NHL Free Agents 2013: Mikhail Grabovski and Hottest Names Still on Market

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NHL Free Agents 2013: Mikhail Grabovski and Hottest Names Still on Market
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

The 2013 NHL free agency period started with a bang in early July, but then quietly retreated into hibernation after big names found homes both new and old. 

Well, it appears the free agency period has returned with a few recent notable signings, including Trevor Lewis signing on with the Los Angeles Kings and Sam Gagner re-upping with the Edmonton Oilers. 

Surprisingly, the recent signings could lead to more happening soon with so many talented individuals left on the market. 

There are plenty of quality players still looking for new homes, all of which could help teams across the NHL one way or another. 

Here are the hottest names you should be watching. 

 

Damien Brunner

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Don't look now, but Brunner's market is finally starting to heat up after he scored 12 goals and 26 points over 44 games last season. 

Despite the offensive output, the Detroit Red Wings want nothing to do with bringing him back, as reported by Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News, which cited his "passivity and durability" as issues. 

That won't stop other teams from eventually checking in on the 27-year-old winger. 

According to the Detroit News, Brunner and the New Jersey Devils are close to a contract as the team desperately searches for offense after Ilya Kovalchuk bolted for the KHL. However, Brunner's agent had noted a day earlier that nothing was imminent: 

Regardless of the reports, Brunner is a dynamite scorer with some durability baggage. He'll find a new home soon and should be monitored. 

 

Ilya Bryzgalov 

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

After a very messy breakup with the Philadelphia Flyers in which the team bought him out, Bryzgalov has yet to see his market heat up. 

Then again, how messy could it possibly be if the team is paying him $23 million over 14 years? 

Who is the hottest name left on the market?

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Anyway, Bryzgalov still has something to offer as a goalie. His time with the Flyers was rocky, as he posted a 19-17 record with 2.79 goals allowed. That's a bad enough line for Philadelphia to want to get out of its nine-year, $51 million commitment. 

However, Bryzgalov should come at a cheaper price now that his play has dipped and could be a nice veteran addition to a team in need. 

Bryzgalov may not have to wait much longer to find a new home. According to David Staples of the Edmonton JournalBryzgalov has gone on record saying he would like to play for the Oilers. 

With over 420 games played, bet money on Bryzgalov finding a new home soon. 

 

Mikhail Grabovski 

Meet Grabovski, a routine 50-point player before he inked a five-year, $27 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs last offseason, only to be bought out by the team this year. 

The reason is simple—Toronto placed Grabovski in the wrong role and appeared lost as to how to use him to the best of his abilities. That's what happens when you take a top-line player and throw him in the purgatory that is a checking-line role. 

Now Grabovski is floating around on the free-agent market and has yet to find a new team because of a down year and the negative knee-jerk reactions that come with it. 

Grabovski has seen a lukewarm reaction on the open market thus far, but has drawn interest from a few teams, as well as the KHL. Of course, Grabovski and his agent have made it clear he wants to remain in the NHL, so offers from the KHL have been limited:

One thing's for sure—four straight years of assists in the 20s and three in the 20-goal range before a slump with a new staff screams value. Bargain bin. Quality signing. 

Whatever you want to call it, Grabovski is the hottest name on the market, and rightfully so. 

 

Follow me on Twitter for NFL news, analysis and more @Chris_Roling

 

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