NHL Free Agent Rumor Mill – July 18, 2014

Several lists of who’s still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. Enjoy!

Michael Del Zotto remains available in the NHL UFA market.

Michael Del Zotto remains available in the NHL UFA market.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox lists (in descending order) Dustin Penner, Saku Koivu, Daniel Winnik, Andre Benoit, Devin Setoguchi, Martin Brodeur, Tomas Vokoun, Lee Stempniak, Michael Del Zotto and Daniel Alfredsson as his top 10 players still available in this summer’s UFA market.  Fox also reports Del Zotto is motivated to prove his doubters wrong.

ESPN.COM: Chris Custance has Peter Mueller and David Booth on his list of the “best of what’s left” in the UFA market, as well as Winnik, Brodeur, Setoguchi, Vokoun and Penner.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau includes Raphael Diaz on his list of UFAs who can still help an NHL team, along with Stempniak, Winnik, Benoit and Brodeur.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a whole lot of depth available. Of those remaining, the 24-year-old Del Zotto could be the best gamble, as he still has room for improvement. Though his defensive game needs work, he’s only two years removed from a 41-point performance. Teams seeking offense from their blueline could have interest in him, especially if they pair him with a more defensively responsible blueliner.  



  1. Toronto should take a chance on Del Zotto, and let Franson walk. Put him with Polak. Who knows, could be a gamble that might pay off.

    • Is there any free agent Toronto fans would pass on? LOL….Just messin with ya.

      • Just the good ones.

      • Luv it!! Toronto should do this and Toronto should do that. Toronto should trade this guy for that guy gees…. Only thing Toronto should do is they should not make playoffs this yr! Lol

        • amen. Toronto Maple Laffs.

    • Don’t you guys have enough defensemen who are all offense and no defense?

    • If Toronto fans think MDZ is the answer, I think they have forgotten the question.

      • @NYR4LIFE … literal question… can you even read? at what point does the poster or any leaf fan for that matter say we think del zotto is the answer? we have our own offensive defenceman with a contract dispute so someone suggest that maybe we let him walk and take “a gamble” on MDZ… ya i can see how your brain made the instant connection to “leaf fans think MDZ is the answer”

        • Lol, I think it is more of you being over defensive than a “literal question. ” I never stated that a Leaf fan said he was “the answer”, it was sarcasm…..I’m guessing it was lost sarcasm? Or you are unwilling or unable to “read” into the sarcasm there…..It all basically goes back to my 1st comment on this thread. It seems Leafs fans (Not all, but a lot) can find interest in any single free agent, trade rumor, etc. But really, instead of trading insults, lets look at why MDZ is the last guy on the planet Leaf fans should be willing to “gamble on”….Why would one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL look to acquire a defense-men that even at his best, was a total liability defensively? And better yet, why would any fan not see that TML’s should be concentrating on a d-man with less offensive upside, and a more stay at home defender?

          • For many among the so-called Leafs Nation the notion of sarcasm has long been blurred by brutal reality. 47 years of management futility will do that!

      • As a Ranger fan, I hope there’s a little something left to re sign Diaz. In the little time he played for us, he wasn’t bad and he can shoot the puck. Would any Ranger fan give MDZ another shot with a very cheap contract maybe 800K for 1yr as a 7th defenseman? I man we did give Gilroy a second shot. Chances are the Undertaker, and Allen won’t be ready this season. Is Kostka the 7th by default?

        • McIlrath is a AHL lifer. He will never see any real NHL time. Allen would be more than likely the only guy in NY’s system worth a look this year. There is a -100% chance that MDZ will be coming back. First problem is the cap space, second problem he never fit NY’s system (Torts, or Av’s). Bringing back MDZ would be like putting sour milk back in the fridge to see if it tastes any better tomorrow.

  2. I don’t have a problem with Leaf fans speculating on everything under the sun. Every team’s fan does it. What irks me the most is their over valuation of their players. At least in Ottawa we know what have and DON’T have. Nobody in Ottawa actually believes Chicago has any interest in Colin Greening or Zack Smith. Most of our roster are barely removed from the AHL.

    with a straight face Leaf fans that think Phanooof is anything better than second pair..maybe. And that anyone but a team trying to get to the cap floor would take a chance on him? Come on. No seriously. That contract was for the fans. 100%.

    • Maybe if he didnt play with 2nd (Gunnarsson) and third (Kostka Gleason Franson) pairing D men he wouldnt look like a second pairing D man?

      • Yet you guys talk those defensemen up like it ain’t no thang when they were on your team and mentioned in rumoured trades (Minus Gleason).

        • …..What are you talking about? lol

  3. Man, I’d take MDZ on a year deal at 2 million. Reward outweighs the risk in my estimation.

    • Gotta figure the Isles, Sabres, and Panthers would be interested. Maybe even the Pens?

      • Islanders or Wings if they are looking for pp guy.

        • Wings! Good call. They can fix him.

          • If NY and Nashville couldn’t fix them, why would the Wings be able to fix him?

          • I love their track record with young players. Patience and tutelage is their trademark.

          • Today, NY is the better defensive team than Detroit. And they could not fix this guys defense. Now that his offensive game has disappeared MDZ is pretty useless. Nashville has had great success building d-men, and they said no thank you. MDZ will either have to take a try out contract, or head to the KHL. And maybe out of desperation try and find his game.

          • I think MDZ needed out of NY. It just wasn’t working. A change of scenery would help. It didn’t. And when you consider how deep Nashville is on the blueline, it made sense they let him become a UFA. When players have pedigree (he was a 1st round pick) and a history of strong play (41 points 2 yrs ago) he is a low risk high reward play.

            As a Flyers fan, I have seen many reclamation projects through the years. 2 recent and notable projects that have worked well are Braydon Coburn and Steve Mason.

            Give MDZ a shot. Call me a believer.

          • Part of me believes Torts was responsible for his performance. But the more I think about it, He was constantly in AV’s doghouse (who promised all players a “clean slate” upon his arrival), then on to Nashville where he couldn’t find his game either. Then you started hearing whispers that MDZ is an “UN-coach-able” player. MDZ may once again find his offensive game. But even when that was at his best, his defensive game was always terrible. I would never use the words “strong play” when describing MDZ, nor would I use where he was drafted as an example of what he could be as a player. I like the guy, and hope he can find a home. I agree with the low risk part, but I would keep the high reward part somewhat as a tempered expectation.

          • 41 points in ’11 -’12 along with a +20. That ranked him ahead of the following peers: Keith (40 pts, +15), Kronwall (36 pts, -2), Doughty (36 pts, -2) Lidstrom (34 pts, +21), Seabrook (34 pts, +21) and… gasp.. Ryan McDonagh (32 pts, +25). So I’d call his play strong that season.

            When I mention his 1st rd selection, I am saying this player had pedrigree.

          • He may have had a better year than everyone mentioned, But I’d take every one of them over MDZ. I dare say the quality of competition MDZ saw that years was a huge drop off from the rest mentioned. Still not sure I’d put any stock in where a player is drafted. Daigle was a #1 overall while St. Louis, Girardi not drafted at all. Lunqvist was drafted in the 7th round.

        • Wings are looking for a right handed shooting PP defenseman not a left handed one. They could just use Brendan Smith on the PP if they just wanted a left handed one or better yet put Sproul (right handed) into the lineup if defense ability didn’t matter.

      • Based on comments above, I’d say the Leafs would also have interest.

      • Pens shouldn’t have any interest in Del Zotto … we have enough soft defensemen …

      • Hell, if any team should be taking a chance on him it’s the Oilers who have next to nothing back of the blue line to speak of.

        • Doesn’t Nikitin and Fayne upgade them? Can Nurse make the team out of camp? Maybe things are looking up some.

          • Scotty – Yes those signings easily make the Oilers better for next season. Nikitin, Fayne, Schultz, Ference, Klefbom, Petry and Nurse. That’s not half bad.

          • Nikitin sucks, but yep Fayne helps. Nurse could be solid playing some sheltered minutes.

          • I live in Cbus and watch plenty of the CBJ. Nikitin does not suck. Pushed out by younger and cheaper d-men like Prout, Savard and Erixon.

          • 4.5 mill for a guy who lost his job to 3 younger guys went from being a top pairing guy to a guy who is lucky to get 16-17 minutes a night on a bottom pairing on a team that had pretty good but far from outstanding D . 15 points with sheltered minutes generally starting in the offensive zone against 2nd and 3rd lines….he sucks.

          • Fayne had 11 points and averaged 18 minutes a game. And you have no issue with him?

            Get a clue Sticky. When you start watching the CBJ, get back to me. He’s a solid d-man, much like Fayne. Not big point producers and that’s OK.

      • I do not see the Sabres looking at MDZ. They have a bunch of young d-men ready to make the jump to the big club. I thought the Jets might be in on MDZ.

    • two million is still alot of money anyway you look at it

  4. It’s a bit surprising that Del Zotto hasn’t been picked up by someone. At this point you’d have to wonder if he’s looking for more money or term than teams are willing to give. Winnik and Benoit too.

    At this point, they may have to wait until camps start as teams that may be looking for depth will prefer to evaluate what they have first.

  5. to NYI
    Johnny Boychuck (3.4) and Chris Kelly (3 million) saves about 4.5 mill cap space(after trades)

    To Boston
    Josh Bailey(50% retained) Cal Clutterbuck(50%) retained and a 3rd round pick in 2015. about 2 million going back to Boston

    to NYI
    Johnny Oduya and Kris Versteeg Huge Salary dump for Hawks

    To Chi
    Sebastian Collberg and a 3rd round pick in 2016

    • I highly doubt the islanders would retain 50% of the salary being given, if the gm is smart he would try to take advantage of Boston salary cap problems, therefore that trade is not realistic. The NYI-CHI trade is pretty much realistic though, they’d be getting some offence in versteeg and a good defenceman in oday a I’m just not sure they would want to get rid of Colberg because he has good potential.

      • Oday=oduya autocorrect

    • Those are actually not bad ideas. But if your looking at reality you might have to throw in the isles 2016 1st rounder on that first one and the isles 2017 1st rounder on that second on.

      • There is no way the Isles will throw first rounders on either of those deals. They won’t retain salary on Bailey and Clutterbuck, or anyone else. They are overstocked at forward, so I wouldn’t expect them to want a forward coming back in a trade, unless it’s a first line wing to play with Tavares and Okposo. They might be interested in Boychuk, but not Oduya who is a third pair guy even on their defense. Neither of these trades make sense based on the Islanders’ needs and philosophy.

        • agreed 100%

        • It was a joke geduffer. Because Snow has been giving picks away lately, get it?

    • now Chris Kelly is the type of player the Pens need … grit & forward depth …

    • To Minnesota: Boychuck
      To Boston: Alex Tuch and a 3rd.

    • I am in agreement with Alessandro here. Why would NYI hold 50% of Baileys 3.3 million hit? Bailey is 24 and had a 38 point season on a bad team. In an era where 40-50 point guys are getting 5+ million per, I don’t think Bailey’s 3.3 hit is that awful. The only logic I see in that would be to help make this trade seem feasible from Chicago’s stand point.

    • Versteeg may be at the end of the line like MDZ, prematurely. His play has really fallen off the past few seasons.

  6. MDZ will be this years Mason Ramond! The leafs are waiting to see what Franson gets in arbitration! If its too much they will walk away and sign MDZ for cheap!

    • Franson will get way too much. The leafs may lose a little offense in the exchange, but based on last years performance they most suredly will not lose on defense. Franson was absolutely horrendous in his own zone. Perhaps if del Zotto just concentrates on d maybe he would turn out better than Franson, I doubt it but heck who knows, I think it would be worth the gamble. Not sure the leafs have any interest though much preferring to give Granberg a shot. If not they could always use Holzer who is much better in his own zone.

      • I wouldnt be surprised to see Granberg or Percy getting a look, not sure about Holzer, Percy was used alot and showed good progress as a solid 2 way D man by Spott last year. Granberg and Percy would be my bet as 6 and 7 D men provided they dont deal for another D.
        Phaneuf Gardiner, Robidas Rielly, Polak Granberg/Percy….absolutely no need for Franson or MDZ, waste of capspace on 2 guys who cant defend they have 4 guys who move the just fine without those other 2.

  7. How come no mention of Tim Thomas? His numbers were pretty good considering he played 95% of his season with Florida. He bombed in Dallas but maybe he just didn’t fit in under their system.

  8. I have to think the flyers may offer a winger a training camp FA trial. They need some depth up front and will have to wait for Pronger to go on LTI before signing

    • Mueller! The sentimental part of me says Simon Gagne, but we all know he’s not a top 6 LW. So Mueller it is!

    • The Pronger ltir stuff for first day is not correct:

      Per Bill Metzler:
      As always, I encourage everyone to head on over to Capgeek and give their FAQ on the topic a read. They have some great real life scenarios. From Capgeek:

      OPTION 1: Build the injured player into their opening-day roster and have that roster fit as close to the upper limit as possible without exceeding it, then place the player on LTIR.

      OPTION 2: Put the injured player on LTIR on the final day of training camp and, including the injured player’s annual average salary or cap hit, build a roster that exceeds the upper limit by an amount that is as close as possible to the injured player’s annual average salary.

      Just saying..being compliant is not as big an issue as what many think