Collins runs down his Top 10 most interesting UFAs still left
With a weak free agent class and most of the big names signing on July 1, there’s hasn’t been too much excitement when it comes to unrestricted free agents lately.
Aside from a signing or two, most UFAs are now stuck in limbo, as most NHL general managers are content to wait until the preseason before seeing where they stand. The longer the wait, the smaller the contract. Some players may be relegated to training camp invites, and others may be forced to spend a year overseas.
But fantasy hockey waits for no man. I’m in two new leagues that are starting this summer (one just wrapped up our draft, and one is starting soon). These are deep leagues, and there has been interest in some of these players that still don’t have an actual NHL team.
However, some of these names may still have value in keeper leagues. Even in deep leagues that have been around for years, many of these guys are still on a GM’s roster until he knows for sure he’s done in the NHL.
Of course, none of these guys are 70-point player any more. If they were, they’d already be signed.
But if Alexander Semin can still find work, there has to be hope for these guys, right?
Here are the top 10 most interesting UFAs still on the market.
9. Jiri Tlusty
Was Tlusty truly a one-season wonder, or is there a reason why he hasn’t been able to replicate the success he had in 2012-13, when he had 23 goals and 38 points in 48 games? Since then, he’s been okay, but not great (just 61 points in 140 games since). I’m a little surprised that a team hasn’t signed him to a one-year deal, just to see if he can recreate that one season if he can find the right linemates.
It doesn’t look like there’s any market for a 38-year-old defenceman who is still good for 35 points a year. Last season, he had 34 in 84 games (11 in 21 after being traded to Detroit), which followed a season where he had 42 in 81 for New Jersey. In fantasy circles, he’s also good for about 60 penalty minutes per year, which is always a bonus.
Fleishmann’s fantasy relevance has taken a strong nosedive the past two seasons, so it’s easy to forget how solid he was. He had 61 points for the Panthers in 2011-12, and followed that up with 35 points in the 48-game lockout season. Things were looking good for Fleishmann, but then he struggled big time: Just 55 points in the next 146 games. Now the 31-year-old is looking for a team willing to take a chance on him in hopes he can find that lost magic.
Last year, Ehrhoff took a gamble when he signed a one-year, $4 deal to play with the Penguins instead of looking for a longer-term deal. The hope was he could have a great season and turn it into another big payday. Instead, Ehrhoff was a massive disappointment, scoring just three goals and 14 points in 49 games. But many poolies still remember the Ehrhoff of a few seasons ago, when he was a consistent 40-point guy. Heck, he had 33 points with Buffalo two seasons ago. For now, real-life GMs remember the disappointing Ehrhoff.
Maybe it’s the Newfie in me, but I still believe Ryder can be an effective player in the right situation. In 2011-12, he had 35 goals and 62 points in Dallas. In 2012-13, he had a poor start, but once he was dealt to Montreal, he had 10 goals and 21 points in 27 games. But in the last two years in New Jersey, he’s been horrific, as has pretty much every non-goalie player not named Jaromir Jagr. Like everyone else on this list, if he can sign on with the right team, he can turn his career around again.
3. Derek Roy
A year after signing a cheap one-year deal, it’s a little surprising that Roy hasn’t been able to sign a deal this summer. After being moved to Edmonton, Roy had 11 goals and 22 points in 46 games, to go along with four power play goals. This is a year after he had nine goals and 37 points in 75 games for the Blues. Those are pretty good numbers for a second/third line tweener, and is an effective roster player in deep leagues.
Health may be one of the biggest reasons that teams are wary of signing Glencross (along with a horrific postseason), as he hasn’t played more than 71 games since 2010-11 season. In fact, he’s only broken 70 games three times in his eight-year career. But his prorated points were still decent: Since 2011-12, he’s had pre-rated seasons of 59, 53, 52 and 40 points. He can also be effective on the power play.
1. Cody Franson
The soon-to-be-28-year-old was poised to sign a big contract this offseason. But that deal never came. Which is completely surprising, as he can be an effective second-pairing dman. In the last three seasons, he’s had 29 points (in 45 games in the lockout season), 33 and 36 (32 of which came with Toronto in 55 games). When you think that 27-year-old Jeff Petry, who has never been higher than 25 points, signed a six-year, $32.5-deal with the Canadiens, it seems wrong that Franson is still on the market.
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