2014 NHL Free Agents: Who Are the Best Values Remaining on the Market?

Jonathan WillisNHL National ColumnistJuly 4, 2014

2014 NHL Free Agents: Who Are the Best Values Remaining on the Market?

0 of 12

    USA TODAY Sports

    The NHL free-agent market has been picked over pretty cleanly in the summer's opening days, but there are still a few players remaining who might be of interest to NHL teams. Legendary New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur is the biggest name, but other less heralded players might actually fit better with the right team.

    We have assembled two teams of free agents, with a full slate of candidates at each position, out of the remaining unsigned NHL players. In each case, we explain why they are ranked where they are and what role they could play for their new team.

    Read on for our candidates.

Second Team: G Tomas Vokoun

1 of 12

    USA TODAY Sports

    Basic stats: did not play in 2013-14; 20 games played, 13-4-0 record and 0.919 save percentage in 2012-13

    Why he's here: If healthy, Tomas Vokoun is the best goaltender left on the market. Unlike some of the other older, well-known candidates (Martin Brodeur and Nikolai Khabibulin), Vokoun has a recent track record of providing his teams with above-average play. He is, however, a significant risk after missing all of last season with blood clots.  

    Where he fits: as a veteran backup option on a team trying to win right now

Second Team: LD Michael Del Zotto

2 of 12

    John Russell/Getty Images

    Basic stats: 67 games played, three goals, 16 points 

    Why he's here: The combination of upside and offensive ability Michael Del Zotto brings just puts him ahead of older warhorses such as Sami Salo and Henrik Tallinder, who didn't make this list. Just 24 years old, Del Zotto has shown glimpses as a power-play weapon and puck-mover at even strength, though his underlying numbers still leave much to be desired. 

    Where he fits: a team in need of a power-play defender and third-pairing guy

Second Team: RD Jamie McBain

3 of 12

    Jen Fuller/Getty Images

    Basic stats: 69 games played, six goals, 17 points 

    Why he's here: As with Del Zotto, Jamie McBain's age and offence put him just ahead of a more established player who didn't make this list (Derek Morris). In a lot of ways he's a right-shooting version of Del Zotto: 26 years old, a useful member of the power play and only middling at even strength.   

    Where he fits: a team in need of a power-play defender and third-pairing guy

Second Team: LW David Booth

4 of 12

    USA TODAY Sports

    Basic stats: 66 games, nine goals, 19 points 

    Why he's here: David Booth was a big failure in Vancouver, but he's going to be an interesting reclamation project for someone. With decent size (6'1", 212 lbs), a decent two-way game and a history of scoring not all that long ago (16 goals in 2011-12; 23 in 2010-11; 31 in 2008-09), there's enough there that he should interest some team. 

    Where he fits: as a bottom-six forward who might surprise and be more than that

Second Team: C Mike Ribeiro

5 of 12

    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Basic stats: 80 games, 16 goals, 47 points 

    Why he's here: Aside from Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Ribeiro is certainly the most talented forward left on the free-agent market. So why isn't he ranked higher? 

    Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney was blunt when he explained why his team had bought out Ribeiro.

    Don Maloney told Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic:

    Mike had some real behavior issues last year with us I felt we could not tolerate going forward. To his credit, he has been getting help this offseason and obviously would hope he continues. But at the end of the year and all the background checking and what happened, we felt that for us to move forward, we couldn't have him a part of this team.

    Where he fits: as a top-six centre on a desperate team

Second Team: RW Devin Setoguchi

6 of 12

    Mark Buckner/Getty Images

    Basic stats: 75 games, 11 goals, 27 points 

    Why he's here: Devin Setoguchi had a terrible year in Winnipeg, but he's capable of much more. He had 13 goals in the 2012-13 lockout year, which is a full-season pace of 22, and he scored between 19 and 31 times in the four seasons preceding that. 

    Where he fits: second-line winger

First Team: G Ilya Bryzgalov

7 of 12

    USA TODAY Sports

    Basic stats: 32 games played, 12-9-8 record and 0.909 save percentage 

    Why he's here: The goalie market has been pretty picked over, and Ilya Bryzgalov, oddly enough, is the safest choice left. He has a recent record of healthy, decent (if unspectacular) play, and he isn't so old that a massive collapse is probable next season. 

    Where he fits: a team looking for a 1B goalie who can challenge his starter

First Team: LD Andre Benoit

8 of 12

    Andy Devlin/Getty Images

    Basic stats: 79 games, seven goals, 28 points 

    Why he's here: The longtime minor league defenceman, Andre Benoit, broke into the majors with Ottawa in 2012-13 and carved out a role for himself as a second-pair defenceman with Colorado last season. He isn't big, but he has decent offensive tools and did pretty good work in the role. 

    Where he fits: No. 5 defenceman on a team that needs a power-play weapon

First Team: RD Brett Bellemore

9 of 12

    Don Smith/Getty Images

    Basic stats: 64 games, two goals, eight points 

    Why he's here: Brett Bellemore's name really should be getting mentioned more often than it has been. The 6'4", 225-pound right-shooting rearguard is only 26 years old and last year did nice work in a shutdown role on the Carolina Hurricanes' blue line. He's also a major physical presence. 

    Where he fits: He could be a second-pair defender on a weak team or a No. 5 shutdown type on a stronger club.

First Team: LW Dustin Penner

10 of 12

    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Basic stats: 57 games, 14 goals, 35 points 

    Why he's here: The 6'4", 242-pound Dustin Penner combines two things NHL teams love: size and scoring. He's not overly physical, and there have been complaints about his work ethic in the past, but he has a long track record of outscoring the opposition in virtually any role. 

    Where he fits: second-line left or right wing, especially for a team looking for size

First Team: C Derek Roy

11 of 12

    USA TODAY Sports

    Basic stats: 75 games, nine goals, 37 points 

    Why he's here: Undersized pivot Derek Roy has played in over 700 NHL games (including playoffs) because of his exceptional scoring ability. Unfortunately, his offence has dipped in recent years; where he once flirted with the point-per-game mark over the last two seasons, he's been closer to half of that.

    He's still the most proven option down the middle remaining on the market, and on a per-shift basis at even strength last year, he delivered decent numbers. 

    Where he fits: He'll probably get one more chance centering a secondary-scoring line, and he probably deserves it.

First Team: RW Daniel Alfredsson

12 of 12

    USA TODAY Sports

    Basic stats: 68 games, 18 goals, 49 points 

    Why he's here: Daniel Alfredsson is probably the last real difference-makeroffensivelyleft on the free-agent market, but the trouble is that he's basically made up his mind about where he's going to play already. 

    "He told us he really wants to play for us in Detroit, or else he's not going to play," Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland told Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press.

    Where he fits: scoring winger in Detroit

     

    Statistics courtesy of ExtraSkater.comNHL.com and HockeyDB.com.