The rush of NHL free agency has passed, but there are plenty of names still available.
Here is a look at five free-agent players that could be bargains.
Radim Vrbata — He had a forgettable 2015-16, scoring just 13 goals in 63 games for the Canucks. This after a great 2014-15, when he had 31 goals and an All-Star Game appearance. The big difference was linemates. Vrbata played most of his first season in Vancouver with Henrik Sedin orNick Bonino as his center, and it went well. His second one was mostly with Bo Horvat orJared McCann, and there just wasn’t chemistry with the youngsters. In the “right situation,” he could put up 20 goals again and nobody would be too surprised.
Jiri Hudler — Like Vrbata, he had a great 2014-15 (31 goals) and a less great 2015-16 (16 goals). But Hudler still put up 46 points in 72 games last season, and that’s not too shabby. Granted, he didn’t have a very productive postseason for the Panthers, finishing with just one assist in six games, and that probably didn’t help him on July 1. But Hudler is still only 32, three years younger than Vrbata. He’s got some hockey left in him.
Brandon Pirri — He’s only 25 and he has 49 goals in 166 NHL games. That’s the good part. The major red flag is the fact he’s already been traded twice, first in 2014 from Chicago to Florida, then in February from Florida to Anaheim. Pirri may never be great defensively. In fact, he may never be good defensively. But perhaps on a deeper team where he could be sheltered a bit, he’d be a worthwhile gamble (for a cap hit that could be buried in the minors if it doesn’t work out.)
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