The unrestricted free agent frenzy dried up extremely quickly this season, and we haven’t seen single contract signed in the first week of August. The last UFA to ink a deal was Matt Read, who signed a two-way contract with the Minnesota Wild to try and compete for some fourth line minutes and continue his NHL career. Though the cap situation for many teams is quite tight and roster spots are more and more valuable every year, it is somewhat shocking to see how much NHL experience is still out there. The talent of the remaining players can be questioned, but the league has always seemed willing to give veteran players a chance on one-year deals in the past.
Last August, we saw older players like Matt Cullen, Francois Beauchemin, Drew Stafford and Matt Hendricks given another chance to extend their careers while several minor league players were brought back on two-way contracts. That is still bound to happen over the next few weeks, but the more surprising part is how many veteran names may be left searching for a professional tryout or heading to Europe to find work. There are dozens of skaters who played in at least one NHL game last season still available on the UFA market, and several goaltenders including three with plenty of previous experience.
So which would you most likely sign if you had control of your favorite franchise? Rick Nash may be the obvious choice, given his relative youth and previous star status, but he’s been kept out of our poll given that he hasn’t even decided whether he wants to play next season. Nash may come back to the game at some point, but right now he should be considered off limits. Among the other names though there are several players who’ve shown real effectiveness in the past, some even as recently as last season.
Cast your vote to decide who is the best free agent left on the market, and make sure to leave a comment down below explaining your choice. We’ve included many of the available options, but speak up if there’s someone you think is being overlooked.
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