Flying Under the Radar: Five UFA’s To Watch

Jeff Angus



Martin Straka



Although many of the top end potential free agents this summer have already been locked up, there are still numerous stars available. Marian Hossa and Brian Campbell will obviously be the most sought after, and some of the other top guys include Pavol Demitra, Wade Redden, and Mats Sundin. Beyond that tier, there are some interesting free agents that are not getting much fanfare or media attention. Until now, that is.


Ron Hainsey.
The Jackets astutely snapped Hainsey up off of the waiver wire from Montreal in 2006. He struggled to live up to the hype of being the 13th overall pick in 2000, but found his game in Columbus. He has hovered around 30 points each of the past two seasons, and his defensive game has improved. There will be considerable interest for him, as many teams around the league are still lacking defensemen able to swiftly move the puck up the ice. In the right situation, he could become a 40-45 point guy.

Jeff Finger.
Finger is another in a long list of unheralded prospects that seem to come out of nowhere to play a big role with the Avalanche. While it may seem that him re-signing is merely a formality, his breakout season has attracted league wide attention. The premium placed on puck-moving defensemen increases Finger’s value dramatically. He is a solid bottom-pairing guy with a very solid upside, and he has great awareness in the offensive zone. He can work the powerplay well and is a very effective puck rusher. Look for the Avs to try hard to get him locked up to a long-term deal, but Finger may want to wait and see what else is out there for him. He has the potential to be a 15-goal guy from the back end.

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Mark Streit. Streit emerged as one of the key cogs on the league’s best powerplay this season. He can play both forward and defense, although he spent the majority