Two weeks into what has been a busy free-agency period for the NHL, the big-ticket items are basically gone, although lots of shopping remains to be done.
Salary cap room is the biggest issue for teams still looking to fill holes, but for those with the space, there are some attractive names remaining. Here's a look at some of them:
|Peter Forsberg is undecided whether he wants to play. That's why he's still on the market. (Getty Images)|
Alexei Yashin, C: He'll get about $17 million in buyout money from the Islanders over the next eight years, but at 33 he's young enough to produce for another team for at least part of that time. The question, with Yashin of course, is at what price. He still has a good skill set, but questions about his attitude persist and by the time the playoffs rolled around, the Islanders relegated one of the league's highest-paid players to nominal fourth-line duty. Yashin has had some offers that his agent claims are not worth considering, so he could end up back in Russia.
Danny Markov, D: Sheldon Souray became the last of the high-profile defensemen available this summer when he joined Edmonton on Thursday, but Markov is a good bet for teams looking for a solid second-unit guy. Markov can move the puck and is a physical force in his own end, although he tends to get injured often as a result. He'll be 31 when the season starts and Markov made $2.5 million last season with Detroit.
Michael Peca, C: A fractured tibia cost him the final 46 games of last season, so his experience with the Maple Leafs wasn't memorable. But when healthy, the veteran is still one of the better two-way centers in the league and enough of a leader to have been a captain during his career. Toronto has some interest in bringing him back, but may not be able to fit the $2.5 million it paid him last season with its cap.
Andy Sutton, D: He's flown under the radar by playing in Atlanta for the last five seasons, but Sutton is an effective, top-four defenseman who adds a lot of size to the back end. Sutton is a good shutdown type who has been around the NHL for eight seasons, and he shoots the puck well from the point. He made $1.9 million last season.
Eric Lindros, C: These days it's hard to imagine Lindros was once one of the most hyped players to enter the NHL, because a series of concussions and injuries have hampered his career so much over his 13 seasons. Obviously he's not the force he was when he broke in, but Lindros can still be an imposing and productive presence -– when he stays healthy. He's a risk, but if he takes less than the $2.5 million he got from Dallas last season, he might be worth it.
Martin Gelinas, LW: The cliché giving it "110 percent" was invented for guys like him. Gelinas is 37 and has been around for 18 years, but he spent the last two seasons in a demoralizing environment with the Florida Panthers playing each night like he was in the Stanley Cup Finals. He's a third-line guy, basically, but Gelinas can handle a variety of roles well and won't cost more than a $1 million a season.
David Tanabe, D: He was a first-round draft pick in 1999, but Tanabe has never lived up to his potential in seven NHL seasons with three teams. He finished last season with Carolina, the team that originally drafted him, but even though he made only $900,000, the Hurricanes let him test the market. He can really skate and move the puck and he's about to turn 27, so he could be worth taking a chance on for a nominal price.
Ossi Vaananen, D: He's a big, durable, stay-at-home type of defenseman who loves to play a physical game. Vaananen won't put up much by way of points, but he won't hurt anyone in his own end and he's only 26. Vaananen's salary was slightly under $1 million last season with Colorado.
Brent Sopel, D: The Canucks have stockpiled defensemen, which makes Sopel, who finished the season in Vancouver -- where he began his career in 1998 -- expendable. Sopel is prone to mistakes in his own end, but has a great shot from the point and can play a physical type of game. He should be a top-four defenseman on most teams, and he made $2.4 million last season.
Tony Amonte, RW: He'll be 37 in a couple of weeks and isn't anywhere near the offensive force he once was, but Amonte can still skate and shoot the puck. He adapted his game to fit the role he was given in Calgary, where he made $1.85 million last year, and can still contribute to teams who need some added veteran presence.