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Best of the rest update: The remaining top free agents on the market

Jul 24, 2011, 6:39 PM EST

Chris Drury AP

We’re over three weeks removed from the start of free agency and the signing season was quick to start and now heads into its slower days as teams rosters have filled out. While some teams have yet to get to the salary floor, the big money deals are all but over with and finding that key depth contributor to perhaps lead to a Stanley Cup run next summer can be tricky.

As it is, there’s a host of guys with famous names still out on the market and with recent salary buyouts and arbitration rejection there’s a few more interesting names out there for teams to sniff around at. By interesting we mean guys you know and might even ask, “He’s still playing?” about.

Without further ado, here’s the free agent hit-list as it stands according to the wise guys at CapGeek.

At forward you have recent buyout victims Chris Drury and J.P. Dumont. Drury’s days with the Rangers are over with and as an experienced third or fourth line center he could be useful for a team in need. Perhaps a team like Ottawa or Phoenix could stand to have a guy like him to help provide depth and leadership to the host of youth on both rosters.

If veteran centers are your thing, there’s also Mike Modano and Kris Draper who spent last year in Detroit, Todd White who spent time with the Rangers, and John Madden who played in Minnesota last year.

Dumont could bring some solid big-body depth to a team in need along the wings. He was able to do reasonably well there for Nashville over the last few seasons, but last year was a bad one for him with reduced ice time and just 11 goals.

Other wingers with some name recognition and perhaps a little bit to bring to the table include Sergei Samsonov, Alex Kovalev, Cory Stillman, and Ethan Moreau. If you want pure offense and potentially frustrating production there’s always Nikolay Zherdev whose 16 goals in 56 games with the Flyers last year showed that he’s still able to get it done in the NHL after a year in the KHL.

Teemu Selanne is still, technically, an unrestricted free agent the word out there is that if he doesn’t sign with the Anaheim Ducks again, he’s going to hang it up for good. Here’s to hoping we see Selanne back in black and orange for one more season.

At defense, the recently let go Chris Campoli heads the list of available and useful players there. The Blackhawks and Campoli went to arbitration early so the Blackhawks could refuse his arbitration victory and set him free. With older options like Bryan McCabe, Scott Hannan, Steve Staios, Steve Eminger, Craig Rivet, and Brent Sopel out there on the market, a team in need of another experienced defenseman has some options available to them.

A team like the New York Islanders that needs to reach the salary floor and has a need for more experience on the blue line could go dipping into the pool here but don’t expect Campoli to be their possible target, they’ve been there before with him. Besides, the Isles are busy with a reclamation story of a different kind.

With goalies, the availability list is short and the market may be impossible to get through. After Detroit signed Ty Conklin to be their backup goalie once again, for guys that are still out there they’ll have a hard time finding work. That means for Pascal Leclaire, Marty Turco, and Ray Emery landing an immediate NHL job may not happen. Waiting around for injuries to happen elsewhere across the league will help potentially lead to ironic headlines in the future. For Turco, it could mean an earlier start to a television career.

The pickings are slim, but there’s help to be had for some teams out there. The key will be to not make a signing end up being too foolish to make it work.

  1. sknut - Jul 24, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    I think the Wild will sign one of those veteran D-Men, they have a hole and with some young guys another D man wouldn’t hurt.

    As far as Madden goes, I think he retires, he indicated that he either wanted to re-sign in Minny or retire due to family concerns, he is a gritty player and could help a playoff team though.

  2. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jul 25, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    I don’t think the Wild will sign any of them. Wild are going to go young and defense is the spot where they are fairly solid youth wise. They just signed d-man Mike Lundin from Tampa Bay who is a top 4 defenseman. With Cuma, Scandella, Prosser, Stoner, Spurgeon, Falk, and Bagnall all are young defenseman, most had a taste of the NHL last year, and all of them played for new head coach Mike Yeo, I really don’t see them wanting to sign one. Scandella would have played the majority of the season with the Wild if he didn’t suffer a concussion. Stoner played the majority of the season with the Wild. If Cuma could ever stay healthy there are your 5-7 defenseman. Scandella is the crown jewel that everybody raves about. Wild are also set up for the future too, they already signed Brodin who they drafted a month ago. He will be here the following season.

  3. polegojim - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    Drapes had some excellent years and Detroit thanks him! He’s got one year left in a utility role. I believe Holland will bring him back to The Joe.

    Modano – needs to be done and remember the ‘glory days’. All the ‘sniper’ hopes and stuff just fell flat. Nothing left in the tank – but glad he could retire in a home jersey.

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