The summer is starting to crawl into the dog days of hockey season, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any value left on the free agent market for teams to consider.
Late last summer, the Maple Leafs invited Mason Raymond out to training camp without a contract. He ended up signing for a paltry $1,000,000 (by NHL standards) and producing 19 goals and 45 points. With that in mind, here are a few possible value buys among the players still without a job.
*Note: I’m not claiming every player listed is a fit for the Leafs specifically. This is just a rundown of what is still out there.
Daniel Winnik, LW/C
29 years old, 6’2, 6Gs-24As-30PTS in 76 games, 47.6% CF
Primarily a winger, Winnik can also sub in at C on occasion and provide secondary scoring along with penalty killing. He didn’t get one point on the power play last season, but four of his 30 were recorded while shorthanded. Winnik’s point total this year was a career high, but he has consistently been able to play a checking role, not get completely dominated in doing so, and chip in some even strength scoring over the course of is career. He also adds some size to any bottom 6 as he is well over 200 pounds.
David Moss, RW
Turning 33 in December, 6’4, 8Gs-14As-22PTS in 79 games, 52.2% CF
Moss is very similar to Winnik in that he is a good checking winger who can hold his own in a defensive role, produce in even strength minutes at a reasonable rate, kill penalties, and bring some size. The difference with Moss is that he’s older, taller, and has more of a scoring pedigree. He has 17 and 20 goal seasons under his belt, and really if he stayed healthy in Calgary he would have had a pretty productive career as a Flame. Not that it matters, but Moss is also cousins with Phil Kessel.
David Booth, LW
Turning 30 in November, 6’0, 9Gs-10As-19PTS in 66 games, 52% CF
Leafs fans might remember Booth because the Leafs coveted him way back when, when they traded Bryan McCabe to the Panthers. He has had injuries problems since then that have derailed his career, but he remains solid at forechecking, cycling, and driving the net. When he came back from his major concussion he did have a 23 goal season the following year, before getting traded to Vancouver where he had a 16 goal season. He might still have some scoring left in him. Although he is 6’0 flat, he is thick, as he’s listed as over 210 pounds. Of interest to Leafs fans is that he’s had success with Santorelli in both Florida and Vancouver.
Devin Setoguchi, RW
27 years old, 6’2, 11Gs-16As-27PTS in 75 games, 49% CF
Setoguchi had 27 points in the lockout-shortened season a year before in Minnesota, and is still a relatively young player at only 27 years old. “Seto” has a good shot and is able to beat goalies from the top of the circle; last year’s 8.5% shooting percentage was well below his career average 11.3%. He has some speed and hustle to create turnovers, and he’s had 20 or more goals three times, as well as one 19-goal year. He has never scored less than 10 goals in an NHL season and that includes his 44 game rookie year and the lockout season.
Ryan Carter, LW
Turning 31 this year, 6’1, 7Gs- 3As- 10PTS in 62 games, 51.2% CF
Carter isn’t anything special, but he brings a lot of things to the table that good teams need from the bottom of the roster. He kills penalties, is physical, can chip in a few odd goals, and he draws penalties which is a nice perk (+10 penalty differential last year). Signing guys out of Jersey is always a little frightening because their system seems to cater to this type of player (see Clarkson, David) but he brings more than a few things to the table and is a pretty under the radar player on the whole.
There are quite a few “name” omissions such as Steve Ott, Ray Whitney, Ryan Malone, Ville Leino, Dany Heatley, Mike Ribeiro and Dustin Penner, but this aforementioned group is some combination of old, unproductive, disinterested, and/or an off-ice problem. I chose not to list them. Lee Stempniak might make a good depth signing for some team, but we all know about him by this point.
That’s that for the forwards. Later on we’ll take look at a few defensemen.
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