Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 07/17/14 at 09:42 PM ET
Sportsnet's Luke Fox has been monitoring the fates of the "NHL's Top 10 Unrestricted Free Agents"--with an emphasis on those who remain on the marketplace--The Score's Thomas Drance has penned a list of 3 categories of "cheap free agent gambles that pay off year after year," and while general managers are most likely "at the lake" or golf course right now (World Junior Selection camps begin in August and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic kicks off the 2014-2015 scouting season), both Fox, Drance and ESPN's Craig Custance duly note that there are some bargains out there.
Said players tend to have to reduce their asking prices and may end up waiting until training camps begin to find their NHL homes, but the Devin Setoguchis, Tomas Vokouns, Dustin Penners, Daniel Winniks, etc. do tend to make significant impacts eventually...
And Custance's Insider-only entry leads off with a player who may or may not fit into the "best player who played outside of the NHL last season" category:
It’s gone quiet right now in hockey, but teams are now starting to look at the best of what’s left on the free-agent market. Nashville grabbed two centers this week, Derek Roy and Mike Ribiero. The New York Rangers gave a two-year deal to Matthew Lombardi. Teams aren’t necessarily waiting until September.
“There’s a few players that teams are starting to call on to round out the roster,” said one agent on Wednesday. “They go through the initial blast of free agents, then it gets quiet. Then they get into arbitrations and qualifying offers.”
The players remaining have question marks, but that’s why they’re still out there. And that’s why there’s potential for value in a cap world where every dollar counts. Here’s a look at the latest on some of the best unrestricted free agents on the market.
Peter Mueller, Kloten -- After playing with the Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers to start his NHL career, Mueller spent last season in the Swiss league and led the league with 24 goals in 49 games. He’ll be back in the NHL this season and is currently weighing an offer from at least one team. He scored 22 goals as a 19-year-old for the Coyotes in 2007-08 after they made him the No. 8 overall pick in the 2006 draft. He has size (6-foot-2) and is still just 26 years old. Before he left for Switzerland, he showed strong puck possession skills with the Panthers in 2012-13, with Florida controlling 52.6 percent of the shot attempts at even strength when he was on the ice. There’s definitely interest in the Minnesota native; it’s going to come down to the right fit for where he wants to resume his NHL career.
Custance continues, discussing the possible fates of David Booth, Daniel Winnik, Martin Brodeur, Devin Setoguchi, Tomas Vokoun and Dustin Penner.
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