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For all 31 NHL teams, pre-season training camps are underway and most managers have selected their final panel, but for a select few, there are spaces let in the match-day squads for a few more additions. One variable that limits team from signing last minute free agents is the annually salary cap.
The actual amount of the cap varies on a year-to-year basis, and is calculated as a percentage of the League’s revenue from the previous season. So management have to keep a close eye on how the revenue of the NHL changes from year to year. Here is a run through of the best free agents available:
Jagr, formally of the Florida Panthers, become unattached when the Panthers decided not to re-sign him for the forthcoming season. During an interview in his native Czech Republic, Jagr stated his intentions and his desire to get back into the NHL.
He also confirmed that the Calgary Flames have shown interest in taking him back into the National Hockey League. Jagr is a phenomenal player and the accolades have shown that. He was voted one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players.
During 23 NHL seasons he has played for eight different sides. He had 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) in 82 games last season, where he became the third player in NHL history to score 750 goals, joining the legend duo of Gordie Howe (801) and Wayne Gretzky (894).
Released by the Los Angeles Kings at the end of last year, the 40 year old Canadian is desperate to continue his professional Ice Hockey career in the NHL.
He racked up 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) in 80 games last season, including nine points (six goals, three assists) in 19 games for the LA Kings in the season gone by.
He might be at the end of his coveted career, but Iginla could still be a useful asset for any NHL side. For any team needing some experience in the big games including the play-offs, Iginla has 68 points (37 goals, 31 assists) in 81 Stanley Cup Playoff games, which include 22 (13 goals, nine assists) during his run to the Stanley Cup Final in ’04.
The Buffalo News have reported that multiple teams have expressed their interest in signing Gionta, who is currently weighing up his options and staying in shape, in order to be ready to start the new season.
Gionta, 38, had a prolific 2016/17 season with 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) in 82 games for the Buffalo Sabres. During his three year stint with the Sabres, the American registered 103 points (40 goals, 63 assists) in 230 games during three seasons in Buffalo.
Another Czech national that is currently an unrestricted free agent is Jiri Hudler. The 33 year old hasn’t played since the 23rd March because of a groin injury suffered playing for the Dallas Stars against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The former Stanley Cup winner with Detroit Red Wings in 2008 has 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists) in 83 play-offs matches. After beginning his career in the Czech Extraliga with HC Vsetín, Hudler was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.
Hudler also played for Dynamo Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League for one season before the team was merged to form UHC Dynamo.
Athanasiou scored 29 points (18 goals, 11 assists) in 64 games last season and was one of the few bright sparks for the Red Wings attack, who finished 26th in scoring (2.41 goals per game).
The 23-year-old forward reportedly cannot agree on a new contract with the Detroit Red Wings and has offers to play in the Kontinental Hockey League if he cannot sort himself out.
Another factor which complicates Athanasiou’s transfer is the fact that Detroit are currently $3,021,212 over the $75 million NHL salary cap. This could also signal the departure of forwards Dylan Larkin, 21, and Anthony Mantha, 22, who both could become a restricted free agent on July 1.