The first three hours of the 2014 free-agency period were as frenetic and action-packed as any we have seen in recent years. In fact, it made the annual trade deadline seem downright yawn-worthy. And while some teams were locking up the most coveted names on the market, some pretty good players are still out there. Here is a look at who is left:
Matt Niskanen: Niskanen has reason to take his time with this one, since this offseason offers what is likely his best chance to really cash in on that monster contract every player covets during the height of his career. The 27-year-old is coming off a career season for the Penguins and is looking for a significant raise from the $2.3 million he made last season. Niskanen is regarded as the top free-agent defenseman, with teams like Tampa Bay and Detroit showing significant interest.
Signed: Capitals for $40.25 million over seven years.
Brad Richards: All the marquee centers are off the market now that Paul Stastny has signed with St. Louis and Jason Spezza has been acquired via trade by the Stars. Richards, who was bought out of the remaining six years of his nine-year, $60 million contract, offers a good alternative route for teams looking to add depth down the middle.
Signed: Blackhawks for $2 million for one year.
Mike Ribeiro: The same thing can be said for Ribeiro, who was recently bought out by the Phoenix Coyotes. Although the 34-year-old pivot could add experience and skill at the position, he does not come without his baggage. Whereas Richards is renowned for his leadership and professionalism, Coyotes GM Don Maloney chided Ribeiro on the way out of town, citing behavioral issues as the reason the Yotes were forced to cut ties.
Martin Brodeur: Yes, the all-time winningest goaltender remains on the market, looking to move on from his longtime home in New Jersey as one of the Devils’ most iconic players. The 42-year-old Brodeur is one of many netminders testing free agency and may take a bit more time to see how the market shakes out and where he fits. Brodeur said at the end of the season that he wants to go to a team that is a Stanley Cup contender.
Radim Vrbata: According to colleague Pierre LeBrun, action on free-agent forward Radim Vrbata picked up following the signing of Jarome Iginla in Colorado, with five teams reportedly interested in the veteran player. Vrbata had 20 goals and 51 points last season for the Coyotes and is the top-scoring forward remaining on the market.
Other players who may be on the move soon:
Brian Boyle, F (last team: NYR)
David Legwand, C (last team: DET)
Dany Heatley, LW (last team: MIN)
Andre Benoit, D (last team: COL)
Derek Roy, C (last team: STL)
Mikhail Grabovski, C (last team: WSH)
Derek Morris, D (last team: PHX)
Michael Del Zotto, D (last team: NSH)
Ryan Carter, LW (last team: NJD)
Anton Volchenkov, D (last team: NJD)
Olli Jokinen, C, (last team: WPG)
David Booth, LW (last team: VAN)