NHL Free-Agent Rumors: Breaking Down Latest on Best Remaining Players
There are still a number of good players available on the market, so it's no surprise that NHL free-agent rumors are still circulating.
While most of the big names have already signed, teams can still improve their rosters with some talented players.
Let's take a look at the latest on some of the best remaining players available.
The Philadelphia Flyers bought out goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, making the enigmatic goaltender the best available on the market.
Bryzgalov had a decent season, posting a 2.79 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage, and he could become a solid starter for a team needy for goaltending.
According to Randy Miller of USA Today , the New York Islanders and the Florida Panthers could be potential destinations. Both teams could use upgrades in net. The Islanders recently re-signed Evgeni Nabokov, but he was pretty awful in the postseason, posting a 4.44 goals-against average.
The Panthers could also use an upgrade over Jacob Markstrom, who posted an 8-14-1 record, with a 3.22 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage. If they do bring in Bryzgalov, it would probably not be for a long-term deal, since Markstrom is just 23 years old.
Bryzgalov is still a decent goaltender and would benefit from a change of scenery after his disastrous time in Philadelphia. A move could help him regain his previous form.
Mikhail Grabovski is probably the best remaining free-agent forward on the market. The former Toronto Maple Leaf was bought out before free agency started.
Grabovski had a down year, scoring just nine goals. He did not score in the playoffs and was a pitiful minus-10.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN reported that Grabovski is not expected to bolt to the KHL:
Mikhail Grabovski's agent says his client only wants to play in the NHL. Says the KHL not an option at the moment— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 5, 2013
One team that could be interested is the Detroit Red Wings, according to Ansar Khan of the MLive.com. The Red Wings could use more upgrades down the middle, and Grabovski did play with Pavel Datsyuk in Russia.
Meanwhile, Grabovski is interested in the Boston Bruins, but Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet tweets that the Bruins may not share the same interest:
One team I believe to be on Mikhail Grabovski's wishlist? Boston. Not sure if money or interest are there from #bruins though.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 5, 2013
Grabovski has tons of talent, as evidenced by his 29-goal, 58-point season in 2010-11. He is, however, enigmatic and is a liability in his own zone.
However, a team starved for offense would benefit from Grabovski's skill, and the longer he goes unsigned, the cheaper he will be.
Damien Brunner won't be returning to the Detroit Red Wings and will test the free-agent market, according to LeBrun:
Damien Brunner and Craig Adams both hitting UFA market— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 5, 2013
According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free-Press, Brunner was asking for more money than the Red Wings were willing to pay.
Damien Brunner pushing for $3-3.5 million per season, 2-3 year deal. Price tag too high for Red Wings.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 6, 2013
The 27-year-old forward had a quality rookie season last year, scoring 12 goals and adding 14 assists. In the playoffs, he scored nine points in 14 games.
It's a bit surprising that a young forward with plenty of offensive skill like Brunner has not found a home. He has proven to be an offensive dynamo, as evidenced by this sick shootout move:
One team that could be interested is the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune:
Tried to sign him last summer, so I'm sure there is interest RT @RussellN16:what's the chances Tampa signs Damien Brunner— Erik Erlendsson (@erlendssonTBO) July 5, 2013
Brunner could help replace the offense of the recently departed Benoit Pouliot, who signed with the New York Rangers.
Whichever team does end up with Brunner will be getting a top offensive talent—and probably for a relatively cheap deal.
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