Friday, September 19, 2014

Where Are They Today - Unsigned UFA's That I Like and/or Follow For Whatever Reason....

Well hockey fans todays in today's post I figured I'd run through TSN's UFA tracker and try and figure out where the various players I like and/or otherwise follow for whatever reason who are listed by them as unsigned are today.  Do they have tryouts in somebody's camp?  Have they signed overseas? Are they still sitting by the phone?  Did they retire, etc?  This list will seem random to most readers - there's usually little logic or trend to the reasons why I care to know about how these players careers might continue from here on out.  I just do...  if I have a reason to care then I'll probably say why I care in this post as well, if I don't say that reason then I really don't know why they still are in my "field of view", etc.... So here goes in the order in general as they appear on the sort by last years team I looked at.

David Steckel - the now 32 year old Center with 9 NHL seasons and 425 regular season games played was invited to the Anaheim Ducks but remains unsigned.  Why I follow - always liked him, think he is a solid teammate and who doesn't like a Center who has from time to time led the NHL in face offs won %.  Also every time I've looked at him since he was traded I've shook my head that I can't believe he's had 9 seasons where he played at least a game in the NHL - it seems like he was a rookie yesterday.  Finally I hope he gets back in the league and lights things up so he's not just a trivial pursuit answer to a hockey question with Sidney Crosby's name in it - he's too much of a mensch to have that fate, IMO.

Ville Leino - the 30 year old Finnish Center who was bought out of his contract this past summer by the Sabres remains unsigned but was invited to training camp by the Boston Bruins.  If he remains unsigned this season he'll still make $1.22M/ year through the 2019 -2020 season.  That said I expect if he doesn't make the Bruins he will catch on somewhere in the NHL, the KHL or the Finnish Elite League.  Just watch a replay of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals and you'll see why this guy is going to continue to play for someone, just not anybody who will pay him as much as he was making before he was bought out.  I follow him because he was just so awesome, IMO, in those 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Michal Handzus According to Yahoo! Sports the 37  year old Center has reportedly been talking to several teams, but nothing has been worked out yet. At 37 years old and with 15 seasons in the NHL and $32.5 Million of career earnings and with a beautiful wife, it can't be too hard to be Michal even though it sounds like he's waiting for the phone to ring.

Martin Brodeur - The 42 year old goalie with just shy of $82M of career earnings and a at least one first ballot Hall of Fame career under his belt reportedly remains in search of a team who will sign him and give him the opportunity to win 12+ more regular season games and reach the 700+ Win plateau.  I follow him because hey who else is even close to 700+ regular season wins, BTW last season he won 19 games, had 3 shut outs and had a 0.901 SV%.  Not bad for a guy on the "back end" of his career.

Radek Martinek - The 38 year old defenseman remains unsigned and well below the radar. Why do I follow him - I don't really know I guess his name sounds cool and he looks like a stereotypical eastern euro villain in a James Bond flick whenever I look at a picture of him.

Joe Finley - The 6'8", 27 year old defenseman from UND was invited to the Montreal Canadians Training Camp but remains unsigned.  I guess both Canadians Management and Finley are hoping that by the end of camp he looks something like Hal Gill used to in the Red White and Blue of Montreal but I don't think that's going to happen.  Why do I follow him - I had high hopes for him coming out of the NCAA to the Bears and Caps and hey he's huge so there's that too...

Daniel Carcillo - The 29 year old professional "pest" has been signed to a tryout contract by the Penguins, who haven't had an "almost felon" on their team since trading Matt Cooke but I guess with all the coaching and GM changes they want to change that too. Listed as both a LW and a RW by TSN, I guess Carcillo in addition to his other talents is an "ambi-turner."

Paul "BizNasty 2.0" Bissonnette - the 29 year old wiing, with the awesome right hook, great sense of humor, $5.25M of career earnings and large internet/twitter following, was invited to the Saint Louis Blues traning camp.  Hope he makes the team as I love some of his tweets.  the guy cracks me up.

Jeff Halpern - The 38 year old Center and Washington DC native and former Capitals Captain with 14 seasons of NHL experience remains unsigned.  His was the first Capitals Sweater I bought and wore to games in our seats in Section 103 of Verizon Center.  It saddens me to know we've probably seen the last of "Halpy" in the NHL but with 14 seasons, 976 regular season games and 39 playoff games played, if he's waiting by the phones it's probably only so he gets another 25 regular season games in his career. 

Kieth Aucoin - "Coiner" - the 35 year old former Cap/Bear undersized Center signed with HC - Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss National League for this upcoming season and will ply his wares in Europe this winter.

Dustin Penner - The 31 year old, 6'4", 247 pound, two time Stanley Cup Champion, dog loving,  Left Wing remains unsigned for the 2014-15 NHL season.  With $24.7M of career earnings, if he's played his last NHL game I'll conjecture he'll be fine as he didn't seem like a guy who had flamboyant tastes, etc. but I'll also conjecture his hockey career isn't over yet.

Well only a couple more weeks to go till its:


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