"How come no one wants me, man? I'm nice."
The NHL free agent market may have come to a screeching halt, but that doesn't mean it's completely bone dry. There are still a handful of guys that could help your team, and considering they've gone a full month without a contract now, it's entirely possible that they'd be willing to give your team the Tomas Vokoun sweetheart deal (except for Shane Doan).
Let's take a look at 7 guys still looking for a place to play in 2012-13.
They may not be sexy pick-ups, but they won't cost anything but money to acquire, and they could very well turn out to be excellent acquisitions. You never know.
7 | Dominic Moore, C
Like a puppy at the SPCA, this journeyman centre is still looking for his forever home. Moore has played for 9 NHL teams in the last 8 years. Don't you want to be number 10? At this point, all it might take is a no-trade clause on a league minimum salary.
Moore may not have been deemed indispensable by an NHL franchise, but he continues to find work because he's a good skater, a good checker, and he can occasionally contributes to the scoresheet. He's the sort of player teams are always looking for come playoff time, so he'd fit well on a team that has designs on still playing when the postseason comes around. He'll come cheaper now than he will then.
6 | Carlo Colaiacovo, D
Colaiacovo appears to have become superfluous in St. Louis (which, by the way, is a great advice column signature -- signed, Superfluous in St. Louis). But that doesn't mean he can't help someone else, especially since he's certainly a top-six defenceman, and capable of eating up 20 minutes. There are plenty of teams that don't have six guys like that.
It's still possible he could re-sign with the Blues if they can't find the upgrade they're looking for, and considering they're hardly the only team after a top-four upgrade (the Flyers come to mind), they may be bringing him back. But it might not take all that much to pry him away, especially since he can't possibly be bound to a franchise that will only turn to him if something goes wrong elsewhere, i.e. the hockey equivalent of "The friend zone."
5 | Kristian Huselius, LW
Huselius probably isn't on anybody's radar after missing most of the last two seasons with injuries, but if he can get healthy, the flashy winger is a potential 20-goal scorer -- he averaged 26 goals over the four seasons prior -- and he could come cheap.
And really, isn't it possible that his bad luck is a symptom of playing in Columbus? That franchise is cursed. I bet the moment he gets out of Ohio, he rubs his eyes, remembers who he is, and immediately returns to form.
4 | Jason Arnott, C
Leadership: Jason Arnott haz it.
At 37 years old, the veteran centre could bring a wealth of experience and maturity to a locker-room, but it's not like he'd only be there for the pep talks. I've got to believe that someone out there could use a 6'5, 220-lb veteran centre that scored 17 goals last year with the St. Louis Blues.
For teams looking for a third-line centre, he'd be a steal.
3 | Tomas Holmstrom, LW
He may be 39, so he's not as quick as he used to be, but mobility has never been what kept Holmstrom employed. His best asset remains his ability to stand still. Unfortunately, he's a free agent in the technical sense only. He's unsigned, but his heart is forever in Detroit. From Sportsnet:
"It's playing in Detroit, or nowhere else," the unrestricted free agent told the Detroit News, putting rumours to rest.
Although uncertain if he'll be ready for the grind of a 16th NHL season, the 39-year-old Holmstrom is training, as usual, in preparation to play a full an NHL schedule.
In short, the Red Wings' only competition for Holmstrom's services is old age. That's good news, although considering the summer they're having, they still might lose out.
2 | Petr Sykora, RW
After a year in Europe, Sykora made the New Jersey Devils out of training camp and spent the year proving he still had his NHL scoring touch. He proved it 21 times in 2011-12. He's not exactly a formidable defensive player, but Sykora could be a good stopgap option in a team's top six.
With Zach Parise bolting from Jersey for Minnesota, the Devils are reportedly a little more interested in retaining Sykora than they initially seemed, but a multi-year deal might be enough to convince the winger to look elsewhere.
1 | Shane Doan, RW
You probably know full well that Shane Doan is still available, since his agent probably called you personally and told you. But, aggressive pitches, Doan seems pretty hellbent on re-signing in Phoenix, especially since he continues to wait on Greg Jamison, who is reportedly $20 million short of finalizing his purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes. From the Globe and Mail:
Doan has been seeking reassurance from Jamison that he can complete the purchase of the team before making a decision on his future. He spoke to Jamison on Saturday but Doan's agent, Terry Bross, did not respond to requests for comment.
[...] However, Jamison and the NHL may have bigger problems since he has been silent as speculation mounted he cannot raise the money to buy the team. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in response to the Phoenix Business Journal report nothing has changed in the sale situation.
Oh great, Jamison's gone into hiding. He may be heading south. If you're a Mexican border patrol guard, I'd caution you to be on the lookout for a suspiciously moustachioed Mr. G. Nosimaj.
Jamison should ask Doan's agent Terry Bross to help him out. If the reported bidding war for top remaining free agent Doan is to be believed, Bross can raise an obscene and undeserved sum of money in just a few days.
Bonus | Dan Ellis, G
I'm not saying either way, but he may have called and asked to be on here. He'll do that.