Under most circumstances, getting to the open market is a good thing for NHL players, especially in the rare instances when they are still in their 20s. But by the time Dumont and Tanabe were freed earlier this month, few NHL teams had open roster spots or much cap room. It meant lowered-than-expected paydays for both, and it was an indication of what lies ahead for many of the players out there and still looking for deals.Here's a look at some of Wes's top free agent picks still available in the current NHL buyers market that at the right price could be great bargin pickups for your team.
Heading into the Labor Day weekend, some five dozen jobless unrestricted free agents, many of whom you've never heard of and probably never will, remain available. Some, like 36-year-old Tie Domi and 37-year-old Tom Fitzgerald have hinted they'll retire rather than move to a new city. A few Europeans might go back home to play, and most of the others will either scramble for a job offer they can live with or quietly fade away due to a lack of interest.
1. Anson Carter, RW, 32: Carter was a bargain for Vancouver last season at $1 million because he had a career year and teamed with the Sedin twins to form the Canucks' best line. It just hasn't translated into the dollars he expected. Not yet, anyway, even though Carter is a good fit for several teams.Good luck getting out of the $in bin boys.
2. Brian Leetch: D, 38: Leetch got a $4 million deal from Boston and was thrown into a mess. But injuries and age hindered him as well. He can still contribute in a reduced role and remains effective as the power play quarterback. Last season, he picked up 17 of his 32 points on the power play, including 13 assists.
3. Viktor Kozlov, C, 31: He has never lived up to expectations of a sixth overall pick, but Kozlov has found a way to utilize his size and finesse effectively in supporting rather than scoring roles since getting to New Jersey. His $1.75 million price tag last season was reasonable, but the Devils are capped out.
4. Peter Bondra, RW, 38: At $3.4 million, Bondra was an underperforming luxury for Atlanta, although he did score 21 goals playing fewer than 16 minutes a night. But he can still skate and might help some teams on the power play and maybe the second line.
5. Jason Allison, C, 31: Allison was a major disappointment in Toronto last season, his first on the ice since 2003 because of head and neck injuries. The Leafs signed him for $4.5 million, but Allison looked lost in the new NHL and contributed almost exclusively on the power play. Teams looking to improve that special team might take a look at him.
For a look at the rest of Wes's bargin FA picks go >>> here.