After the rush of free agency signings pass in the first week of July, plenty of recent NHL regulars are left standing, as in a surreal game of professional musical chairs. By mid-July, most teams have a pretty good idea of what they expect their opening day rosters to look like, barring perhaps the identity of the fourth line LW, or the seventh D-man. Many good, proven, NHL-caliber players are left on the outside looking in, wondering if they will be able to continue to play the game they love, the only profession they have ever known, come October.
Some players panic early and sign on in Europe, as was the case this past summer with Rob Niedermayer, who signed with HC Lugano of the Swiss League on July 2, or Alexander Frolov, who returned to his native Russia, to sign for Avangard Omsk, before the free agency period even began. Other players hold out hope, as many teams find themselves in a bind as the summer wears on. Whether a defenseman is proving too slow to return from a serious injury, or a young forward does not yet look ready to take a regular role in the NHL, jobs can magically appear from nothing. Today's analysis will focus on a few key players who have had to wait to find a team this offseason.
Signed D Chris Campoli to a one-year contract worth $1.75 million (Sep. 26, 2011)