Sunday NHL Free Agent Roundup – July 23, 2017
Looking at possible fits for five notable unrestricted free agents and possible UFA options for the Boston Bruins.
ESPN.COM: Josh Cooper recently listed Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan, Thomas Vanek and Andrei Markov as his top five remaining NHL unrestricted free agents.
He suggests the Montreal Canadiens as the best fit for Jagr, though he also noted a Western Conference scout brought up the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks as other possible options. He feels returning to the Calgary Flames would be a good fit for Iginla, suggesting their young players could benefit from his leadership. Heading to a team with cheaper young talent, such as the Winnipeg Jets, would be worthwhile for Doan.
Cooper suggests returning to the Detroit Red Wings on a one-year deal would benefit Vanek, as he enjoyed success during his brief tenure last season in Motown. He notes the Canadiens have the salary-cap space to bring back Markov and wonders if they’ll do it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seems every time Jagr becomes a UFA there’s speculation linking him to the Canadiens. I’ll believe it when I see it. The Habs stress speed in their offensive attack so I don’t see how Jagr’s a fit there. They’d be better served bringing back Markov and probably will if the 38-year-old blueliner stops asking for a two-year, $12 million contract. Yes, he’s slowed a bit but remains an effective puck-moving rearguard.
Iginla and Doan returning to the cities where they began their NHL careers would be a fitting end to their respective playing careers. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for either scenario. Vanek returning to Detroit is more likely if the Wings can free up sufficient cap space.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty examines some possible UFA fits for the Boston Bruins. Defenseman Eric Gelinas could be an intriguing and affordable player for the Bruins defense. Haggerty feels Gelinas could benefit being away from the bad defensive situations he was in with the New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche.
Haggerty doubts the Bruins are looking for a stopgap veteran forward. But if they are, he thinks Brian Gionta might be a better option than bringing back Jarome Iginla or Jaromir Jagr. If they want a scorer, Thomas Vanek might find chemistry with David Pastrnak and David Krejci on a small-money, short-term deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing in Vanek or Gelinas could be rewarding gambles for the Bruins, especially if they’re on economical one-year deals. They currently have over $12 million in salary cap space, though much of that will be taken up re-signing restricted free agents such as Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner, If the Bruins are to dip into the UFA bargain bin, I expect they’ll do so once they have their RFA situation sorted out.