NHL free agents: best of who's left, where they may go
Three days and nearly $500 million in contracts later, there's not much talent left swimming in the NHL's free agent pool.
But look closely and there's some value yet to be fished out. Here are 10 players who could provide solid value at both a reasonable rate and term.
Available cap space as of July 4 (via GeneralFanager.com):
METRO: Penguins +$1.475M; Capitals $8.038M; Islanders $5.571M; Rangers $12.425; Devils $20.504M; Flyers $8.628M; Hurricanes $21.992M; Blue Jackets $4.468M
ATLANTIC: Panthers $3.717M; Lightning $12.979M; Bruins $8.532M; Red Wings $4.082M; Canadiens $2.343M; Maple Leafs +594k; Sabres $9.070M; Senators $15.238M
CENTRAL: Blues $10.370M; Blackhawks +3.166M; Predators $8.114M; Stars $7.503M; Wild $6.919M; Avalanche $14.459M; Jets $15.235
PACIFIC: Ducks $15.696M; Kings $670k; Sharks $2.381M; Canucks $4.179M; Flames $14.908M; Oilers $9.239M; Coyotes $17.968
He won't repeat his 31-goal season from 2014-15, but at 32, Hudler still has value in a complementary role. He remains a viable threat at five-on-five. Even in a down year he averaged 2.43 points/60 minutes, which ranked 56th in the league and sandwiched him between Daniel Sedin and Jakub Voracek. He also has the versatility to play either wing.
Possible landing spots: Canadiens, Coyotes, Sabres, Bruins, Predators
Right-shooting blueliner played just one shift last season before blowing out his knee, but posted 8-26-34 in 69 games back in 2014-15. Big, strong and competitive, he could provide value on a short-term deal as a bottom-four/second power play guy.
Possible landing spots: Red Wings, Bruins, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Devils
Alright, so he's not the most dogged player on defense. He's injury prone. And he's probably better suited for the wing than at center ice. But say this much for Pirri: He knows how to create offense. He's scored at a 27-goal pace over the past two seasons in Florida and Anaheim, and generated 1.97 points/60 at even-strength in 2015-16. A team looking for middle-six scoring depth at a bargain price could nab a bargain.
Possible landing spots: Devils, Oilers, Coyotes, Sabres, Flyers
He will be 40 on November 2, but his play during the postseason for the Stanley Cup champs suggests that Cullen still has the drive, and the legs, to make a contribution. He's ideal in a fourth-line role, killing penalties and taking big face-offs. The Pens would like to retain him, but have no more than $1 million to spend. Others could top that.
Possible landing spots: Penguins, Wild
The sixth pick in the 2007 draft is just 26, and has six seasons of 40-plus points to his credit. In the right situation, he could continue to produce similar numbers.
Possible landing spots: Devils, Senators, Canucks
He made a big impression during his half season with the Penguins, putting up great possession numbers and was one of Pittsburgh's top performers in the Stanley Cup Final against the Sharks. He needs to be in the right type of system to succeed but he has the offensive touch to help at both even strength and on the power play.
Possible landing spots: Rangers, Predators, Jets, Flyers, Penguins
Maybe the #fancystats crowd is right about him. Russell didn't make much of an impression last season with the Stars after coming over at the trade deadline. Still, he's an experienced defender (573 games) and there are teams out there who appreciate his willingness to sacrifice the body ... or who simply need to buy time until younger blueliners in their system are ready to contribute. It wouldn't be surprising to see him sign a higher-dollar, shorter-term deal.
Possible landing spots: Canucks, Canadiens, Bruins, Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets
Nothing fancy, but like Russell, there's something to be said for experience. Ankle injuries limited him to just 47 games last season with the Red Wings, but he averaged nearly 20 minutes per game so he can handle a sizeable workload. Giveaways are a concern, but still a decent bottom-four option.
Possible landing sports: Jets, Bruins, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Rangers
The veteran center played in just 11 games for Boston in 2015-16, scoring two goals, before breaking his leg in November. He's 35, but is an excellent face-off man, a top penalty killer and a respected presence on the bench and in the room. He'll likely come in around $1 million on a short-term deal, making this a smart risk.
Possible landing spots: Bruins, Stars, Senators, Wild
Every indication points to the soon-to-be 40-year-old winger will re-upping with the Coyotes. If he does, good for him. There's something to be said for remaining with the same organization throughout a career. At the same time, Arizona is nowhere near being competitive and you have to wonder if there's any part of him that's looking around the league for an opportunity to might give him a chance to win the Cup before he hangs 'em up. Plenty of teams have expressed interest in Doan, but no one's swayed him yet.
Possible landing spots: Coyotes