NHL Free Agency: Five Teams That May Be After Alexei Yashin

Mark Pare@NEPats17Correspondent IIJuly 27, 2011

NHL Free Agency: Five Teams That May Be After Alexei Yashin

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    Alexei Yashin wants to follow Jaromir Jagr back into the NHL.  The 37-year old's previous NHL contract  is still being bought out by the New York Islanders.  That will expire after the 2014-15 season, but after four years in the Russian Super League/KHL, he wants one more shot.

    He may not be the 40-goal man he once was in his prime, but he can still put the puck in the net.  He scored 15 goals and tallied 18 helpers for SKA St. Petersberg in the 2010-11 season and would be a great depth player for any team.

    He may not have had postseason success in the NHL but he has had tons of it in Russia, bringing Lokomotiv Yaroslavl within a victory of the Gagarin Cup (presented to the KHL Champions).

    He has great leadership skills and may not be the star quality that most teams desire but will bring plenty to the table as he may have some skill left.

    Here are five teams that have reportedly shown interest.

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Pennsylvania seems to be a hot spot for veterans looking for a final shot at the Stanley Cup before retirement.

    We saw Jaromir Jagr go to Philadelphia, Steve Sullivan go to Pittsburgh and Alexei Yashin could soon follow Sullivan and join the Penguins.

    He is a natural center, and Pittsburgh has plenty of those.  Yashin could play the wing and be that guy to help out Sid or Malkin if they get kicked out of a draw in a key situation.

    Pittsburgh is close to the cap so it may be unrealistic, but with Yashin and Sullivan in the lineup, you can have the kind of veteran presence that the Pens had when they won the Cup in 2009 with Bill Guerin and Miroslav Satan, among others.

Montreal Canadiens

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    This isn't normal for the Canadiens.  Yashin has some size and the Habs don't, and now they want in on the talks for the veteran?

    Well, Montreal has become a hotbed for high-earning players, and firing off a big contract for Yashin would be ludicrous for them to do, but it depends on how much Yashin is looking for.

    Montreal has about $5 million left in cap space, and this could be a similar situation as Jagr and Philadelphia, where Yashin would sign a one-year deal.

    Eklund reports that this could be "after a second deal" is made by the Habs, so who is Montreal making a deal with and is it worth the hassle to bring in Yashin?

Detroit Red Wings

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    The Red Wings are losing the core of their roster every year.  This offseason, Kris Draper hung up the skates.

    Veterans are usually the makeup of every Red Wings squad, and adding Alexei Yashin to the mix would not only help the Wings, but also would bring that veteran presence that the Wings are used to having.

    It would definitely make sense if Yashin is looking for a Cup contender, as the Wings tend to be an elite team every season.

Ottawa Senators

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    It may not be a team contending for a Stanley Cup, but Alexei Yashin was drafted by the Sens in 1992.

    Yashin enjoyed many years with Ottawa, recording two 40-goal seasons and even after he was traded, the prizes that came back still resonate with the Senators organization today. 

    To clarify, Yashin was traded to the Islanders in 2001 for Zdeno Chara, a stud defenseman for the Sens for many years before he left for Boston and a Stanley Cup, Bill Muckalt and the second overall selection in the 2001 draft.  Ottawa selected Jason Spezza with that pick.

    It seems that a stint in Ottawa could help Yashin's career come full circle.  If he can be successful for another year in Ottawa, playing alongside Spezza or on the second line, Yashin could make a case to receive more money for the remainder of his career.

    All in all, for Ottawa, as well as any other team, don't expect a multi-year deal, but the thought of Yashin in a Senators uniform again is exciting.

New York Islanders

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    This is a more than likely scenario for Yashin.  He would be paid his contract as usual, and the Islanders would still be paying him his contract that he was bought out from initially.

    A young Islanders team can use a leader   John Tavares could use a little push, and the people of Long Island need something to celebrate.  The years that Yashin was a part of the team were some of the most successful seasons in Islanders history...minus the '80s dynasty.

    The retirement of Doug Weight leaves a veteran void in an Islanders squad who have been in rebuild mode for what seems like forever.

    Does the addition of Yashin push the Islanders out of a lottery position?

    Will he go to the Islanders?  Will he go to any of these teams listed?  Will he stay in the KHL?  Will he retire?

    Keep watching to find out but until then, what do you think?