A look at the remaining notable players in this summer’s NHL unrestricted free agent market. 


Kris Russell tops the list of available players in this summer's UFA market.

Kris Russell tops the list of available players in this summer’s UFA market.

 SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently updated his list of this summer’s top-10 remaining unrestricted free agents. Topping the list is defenseman Kris Russell, who reportedly attracted some interest this month from the “Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and Vancouver Canucks”. A recent report in the Toronto Sun, however, claims the Leafs never made an offer to Russell and had no interest in him.

 

Fox reports the Vancouver Canucks “kicked the tires” on forward Jiri Hudler. Center Brandon Pirri is apparently still awaiting a phone call. Right wing Radim Vrbata’s agent claims he’s been in talks with four clubs and hopes to have a deal shortly.

 

Earlier this month, there was speculation the Leafs had some interest in defenseman James Wisniewski, who missed all but one game last season to a knee injury. Fox believes forward Sam Gagner could be an affordable depth signing. Blueliner Dennis Seidenberg also remains available. 

 

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t ruled out bringing back center Matt Cullen, while the Minnesota Wild also reportedly had interest in him earlier this month. Defenseman Kyle Quincey is still available. Fox suggests goalie Jhonas Enroth should be a consideration for the Leafs and San Jose Sharks. 

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been almost three weeks since I published my ranking of the best players still available at every position. All of the aforementioned are on it. Of the 20 players on my list, only three (Justin Schultz, Chris Kelly, Shane Doan) signed contracts, while Brad Richards announced his retirement.
The problem for these UFAs is that whatever leverage they had when the UFA market opened has now shifted to the general managers. It’s highly unlikely any of these available UFAs will land lucrative long-term deals now.
They face either inking one- or two-year deals for far less than they anticipated, accepting a training-camp tryout offer in hopes of earning a new contract, or signing with a European club.