Although the bulk of the NHL offseason action is already complete, there are still some unresolved issues as teams begin to turn their attention to the new season. A sense of urgency should develop with just two months until things get underway.
Right now, the biggest key for general managers around the league is making sure all the pieces are in place. There are still some free agents available capable of filling holes. The trade market is another option as they finalize their rosters.
With that in mind, let's analyze some of the players whose futures still hang in the balance during the last stretch of the offseason.
Grabovski is coming off a disappointing season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He scored just 16 points in 48 games and finished with a minus-10 rating for a team that made the playoffs. By comparison, he scored 109 points in 155 games over the previous two seasons.
So his time as a free agent has come down to finding teams willing to bet he will bounce back. Aaron Ward of TSN reports three teams are still involved in the process, but doesn't provide a timetable for a potential decision.
Source close to Grabovski situation,at this point its down to 3 teams.Contrary to reports,Winnipeg Jets are not one of them. #TSN— Aaron Ward (@aaronward_nhl) July 25, 2013
While Grabovski didn't live up to his usual standards last season, he's still a center in the midst of his prime. So it's no surprise teams are still interested. If he can find a team where he can get consistent top-six minutes, his stats should return to their prior levels with a new team.
Thomas, who didn't play during the lockout-shortened season, hit the free-agent market after it ended. The former Boston Bruins netminder could be a valuable asset if he can return to form, but it remains unclear if another team is going to give him a chance.
Jimmy Murphy of ESPN Boston reports there are indeed franchises showing at least some interest in Thomas, but the road to a deal still has hurdles. Apparently, teams are waiting for other things in the market to happen first.
Per NHL source teams are interested in signing Tim Thomas for upcoming season but other dominoes must fall first before he would be signed.— Jimmy Murphy (@MurphysLaw74) July 25, 2013
At 39, it's unknown whether Thomas can reach the level that allowed him to win the Vezina Trophy twice. But if teams searching for another option in goal are unable to secure other targets, they could do a lot worse than taking a chance on the veteran.
The Detroit Red Wings added Tootoo after a career-best offensive season that seen him score 30 points to go along with his usual physical play. But his production dropped off in his first season away from the Nashville Predators. And his playing time shrink to just nine minutes per game.
What do you think will happen first?
Now, it appears a reunion may be in the works. The Red Wings and Predators are discussing a potential trade that would send Tootoo back to Nashville as Detroit attempts to clear cap space, according to Art Regner of Fox Sports Detroit.
Tootoo clearly wasn't able to carve out the same type of niche with the Red Wings that he did with the Predators. A return to Nashville could help him rediscover his comfort zone and put him on the path to showing the all-around skills he did before the move.