NHL Free Agents: 7 Veterans That Will Be Released Before the Season Begins
Once the dust of free agency clears, there are often gems left behind for needy teams to test the waters with. Before committing to a contract, a team will often give a pro tryout deal to players who are potentially good additions.
Some players find teams that they mix well with, while others expect to be released even before the opening of the regular season.
Here is my list of seven (alphabetized) veteran players who, I predict, will be released before the season begins. Each of these players is over 30 years old and on a tryout deal with their prospective teams.
David Aebischer: Winnipeg Jets
Goaltender David Aebischer is widely considered a long shot to make the Winnipeg Jets roster, mainly because of the heavy competition for the main two spots for goalies.
With names like Chris Mason and Ondrej Pavelec already on contract for the upcoming year, 33-year-old Aebischer is not likely to get a true look for a spot on that roster. The Jets are out to prove themselves this season and as far as I can see, Aebischer will not be apart of that team.
Steve Begin: Vancouver Canucks
33-year-old Steve Begin is currently under consideration on a tryout with the Vancouver Canucks. The veteran center is one of 11 centers that Vancouver has at training camp, however five of them are already signed to contracts.
Begin is the oldest of the unsigned camp attendees, and doesn’t necessarily have the best or most impressive numbers. In short, he doesn’t seem to fit what Vancouver is looking for, if they are even looking for anything.
Manny Legace: Vancouver Canucks
It always seems to be a bit of a risk to include a big name like Manny Legace, but when you see that he’s on trial with Vancouver, it makes a bit more sense.
Vancouver’s goaltending duo was arguably the strongest in the NHL last year between Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. Luongo is still on contract, however Schneider is a restricted free agent, and thus, Legace is the backup for the backup. If Schneider gets an offer and leaves, Vancouver has the 38-year-old veteran to fall back on, however in the likely case the Schneider signs a new contract, Legace is essentially left out of the lineup.
Owen Nolan: Vancouver Canucks
Owen Nolan is a 39-year-old veteran right wing that is obviously past his prime. When it comes to trying out for a team like Vancouver, who relies so heavily on their offensive power, age and experience take a back seat in importance to things like skill and sheer talent.
Nolan is one of twelve right wings at Vancouver’s training camp, nine are unsigned, and three have a stable seat on next year’s roster. Considering the fact that many of the other players that Nolan is competing against for a spot are in the prime or just reaching it, he doesn’t really stand a chance to make the team.
Michael Nylander: Philadelphia Flyers
At 38-years-old, Michael Nylander is a veteran player who won’t be fitting in very well with the Philadelphia Flyers franchise where he agreed to a tryout contract. After Philly signed 39-year-old forward, Jaromir Jagr, any gap that Nylander’s experience could possibly fill was no longer seen as vacant.
Nylander is one of nine unsigned players in the pool of 13 centers at Philadelphia’s training camp, and in my opinion he is not likely to get a bid onto the team.
Steve Staios: New York Islanders
Former Calgary Flame, Steve Staios, is currently working under a tryout contract with the New York Islanders.
On a team like the Islanders, there are the base forwards who you work to build a team around. For now, those central players are John Tavares and Kyle Okposo who find ways to use their speed, talent, and youth to their advantage. When you see those players as franchise-base players, a slower veteran like Staios is not likely to mesh into that picture well.
Petr Sykora: New Jersey Devils
After playing a year abroad in Russia, Petr Sykora is now attending the New Jersey Devils’ training camp on a tryout contract. This speedy right wing is clearly past his prime, and hasn’t been very consistent in the NHL in terms of point production.
Of the ten right wings attending the training camp, four are already signed to contract, leaving the other six to fight for whatever roster spot might open up. Two of the four signed wings double in other positions as well, leaving possible openings on the roster, however Sykora doesn’t get my nod for a seat on the Devil’s bench.