There were many massive trades and signings this past week, with the free agency beginning on July 1. However, there are still many big and experienced names still up for grabs.
5. Brad Richards [C]:
Brad Richards, 36, has two Stanley Cups in 15 seasons in the NHL, and over 1000 games under his belt.
In his 1,126 games, Richards has 298 goals with 938 points. Last season he played in 68 games and scored 10 goals with 28 points.
Richards won the Stanley Cup in 2015 with the Chicago Blackhawks and in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A one-year contract to teams like Toronto, Edmonton, and Columbus, who desperately need veterans to help mentor young players and help their team in late season surges, would be the most appropriate landing places for Richards. However, returning to Detroit, Dallas, or Tampa Bay is another possibility because his experience and skill could help these teams go to the next level: winning the cup or in Detroit’s case, help them get into the playoffs.
4. Patrik Elias [C]:
Despite his age, cup-winning center Patrik Elias, 40, has the experience and talent that most teams desperately need.
Elias, who has spent his entire 20-year career with the New Jersey Devils, has played in 1,240 games, scoring 408 goals with 1,025 points. Elias has also played in 162 NHL playoff games, scoring 45 goals with 125 points and winning two cups with the Devils in 2000 and 2003.
Patrik Elias only played 16 games for New Jersey last season, scoring two goals with eight points. Although Elias did not produce as much as he has early in his career, his skills and puck handling ability can contribute to any offense in the league.
Elias may not be the high point producer he once was but he could be god for a one-year contract to a team like Toronto, Edmonton or Columbus, who desperately need veterans to help mentor their young players and provide an offensive spark.
3. Shane Doan [RW]:
It’s hard to imagine Shane Doan not in a Coyotes jersey next season, but since he has yet to re-sign with Arizona he’s up for grabs to the other 29 teams in the NHL.
In his 20 seasons of NHL play, Doan has featured in 1,466 games and has scored 365 goals with 945 assists. He has also had 15 goals and 28 points in 55 NHL playoff games -but has never won a cup.
Last season Doan played in 72 games and had 28 goals with 47 points. He was Arizona’s scoring leader. Behind Doan, the Coyotes finished third in the Pacific Division, doing better than expected.
Shane Doan will most likely re-sign with the Coyotes because he is such a fan favorite and Arizona are desperate to keep and grow their fan base. However, if he does not re-sign, he will be a great addition to any team because of his leadership skills and his consistent scoring ability. Doan can be a third liner with the capability to score 20+ goals.
Doan will most likely sign a one-year deal but could go for more if he re-signs with Arizona.
2. Kris Versteeg [RW]:
Kris Versteeg, 30, is not the most productive forward in the league but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a place for him in the NHL, as he has been traded and signed multiple times by multiple teams.
Versteeg has bounced around the league but finished the 2015-2016 season with the Los Angles Kings, after being traded by the Carolina Hurricanes prior to the trade deadline last season.
Last season he had 15 goals and 38 points in 77 games. Versteeg won a Stanley Cup in 2015 with the Chicago Blackhawks and made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010 with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Versteeg will probably not re-sign with the Kings because of the depth and the physical bodies they currently have.
If Versteeg signs a contract with a team, it will most likely be a one-year deal worth less than he made in the last four years and he would most likely feature as a third-line winger – used as a physical presence.
1. Luke Schenn [D]:
Big, strong, physical defensemen are not always easy to find, making Luke Schenn, 26, a desirable free agent. Former Flyer and King Luke Schenn is all of those things, which makes him very marketable in this free agency.
It has taken a while for Schenn to have a strong presence in the NHL but he seemed to excel with the Kings, after being traded this past season. The 6’2” 229-pound defensemen add a physical presence to any team he’s on.
The big blue-liner is not afraid to throw his body around, block shots and occasionally drop the gloves, making him a great candidate for any team that is in need of defensemen, such as Vancouver, Edmonton or Arizona.
Schenn could easily sign a multiyear contract with Vancouver, Edmonton, Arizona or another defenseman seeking team because of his age and style of play.