This off season has consisted of a lot of waiting around and disappointment from almost every team that doesn’t call Minnesota home. The Wild struck it big by signing the 2 biggest UFA’s of the summer in Zack Parise and Ryan Suter, and that left 29 other teams looking to fill holes from a thin free agent class. While Suter and Parise were the obvious big names, there are still some players left unsigned who could be valuable for teams when the season begins. In this version of the Top 5 I will look at the 5 players who I consider to be the best UFA’s left on the market.
5. Andrei Kostitsyn- The older of the 2 Kostitsyn brothers, Andrei is still in the prime of his career and could potentially fill a top 6 forward hole on teams that need an offensive punch. He has scored at least 20 goals in 4 different seasons, and could thrive if put in a situation where he can play with good offensive players. Will any teams be willing to take a flyer on a guy who got suspended in the playoffs last season? Only time will tell.
4. Kyle Wellwood- The often criticized Wellwood quietly put up a pretty decent season last year with the Winnipeg Jets. He is undersized, but many teams could be interested in a guy who put up 47 points last year. Wellwood is blessed with a sick pair of mitts and could help any teams power play with his play making abilities.
3. Matt Gilroy- The 2009 Hobey Baker winner has yet to reach his full potential in the NHL, and is looking to built off the 20 points he recorded last season. With Suter off the market, many teams could look to Gilroy as a skating, puck moving defenseman with offensive potential. His solid size, 6’1”. 201 lbs, certainly don’t hurt either.
2. Shane Doan- It’s obvious where Doan would like to play next season, but ownership problems in Phoenix could force the Coyotes captain to move, and there will be no shortage of interest. Teams such as Detroit and Pittsburgh who missed out on Parise would love to add Doan. His size, skill and veteran leadership are all valuable qualities in the NHL.
1. Alex Semin- Not only is Semin the most skilled UFA left, he is also one of the most skilled players in the NHL. He has scored at least 50 points in 5 of his last 6 seasons, but it’s his attitude and lackluster effort that have teams concerned about signing Semin to the long term deal that he is reportedly seeking. If Semin would settle for a short term deal for 1 or 2 years, he could end up being a huge steal this off season.
There is still a lot of time for teams to make some major moves before the season starts, and I would assume that all 5 of these guys will have a home before the season starts. Hope everyone enjoyed this version of the Top 5, don’t forget to drop a comment and let me know what you think, and throw me a follow on Twitter and we’ll talk some hockey. WSP!