Update on NHL Free Agent Market – August 4, 2014

A look at several notable NHL free agents whose big-league careers could be over. 

Has Tim Thomas played his final NHL game?

Has Tim Thomas played his final NHL game?

SI.COM: Allan Muir recently looked at several notable free agents who may have played their final NHL games. Among the forwards: Devin Setoguchi, Ray Whitney, Todd Bertuzzi,  Ryan Malone, Saku Koivu, Scott Gomez and enforcers Paul Bissonnette, George Parros, Kevin Westgarth, Zenon Konopka, Krys Barch and Michael Rupp. The defensemen include Douglas Murray, Francis Bouillon, Ed Jovanovski, Mike Komisarek, Sami Salo and Joe Corvo. Goaltenders include Tim Thomas and Tomas Vokoun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the forwards listed by Muir, I believe all but Setoguchi and Bissonnette have played their last in the NHL. Setoguchi is only 27 and while he’s hasn’t turned into the first-line scorer he was originally expected to be, he could prove useful as a depth forward.

Since Muir’s article was published there are reports out of Washington claiming the Capitals are among five-six clubs interested in Bissonnette.  The other forwards are well past their playing prime, while the other enforcers could struggle to find work.

 Salo is the most skilled of the defensemen on Muir’s list but he’s also pushing forty and his performance noticeably declined last season. Bouillon and Corvo in recent years have been written off by some pundits yet managed to land with NHL teams, but their luck could finally run out this year.

Thomas’ age and Vokoun’s health issues could bring an end to their NHL playing careers. 


  1. This is where GMs are lowballing these UFAs. Setoguchi will get a one year $1M at best now, or get try out offers. These are the bargain players. The ones that will get “Clearance Sale” tags.

    • Not “lowballing” if that is the market value.

      • Exactly. Funny isn’t it, that when questionable contracts like those awarded to Phaneuf and Clarkson are brought up, we hear “well, that’s market value” but when circumstances and new talent push the likes of the players listed to the endangered species, and some are given deals at the NHL minimum or even $1 mil, it’s branded “lowballing.”

  2. Feel bad for Vokoun. During his whole career he posted solid numbers and did so consistently no matter what team he played for. He managed to fly under the radar for his whole career but was truly appreciated by every player who played with him.

    • If Crosby, Malkin, Neal, etc. could have scored a few goals, Vokoun would have led the Pens to the finals year before last … he was stellar during those playoffs … his blood clot problem was truly a shame … if he had stayed healthy the Pens may have dumped Fleury by now …

      • I don’t disagree about much of what you said, but the Pens would hardly have dumped Fleury for Vokoun. Health issues aside, Vokoun is on the back end of his career and would be too old to make longterm plans with for a team that should be winning now.
        I admired his perseverance and willingness to come back from his clot, so I hope he gets one last shot at the cup. Sad it won’t be with the Pens but hope it is with someone who has a younger goalie. Guy must be a heck of a mentor and definitely leader by example.

  3. You can add Leino to that list.

    Del Zotto

    • Hall signed overseas. No mention if it includes an out-clause.

      • Bunch of has been and never was players, pretty thin crop there now.

        • bunch of has beens and wannabes? are you serious? alfredson? you look at his stats from last year?

  5. Unless I missed something over the weekend, I’m surprised Martin Brodeur wasn’t mentioned.

    And Todd Bertuzzi’s career should’ve ended the minute after he assaulted Steve Moore. Sean Avery makes a few rude comments and becomes blackballed, but Bertuzzi cripples a guy on the ice and teams welcome him with open arms? Disgusting.

    • Not that I necessarily disagree with your opinion of Bertuzzi, but I think more of the reason for Avery’s “blackballing” has to do with the constant circus atmosphere that followed a guy who frankly wasnt that good of a hockey player, and the fact he had more interest in self promtion than he had improving his game. What Bertuzzi did was wrong and yes should hsve probably been dealt with in a way more serious way, but there is little denying that he was far and away a more talented and dedicated hockey player.

      • Bertuzzi would have got less punishment if he played in Toronto or New York or Boston or Philadelphia. Bertuzzi’s had the misfortune of playing in Vancouver and in gooning a Harvard man. Maybe Markus Naslund should have sued Steve Moore for his late blind side hit that started the whole Bertuzzi lawsuit

        • It still doesn’t give you the right of almost killing someone from behind

          • As I remember the incident,Nicolyshyn(spelling?) jumped on top of Bertuzzi from behind and cold clocked him. Except Burtuzzi wasn’t hurt. that was the difference. check the replay on you tube.

          • No, but Burtuzzi didn’t try/intend to kill Moore from behind.

          • and a drunk driver dosent try/intend or mean to kill someone but knows exactly what he is doing and what the consequences could be when getting behind the wheel. It was reckless and no number of appoligies can fix it. You honestly think Bertuzzi didnt think that grabbing a smaller guy from behind and punching him in the back of the head might hurt the guy? Almost 10 years later I still dont see how this is not an assault case.

          • Shticky, (regarding your “and a drunk driver dosent try/intend or mean to kill someone but knows exactly what he is doing and what the consequences could be when getting behind the wheel” and your “You honestly think Bertuzzi didnt think that grabbing a smaller guy from behind and punching him in the back of the head might hurt the guy?”). I know…we all know.. it was an intent to hurt him, but it wasn’t an intent to seriously injure/kill. Come on man, even you should know the difference between the two.

        • No matter what Moore did or where he went to school, Bertuzzi actions were uncalled for and I doubt the team he played for had anything to do with the punishment or lack of it. Pretty much an ignorant pig type of comment really.

          Ever play hockey and hit someone a little late ? (it happens) I have. Thankfully no one broke my neck for it…earlier in that game Moore fought Cook generally “by the (ridiculious) code” that should have been payment enough for blindsiding Naslund who missed all of 3 games. One game for each vertebrae Bertuzzi snapped in Moores neck. Ya almost seems right.

          • He just meant to “kinda” hurt him? Honestly Im not normally the type to say a guy could be charged for something that happened in the heat of the moment on any playing feild, but that was one instance that I did there was no “heat of the moment”. One of the worst Ive seen, no excuse for that, it was calculated and thought out, it was an assault that left a guy with a broken neck, amnesia, and a concussion. Moore didnt see it coming to try and protect himself after already fighting someone to “pay the price”. If Moore wasnt injured quite so bad than ok maybe look at it a little different maybe, but what happens if Bertuzzi or another guy ends up paralyzing or killing someone from attacking them like that? Do you honestly think a suspension works? Ludicrous! Where do you draw the line? It was an attack on a person who was unaware or unwilling to fight a much bigger man and ended with the smaller guy getting his neck broken. Hockey player or not that is an assault.

          • Naslund was never the same player after that hit
            Kariya was never the same player after the Suter hit
            Marc Savard was never the same after the Cooke hit
            There could be a dozen similar lawsuits every year but there isn’t
            There is an acceptance of risk when playing NHL hockey
            All players know there is an unwritten code
            Many of your favorite players were known as enforcers of this code
            Domi and Kypreos, for example
            If there is no enforcement against late or cheap hits against your star players then your star players will all have to retire early due to concussions
            Savard, Lindros and Kariya are examples

            I repeat
            Bertuzzi’s biggest mistake was going after a Harvard man

        • BS. Where Bertuzzi played and where Moore went to school had NOTHING to do with what happened. The difference between Moore and Naslund was that Naslund’s career wasn’t ended and he wasn’t nearly killed. Naslund was out for three games. Moore’s career is over. He could’ve been killed. I was a huge Bertuzzi fan until this incident. There is no way he should’ve been welcomed back into the league.

  6. Bassetgreg, what an ignorant and classless comment. His actions ended Moore’s career and changed how he lives. What Bertuzzi did has everyday consequences for Moore and his family. No amount of money can make up for what he has lost. I bet he’d trade it all if he could play hockey again. I agree with Shticky, none of your points are valid for the reasoning behind Bertuzzi’s puhishment. Or that Naslund should sue? I can’t believe you think like that. Also, Bertuzzi got off pretty damn easy… he’s been playing well into his 30’s while Moore has had to sit at home watching the man that ended his dream, live both of theirs.

  7. Dustin Penner is perhaps the best of the lot,surprised he has not signed somewhere unless he has substance issues etc.

    • Pancakes…he is addicted to pancakes.