It is now mid-August and a little more than a month away from the start of training camp, but there are still many decent players still on the open market. Here are some of the top-quality players that are still unrestricted free agents (UFAs).
Although Grabovski did not mesh Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, he is a still a highly skilled forward who is in his prime. Prior to the 2012-13 season, Grabovski put up two consecutive 50+ point seasons and has 3 twenty-goal seasons under his belt. Many thought that he would quickly get picked up after the free agency period opened, but instead is still on the market. Grabovski will be a good fit on a team in need of a skilled top-six forward, such as the Washington Capitals, Nashville Predators, or Florida Panthers.
Only 26 years old, Latendresse’s career has been hurt by multiple injuries. After his breakout 25-goal, 37-point season in 2009-10 in only 55 games, Latendresse played only 11, 16, and 27 games in the next three seasons, respectively. However, Latendresse may still be able to provide a punch for a team willing to gamble on an young injury-prone forward. Some good fits for Latendresse include the Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, and Washington Capitals.
An odd man out on the young Oilers team, Whitney is a former 5th overall pick that is 30 years-old. He struggled for ice time the past two seasons, but a team willing to give Whitney a chance may get rewards from the offensive defenseman. Good fits include the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets.
Brunner was a surprise on the Detroit Red Wings last season, after the 27-year-old winger signed a quiet contract with Detroit from National League A. He scored 26 points in 44 games and had a great playoffs. Some good fits for Brunner include a return to the Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, and Washington Capitals.
After quietly scoring 14 points in 15 games for the Penguins last season, the former Stars captain showed everyone that he still has hockey left at age 34. He will be a good fit on teams in need of a veteran presence and top-9 scoring. Some good fits include the Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, and Buffalo Sabres.
The biggest question mark in the free agent market is without a doubt Tim Thomas. The 39 year-old is definitely approaching the end of his roller coaster career, but he played outstanding hockey just a couple seasons ago. Although taking a whole year off brought his stock down tremendously, he may fit on a team in need of a veteran backup goaltender, such as the Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins, and Columbus Blue Jackets
The comeback season by the former 43-goal scorer saw him make chemistry with John Tavares, but it may be too late for the sniper to get a big contract again. A team in need of a veteran top six forward will be a good fit for Boyes, such as the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals, and Anaheim Ducks.
Maybe donning a different jersey will bring him back to his potential. Good destinations: Phoenix Coyotes, New York Islanders, Minnesota Wild.
There is very little room for the 36-year old Theodore to become a starting goalie in the NHL this season, but he can be a good backup with valuable veteran presence. Good destinations: Columbus Blue Jackets, Montreal Canadiens, Florida Panthers.
The list of remaining free agents goes on; including Douglas Murray, Kaspars Daugavins, Daniel Cleary, Vinny Prospal, Peter Mueller, Kyle Wellwood, Wade Redden, Simon Gagne, Ian White, and (unless he retires) Teemu Selanne.
With the cap going down this season, it is hard for these secondary free agents to get signed after most of the money went to the big name free agents that were signed in early July. Therefore, many may flee to European leagues such as the KHL in hopes of getting a higher salary.