A few days ago, we took a quick look at four available unrestricted free agents. To date, Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, Andrei Markov, and Jaromir Jagr are still on the market.
And there are some other captivating names available, even as teams get closer and closer to finalizing their NHL rosters for the 2017-2018 season.
Thomas Vanek is one of the better remaining offerings. The 33-year-old hit the 20-goal mark nine times in his career and scored 17 goals in 2016-2017, even as the Detroit Red Wings were a poor team. He was traded to the Florida Panthers in March of 2017 and put up 10 points in 20 games.
According to reports, there is at least some interest in Vanek and for good reason. He’s a productive player, putting up 48 points in 2016-2017 while averaging just 14:37 of ice time a game.
Vanek has said that he wants to return to Detroit and that may be a distinct possibility, with the club still talking to him. The difficulty with a return to the Motor City is money, as the club has some spending to do in order to maintain the services of RFAs Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou.
Mike Fisher is another compelling name.
The 37-year-old could even still be a team captain somewhere. He’s experienced and is perhaps the best available centre, but he’s still deciding on his future.
“I love playing the game, I love being around the guys,” Fisher said at the end of the regular season. “At the end of the day, this is a game. It’s an important part of my life, but it’s not everything. There’s other decisions and other people involved. For me it’s faith, family and then hockey.”
It’s possible that the Nashville Predators have an interest, with a one-year contract the most probable scenario. But the recent signing of Nick Bonino could temper things a fair bit, which puts the former captain in a bit of a holding pattern.
In 2015, Fisher signed a two-year deal with Nashville to the tune of $8.8 million. He’ll undoubtedly have to take a pay cut to sign with the Predators again.
Cody Franson is still available. He’s reportedly talking to the New Jersey Devils, who lost out on Kevin Shattenkirk and are in the market for a solid D-man. The 29-year-old is a right-hand shot and he’s got plenty of good hockey left in the tank.
The issue between Franson and the Devils appears to be term, with the blueliner asking for about three years and New Jersey more interested in the short-term.
Drew Stafford is still out there, too.
The 31-year-old winger is young-ish and adaptable, which makes him a fascinating option for several teams. The Boston Bruins are at the top of the list, but he may not be young enough to fit the bill.
The Minnesota Wild may also be in the running. They have to shore up contracts for RFAs like Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Marcus Foligno, but they could have some green on hand to throw Stafford’s way.