Top remaining NHL UFA's
|Teemu Selanne, Vinny Prospal and Bryan McCabe are three of the top remaining UFAs in the NHL. (REUTERS/Getty Images/AFP)
TORONTO - This late in the summer all of the NHL's top free agents have already been signed, but that doesn't mean there aren't some decent options out there. Below is a rundown of a few players who could make for a worthwhile grab if the price is right. Potential suitors are not going to get an impact player at this point, unless Teemu Selanne decides to give it another kick at the can, so filling organizational needs or adding finishing touches is the name of the game.
TEEMU SELANNE, RW 2010-11 Statistics: 31 G, 80 P
Looking at the outstanding numbers Selanne put up last season one would think the 41-year-old has enough gas in the tank to put up one or even two more productive seasons. While off-season knee surgery may have had him questioning whether or not his body was still capable of playing, Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray did say the winger felt fine and had been doing light skating. That could be a hint that the Finnish Flash might be closer to coming back, but it's only speculation at this point. If he were to bow out now he would go out on top and that would be nice to see considering so many older players continue to play as their skills noticeably diminish. Selanne made $3.25 million last season and would most likely be seeking a one-year deal at a comparable price tag.
VINNY PROSPAL, C 2010-11 Statistics: 9 G, 23 P
The veteran center was limited to just 29 games with the New York Rangers last season because of a knee injury, but did put up decent per-game point totals when he was healthy. Potential buyers shouldn't be scared away. Last year aside, Prospal has been the definition of durability, playing an average of 80 games-per-season since 2001-02. At 36-years-old he doesn't have much time left but in the right situation, squeezing another year or two out of the 14-year veteran could be possible. The Czechoslovakian native made $1.08 million last year and could probably be had at a relative bargain.
BRYAN MCCABE, D, 2010-11 Statistics: 7 G, 28 P
A solid power play guy with an above-average point shot, McCabe could offer some value to a team looking for veteran defender to fire pucks at opposing goaltenders -- there is some risk however. Never great with defensive zone coverage, the 36-year-od still suffers from miscues in his own end and is a gamble for that reason. He would fit well on a younger team looking for some veteran leadership and toughness or on a contending team as a point man on a well-run power play. He'll need to be realistic at the bargaining table though as he'll be hard pressed to find a contract anywhere near the $4.15 million he made last season.
NIKOLAY ZHERDEV, RW, 2010-11 Statistics: 16 G, 22 P
If Zherdev is intent on staying in North America someone is bound to give him a shot, but whether or not the 26-year-old stays in the NHL or takes off to the KHL again next season is the question. Although he has a reputation as a frustratingly inconsistent and somewhat soft player, he has undeniable offensive skill and can put the puck in the net. He's young enough that in the right situation he could put up similar numbers to the 119 points he amassed over two NHL seasons from 2007-09. His numbers dropped considerably last year with the Philadelphia Flyers and that will affect his ability to get the contract he is looking for. Chances are he could make more money in Europe and that's most likely what he'll do.
RAY EMERY, G, 2010-11 Statistics: 7-2, .926 SV%, 2.28 GAA
After coming back from the same injury that ended the legendary Bo Jackson's football and baseball careers, Ray Emery showed the hockey world that he wasn't finished. He put up a solid 7-2 record with the Anaheim Ducks last year and was nominated for the Bill Masterton award for his perseverance in returning from a potentially debilitating hip condition. There are teams in the league with worse backups that could probably get Emery at a minimum contract and that price would be a steal. If there was a high-risk, high- reward player left in this FA crop, Emery is the guy.