve Eminger:
I’ll admit being very, very surprised to see that this guy hasn’t signed anywhere yet. He’s only 27 and he’s a member of the 100-100 club (143 hits, 103 blocked shots)
1- Nikolai Zherdev:
Yes I know, he’s had a bad season, getting a bad reputation. But the talent is there and at 26, he’s still young, fast, and he’s the best natural goals scorer available.
How long before teams sign some of those gems?
En français: LNH: Les meilleurs des restants