NHL UFA Update – July 15, 2017

by | Jul 15, 2017 | Rumors | 12 comments

Andrei Markov is among the notable players still available in the NHL UFA market.

Reviewing Sportsnet’s latest breakdown of the NHL’s top-10 remaining unrestricted free agents. 

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined the NHL’s top-10 remaining UFAs. Topping the list is defenseman Andrei Markov, who is representing himself and sought a two-year, $12 million contract from the Montreal Canadiens, who countered with a one-year deal. A rumored report out of Montreal linking the 38-year-old to the Philadelphia Flyers were quickly refuted by Philly GM Ron Hextall. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are going younger on the blueline so there’s no fit there for Markov. The Canadiens’ recent offer of a one-year deal to 39-year-old Mark Streit cast further doubt on the possibility of Markov returning to Montreal unless he’s willing to lower his asking price. 

Left wing Thomas Vanek remains in contact with the Detroit Red Wings, but they could lack sufficient salary-cap space to bring him back. They still must re-sign restricted free agents Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou. A reunion with the Buffalo Sabres isn’t likely.  Right wing Jaromir Jagr attracted some interest from NHL teams but no serious offers yet. If he’s unable to land with an NHL club, the ECHL’s Florida Everblades are keen to sign him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings will have around $6 million in cap space (once they place Johan Franzen on LTIR). Unless they free up more space, I doubt they’ll have enough room to re-sign Tatar and Athanasiou and still bring back Vanek. It could take a while for Vanek and Jagr to land with new NHL clubs. Wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t signed until September. 

Nashville Predators center and captain Mike Fisher is taking time to decide if he’ll return or retire. The Predators would likely bring him back on a one-year contract at a reduced rate. Teams have contacted defenseman Cody Franson, who could be a good third-pairing rearguard. Fox wonders if the Chicago Blackhawks would try to bring back blueliner Brian Campbell if they can find the cap room. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think it’s either returning with the Preds or retirement for Fisher. I don’t see him signing elsewhere. Looks like another long summer searching for a contract for Franson. Two years ago, it took until September before he landed a contract. Could take that long again this year. I don’t see Campbell returning to the Hawks, who are pressed against the cap ceiling. 

The Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild reportedly have some interest in winger Drew Stafford. The Montreal Canadiens pitched a one-year contract to blueliner Mark Streit. The Buffalo Sabres and winger Brian Gionta haven’t fully closed the door on his possible return, but the recent return of Jason Pominville makes that unlikely. Right wing Jarome Iginla is taking the summer to spend with his family and using the time to decide if he wants to return next season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Stafford will land with an NHL club at some point this summer. If the Habs can’t work out a deal with Markov, Streit is their obvious “Plan B”. The playing careers of Gionta and Iginla could be over. 



  1. Tough to see guys like Iggy, Doan and Jagr linger without teams. Each of these guys should pack it in and enjoy time with their families.

    • I agree. Every year – in all sports – hundreds of athletes reach that stage in their careers when their services are no longer in demand due to age and declining performance. Many accept the old adage that Time Waits For No One and move on to other careers – just as many more unfortunately try to hang on – although with the money being thrown around these days you really can’t blame them because even the NHL minimum is far more than they’re apt to get in other jobs.

    • Totally agree!

  2. If I’m Hextall, I’m keeping a close eye on Markov. If he’s willing to accept a 1 year deal later this summer at 5 million dollars, I sign him. Then waive Manning ($975K) and slide MacDonald into the 7th d-man spot. This improves the club and doesn’t block the likes of Hagg, Morin or Sanheim from making the club.

    • If Markov was willing to sign a 1 year deal at $5m he’d already be signed by Montreal. The sticking point is his insistence on a 2 year deal

  3. Chi will have 5 mil in cap space once they send Hossa to Robidas & Lupul Isle. To be cap compliant when submitting their 23 man roster the day before the season starts they send Schmaltz down who doesn’t have to clear waivers, then opening day they place Hossa on LTIR getting full relief & recall Schmaltz, then they have 5 mil & change to play with.

    • Can’t they just put Hossa on Ltir now like the Lou did with the leafs ?

      • You can but it alters how much of the cap space can be recovered

      • This is a strange rule… like with Franzen, the league has to see that he will not return – why does his contract have to count at any time? It should be paid but scratched from the caproll. Same with all those dead contracts. Now regarding Hossa, the league should investigate – it’s so apparent when he stops playing the fist year his salary hits 1m

  4. What is the knock on Cody Franson ? Appears to me like a solid 5/6 and second pairing PP.

    • I don’t get it either, I’m guessing maybe his skating. Early in his career he was knocked for not being physical with such a huge body but after he joined the Leafs he quietly was among the top hitting dman in the league. Rocket of a shot

  5. Jeez! Not much available! Jagr going to the ECHL actually makes a lot of sense as he could possibly fulfill his dream of playing until he is 50. It is pro hockey. He would tear that league apart.