The NHL Lockout is still in full swing, and there still are a lot of veterans that are without a contract. Once the lockout ends, some of these players should be signed, because of their experience, talents and ability to fill niche roles on an NHL team.
Although these veterans have sat out during the lockout up to this point, the following players will be signed when the lockout has concluded.
Petr Sykora scored 21 goals and added 23 assists for 44 points in 82 games last season for the New Jersey Devils, and he is a great veteran to have on your team.
Sykora is still a proficient secondary scorer, he is a player who has Stanley Cup experience, and he is a player who is a good fit on the power play.
The 35-year-old is still a skilled skater with decent hands, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him get picked up upon the conclusion of the NHL's lockout.
Jason Arnott is a veteran power forward who should have been signed before the lockout. He is a player who is a great special teams contributor, a great teammate and niche bottom-six forward.
It is understandable that St.Louis let him go because of their influx of youngsters like Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz, but Arnott still belongs in the NHL.
Arnott will be signed when the lockout is over, because he still has what it takes to be a successful NHL forward, and he could be a great mentor on a young NHL team.
Pavel Kubina was a player who was a hot commodity on the trade market in early February, and despite the Philadelphia Flyers' defensive woes, he was not re-signed.
The 2004 Stanley Cup champion was a solid bottom pairing defender in Philly, and he spent some time on the secondary power-play unit.
Kubina is a defender whose shortcomings have been a result of injuries, so the lockout will allow him to be rested and fresh for a shortened NHL season.
He still is a solid puck-mover and has a howitzer of a slap shot, so he would be a solid pick-up after the lockout ends.
Andrew Brunette is a former 60-point forward who still can be an effective secondary scorer in the NHL. It is fair to say that his diminished minutes in Chicago led to to a drop in scoring.
His production dropped from 46 to 27 points, and if he was better utilized in 2012-13 with a new team, Brunette would be worth signing.
After the lockout, Brunette should receive a few phone calls because he is a player who still has what it takes to be a successful secondary scorer in the NHL.
Who Else is Out There?
Kurtis Foster was a defender who could have been added to this list because of his abilities as a power-play quarterback, but an injury suffered in Europe will cause him to miss a decent amount of time.
There are also veterans like Brian Rolston who realize that retirement is a possibility moving forward, and Jaroslav Spacek also recently announced his retirement.
There are also notable RFAs like Jamie Benn, Michael Del Zotto, PK Subban and Ryan O'Reilly who will likely iron out new deals once the lockout has ended.
The lockout has been tough on a lot of these players without contracts. They run the risk of losing their game shape by sitting out, but they also can risk injury overseas without the safety net of an NHL contract.
The lockout needs to end soon, because as 2004-05 illustrated, lockouts end careers. Fortunately for the players in this situation, they should have no problem getting signed as soon as the lockout is over.