As Halford mentioned earlier, the list of pending unrestricted free agent defensemen is getting pretty thin. Here are the few notables that could be available July 1.
Ryan Suter – But you already knew that, so let’s move on.
Dennis Wideman – The 29-year-old has said he wants to stay in Washington, but his contract demands could be steep given the 46 points he put up in 2011-12. The Caps might be better served spending their money elsewhere. Obviously they’ll be hoping Mike Green won’t miss as much time next season, and young John Carlson could take on more of an offensive role if Wideman moves on.
Jason Garrison – Talks between the Panthers and the 27-year-old have yet to produce a deal. Though he’s best known for the 16 goals he scored in 2011-12 playing alongside Brian Campbell, Garrison brings more to the table than a cannon from the point – he’s a big guy that can play in all situations and doesn’t mind getting his nose dirty.
Matt Carle – The 27-year-old logged 25:19 per game in the playoffs and wants to stay in Philadelphia. In fact, he might already have re-signed if not for the “tagging rule” that prevents teams from exceeding this year’s salary cap in commitments for next season.
Other pending UFA d-men below the age of 35 include Michal Rozsival, Bryan Allen and Shane O’Brien.
Elder statesmen include Hal Gill, Jaroslav Spacek, Sami Salo and Bryce Salvador.
Are we forgetting anyone?
Oh, Jeff Finger. His contract’s up, too.
Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.
Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.
The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.