After a few days of an overflow of signings, it is easy to not notice some of the smaller free agent deals. Everyone knows where Ryan Miller, Matt Niskanen, and Thomas Vanek went, but it was hard to give smaller free agents press time. Players like Cory Conacher (New York Islanders), Stu Bickel (Minnesota), and Patrick Eaves (Dallas) would have gotten more attention if it wasn’t for all the other free agents signed on July 1st. Here is a look at some under-the-radar free agent signings since July 1st that might be very significant when the season starts.
2014-15 Team: Arizona Coyotes
Former Team: Montreal Canadiens
Before last season started, Dubnyk was considered a number #1 goalie. However, he fell off the cliff last season by getting traded multiple times and even spending time in the AHL. He was the 4th or 5th goalie on the Canadiens’ organization, but a new start in Arizona could rejuvenate his career. The 28-year-old be getting paid less than a million next season and has a good shot at making the Coyotes’ roster. He will be motivated for redemption.
2014-15 Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Former Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Gibbons had a roller coaster season in 2013-14 not because he was inconsistent, but because he improved. He went from a first-line elite AHLer to being Sidney Crosby‘s linemate. He went up and down the Penguins’ depth chart a lot. He should be a good fit in the Coulmbus Blue Jackets’ system probably on a line with Artem Anisimov and Mark Letestu. The 26-year-old still probably hasn’t reached his potential yet.
2014-15 Team: St. Louis Blues
Former Team: Sibir Novobirsk (KHL)
The 26-year-old Finnish centre was signed to a 2-year contract from oversees. He led his team with 44 points in 48 games and was among the top forwards in the KHL. He was actually drafted by the Blues in the third round in 2008, but his signing was overshadowed by that of Paul Stastny. He is a true top-6 forward who will probable surprise many people with his ability to play big minutes. It will be tough to crack the top two lines on the Blues, but he made training camp interesting.
2014-15 Team: New Jersey Devils
Former Team: San Jose Sharks
Overshadowed by the signing of Mike Cammalleri, Havlat will join fellow Czechs Patrick Elias, Jaromir Jagr, and Marek Zidlicky in Newark. He is 33-years old, but if the ageless wonders Jagr and Elias can help Havlat find the Fountain of Youth, then this signing could come at a bargain at $1.5 million.
2014-15 Team: Edmonton Oilers
Former Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
The 25-year-old signed a short one-year contract with the Oilers, but many see it as another young-player-steal for the Oilers. Aulie used to be a fairly coveted prospect with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but has kind of cooled off in Tampa Bay. He is a huge body and a good fit in Edmonton.