The Free Agent class is weak this season as many of the top players were signed to long term deals prior to the lockout. With few marquee players being available some of the second and third tier players may get offers they wouldn’t have normally received.
Chad Larose: Larose is 31 and has never broken the 20 goal plateau even though he has played significant time on the top 2 lines in Carolina. In the lockout shortened season he only managed to score twice and notch a total of 4 points even though he played on a line with Eric Staal late in the season. Larose may be classified as a grinder, but he lacks the size and physicality to truly earn that title. He may fit into some team’s fourth line.
Ryane Clowe: Clowe was dealt to the Rangers at the deadline and scored 3 goals for his new team. An injury kept him from contributing in the playoffs. While Clowe may bring some grit to a new team, and he has scored above 20 goals twice, his type of physical play doesn’t bode well for players over the age of 30. He isn’t worth the $4,000,000 he earned this season, but could fit into a 4th line role somewhere.
Simon Gagne: Injuries derailed his once promising career. Gagne was dealt back to the Flyers this season and ended up scoring 11 points in 27 games for the team. While he could contribute for someone this year, he isn’t a top 6 forward and he lacks the grit to roll with a 3rd or 4th line. He hasn’t scored above 17 goals in a season since 2008-2009.
Tim Thomas: We all know goalies are head-cases, and Thomas definitely fits into the stereotype. While he may be an intriguing player for a team in need of a goalie his year off from the game and age make him a huge gamble. He’s 39 and while he was great in Boston, he’s played all over the world in his career and has played in 378 NHL games. He may get a look from a team, but it is hard to know if Thomas can regain his old form. A hip injury slowed him re-Stanley Cup winning season and could be an issue after a long layoff.
Jaromir Jagr: Jagr had a decent season notching a total of 16 goals in 45 games. This total would have worked out to 30 goals in an 82 game season. His 19 goals and 54 points with the Flyers last season were a surprise after he spent the previous 3 seasons in the KHL. While Jagr looked good in the regular season, his scoring touch vanished in the playoffs this season and last. Jagr scored just 1 time in his past 33 playoff games. His lone goal coming as a member of the Flyers. While Jagr is a guaranteed Hall of Famer and one of the best players in the history of the NHL, but his time as a productive NHL player is winding down. The compacted lockout schedule wore him down as the season went on and the upcoming season will be longer and have a similar schedule due to the Olympics (in which Jagr will play). He could fit into a team in the Eastern Division with less of a travel schedule, but teams should be wary. Jagr set-up some great plays in the 2013 playoffs but his defensive play and long shifts were liabilities.