Bartkowski ranks among free agents twisting in the wind

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It says a lot about the bone-dry free agent market that Jason Brough’s five bargains from July 4 could be reused on August 1.

Things must be rough for Radim Vrbata and the four other poor souls, but what about guys who fly significantly lower on the radar?

Give Matt Bartkowski‘s agent Stephen Reich credit; he remained optimistic about his client’s chances in this story from the Vancouver Province’s Jeff Paterson.

“Some teams are definitely interested, but it’ll likely happen closer to the end of summer,” Reich said.

“I’m confident we’ll find a home for him and a place to play. In the meantime, I think the wedding and the honeymoon have both been nice distractions.”

That last sentence is a reminder that, for all the analysis about Bartkowski – and Paterson expertly lays out the pros and cons of his game – there’s a human being dealing with real worries here.

As rough as this postseason must be for the Vrbatas of the world,* Bartkowski faces more of a career-survival-level question.

At 28, he’s still at or around his hockey prime. Still, players best suited for bottom pairing or even seventh defenseman spots have to wonder if they’ll need to ply their trade part-time in the AHL or overseas.

Reich told the Vancouver Province that he believes Bartkowski can land a one-way deal, but who knows?

We’ve seen quality players take a gamble in signing PTOs in years past, and this summer’s market is one of the worst in some time.