Who's Still Unemployed?
A look at NHL players still looking for a job
At this point of the year there are players beginning to lace up the skates and take part in optional skating camps to get back into shape. There are also players getting ready to fight for a spot on a roster while plenty of veterans already know where they will be playing. For many players though, the up coming season is a worry. A worry about not playing at all in the 2008-2009 season.
Maybe players are asking for too much money and it simply won’t fit or work into a teams salary cap. Oh wait, maybe it’s the fact that if you are not signed yet that you may be no longer needed in the NHL. Although this is true for most, there are a still a few good players not signed that carry valuable skills for any team whether it be scoring, depth or leadership.
Mats Sundin is obviously the best unsigned player today but he is not looking for a job. Unlike others, he has the power to pick and choose which team he plays for. Vancouver’s offered to make him the highest paid player in the NHL for the next two seasons, while the Wings, Senators and Rangers are still interested, if the price is right. Montreal officially took themselves out of the “Sundin Sweepstakes” after trading for Robert Lang this week. Of course there is always Toronto who will never say no to anyone over 35 years old, let alone Sundin.
Teemu Selanne’s future is still up in the air as he has retired from international play but not NHL play. Selanne only played in 26 games last year and tallied 23 points and he should still be considered amongst the leagues best finishers. There are many teams that need a proven goal scorer including his current, stubborn team, Anaheim. The main issue with Selanne is that he still wants top dollar and is rumoured to be heading to play professionally in Finland. We all know that he loves to play with Paul Kariya so the Blues may try a stab.
Brendan Shanahan has been a very consistent provider in the league for a long time. His last season with the Rangers was the worst of his career scoring only 43 points but in a very limited role. Shanahan has always been a motivator on the bench and in the locker room, making his experience perfect for a young team. There have been many rumours on who wants the soon-to-be 40 year old including an interesting reconnection with Scotty Bowman in Chicago.
Glen Murray and Bryan Smolinski are definitely not game breakers but they would be a good third liners on most team. Even last season Murray got 30 points in the 63 games he played in, which isn’t bad for a part time player. Smolinski on the other hand played a crucial role with the Canadiens third line primarily as a shutdown player with grittiness. Let me be clear that there is no way Murray will ever have a 92 point season like he had in 2003 or that Smolinski will score 30 goals again. What I am saying is that both of these guys can still play a predominate role in the depth department or any job they get assigned.
Mathieu Schneider was waived by the Anaheim Ducks today making him a really good defenseman for teams looking to slightly strengthen the back core. He is a true veteran player as he had played in nearly 1200 games and winning one Stanley Cup. Schneider’s numbers have been dropping but so has his ice time. If given another opportunity, he should have no problem being a 50 point blue-liner. I see him being picked up quickly.
If there is room in the cap, why not try:
By Kevin Chaves
ProHockey-fans.com Director of Content
Want to add your comment to this article? Leave your comments on our NHL blog today!
> Follow the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs online with Pro Hockey Fans!
> Find all of the NHL news & articles online from Pro Hockey Fans.