Sunday, July 19, 2009

Top Free Agents still available


The Free Agent Frenzy is nearly three weeks behind us, but there are still some solid players out there who can contribute to many NHL teams. Here's a list of ten players still available that can do that:

1.) Alex Tanguay, formerly of the Montreal Canadiens

Tanguay has seen his point production slip the past three seasons, and dealt with injuries in 2008/09. However, he is usually a lock for 20-plus goals and is a good playmaker who can play at either left wing or center. For a team that is looking for a complement to their star goal scorer, look no further than Tanguay, who will likely come at a reasonable cost for what his potential could bring.

2.) Sergei Zubov, formerly of the Dallas Stars

Zubov is 38, and only played in 10 games last season due to injury, but he is a smart veteran who can fill out a third pairing role with ease. However, his strengths still lie on the power play, where he can still lead from the point and fill that role effectively.

3.) Brent Johnson, formerly of the Washington Capitals

For a team looking for a backup goalie with starting experience, look no further than Johnny. He outplayed Jose Theodore last season to take over the starting job, then lost it when he suffered a hip injury. Johnson can play either as a backup, or like he did with the Capitals in a 1A/1B system. He'll be a bargain for any team looking to upgrade their backup, or push their current starter.

4.) Blair Betts, formerly of the New York Rangers

Betts went down hard in the playoffs from a hit by Donald Brashear, but he's one of the premier penalty-killers in the NHL. The penalty kill is the downfall of many skilled teams, so adding someone with the specialty skill that Betts brings to the table should not be overlooked.

5.) Petr Sykora, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Sykora turned in his 10th straight 20 goal campaign, so any coach knows he is going to get a consistent output from Sykora. However, he's more of a one trick pony at this point in his career, and a concern is that he was nonexistent in the playoffs. Still, a top six forward who can pot 20 goals is worth plenty to a team.

6.) Martin Skoula, formerly of the Minnesota Wild

Skoula brings with him a Stanley Cup ring from his time with the Colorado Avalanche. He's going to be very limited offensively, but Skoula is solid in his own end, and he's going to eat up plenty of minutes. Skoula is perfect for a team looking for a veteran to team with a younger defenseman, or as a stopgap until a younger guy is ready to make the jump.

7.) Mathieu Schneider, formerly of the Montreal Canadiens

Schneider brings basically the same benefits to a team that Zubov does. He's still a solid offensive defenseman, but his main value is going to be quarterbacking a power play.

8.) Martin Biron, formerly of the Philadelphia Flyers

Biron started for the Flyers last year, but without any starting positions available, Biron will have to settle for a backup job. He is extremely streaky, but when he's on a hot streak, it's hard to top him. Biron is, however, one player who is likely to end up in the KHL that is on this list.

9.) Mike Comrie, formerly of the Ottawa Senators

Comrie had by far the worst year of his career, and injuries didn't help him at all. He's had five 20 goal seasons for his career, and will be a bargain for a team looking for scoring depth as the season approaches.

10.) Maxim Afinogenov, formerly of the Buffalo Sabres

Injuries and being in the coaches doghouse never help a player, and Afinogenov has put up with both over the past couple years. He's also had high expectations that have not been fulfilled since coming into the league with the Sabres, so a fresh start somewhere will definitely help Afinogenov, as well as the team that picks him up.

Be sure to check out The War Room throughout the next week, as I'll be coming out with more free-agency related articles.

1 comment:

Darryl said...

Biron to Islanders