Thursday, August 03, 2006

"The Team of the Unwanted"

It's a term coined by Toronto Globe and Mail reporter James Mirtle to describe the remaining available NHL free agents. Here's a look at some of those players that are on the roster of the unwanted... unwanted at least to this point.
Jason Allison: Netted 60 points in 66 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, but his lack of speed made him an even-strength defensive liability (minus-18). He could, however, prove valuable in power-play situations.

Peter Bondra: Scored 21 goals in 60 games with the Atlanta Thrashers last season but missed considerable time to a groin injury. There's some talk the 38-year-old winger might retire but it's possible a team seeking offensive depth might offer up a one-year contract.

Anson Carter: Has had interest from several teams, including the Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and even his former team, the Vancouver Canucks. Unfortunately, his demands for a three-year, $9 million contract has cooled that interest, and unless he significantly lowers his asking price he faces the possibility of remaining unsigned when training camp opens in September.

Radek Dvorak: Hoped to remain with the Oilers but the club passed due to the improvement of several of their young players. He has terrific speed and is a nifty playmaker but lacks consistency and is also considered brittle. The St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in him.

Mike Dunham: Was once earmarked as a goaltending star, but nagging groin injuries have limited his effectiveness. No longer consider a starter, he's generated some interest from the Devils and Islanders as a backup and could land with one of those clubs in the coming weeks.

Sean Hill: Had a decent year with the Florida Panthers in 2005-06, but there's a perception that he's getting a little long in the tooth to play the faster-paced game. It's believed he's willing to sign a one-year contract for the league minimum, which could go a long way toward making him an affordable pickup for teams still shopping for defensemen.

Greg Johnson: Is perhaps one of the most underrated UFAs still on the market. He was a good two-way center and faceoff man during his years as captain of the Nashville Predators, and those skills could come in handy on almost any NHL team's checking lines. He probably could be had for around $1 million per season.

Viktor Kozlov: Has seen his stock drop noticeably from his career best 70-point season in 1999-2000 when he rode shotgun on Pavel Bure's line. Dogged by injury and inconsistency, it's unlikely he'll find any takers in the NHL and could wind up playing in Europe this season.

Manny Legace: Has received little interest around the league thus far, although he's believed in talks with the St. Louis Blues. While he's posted very good statistics in recent years, his outspokenness and his meltdown during last spring's Detroit-Edmonton playoff series are probably why he's had a tough time finding a new team.

Brian Leetch: Has yet to make up his mind if he'll return for one more season or bring his illustrious career to a close. Speculation suggested a possible return to the Rangers, but reports out of New York on Wedneday claim the Blueshirts recent re-signing of Michal Rozsival leaves no room for Leetch. The Bruins, for whom he played last season, have also improved its blueline depth this summer, which could rule out a return to Beantown.
Complete list can be found >>> here.

See anyone you'd like your team to take a chance on? Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing the Av's go for Leetch. It worked out well for them the last time they brought a Hall of Fame D-man at the end of his career in from Boston.

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