NHL Free Agents 2013: Predicting Where Big Names May Land

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NHL Free Agents 2013: Predicting Where Big Names May Land
Marianne Helm/Getty Images
Ilya Bryzgalov is just one of a few big-name players still left looking for an NHL team.

The 2013 NHL free agent frenzy has died down over the past couple weeks, but that doesn't mean there aren't guys still available that could greatly impact any teams roster.

Mikhail Grabovski, Ilya Bryzgalov and Douglas Murray are all still looking for teams to play for next season and any team would be lucky to have their services.

While many high profile players have been long swept from the marketplace, these three guys could make an immediate impact for whoever they sign with.

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There are plenty of teams that could use Grabovski's services, but for some reason he is still on the market.

 

Mikhail Grabovski

It's hard to say exactly why Grabovski is still a free agent. Part of the reason is probably because of the sour breakup between him and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto decided to buy out Grabovski's contract at the start of the offseason.

This didn't sit too well with the 29-year-old winger, as he voiced his frustrations regarding the coaching staff and management to TSN:

He makes me [expletive] play on the fourth line and he put me in the playoffs on the fourth line and third line again. Yeah, I don’t score goals. I need to work more about that, I know that, but if you feel support from your coach [you'll score]. I don’t feel any support from this [expletive] idiot.

While this may have put a sour taste in the mouth of some general managers who would have been interested in the centers services, Grabovski still has great upside.

He is just a year removed from back-to-back 20 goal seasons.

There are plenty of teams with cap space that could use another offensive weapon on their roster.

Washington and Calgary come to mind.

According to CapGeek.com, Washington and Calgary have plenty of cap space to take a chance on Grabovski. Both teams could also use scoring assistance.

The Washington Capitals lost a big chunk of their offensive production from last year when center Mike Ribeiro signed with the Phoenix Coyotes. Grabovski could step in and play significant minutes for Washington if he performs like he did earlier in his career.

Calgary could also use a jolt to their offense.

Calgary finished last season near the bottom of the Northwest Division with a record of 19-25-4.

They did rank in the 11th in goals per game and ninth in power play percentage, but they could use someone like Grabovski to take the reins offensively.

With the departure of Jarome Iginla, if Grabovski can return to his old form, the free-agent center could lead the Calgary attack.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
In just a few seasons, Bryzgalov has gone from one of the league's best goaltenders to looking for a team to play for.

 

Ilya Bryzgalov

Just two years ago, Bryzgalov was a Vezina Trophy finalist and the biggest name on the free-agent market.

The Flyers bought the hype and signed Bryzgalov to a nine-year deal worth $51 million.

Two years later, the Flyers, who found themselves in cap trouble, bought out the rest of Bryzgalov's contract. 

As this free agent period drags on, the price Bryzgalov can demand continues to dwindle.

To make matters worse for Bryzgalov, Brian Stubits of CBS has reported the goaltender has been left off the list of 35 players invited to Russia's Olympic camp.

This will make the few teams potentially interested think twice or maybe a third time about signing Bryzgalov.

At this point in the free-agent period though, Bryzgalov doesn't have much leverage. If he wants to play in the NHL he will have to take what he can get.

One team that has nothing to lose and could benefit from signing Bryzgalov is the Florida Panthers.

Florida ranked 30th in goals against and penalty-kill percentage last year.

They also don't really have a clear No. 1 goaltender.

Brian Stubits says Florida would be the best fit for both parties:

From a playing standpoint, the Panthers would make sense. Bryzgalov would come in and might be their best goalie right away—which does say something about their situation in net. But, at the same time, the Panthers are a team that lives on a very fixed income.

According to a tweet sent from George Richards of the Miami Herald, it appears that Panthers assistant GM Mike Santos may be interested in this as well.

With his leverage dwindling and Florida in need of a quality, starting goaltender, it appears Bryzgalov might become a Panther before next season.

Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
Murray is a defensive asset team's shouldn't sleep on.

 

Douglas Murray

Murray is a blue-collar hockey player.

He doesn't find himself on many stat sheets, but he is a player coaches like to have on their bench because he is a solid, stay-at-home defenseman.

Murray only has 62 points over his eight-year NHL career and at times last season his age started to show. In the NHL playoffs, he got burned by opposing forwards from time to time because of his slow foot speed.

With that being said, many teams could use the grit and veteran leadership he brings to the blue line. 

Money shouldn't be an issue when it comes to signing Murray, as he made $2.5 million last year according to CapGeek.com.

Any team that takes a chance on the veteran defenseman would probably pay less than that and get a solid defenseman in return.

The Carolina Hurricanes may be a team that takes a chance on Murray.

Carolina had a disappointing 2012 campaign but is poised to make a deep run this upcoming season. The Hurricanes ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every defensive category last season, and the presence of Murray could sure things up on the back end.

 

All stats unless otherwise indicated come from ESPN.com

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