Jiri Hudler (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
Lots of big names found new teams July 1, but some useful players remain on the open market. Who are the 10 best of the rest?
It was a wild day, to say the least. As is customary in the era of the five-day negotiation window preceding it, free agency started with a deluge of signings as previously struck deals were made official. Per capfriendly.com, 131 players signed for $651,249,125 in total contract dollars.
But plenty of impact players remained unsigned after Day 1. The 10 best still out there after July 1:
1. JIRI HUDLER, RW
2015-16 cap hit: $4 million
Career year in 2014-15, then tanked in contract year. Still a handy playmaking forward for someone’s top six.
2. RADIM VRBATA, RW
2015-16 cap hit: $5 million
One season removed from arguably being the Canucks’ best player. Will attract teams starved for secondary scorers.
3. KRIS RUSSELL, D
2015-16 cap hit: $2.6 million
A trap signing? Lauded for shot blocking but possession numbers suggest he was a below-average defender in 2015-16. Reports July 1 suggest he's in for a payday north of $5 million per season.
4. SHANE DOAN, RW
2015-16 cap hit: $5.3 million
Turns 40 Oct. 10, but 28 goals were most since 2008-09. He’ll stay with Coyotes. Seems destined never to change teams, a la Chris Phillips in Ottawa.
5. JASON DEMERS, D
2015-16 cap hit: $3.4 million
Solid depth addition, but a team that pays him like a top-pairing guy might end up disappointed. SIGNED JULY 2: Five years, $22.5 million with Panthers
6. JIMMY VESEY, LW
2015-16 cap hit: N/A
Great offensive potential, but college signees who become stars are the exception, not the norm. He’s not risk-free. Reminder: he can't officially land anywhere until Aug. 15.
7. BRANDON PIRRI, LW
2015-16 cap hit: $925,000
Continuously flashes goal-scoring potential and won’t cost too much. A nice sleeper.
8. ROMAN POLAK, D
2015-16 cap hit: $2.75 million
Raised profile and price tag on a deep playoff run with Sharks. Brings nice physicality to a bottom pair, but look under the hood and the possession numbers are ugly. SIGNED JULY 2: One year (salary undisclosed) with Maple Leafs
9. P-A PARENTEAU, RW
2015-16 cap hit: $1.5 million
A cheap 20-goal scorer. Could fill a gap on a mid-level contender or join a rebuilder on a short-term deal and get flipped by trade deadline. SIGNED JULY 2: One year, $1.25 million with Islanders
10. KYLE QUINCEY, D
2015-16 cap hit: $4.25 million
Minutes and effectiveness have declined in recent seasons, but he's still a decent enough depth guy. Will be 31 when season starts.