NHL free agency is almost a week old and plenty of quality players are still unsigned.
This is the period when a lot of bottom-six forwards and third-pairing defenseman are signed, and while they aren’t going to draw many headlines or attention, these players often provide the necessary depth to win in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Here are the latest news and rumors surrounding NHL free agents.
The Washington Capitals have signed the Russian forward to a two-year contract worth $6 million. The 2010 first-round draft pick tallied 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) as a rookie last season. Washington has two more free agents to sign, forward Marcus Johansson and goaltender Braden Holtby. Both players are restricted free agents and have filed for arbitration.
Semin was bought out of his lengthy contract with the Carolina Hurricanes before free agency started and remains unsigned. There has been criticism of his work ethic, but he does have the skill to be a valuable top-six forward who can provide valuable scoring and speed. According to Igor Eronko of Sport-Express, it appears Semin wants to remain in the NHL for the 2015-16 campaign.
[tweet https://twitter.com/IgorEronko/status/617773927063003136 align=”center”]
The Leafs signed Matthias, a 6-3, 218-pound center to a one-year deal worth $2.3 million, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. He scored 18 goals for the Vancouver Canucks last season and could be the No. 3 center behind Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak in Toronto next season.
Kruger is one of the best fourth-line centers in the NHL and provides penalty killing and depth scoring for the Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks. Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times has the latest on Kruger’s situation, which is one of many offseason objectives on general manager Stan Bowman’s to-do list.
[tweet https://twitter.com/MarkLazerus/status/616991662842228736 align=”center”]
There’s been very little news involving Franson, who entered free agency as one of the top five D-men available and still is surprisingly unsigned. He’s capable of playing in a top-four role, providing decent scoring, taking on tough defensive assignments and playing a part on both special teams units. Franson is without question the best UFA on the market at this point.
Trevor van Riemsdyk
The Blackhawks and van Riemsdyk have come to terms on a two-year deal. He played in 18 regular season and four playoff games for Chicago in 2014-15.
[tweet https://twitter.com/ChrisKuc/status/618447072534999040 align=”center”]
Schultz left the Anaheim Ducks and signed a free-agent deal with the Edmonton Oilers before the 2012-13 season. He hasn’t lived up to expectations, specifically defensively, and will head to arbitration after his one-year, $3.675 million deal expired July 1, per the Edmonton Journal. The 25-year-old defenseman tallied 33 points last season.
The St. Louis Blues bolstered an already impressive blue line by signing veteran defenseman Andre Benoit, who could play a third-pairing role for them next season. Benoit signed a one-year, two-way deal with St. Louis after posting nine points in 59 games for the Buffalo Sabres in 2014-15.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports Images