FTHN looks at some notable remaining free agents

Santorelli still looking for a home . (Photo: Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Santorelli still looking for a home(Photo: Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

We’re almost at the one month point since the opening of Free Agency, and this year, most of the off- season splashes have come via the trade market. Most of the contenders have used their available spending money on depth players for very cheap. However, not all of those “cheap” depth players have been taken off the market. In this segment, we will take a look at some of the best available free agents who teams should be looking to bring in.
Forwards
Brad Boyes (’14’-’15 salary: $2.75M) : I have no clue why he isn’t signed. If I were a GM (which obviously I’m not), I would’ve snatched him up in the first week of Free Agency. He’ Understandably, he is 33 with his best days of 65 and 72 point seasons behind him. Nonetheless, Boyes has totaled 109 points (45G, 54A) over the last 3 seasons (including the 48 games lockout season) on inferior Islanders and Panthers teams. Teams looking for someone who can still snipe will be lucky to snatch him up. With Alex Semin being taken off the board by Montreal, I believe he is the best forward available, so my take is he gets signed this week or next week.
Eric Fehr (’14-’15 salary: $1.5M): The 29 year-old long-time Capital appeared in 75 regular season games contributing 33 points (19G,14A) and was a +20. Fehr only appeared in 4 playoff games after being injured in the first round against the Islanders. He began the ’14-’15 season on Washington’s top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. He then slipped down to third line and was even scratched for a few games. His best and highest use is at the wing position, but he can slide over to center on an emergency basis. My take is that he gets a PTO for $1M during training camp.
Jiri Tlusty (’14’-’15 salary: $2.95M): The Czech centerman was shipped from Carolina to Winnipeg to help bolster their roster for the playoff run, which lasted all but four games. Before going over to Winnipeg, Tlusty (age: 27) notched 23 points (13G,10A) in 52 games and was a -17. In 20 regular season games for the Jets, he scored one goal and added 7 assists and was a -1. In Winnipeg’s four playoff games, he was pointless and was a -2. Tlusty has never been a dangerous forward, but with the good wingers he can contribute 30-40 points, something which teams all desperately need from a fringe bottom 6 forwards. I still think he get signed in the next few month.
Mike Santorelli (’14’-15 salary: $1.5M): Santorelli (age: 30) was the talk of the trade deadline as contending teams salivated to get their hands on the cheap forward/center. Ultimately, Nashville picked him up, but didn’t get the production they thought they were getting. In 22 regular season games in the music city, Santorelli scored only one goal, added on 3 assists and was a -7, compared to his 57 games in Toronto where he posted 11 goals, 18 assists and was a +7. In four playoff games for Nashville, he scored 1 goal and was +2. If Santorelli kept up his performance from the first half of the season, he’s probably sitting happily with a multiyear deal in the $2.5M range, but now he sits poised to take another 1 year deal in the $1M range. He’s another guy is believe will get a PTO.
Defensemen
Christian Ehrhoff ’14’-’15 salary: $4M): It was not too long ago when Ehrhoff (age: 32) was riding high as one of the best puck-moving defensemen in the game and was rewarded with a fancy 10-year contract by the Buffalo Sabres. That contract was ultimately bought out, and he signed a one-year deal with the Penguins for $4M. However, his season was derailed by injuries, as he appeared in only 49 games and missed the Penguins’ five game playoff series vs. the Rangers. In those 49 games, he tallied 14 points (3G, 11A) and was a +8. There have rumors that the Blue Jackets have expressed interest in bringing in Ehrhoff, but nothing has happened yet. My take: signed in the next two weeks.
That’s all we have for now. Stay tuned for more exciting coverage from FullTilt Hockey Network as the offseason continues.
Follow me on Twitter: @ekwestel !

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