NHL·Analysis

NHL free agency: Hudler, Doan headline players still unsigned

There aren't many quality options left on the NHL free agent market following a wild opening day that claimed all of the top names available.

Few options remain after a busy weekend on the open market

Free agent Jiri Hudler's production dipped dramatically following a 76-point 2014-15 season with the Calgary Flames. (Norm Hall/NHLI/Getty Images)

The biggest names flew off the board quickly when NHL free agency opened on July 1 as money and term went to the most sought after options within minutes of the clock striking noon.

The market has slowed since the conclusion of holiday weekends in both Canada and the United States and there aren't many free agents still up for grabs. 

But here are the best of the leftovers after the dust of a busy signing period has settled:

Jiri Hudler

​Last contract: 4 years, $16M US

The 32-year-old's stock dropped slightly this past season, which he split between the Calgary Flames and the Florida Panthers after a trade-deadline swap sent him to Florida. 

After a career-best 76-point season in 2014-15, Hudler had only 16 goals and 46 points last year. That high-scoring campaign was likely an anomaly but he could still be depended on for at least 40 points a season. 

Coyotes captain Shane Doan reportedly remains committed to Arizona but was still without a contract when free agency opened. (Glenn James/NHLI/Getty Images)

Shane Doan

Last contract: 4 years, $21.2M US

All reports indicate that the 39-year-old captain of the Arizona Coyotes has no plans to leave the organization that drafted him seventh overall in 1995 (when they were still the original incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets). 

The 18-year NHL veteran will turn 40 at the start of the 2016-17 season but his production has remained fairly consistent in the past five years. Doan tallied 17 power-play goals and 28 total this past season, which was his highest mark since the 2008-09 campaign. 

Free agent defenceman Kris Russell is mostly known for his high shot blocking totals but he could still be a draw on this year's thin blueline market. (Glenn James/NHLI/Getty Images)

Kris Russell

Last contract: 2 years, $5.2M US

Another player involved in the Flames' trade-deadline fire sale, the 29-year-old also saw a drop last year following a career-best season with Calgary in 2014-15 but could still draw attention due to the thin market for defencemen. 

Russell is primarily known for his high shot-blocking totals (he had 210 last season) but he finished the year a minus-5 with four goals and 19 points in 62 games for Calgary and the Dallas Stars. Having said that, he's still one of the best blue-liners left. 

Winger Radim Vrbata is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career with the Vancouver Canucks. (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Getty Images)

Radim Vrbata

Last contract: 2 years, $10M US

Originally signed to play alongside the Sedin twins, the 35-year-old Vrbata is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career after a disastrous year with the Vancouver Canucks. 

He followed up a career-high 63-point 2014-15 season with a paltry 27-point campaign and a career-worst minus-30 rating. However, he could be a good budget scoring option as he racked up more than 40 points in each of his prior seven full seasons. 

Forward Brandon Pirri brings youth and scoring to the free agent market but may be limited in other areas of his game. (Graig Abel/NHLI/Getty Images)

Brandon Pirri

Last contract: 2 years, $1.85M

If the 25-year-old Pirri can stay healthy and remain consistent, he would be a bargain for a team looking for a goal-scorer after the Anaheim Ducks decided against making a qualifying offer.

With 49 goals in 166 games, the forward could offer some scoring depth. Unfortunately, the common knock is that's probably the only obvious asset he can bring. His best season came with the Panthers in 2014-15, when he scored 22 goals and had only two assists in 49 contests. 

Best of the rest:

  • F Brad Richards
  • F Kris Versteeg
  • F Patrik Elias
  • F Jimmy Vesey
  • ​F Jarret Stoll
  • ​D Luke Schenn
  • D Justin Schultz
  • D Matt Bartkowski
  • D Dennis Seidenberg
  • ​D Kyle Quincey
  • ​G Karri Ramo
  • ​G Jhonas Enroth

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