A ranking of the top available NHL unrestricted free agents and more.
NHL UFA update.
USA TODAY: Defensemen Cody Franson, Christian Ehrhoff and Lubomir Visnovsky tops Kevin Allen’s listing of the top-five available NHL unrestricted free agents, followed by wingers Curtis Glencross and Martin Havlat. Other notables include Stephen Weiss, Brenden Morrow, Brad Boyes, Jiri Tlusty, Tyler Kennedy and Michael Ryder.
CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz noted former San Jose Sharks forwards Tyler Kennedy, James Sheppard and Adam Burish remain unsigned.
SPECTOR’S NOTE:Franson, Ehrhoff and Zidlicky have all been linked to the Boston Bruins. One of them is likely to end up signing with the Bruins in the coming weeks. Ehrhoff reportedly has a one-year offer on the table from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Boyes and Tlusty could interest teams in need of depth on right wing, like the Arizona Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils. Glencross is reportedly considering a PTO from the Colorado Avalanche, while the Ottawa Senators are apparently talking with Havlat about a tryout.
I disagree with Allen’s ranking of Visnovsky and Havlat among his top five. Injuries have significantly hampered their respective performances in recent years. I’d replace them with Marek Zidlicky and Brad Boyes.
The marginal increase in the salary cap is partially to blame for many of these players remaining unsigned so late in the offseason. Another is the fact almost all these players are well past their best-before dates. Others, like Visnovsky, Havlat and Weiss, have seen their free-agent value diminished due to injuries.
Some of these players might land one-year deals worth considerably less than they’d hoped for entering this summer. Some will have to earn a spot through a professional tryout offer. The rest either face retirement or continuing their playing careers in Europe.