NHL Free Agency 2014: Latest Rumors on Mike Ribeiro and More Available Assets

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 04:  Mike Ribeiro #63 of the Phoenix Coyotes during the NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Jobing.com Arena on March 4, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Canucks 1-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NHL free-agent frenzy that occurred immediately after the signing period opened on Tuesday took most of the big names off the market. There are still plenty of role players available who are capable of helping teams looking to fill specific voids, though.

One positive about waiting until the dust settles following that initial surge is the price tags. Teams are usually forced to overpay in order to acquire the top available free agents due to the high level of interest. Now, general managers can search for good value on short-term deals.

So while there aren't any signings that are going to shift the league's balance of power, there are still some players who can make an impact. Let's check out some of the latest rumors concerning a potential second wave of additions.


Mike Ribeiro

Ribeiro signed with the newly renamed Arizona Coyotes last summer to provide the team with some scoring depth. He did that by chipping in 47 points. But Sarah McLellan of The Arizona Republic passed along comments from general manager Don Maloney, who said the team let him go for off-ice issues:

The exact nature of those problems is unknown. The question for other teams is whether his talent is worth taking a chance on. Based on a report from Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona the answer is seemingly a resounding yes:

At his peak, Ribeiro, 34, is capable of being a point-per-game player at a center position that doesn't feature a ton of depth. That's why it doesn't come as much of a surprise that interest is high. He may need to take a short deal in order to prove himself again, however.


Michael Del Zotto

Just a couple years ago Del Zotto looked like one of the league's most promising young blueliners en route to 41 points in 77 games with the New York Rangers. Since then his play has dropped off markedly. He scored just 16 points this past season, which was split between the Rangers and Nashville Predators.

He's still just 24, which leaves plenty of time for him to bounce back. A lot depends on being able to find the right fit. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reports there are options on the table, but the decision-making process is still ongoing:

The best fit for Del Zotto would be a team that's going to give him the freedom to play the puck-moving defenseman roll. He can also be an asset on the power play. He can be exposed defensively at times, so he needs the opportunity to make up for it with his offense.


Nikolai Khabibulin

Khabibulin is now 41 and no longer the player he was during his prime. That said, he did have a couple solid seasons in a limited role with the Edmonton Oilers before a disappointing 2013-14 campaign with the Chicago Blackhawks that was cut short due to injury.

Now the veteran netminder is back on the market and could be an option for a team looking for an experienced backup. Josh Rimer of Sportsnet reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have some interest, though a deal isn't imminent:

The combination of Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer in goal was far from Toronto's biggest problem last season. In turn, the Leafs will probably focus on other moves to upgrade elsewhere on the roster before signing a backup like Khabibulin becomes a top priority.