NHL Rumors: Latest Buzz Around Big-Name Free Agents

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2013

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 29:  Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins and Team Chara poses prior to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game at Scotiabank Place on January 29, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Now that the 2013 NHL draft is out of the way and free agency is approaching fast (starts Friday, June 5), the buzz surrounding the biggest free agents on the open market has caused the rumor mill to heat up.

All of the following free agents are generating some serious hype going into the offseason, and the rumors surrounding each are climbing into uncharted waters. This will be an unpredictable free-agency period.


Tim Thomas Considering the Philadelphia Flyers?

After taking a year off, former Boston Bruins Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Tim Thomas is looking to return to the NHL, and is reportedly considering the Philadelphia Flyers, according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly:

Sources close to former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas say he is “intrigued” by the Flyers and their young nucleus, but isn’t entirely certain whether he’s a good fit here. His agent, Bill Zito, isn’t entirely sure either, where Thomas is leaning. And the Flyers? A source there said they remain “uncertain,” as well.

After using one of the team’s amnesty clause buyouts on goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, via Dave Isaac of the USA Today, the Flyers are desperate to find a starting netminder that will be priced reasonably enough to get the franchise under the salary cap.

Thomas will not be the cheapest option, but with his postseason experience and the team’s dire need for a netminder, the fit will be perfect for both parties.


Daniel Briere Is A Hot Commodity

The Philadelphia Flyers chose to use the team’s other amnesty clause option on Daniel Briere, per Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly, but that hasn’t diminished the talent of the versatile center or the desire for teams to acquire his services.

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, many teams are in the hunt for Briere:

Briere is still one of the most dangerous forwards in the NHL when healthy, and while injuries have slowed his effectiveness over the last two seasons, the way the veteran raises his game in the postseason is something all contending franchises will be looking to invest in.

While Briere won’t be the cheapest free-agent option this offseason, his track record speaks for itself and a Stanley Cup contender will take the educated risk with the talented forward.


Boston Bruins Facing Tumultuous Offseason

As if losing in the Stanley Cup Final wasn’t going to be hard enough on the Boston Bruins, the latest report from TSN’s Bob McKenzie is that impending free agent Nathan Horton will likely hit the open market and young forward Tyler Seguin could be traded:

Boston was exposed by the Chicago Blackhawks for the lack of depth at the forward positions, and while the core of young prospects is very strong, the loss of two key role players will hurt the franchise.

While Horton could sign elsewhere—a player the Bruins can replace easily in a deep 2013 class of free agents—Seguin is a promising young virtuoso that just has to mature before reaching the elite status in the league.

Boston should be looking to add a veteran presence like Jarome Iginla (likely for the same price as Horton) to teach the up-and-coming talent about what it takes to be a great player and a great teammate in the NHL.


All financial information and contract statuses via CapGeek.com. All stats via NHL.com.