The bone-dry ranks of unrestricted free agent defensemen received an interesting boost once it became clear that Sheldon Souray’s flamethrower slap shot, Mike Commodore’s ruggedness/red afro and Cam Barker’s untapped potential will be added to the mix.
After possibly adding a big chunk of unrestricted free agents to the market on accident thanks to their Dale Tallon-esque qualifying offer issues, the Nashville Predators actually intentionally added one of their players to the unrestricted free agent ranks today. The Predators bought out forward J.P. Dumont, breaking down the $4 million salary from the last year of his contract into a $1.3 million cap hit in both 2011-12 and 12-13.
Dumont could be an interesting gamble for another NHL team (wait for it …) if the price is right. His hot-and-cold game went frigid in 2010-11 as he only scored 19 points in 70 games while averaging a bit more than 11 minutes per night. After peaking in Nashville in 06-07 (66 points), 07-08 (a career-high 72) and 08-09 (65 points), Dumont’s game kept dropping the last two seasons. He went from 45 points in 09-10 to that abysmal 19-point showing in 10-11.
Still, some teams might look at that not-too-long-ago run and wonder if he might be productive on a more offense-first squad. Much like Souray, Dumont doesn’t work at his inflated salary but he might be considered an interesting piece if he keeps his economic goals reasonable. He’s probably a more enticing buyout-turned-free-agent than banged up center Chris Drury, if nothing else.
It’s an understandable move by the Predators, but times could be really tough if the NHLPA’s grievance ends up giving them some serious free agent headaches. Stay tuned for the resolution to that and many other issues during this off-season.