All week leading up to July 1, we’ll be profiling unrestricted free agents and speculating where they might end up.
Bryan Allen (D)
2011-12 cap hit: $2.9 million
The skinny: The ‘Canes tried to re-sign Allen, but it didn’t go well. Now, short of the Hurricanes trading his rights, it looks like he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Allen doesn’t excite people with his point production, but he is a capable defensive defenseman. He recorded 111 hits and finished fourth in the league with 188 blocked shots last season, intriguing numbers for any team and especially ones with eyes on the playoffs.
Allen is coming off of a five-year, $14.5 million deal and might seek similar terms for what could be the last big contract of his career. That might appeal to teams that lose out on one of the bigger name defensemen, like Ryan Suter, or don’t feel capable of entering into that bidding war in the first place.
As for suitors…
According to the Orange County Register, the Ducks are among the teams angling for defensive defenseman and could afford a “second-tier” UFA like Allen.
The Pioneer Press suggested that Minnesota might go after Allen if they fail to get Suter, and the Philadelphia Flyers are another potential destination.
More UFA spotlights
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.