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In this file photo, centerman Leafs Mikhail Grabovski (right) and the Rangers Brian Boyle focus on the puck before a face-off during the third period of the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 defeat of the New York Rangers hockey game at the ACC in Toronto on May 8, 2013. Grabovski could make an attractive free agent signing for the right NHL team writes David Shoalts.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

The remainder bin from the NHL free-agent sale is thin on star quality but full of role players and those who offer the temptation of being a rare find but also come with enough baggage to make the gamble awfully risky for general managers.

Most of these players will have to wait for teams to sort out their salary-cap situations before they will find employment.

While listed just two teams, the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, as being over next season's $64.3-million (all currency U.S.) cap, some teams near the cap that still have to look at signing restricted free agents from their own roster first and others are taking a breather after Friday's wild auction before looking around again.

What follows is a list of the best of the rest:


1. Tim Thomas. The 39-year-old offers much temptation, as he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the 2011 playoffs when the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup. But - and there are a couple of big ones here - Thomas sat out last season for reasons that are not entirely clear, and that is not a great idea for someone his age. Also, his politics and quirky personality make him a difficult fit in many dressing rooms. There are not many teams looking for a goalie and a few of the ones that might be, the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers, have young teams that would not benefit from a character like Thomas.

2. Ilya Bryzgalov. The baggage is quite deep at this position, obviously. Bryzgalov, 33, was the NHL's leading eccentric before being bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers. He is also someone GMs would have to think hard about before introducing him to their dressing rooms. But during his Phoenix Coyotes days, Bryzgalov proved he can be excellent in the right defensive system, which might make him attractive to a team looking for some insurance.

3. Johan Hedberg. He lost his job last week when the New Jersey Devils were the beneficiaries of Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis botching his goaltender predicament and wound up with Cory Schneider. He is 40 years old but has at least one season left as a backup and is a salt-of-the-earth type who would be an excellent mentor to a young No. 1 goalie.


1. Douglas Murray. The Bruins made him look awfully slow when they ran over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs. But Murray, 33, would be a good fit as a fifth or sixth defenceman because he is physical, can still play well in his own end and provide leadership.

2. Ron Hainsey. He is another fifth or sixth defenceman who is not flashy and decent in his own end. Hainsey, 32, ate up a lot of minutes for the Winnipeg Jets but is more suited to the third pairing. He, too, provides leadership in the dresssing room, as shown by his prominence with the NHL Players' Association during the lockout.

3. Ryan Whitney. He might be tempting as the next Sheldon Souray, who was also pushed aside by the Edmonton Oilers and came back to help another team. Whitney fell from grace after an ankle injury three years ago but at 30 could still help someone.


1. Dan Cleary. He is on the sidelines thanks to the Detroit Red Wings grabbing Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss on Friday but is a well-respected role player who always plays well in the playoffs. Cleary, 34, had 10 points in 14 playoff games for the Red Wings and would be a fit for a Stanley Cup contender looking for some grit and leadership.

2. Damien Brunner. He, too, is a former Red Wing but after making waves as a 27-year-old rookie, Brunner is looking for more money and a bigger role elsewhere. He should find it, as Brunner proved in the playoffs he is ready for a spot among someone's top six forwards.

3. Mikhail Grabovski. Bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs because he is too one-dimensional for head coach Randy Carlyle, Grabovski is a tricky consideration. He can be a good No. 2 centre, as his total of 109 points in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons showed. But his so-so defensive work means he would work best for a team that needs a little more offence and help on the power play more than anything else.

There are a few more players who will help as much as some of those mentioned, such as winger Jaromir Jagr, but all come with warnings, such as age in Jagr's case, or a reputation for taking it easy (Dustin Penner) or an injury history (Peter Mueller).

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