Each NHL Team's Free Agent Whose Status Is Still Up in the Air

Tom Urtz Jr.@@TomUrtzJrContributor IOctober 8, 2012

Each NHL Team's Free Agent Whose Status Is Still Up in the Air

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    The NHL is currently locked out, and there are dozens of players who currently don't have a contract. Some teams decided not to re-sign players and others decided not to sign before the lockout.

    Once the lockout is over, players will be free to sign again, so here are free agents from each team whose status is up in the air.

    Free agent players will be listed by the team they played for during the 2012-13 season.

Anaheim Ducks: Jason Blake

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    Jason Blake was one of the only members of the 2011-12 Anaheim Ducks who wasn't re-signed this summer. Blake is getting older, and at age 38, he is no longer as effective as he used to be. The Ducks decided not to re-sign the veteran forward and his status is still up in the air.

    Blake may be signed by a team after the lockout to fill a veteran role.

Boston Bruins: Brian Rolston

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    Brian Rolston was a trade-deadline acquisition for the Boston Bruins who filled a veteran role left by Mark Recchi. He wasn't offered a new contract from Boston, so he became an unrestricted free agent.

    Rolston may no longer be the 70-point player he once was, but he is a solid mentor and veteran leader who could fill in on the fourth line.

Buffalo Sabres: Jochen Hecht

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    Jochen Hecht is a player who may have missed a lot of time during the 2011-12 season, but his faceoff talents would make him attractive to a team needing a key draw man for the bottom-nine.

    The Buffalo Sabres are going in a new direction, and that direction does not include Hecht.

    Hecht has regressed significantly, but he still has limited value on the right team.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jaroslav Spacek

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    The Carolina Hurricanes reacquired Joe Corvo during the offseason, so Jaroslav Spacek was not re-signed, and he became a UFA.

    Spacek is a veteran defender who is getting up in age, so he may have a tough time finding work after the lockout.

Calgary Flames: Tom Kostopoulos

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    Tom Kostopoulos is the only member of last season's Calgary Flames that does not have a contract. Kostopoulos made just under $1 million last season, and he is a veteran grinder that has bounced between the NHL and AHL.

    Kostopoulos is a player who will likely sign a two-way contract when the lockout ends.

Chicago Blackhawks: Andrew Brunette

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    Andrew Brunette is a  38-year-old forward coming off a down year with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12.

    Brunette is a few years removed from annual 45- to 60-point campaigns when he was in a first- or second-line role. He has the skills and tools to be an effective veteran addition, and it is surprising that he is still unsigned.

    After the lockout, Brunette could join a team needing a veteran scoring forward.

Colorado Avalanche: Ryan O'Reilly

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    Ryan O'Reilly is a skilled center who is a building block for a youth-oriented Colorado Avalanche team. O'Reilly stepped up in a huge way for the Avs last season, but currently his future is up in the air.

    The team will re-sign him after the lockout, and it will likely be rewarded for his efforts. It is surprising that the Avs didn't take care of one of their most valuable players before the lockout started.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Kristian Huselius

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    Kristian Huselius is an offensive player who is still unsigned, because he is an injury liability. He last played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but injuries limited his play during the past few years.

    Huselius hasn't been cleared medically yet and is still a free agent. Once he is cleared, he likely will be picked up by another team.

Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn

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    Jamie Benn is one of the NHL's rising young centers who stands to make a lot of money during his next contract. He is a major building block for the Dallas Stars, and management needs to take care of business once the lockout ends.

    Benn has a great shot, and he is one of the Stars' top offensive players.

    His future is up in the air, and an offer sheet could potentially increase the offer Dallas ultimately pays the star center.

Detroit Red Wings: Tomas Holmstrom

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    Tomas Holmstrom is a true veteran grinder who was not re-signed by the Detroit Red Wings. Holmstrom scored 11 goals in 2011-12 with 10 of them coming on the power play.

    He has the hardware and experience, but he also only wants to play with the Red Wings.

    Holmstrom is a decent secondary scorer who will likely re-up with Detroit when the lockout ends.

Edmonton Oilers: Ales Hemsky

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    There is no one from the Edmonton Oilers team that is currently unsigned but Ales Hemsky is the only Oiler who signed overseas during the lockout.

    His status is currently up in the air because there is no guarantee Hemsky will return once the lockout ends.

Florida Panthers: Marco Sturm

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    Marco Sturm came to the Florida Panthers in a trade that sent David Booth to the Vancouver Canucks.

    Sturm is a 34-year-old veteran forward who has a lot of experience, and he could join a team after the lockout to fill a third- or fourth-line role.

Los Angeles Kings: Trent Hunter

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    Trent Hunter was not a member of the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, as he was assigned to the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL.

    Hunter is a veteran who was previously a member of the New York Islanders. The veteran forward still can find a job in the NHL, but it will be as a fourth-line player after the lockout ends.

Minnesota Wild: Kurtis Foster

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    Kurtis Foster is a player who has been on a few different NHL squads. He is a defenseman with offensive talent, but he has been known to be inconsistent at times.

    For example, Foster had one solid season where he put up 42 points, but he then regressed back to 22 points and even ended up in the AHL.

    The Minnesota Wild did not tender him a contract offer, so after the lockout he will be looking for work.

Montreal Canadiens: P.K. Subban

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    P.K. Subban is a defenseman who could be a future franchise player for the Montreal Canadiens. He is currently an RFA and a player who wants to earn a fat new contract.

    Subban has a solid offensive skill set, and he also can be physical at times, so although the two sides could not come to an agreement before the beginning of the lockout,  he will be re-signed by Montreal. 

Nashville Predators: Alex Radulov

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    Alexander Radulov returned to the NHL amid controversy, and Nashville was smart to try to trade his NHL rights before he bolted to the KHL. However, they were unsuccessful and they still hold his rights.

    Radulov returned to the NHL in order to fulfill the last year of his ELC, but when he bolted to the KHL, he remained a member of the Predators.

    If Radulov ever comes back to the NHL, he will have to deal with the Predators before attempting to sign with a new team.

New Jersey Devils: Petr Sykora

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    Petr Sykora added some significant secondary offense to the New Jersey Devils in 2011-12, and it is mind boggling that the team didn't retain his services after Zach Parise signed with Minnesota.

    He scored 21 goals and added 23 assists for 44 points in 82 games.

    Sykora is a player who has the offensive skill set to make a difference in a secondary role and could be used on a secondary power play unit. His cost will be minimal, and he could be a solid veteran addition.

New York Islanders: Milan Jurcina

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    Milan Jurcina is a 6'4", 245-pound defender with a booming shot. He was not retained by the New York Islanders because of the team's organization depth on defense.

    He is a defenseman who could stand to be more physical, but his offensive abilities and his power-play prowess makes him valuable.

    For teams that need a bottom-pairing defender with size and limited offense, Jurcina is a player who could fill the void after the lockout ends.

New York Rangers: Michael Del Zotto

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    Michael Del Zotto is one of the NHL's top RFAs, and the New York Rangers will look to sign him once the lockout ends.

    Both sides were far apart during negotiations, so the team decided to wait after the current CBA is settled to sign the defender. Del Zotto is coming off a 41-point bounce-back season in which he illustrated his ability to quarterback a power play.

    Del Zotto will likely be retained with a multiyear deal, and hopefully the deal is fair for both sides.

Ottawa Senators: Jesse Winchester

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    Jesse Winchester is a 29-year-old forward who last played for the Ottawa Senators. He is a forward with over 200 games of NHL experience, so he is still looking for a team to continue his career.

    Winchester is an average forward whose future is up in the air, and he would serve a bottom-nine role on any team in the NHL.

Philadelphia Flyers: Blair Betts

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    Blair Betts did not suit up for a game during the 2011-12 season, so the Philadelphia Flyers decided not to re-sign him this offseason.

    Betts is a skilled faceoff man and grinder, so there is a good chance he will work with a team seeking a veteran after the lockout.

    The grinding forward still has what it takes to serve in a bottom-nine role in the NHL.

Phoenix Coyotes: Daymond Langkow

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    Daymond Langkow was once a solid secondary scorer who could contribute at least 50 points a season.

    He is now a 35-year-old forward who is in the 30- to 40-point range during a good year. 

    Langkow was not re-signed by Phoenix so this solid two-way center and superb defensive forward will be looking for a job once the lockout ends.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Brent Johnson

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    Brent Johnson was no longer needed in Pittsburgh because the Penguins signed Tomas Vokoun to back up Marc-Andre Fleury for the 2012-13 season.

    Johnson is a veteran goalie but the Pens wanted someone with more reliability to make spot starts when Fleury needs a rest.

    Johnson will have to bank on a team looking to sign a veteran backup, because there are not many options at this point.

St. Louis Blues: Jason Arnott

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    Jason Arnott is a power forward who still has Stanley Cup experience. Arnott still has a lot left in the tank and can bring a veteran's presence to any team he signs with after the lockout.

    Given the fact that Arnott can still contribute 30 points or more a year, he has a good chance of being signed after the lockout ends.

San Jose Sharks: Dominic Moore

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    Dominic Moore has been around the NHL his entire career playing for multiple teams. Moore has made his living as a bottom-six forward who can win faceoffs, play physical and chip in some secondary offense from time to time.

    Moore has been in this position before, so he should have no problem finding a job after the lockout.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Dwayne Roloson

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    Dwayne Roloson had a magical run for the Lightning during the 2011 playoffs, but came back down to earth during the 2011-12 season.

    He was not retained because of his age and because Andrei Vasilevski was drafted in the first round and Steve Yzerman was traded for Anders Lindback.

    Roloson may decide to call it quits after the lockout, or he could sign with a team to be a mentor and veteran backup.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Jeff Finger

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    Jeff Finger had been buried in the AHL by the Toronto Maple Leafs the past two seasons because he failed to live up to the $3.5 million cap hit that accompanied his contract.

    The future of Finger is up in the air because he needs to prove he can still make it in the NHL. If he proves that he is still a serviceable defender, he will find work in the NHL at a much lower cap hit.

Vancouver Canucks: Byron Bitz

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    Byron Bitz is a rugged winger who used to play for the Vancouver Canucks. The scrapper will look to find work after the lockout because he is currently a free agent.

    Bitz is a grinder who can be effective in a third- or fourth-line role because teams can never have enough depth and grit, and Bitz fits the bill.

Washington Capitals: Mike Knuble

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    Mike Knuble is another gritty and physical veteran who is looking for a team to play for in 2012-13. He was reduced to a limited role in Washington under Dale Hunter, but Knuble still has a lot to prove.

    His future is currently up in the air, but he shouldn't have a problem finding work after the lockout, because Knuble has the veteran experience, the grit and the tools to be a bottom-nine specialist who can kill penalties.

Winnipeg Jets: Eric Fehr

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    Eric Fehr spent only 35 games with the Winnipeg Jets after previously skating for the Washington Capitals.

    Fehr is a forward who is a decent penalty killer, and he can chip in minimal offense from time to time.

    He is a young forward who can still contribute in a third-line role, but he will have to wait until the lockout is over to sign with a new team.