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Arnott to Wellwood: NHL Free Agents Still Unsigned

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Three free agents at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Three free agents at opposite ends of the spectrum.

The big chips have fallen in a northern land, the little ex-Islander chips continue to find new homes, but there are still many useful yet unsigned NHL free agents who you can bet will find homes.

I don't know what the future holds for a Milan Jurcina or a Mark Eaton, but Matt Carle's signing in Tampa Bay means Carlo Colaiacovo moves to the front of the line of decent unrestricted free agent blueliners. With the Blues having re-signed RFA David Perron for four years, $15.25 million and fellow RFA TJ Oshie filing for arbitration, they'll be getting raises that may push Colaiacovo out of the budget in St. Louis.

Colaiacovo represents a nice albeit injury-prone lower-pairing defenseman, but the Blues also have a couple of other quality depth UFAs at forward: Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner. Both are interested in staying with the Blues -- and if they must flee, they are in the "shop for a contender" phase of their careers -- so a match with the Islanders is quite unlikely.

Meanwhile, the Islanders have prospects they'd love to have win regular jobs (Surely David Ullstrom. Nino Niederreiter?), so it's hard to see them entering a bidding war that escalates the price of third- or fourth-line help. But help, they could still use -- and with guys like Kyle Wellwood and Dominic Moore and even Gilbert Brule still out there, the fan's covetous eye wanders...

Then there are the top "not gonna happen" targets who remain unsigned: Alexander Semin, because ... because nobody quite knows, and Shane Doan, because he'd really like to be able to re-up with the Coyotes.

Beyond that, suspects and projects:

  • Winger Andrei Kostitsyn, surely left behind by Nashville;
  • Daniel Winnik, another bottom-six Shark;
  • Old Islanders pal Jason Blake, whose contract is up in Anaheim;
  • Salvage projects Wojtek Wolski, Peter Mueller and Eric Fehr, who each offer upside with question marks;
  • On the blueline, Pavel Kubina, Michal Roszival, Jaroslav Spacek and even ex-Isles Radek Martinek and Chris Campoli fill out the pool of blueliners who teams would have once loved to add but now have reason to be wary.

The post-Parise/Suter activity hasn't completely died out yet, but things are slowing down. Many of these players will have to weigh "wait and see" feelers, European interest, or tough choices like picking up and moving for little guarantee or staying put and hoping the phone rings with a better offer as teams miss out on other options.

We'll see how many are left by the end of the month. For a list of UFAs, check CapGeek or the UFA trackers at USA Today and TSN.

Not Only, But Also

Of course the big unsigned free agent the Islanders still have is RFA Matt Martin. That one could go a lot of different directions, and since he was qualified in June news on that front could come at any time this summer.

Meanwhile, in case all of this becomes moot: The CBA discussions resumed today in "business-like" fashion, with the Islanders heavily represented on the NHLPA side.