It’s been over a month since the NHL UFA market opened and several notable defensemen remain available. Here’s the latest on several of them.
NBC SPORTS: Ryan Dadoun reports Cody Franson, Christian Ehrhoff, Marek Zidlicky, Lubomir Visnovsky and Sergei Gonchar remain available in the NHL UFA market. Franson last month claimed he’d spoken with five or six teams, including the Boston Bruins, who also reportedly spoke with Zidlicky. Ehrhoff has been linked with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but they have less than $4 million in cap space.
The oft-injured Visnovsky hopes to continue his playing career, but is also considering European options. The 41-year-old Gonchar is also keen to keep playing, but at his age there probably isn’t any interest at the NHL level.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH‘s Aaron Portzline tweets the Blue Jackets “have had an offer on table for UFA D Christian Ehrhoff for weeks now. It’s way below the $4M he made w
#Pens, but CBJ have cap issues.”
EISHOCKEY NEWS: Michael Bauer reports Ehrhoff confirmed receiving an offer from the Blue Jackets, but he’s also speaking with other clubs, though he declined to say which ones.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Other notable UFA blueliners include Andrej Meszaros, Anton Volchenkov, Tim Gleason, Mike Weaver and David Schlemko. So far, there’s been nary a peep in the news about their status. Things seem pretty much status quo for Franson, Ehrhoff and Zidlicky.
A recent sighting of Franson on a flight to Calgary has given rise to fan speculation tying him to the Flames, but I’m not buying it. With Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell and Deryk Engelland patrolling the Flames blueline, and Giordano due a big raise after next season, Franson isn’t a fit there.
Besides the Blue Jackets, the Carolina Hurricanes could be talking to Ehrhoff. The News & Observer’s Chip Alexander reported late last month the Hurricanes had shown interest in the 33-year-old blueliner.
Teams interested in Franson, Zidlicky and Ehrhoff obviously want to sign those guys to discount contracts. It won’t be surprising if they’re still unsigned when the calendar turns to September. As for Visnovsky and Gonchar, their NHL playing careers are likely over.