2011 NHL Free Agency: 10 Well-Known Players That May Be Teamless in October
NHL free agency is a time of a lot of excitement for hockey fans and players alike.
We all love to talk about which star player our team is going to try and sign so that they can go on to Stanley Cup glory.
There are plenty of other stories that come with free agency that most of us never talk about.
For instance, how often do you sit back and think about which players won't be signed by anybody?
Well, here's your chance. Here are 10 players that may not have a team come October.
It has been a very long time since Theodore won the Hart Trophy as the league MVP, and his career has been anything but consistent.
Once thought to be a perennial contender for the Vezina Trophy, Theodore has become little more than a halfway decent backup.
His inconsistency in goal has become his trademark, and it is a stretch to think that this guy could be a No. 1 for anybody again.
Minnesota might want to retain him as a backup to Niklas Backstrom, but they might do just as well to let him go.
He may be appealing to somebody looking for a backup, but that would be his only saving grace.
The Chris Osgood era in Detroit is clearly over.
Jimmy Howard has clearly become the No. 1 in Detroit, supplanting the long-time Detroit goalie.
Osgood is 37 years old and has only really had any success in Detroit.
In fact, the years he was somewhere other than Detroit, he was markedly horrible.
About the only reason anybody would sign him is if Detroit felt some kind of loyalty towards him and wanted to keep him around for one more year.
Ozzie could be one of the more overrated goalie of all time, but he does have the Cups to back him up.
Peter Mueller is a very skilled player that has a lot of good years ahead of him.
That is, he has a lot of good years ahead of him if he is ever able to return from his most recent concussion.
Mueller has had a lot of concussion issues and may find himself cut from the Avalanche if he isn't able to find himself healthy enough to play at the start of next season.
If he isn't, then it's also very unlikely that anybody else would want to pick him up.
The most important thing for Mueller is for him to get healthy, even if that means that he misses another full season.
We don't want anything bad to happen to a guy who tries to come back from a concussion too early.
Marty Turco is one of the better regular season goalies that has played the game in recent history, but his playoff record is less than exceptional.
Turco was brought into Chicago this year, thinking that he would be a good solution after losing Antti Niemi, but that was not how it panned out.
After his struggles, Corey Crawford ended up winning the starting job away from him.
At this point, Turco is little more than a halfway decent backup.
My bet is nobody really wants to deal with Turco, as he is well past his prime and isn't worth the contract that he would probably want.
This is more of an age thing than anything else for Recchi.
In a league that is getting much younger and much faster, Mark Recchi is part of a dying breed.
He still has some good skills and can tally 40-plus points for his team, but one has to wonder how much longer he can do that now that he has reached 42 years of age.
Recchi might be able to do some good for another team, but how many of the teams in today's NHL are going to sign a 42-year-old free agent?
Doug Weight is an NHL journeyman that has been a part of several teams.
Currently he is the captain of the lowly New York Islanders.
The Islanders are set up with a bunch of young players as they attempt to grow their franchise back into relevance, and the 39-year-old Weight has definitely seen better days.
Weight has only played in 54 games in the last two seasons combined and has only three goals and 23 assists in that time.
His age is showing and the game may have passed him by.
About the only chance he has of being signed again, as he is an unrestricted free agent this year, is if the Islanders decide they want him around for another year, which is possible.
Though it is equally possible that the Islanders now want to move to the future with their current roster of young stars.
After helping the Flyers to within just a couple of games of the Stanley Cup Championship, Leighton quickly lost that starting job before the 2010-2011 season even got fully under way.
He spent most of this season in the AHL, and then made a couple of less than spectacular appearances in the 2011 playoffs.
The Flyers have always had issues with goalies, but they can't keep putting their time and money in a place that they know isn't going to work out.
There are a lot of great options in free agency this year, and Leighton may end up being bought out or cut entirely.
The fact that he has been to a final might be the only thing that keeps people interested, but his inconsistency should keep people away from him as well.
Kovalev is getting up there in age.
At 37 years old, Kovalev no longer really has the same skills that made him one of the most dangerous snipers in the league.
He is still capable of putting up about 15-20 goals a season, but that is definitely not worth the type of contract that he currently has.
Kovalev made $5 million this year, and might possibly feel as if he is still worth that.
If that is the case, don't count on any NHL teams biting, though he may be able to get a KHL team to take him back.
J.S. Giguere is a Stanley Cup–winning goalie with a Conn Smythe to his credit.
So how could a guy with this type of a resume be without a job?
He has definitely fallen out of favor in Toronto, and most likely won't be re-signed by the Leafs as James Reimer has taken the reigns.
Giguere's last contract had him as a $6 million cap hit, and it is highly unlikely that a team would sign him on with that type of a salary again.
As a result, Giguere will have to accept a pay cut, potentially a very big one, if he wants to play in the league this next season and might have to accept another backup assignment.
Depending on how humble he is willing to be, it's possible we may have seen the last of Giggy.
Matt Cooke may be the most hated player in the NHL today.
He's been suspended several times for head shots and other very, we'll call them "questionable," plays.
People have been calling for Mario Lemieux to cut Matt Cooke ever since the last suspension which kept him out for the last few weeks of the regular season and the whole first round of the playoffs.
Cooke has said that he realizes that he needs to change the way he plays the game, and that the message has finally hit home.
Only took what, 12 years for this to hit home?
With the new focus on player safety and eliminating hits to the head, and the stiff punishments being levied against repeat offenders, teams aren't going to want to have a liability like him on the payroll.
Cooke stands a good chance of being dumped by the Penguins, and I would be shocked if anybody picked up this cheap shot artist.