As the NHL offseason slowly draws to a close, several quality players are still jobless.
While most teams already have their 13 forwards and 7 defensemen set in stone, but that is not the case for all. For general managers that chose not to splurge on July 1st, there still may be some bargain-bin type players that could bolster their depth.
There’s a common thread for most of these players, as happens every year: they’ve been quality players at one point in their career, but have mostly been cast aside for younger, fast, more attractive options.
However, there’s often late signings with players brought in for depth, leadership, experience, or any other number of reasons.
Here is a quick breakdown of a handful of players that may be in line for another NHL contract:
Last contract: 5 years, $3.5 million AAV, (Arizona 2015-16, Colorado 2013-16, Calgary 2011-13)
Tanguay is coming off a very eventful season that saw him go from Colorado to Arizona as part of the Mikkel Boedker trade.
He is coming off of a 35-point campaign in which he scored just eight goals in 70 games. Even though his numbers weren’t at his peak, especially in the goal-scoring department, he has always been a player known for his playmaking and passing.
Whichever team ends up signing Tanguay will be getting a reliable veteran who is more than capable of holding a top-9 spot. A few teams who could use Tanguay’s services include Anaheim, Chicago, Nashville, and the New York Rangers.
Last contract: 2 years, $2 million AAV (Nashville 2015-16, bought out).
Barret Jackman is a great example of the modern market of defencemen.
The 35 year-old Jackman is coming off of a modest season with the Nashville Predators in which he was eventually bought out… but in many other markets, (i.e a team without as many good defencemen), there’s a good chance he wouldn’t have been unemployed right now.
He posted just five points in 73 games, while averaging a career-low 13:51 TOI.
Jackman has never been known as a flashy player by any means, but is still a solid bottom-pairing defenseman and veteran leader who will not cost much. He may be forced to take a PTO in this market, but some cap-strapped teams may find a way to maneuver him on to their payroll around an AAV of $1M.
Last contract: 1 year, $750,000 (Montreal)
The 32 year-old Fleischmann has bounced around quite a bit over his 10-year career, appearing in games for Washington, Colorado, Florida, Anaheim, Montreal, and Chicago.
He has always been a player who can play on any line, offering much-coveted flexibility to any coach. One of the biggest knocks against Fleischmann is he has been known to be a poor defender, so it would be optimal to place him with defensively responsible linemates.
Teams needing a bottom-six winger who can also take draws should be looking to Fleischmann. He signed a $750,000 deal with Montreal last season, so one would think he could be had for a similar amount for this upcoming campaign.
Last contract: 1 year, $700,000 (Toronto)
Boyes signed a $700,000 deal with the Maple Leafs last summer. His season was shortened to just 60 games by a nagging shoulder injury, but he still managed to produce 8 goals and 24 points. The days of Boyes being a 60-70 point player are behind him, but he has still been consistent. The former 40-goal scorer and Calder winner saw a career low average TOI in 2015-16 at a measly 11:58. Any team that signs him will be getting a reliable top-9 option who is no stranger to producing in the top-6. Considering his $700,000 deal last offseason, the 34 year-old should have no problem getting something close to that.
Last contract: 1 year, $600,000 (Vancouver)
Kenins is a very interesting player. He is still very young at just 25, and plays a high-intensity game. In 2014-15, he potted 12 points in 30 games for Vancouver. It makes sense to still believe he is growing as a player and could blossom into a productive bottom-sixer.
In 41 games with Vancouver’s AHL affiliate he posted five goals and 23 points. The stats obviously don’t jump out at you, but every team could use a high-energy, defensively reliable player who leaves it all out on the ice during every shift. Kenins will come cheap and is likely willing to ink a 2-way deal.
With the modern market in the shape that it is, it’s quite possible any or all of these players won’t be suiting up in the NHL come October. But if GMs are looking at picking up some guys with NHL experience, expect these five to be at the top of the list to come off the board first.