As the 2013 NHL free-agency period approaches (Friday, July 5), the rumors about which big-name players would find a new home this season has the hockey community at a fever pitch.
With megastars like Daniel Briere, Nathan Horton and Evgeni Nabokov hitting the open market, the free-agent frenzy has heated up the rumor mill.
All of the following stars are likely to be on the move as free agency opens.
Nashville Predators Making Push for Daniel Briere?
The Nashville Predators got the steal of the 2013 NHL draft when top defensive prospect Seth Jones fell to No. 4 overall, but the normally conservative franchise is now looking to make a big splash via free agency.
According to Josh Cooper of The Tennessean, “The Predators have interest in center Daniel Briere, who was bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers.”
Briere was the first victim of the Flyers’ amnesty clause buyouts, per Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly, but that move will give Nashville the chance to sign the veteran forward to a reasonable deal that won’t stretch the Predators financially.
Briere has dealt with injuries over the last few seasons, but with a reasonable price tag and Nashville’s desperate need for a talented playmaker, this would be an ideal fit for both the player and the team.
Nathan Horton Drawing Major Free-Agent Interest?
The Boston Bruins will likely lose one of their top forwards when Nathan Horton hits the free-agent market Friday, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, and the veteran already has a game plan about where he wants to sign, according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly:
Not 100 per cent yet but looks like Nathan Horton will NOT be back with BOS. B's talking trade and Tyler Seguin's name has been discussed.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 29, 2013
I am told that Flyers would love to get their hands on N. Horton but the word is, he has a couple clubs in mind, and it's not them— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) July 1, 2013
While the Philadelphia Flyers are likely out of the Horton sweepstakes with the signing of Vincent Lecavalier, per the team’s official Twitter account, there are plenty of teams that will look to add the powerful scorer.
Not only is Horton one of the most offensively gifted forwards on the free-agent market, the grit he brings to a team is immeasurable. While he struggled at times with offensive consistency during his time in Boston, his defensive play was never affected.
Philadelphia Flyers Considering Evgeni Nabokov?
The Philadelphia Flyers used the second amnesty clause buyout on goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, via Dave Isaac of the USA Today, but the need in net is greater than ever.
With some serious salary cap restrictions for the Flyers, per CapGeek.com, the team is reportedly keeping all options open, including a short-term answer like the veteran Nabokov, according to Katie Strang of ESPNNewYork.com:
Given Philadelphia's desire to acquire a goaltender, [Tim] Thomas may be on the Flyers' immediate radar. Multiple reports have also indicated that the Flyers have interest in Nabokov, who is not expected to re-sign with the Islanders.
Philadelphia wouldn’t expect great things from the veteran netminder if it were to sign him via free agency, but as a short-term and inexpensive answer to a serious problem in net, this would be a smart one-year fix.
This deal would come with far less risk and financial burden than the team’s rumored interest in Tim Thomas, per Panaccio.