10. David Schlemko
2014-15 teams: Arizona Coyotes, Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames
With most of the big blueline names going early, look for a team that needs some depth help. Dont’t rule out Calgary yet.
9. Eric Fehr
2014-15 team: Washington Capitals
An impressive year for the depth center. Fehr scored 19 goals and added 14 assists in a support role for the Caps. Washington GM Brian McLellan has told sources “We will continue to talk with Eric Fehr,” The Edmonton Oilers are said to have showed interest on a player who is coming off successful elbow surgery. Fehr has gone on record saying he’d love to remain a Capital.
8. Sean Bergenheim
2014-15 teams: Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild
Position: Left wing
After a decent start in Florida (18 points through 39 games), the Finnish winger’s trial with the Wild never panned out (one point in 20 games). Don’t expect a Minnesota return, but Bergenheim could help out a club’s second or third line at a reduced rate. Look for a championship contending team to grab him for depth help.
7. Jiri Tlusty
2014-15 teams: Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets
Position: Left wing/Center
While failing to excel after the trade to Winnipeg, Tlusty was a reliable wing in Carolina on pace for his fourth consecutive 30-point season. Tlusty has not closed the door on a return to Carolina, but plenty of teams are still looking to upgrade their top nine. Loom for one of the New York teams to grab this deal.
6. Curtis Glencross
2014-15 team: Calgary Flames, Washington Capitals
Position: Left wing
As a deadline rental, Washington was hoping to squeeze more than the one playoff goal it got out of Glencross, who was a solid but declining contributor to the Flames for seven years. There is some speculation that the Panthers and Maple Leafs are among the teams in contract talk with him. The problem with Glencross is that he is aging past his prime and is heading into the downward spiral of the end of a career. You will still get production from him, but not a whole lot.
5. Chris Stewart
2014-15 team: Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild
Position: Right wing
The inconsistent winger fit in well with Minnesota after being shipped out of Buffalo mid-season, scoring 11 points in 20 games. Though it appears Stewart’s asking price stands in the way of a Minnesota return, he should add grit and some secondary scoring to his new club’s third line. Tampa Bay, Chicago and Ottawa have offered him deals.
4. Alexander Semin
2014-15 team: Carolina Hurricanes
Position: Right wing
Semin, once a 40-goal scorer, was bought out by the Hurricanes after an ugly campaign that saw him score an abysmal six goals. Semin is reportedly looking for a one-year pact. He will by all means make a good veteran somewhere. Production wise, you are not sure what you are getting.
3. Johnny Oduya
2014-15 team: Chicago Blackhawks
Stay-at-home Oduya won another ring with Chicago as an integral component of the champs’ top four. Oduya is know as “not flashy but effective”. Though it appeared a forgone conclusion that Oduya would be moving on from Chicago, the Brandon Saad trade may have changed things a bit here. I like Oduya, he may be past his prime, but he is still very good and will make an impact on any team he goes to. Chicago should make great efforts to keep him in order to keep that very good defense of theirs together.
2. Christian Ehrhoff
2013-14 team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Ehrhoff jumped from a minus-27 player last season with Buffalo to a plus-8. Ehrhoff ended up missing the bulk of 2014-15′s second half with multiple concussions and was sorely missed during Pittsburgh’s brief playoff appearance. On June 29, Ehrhoff’s agent confirmed that he would be hitting the open market, but he is still waiting for a call. It has been said that the Penguins could get him back but it’s very unlikely. You may see Carolina try to grab him, maybe Calgary is another option.
1. Cody Franson
2014-15 teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Nashville Predators
After three consecutive one-year deals, Franson stepped up his game with unrestricted free agency in sight and earned a trade back to Nashville. The big body with a nasty point shot had a career high in points (36) but never fit in with a deeper Predators blue line. Franson will swing for the fences on a multi-year deal this summer, as a Nashville return won’t happen. He hit the campaign trail early, saying he’d be open to a Toronto return and would love Vancouver to be in the mix. In hindsight at his year-ender, Predators GM David Poile essentially said he regretted trading for Franson, a right shot who contributed two assists in the playoffs. There are still multiple suitors for a right shot D-man who can hit and contribute on the power-play. The Sharks and Kings have showed big interest. Also as of the past few days, the Boston Bruins have made attempts to get him. To put it this way, Franson is very strong and a very good defensemen he would fit perfectly into the way Boston plays.