All week leading up to Sunday, July 1, we’ll be profiling unrestricted free agents and speculating where they might end up.
Hal Gill (D)
2011-12 cap hit: $2.25 million
Acquiring Gill was part of Nashville’s “all in” approach at the trade deadline and, for the most part, those moves blew up in GM David Poile’s face. Gill wasn’t an exception — acquired to play in the postseason, he was only healthy enough for five playoff games — but circumstances might open the door for his return.
The Predators are going to bleed free agents this summer, and Ryan Suter’s potential departure would require the heaviest stitching. Suter’s absence could help justify bringing Gill back, especially since Poile is on record of saying he wants size on the blueline.
That said, nostalgia might guide his course. Gill told Dave Stubbs that he still loves Montreal and it’s reasonable to assume Montreal might be interested in bringing him back for a second run.
If those two destinations don’t work out, Gill makes plenty of sense as a depth defenseman on a contender. While he can be exposed as a pylon at times, his value jumps in the playoffs. Much like in basketball, hockey’s pace slows down to the puck equivalent to “half-court offense” far more often, which suits Gill’s rugged, shot-blocking style.
More UFA spotlights