With the salary cap coming down this year there are going to be some veteran players either left without an NHL roster spot or who will be accepting for some pretty significant pay cuts; although this might just be the time for cash strapped teams to make some pretty savvy additions to their teams. I especially like what Florida and Phoenix are doing with their Professional Try Out’s (PTO) and the players they extended to them to, these could be some valuable acquisitions that would allow these players to make some noise on their respective rosters.
With the salary cap coming back up and rumors of an expansion team making the rounds in either Seattle or Quebec City, those same veterans could look to rebound next year so short term pain for long term gain should definitely be their outlook.
So who is left? Below are some of the players still seeking employment, a little surprising in all honesty given some of the names; you could almost construct an expansion team based on the players that are still available right now.
Here is a list of to my knowledge all the PTO’s that took place at training camps this year and the players current status as of September 25th:
Tim Thomas (Florida Panthers)
Johan Hedberg (New York Rangers)(released)
Mathieu Garon (Los Angeles Kings)
Tom Gilbert (Florida Panthers)
Brett Clark (Florida Panthers)
Hal Gill (Philadelphia Flyers)
Ian White (Winnipeg Jets)(released)
Ryan Whitney (St Louis Blues)
Greg Zanon (San Antonio Rampage (AHL))
Brad Boyes (Florida Panthers)
Mason Raymond (Toronto Maple Leafs)(signed)
Damien Brunner (New Jersey Devils)(signed)
David Steckle (Minnesota Wild)
Gilbert Brule (Phoenix Coyotes)
Guillaume Latendresse (Phoenix Coyotes)
Radek Dvorak (Carolina Hurricanes)
Chuck Kobasew (Pittsburg Penguins)
Other veteran players who are not on PTO’s but were still available at the time this was written:
Brenden Morrow (signed with St Louis), Ilya Bryzgalov, Jamie Langenbrunner, Filip Kuba, Vinny Prospal, Simon Gagne, Jose Theodore, Wade Redden, Scott Gomez, Peter Mueller (signed in Europe)
With all the available players one could imagine that an expansion team could throw together a squad without even entering the expansion draft, further proof that there is still room in the NHL for another team. Here is what you could possible throw together using the current Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA’s) listed on Capgeek although it is only to give one an idea of who is actually available.
Simon Gagne – Tim Connolly – Brad Boyes
Vinny Prospal – Scott Gomez – Peter Mueller
Gilbert Brule – Manny Malhotra – Guillaume Latendresse
JF Jacques – David Steckle – Chad LaRose
Ryan Whitney – Filip Kuba
Wade Redden – Michael Sauer
Hal Gill – Tom Gilbert
Hopefully the NHL will start their consideration of an expansion team just based upon the number of players that are available, which is becoming quite apparent this summer. There are also plenty of players in Europe, prospects in the AHL and UFA’s that are unable to find NHL homes. Anyways as always food for thought.