Updated list of available free agents plus the Devils to-do list in this morning’s NHL rumor mill.
AVAILABLE NHL UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS.
NJ.COM: Right wings Jiri Hudler and Radim Vrbata, defensemen Kris Russell, James Wisniewski and Matt Bartkowski, centers Nick Spaling, Dominic Moore and R.J. Umberger, goaltender Jhona Enroth and college prospect left wing Jimmy Vesey are the top remaining players in the NHL UFA market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of these, Vesey is garnering most of the speculation. While the Buffalo Sabres own his rights until Aug. 15, there’s no indication they will re-sign him. The Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks are among several clubs linked to Vesey in the rumor mill.
Over two weeks ago, there was a report suggesting Vrbata might return to the Arizona Coyotes, where he played six seasons. Perhaps the club’s buyout of center Antoine Vermette is to clear the way for Vrbata’s return? We’ll find out soon enough.
There was also a report last week claiming the Leafs were close to signing Enroth. Since then, however, there’s nothing to indicate that’s going to happen.
NJ.COM: Among the items that could be on the New Jersey Devils to-do list include deciding what to do with UFA forward Patrik Elias, perhaps targeting a cap-strapped club such as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings for a trade or pushing for one of the remaining quality players (Kris Russell, Jiri Hudler) still available via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $13 million in salary-cap space, Devils GM Ray Shero has the cap space to make a move or two this summer to bolster his roster if he wishes. Once the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes are over, Shero could look into perhaps targeting a team in need of shedding salary or one of the few good UFAs still available.