Much has been written about the best free agents available and Ian McLaren reports that of the top three teams should look at, one isn’t available until August 15th. Add McLaren to the Jimmy Vesey fan club as he lists him behind Jiri Hudler and Brandon Pirri as the three best potential additions to teams still kicking the tires. Hudler, McLaren writes, will come at a significant discount from the $4MM he made last season. He also notes that despite a fall off, Hudler still brings value to any team willing to invest in him. McLaren believes that Pirri is one of the more under appreciated players available. Pirri scored goals on limited ice time, and if given a bigger role, could show flashes of brilliance while also coming dirt cheap.
McLaren saves Vesey for last, listing the Maple Leafs, Bruins and Blackhawks as three of the top suitors for the 23-year-old Hobey Baker winner. The buzz continues to rise as August 15th approaches–the date that Vesey can meet with teams and make his final decision. McLaren writes that should Vesey’s college production continue into the pros, one NHL team will be rewarded handsomely.
In other NHL news:
- Cam Ward’s best season may have been when he was 21-years-old writes NBC’s Adam Gretz. Ward, Gretz argues, played to a peak and rode a two month hot streak back in 2006 that backstopped the Hurricanes to their first–and only–Stanley Cup championship. Since then, Ward has held the Hurricanes back on more than one occasion, and last season, along with Eddie Lack, Ward was a prime reason the Hurricanes underachieved. Gretz writes that despite being a top 1o possession team, the ’Canes sputtered due to poor goaltending. He further points out that Ward’s numbers have been in the bottom third of the league for the past few seasons. It’s Ward’s year, he continues, to prove the Hurricanes right for their loyalty. Should Ward have even an average year, Carolina could be looking at a playoff appearance. But another substandard season could spell doom for both the Hurricanes playoff hopes and Ward’s playing time.