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Top UFAs available

We are now 42 games away from the first preseason game of the year, and there is still plenty of key free agents looking for a new team. Yet, there is little to no noise. Here are my top 5 UFAs still available and which team(s) would be best fit.

1. Damien Brunner: I'd say he was at least top 10 free agent to begin with and it truely is a shocker that he's not gone, and not just that he's not gone yet, rumors haven't surfaced with his name since July 15th. At this point in time, Brunner is a forgotten man. I see Vancouver as good fit, especially if you let him play on the top line with the Sedins. The Canucks also still have over $4 million in cap space.

2. Tim Thomas: Say what you will about Tim Thomas, it was not too long ago when he had the best goalie in the world. Say what you will about him taking a year off, he's close to where he was when he left, I would find it hard to believe that you couldn't find at least one team that could use him. The Calgary Flames seem like a solid fit. There is absolutely no goaltending there and as far as I know (I'm an American so I wouldn't be entirely sure of this) but Alberta seem pretty conservative, so I see a good fiit here.

3. Kyle Wellwood: I see someone that you could get 45 points out of for a very good cap hit of about $2 million. The Calgary Flames have nothing down the middle, so I also see the Flames as the best fit as well.

4. Douglas Murrary: Douglas Murray is coming off the worst season of his career, and seems to have very little left in him. With that said, I see Douglas Murray as a John Tortorella kind of guy, so I'll go with Vancouver with this one as well.

5. Brendan Morrow: In Morrow you have some good leadership, combine that good physical play, with just enough bite offensively to be affective. I bet he would love to play for his former coach Ken Hitchcock. It's a system that is friendly to his gritty style, again he's familiar with the coach, and I think it's important to point out that Blues are team that's going to compete for the Cup, and for veteran like Morrow, that means a lot.

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Comments

awould's avatar

Jeez, I forgot about Brunner. Wonder I’d he’s feeling any regret, doesn’t seem like any teams are rushing to overpay him like his agent likely promised.

Posted by awould on 08/03/13 at 10:09 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Grabovski?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/03/13 at 10:36 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

We have more good players living in hockey purgatory right now than any time I can remember in my lifetime (I was not alive during the WHA/NHL days, so maybe that was similar at points). The way the cap hung high for one year coming out of the CBA negotiations, and then the hammer dropped, is obviously the main cause of this happening.

The teams that would love to sign a lot of these guys are still working out roster and cap crunches (for example, I still think that Holland and Babcock would love to re-ink Dan Cleary, but they just can’t do it right now). I think that every year you get a lot of veteran depth players that are around in August and then get scooped up at the end, but this year seems very unique because the quality and talent level of the guys still out there is very high.

I mean, I certainly don’t want to overstate the abilities of any of the players out there, but there aren’t many teams that wouldn’t love to add one of Grabovski, Cleary, Brunner, Selanne, Hainsey, Antropov, Whitney… if the cap, internal budgets, and roster crunches allowed it.

It will be interesting to see what happens. I’m wondering if a guy like Grabovski or Brunner, with talent that is deserving of a pretty decent contract, get what they likely deserve, or if they end up getting sucked into this void where they have to choose to either play for cheap (either in terms of AAV or term), or perhaps go overseas.

I’m sure the NHL will not like it too much if they lose some of these players to deals with term overseas.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/05/13 at 08:39 AM ET

Dakkster's avatar

Brenden Morrow, not Brendan Morrow.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 08/05/13 at 08:57 PM ET

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