NHL Free Agents 2011: 8 Glue Guys Every Team Would Love To Bring in This Summer
With the opening of NHL training camps just a month away, general managers across the league are looking to put the finishing touches on their clubs' rosters in preparation for the 2010-11 NHL season.
The remaining pool of free agents isn't loaded with talent, but there are certainly some players who could add a spark to an NHL team's lineup, and for the right price, some of them could be late additions to a roster.
At this point, many of the players that are still available are role players, or "glue" guys, capable of filling in holes on a team's roster, while bringing energy and leadership to the table.
Here are eight players who every team would love to be able to bring in before the summer's over, assuming the price is right.
8. Cory Stillman
Though most NHL teams have a general idea of what their top two lines will look like at this point in the offseason, one player who could find a home on a rebuilding team's top-six is Cory Stillman.
As a two-time Stanley Cup champion, Stillman brings experience and a winning pedigree to the ice, and is certainly capable of putting up 40-50 points in the right scenario.
He's a proven scorer and playmaker who has played a key role on two championship teams, so if he decides to return for another season, he should be receiving a one-year offer from at least a couple of NHL teams in need of offense.
7. Chris Campoli
During Chris Campoli's five NHL seasons, he has played on some pretty bad teams, so it's difficult to gauge how effective he can be as an NHL defenseman.
However, after playing reasonably well for Chicago during their seven-game opening-round loss to Vancouver, he should be able to find a place to play after the Blackhawks walked away from his arbitration ruling earlier this month.
Campoli is still young enough that he could develop into a top-four defenseman for a playoff-calibre team, which is why a general manager will ink him to a one- or two-year deal before the offseason's over.
6. Mike Grier
Considering most teams will be in search of forwards who can add grit and energy to their bottom six in the lineup, Mike Grier would be a perfect fit for a number of organizations.
Grier is a character player who brings a lot of intangibles to the table, and he's been a fan favorite everywhere he's played.
Though not the scoring threat he was at one point during his career, he's definitely capable of chipping in 25 points while playing a crash-and-bang style that energizes his teammates.
At 36, Grier won't be looking for anything more than a one-year deal, so he could be a late addition to a contending team looking to bolster their third or fourth line.
5. John Madden
At the peak of his career, John Madden was one of the best two-way forwards in the game, and though the former Selke Trophy winner isn't the offensive player he once was, he'd be a valuable addition to a number of teams looking for depth down the middle.
Madden has been a part of three Stanley Cup championship teams, providing both the New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks with secondary scoring and reliable play in the defensive zone.
At this point, Madden is probably going to be a fourth-line center on a good team, but he's more than capable of thriving in that role.
He will be picked up by a playoff team before the offseason's over.
4. Steve Bernier
After a couple of seasons that saw Steve Bernier's offensive numbers decline steadily, he remains a free agent as we near the end of July.
However, at just 26, Bernier still has time to materialize into the solid, top-nine forward he appeared to be on his way to becoming just two seasons ago.
He's hit 30 points on multiple occasions, and in the right situation, Bernier could be a useful power forward on a rebuilding team's top three lines.
If he can get his development back on track, Bernier could turn out to be a late steal.
3. Chris Drury
After the New York Rangers decided to buy out the remaining year on captain Chris Drury's monster contract, Drury's name hasn't been mentioned much in rumors, and remains unsigned heading into August.
However, somebody will at least give Drury a shot to prove himself at training camp, because he's one of the best heart-and-soul players in the NHL.
Though his offensive skills aren't even close to what they were when he was a 65-point producer, Drury, if healthy, is capable of posting 30-40 points while providing solid two-way play.
He's a leader by nature, and has a knack for coming through in the clutch, as he's won two Olympic silver medals and a Stanley Cup, so he should be picked up before NHL training camps begin in September.
2. Bryan McCabe
Since being traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the summer of 2008, Bryan McCabe hasn't been the same offensive force he once was.
With that being said, McCabe is still a decent power-play quarterback, and has the abilities to play on most teams' top two defensive pairings.
McCabe will have to take a big pay cut if he wants to play in the NHL next season, as he's not even close to being worth the $5.75 million he's made for the last five years.
On a rebuilding team, or one that lacks true offensive specialists, McCabe could be a nice, under-the-radar addition, but he shouldn't be counted upon to play top-pairing minutes at this stage in his career.
He's clearly a quality NHL defenseman, but at what price?
1. Scott Hannan
The last time Scott Hannan was an unrestricted free agent, he was one of the most sought-after defensemen on the market, and he eventually signed a big four-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche.
After being traded to Washington midway through the 2010-11 season, Hannan became one of the most dependable rearguards on the best team in the Eastern Conference during the regular season.
He's an experienced stay-at-home defenseman who could play on most teams' top two pairings, and is just six years removed from being a top-six blueliner for Team Canada during their World Cup of Hockey win.
At just 32, Hannan should have a number of years left, but since he's still on the market, he may be only up for signing a one-year deal.
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