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Pavel Kubina

The Associated Press

It's a long, long way from July 1.

But even six and a half months after the opening of free agency, there are still quite a few tortured souls out there, waiting for the NHL's new collective agreement to be ratified on Saturday in order to finally sign with teams.

The average team at this point already has more than 20 players under contract, meaning that not all of these 27 players will find an NHL home.

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Some are even playing in Europe still but holding out hope they'll get a call to come back to the big leagues. Others have contract offers that have been sitting there, growing dust, throughout the lockout and can now be signed.

The stats listed are all courtesy capgeek.com and from last season.

 

Forwards

Pos

Age

Team

GP

G

A

P

Ice time

1

Sykora, Petr

R

36

NJ

82

21

23

44

15.90

2

Arnott, Jason

C

38

STL

72

17

17

34

14.08

3

Langkow, Daymond

C

36

PHX

73

11

19

30

15.74

4

Brunette, Andrew

L

39

CHI

78

12

15

27

13.54

5

Moore, Dominic

C

32

SJ

79

4

21

25

15.53

6

Rolston, Brian

L

39

BOS

70

7

17

24

14.27

7

Dvorak, Radek

R

35

DAL

73

4

17

21

14.27

8

Knuble, Mike

R

40

WAS

72

6

12

18

13.93

9

Blake, Jason

L

39

ANA

45

7

5

12

14.13

10

Darche, Mathieu

L

36

MON

61

5

7

12

12.11

11

Kostopoulos, Tom

R

33

CGY

81

4

8

12

12.32

12

Morrison, Brendan

C

37

CHI

39

4

7

11

13.33

13

Winchester, Brad

L

31

SJ

67

6

4

10

7.81

14

Hecht, Jochen

C

35

BUF

22

4

4

8

16.82

15

Hunter, Trent

R

32

LA

38

2

5

7

10.08

16

Sturm, Marco

L

34

FLA

48

3

2

5

12.31

17

Bitz, Byron

R

28

VAN

10

1

3

4

10.40

18

Fehr, Eric

R

27

WPG

35

2

1

3

9.69

 

Defencemen

Pos

Age

Team

GP

G

A

P

Ice time

1

Kubina, Pavel

D

35

PHI

69

3

12

15

19.25

2

Jurcina, Milan

D

29

NYI

65

3

8

11

18.75

3

Clark, Brett

D

36

TB

82

2

13

15

18.37

4

Campoli, Chris

D

28

MON

43

2

9

11

17.19

5

Eaton, Mark

D

35

NYI

62

1

3

4

16.05

6

Foster, Kurtis

D

31

MIN

51

4

10

14

15.88

7

Huskins, Kent

D

33

STL

25

2

5

7

15.44

8

White, Colin

D

35

SJ

54

1

3

4

14.94

9

O'Donnell, Sean

D

41

CHI

51

0

7

7

13.51

The first thing that obviously jumps out is the age of a lot of these players. The average is closing in on 35 and at least a handful of them could simply retire without another contract offer.

Those who bring something of obvious value, however, include Sykora, Arnott, Kubina, Moore, Campoli and Dvorak, who can all contribute in a depth role on a good team.

Most of these players have been skating with other NHLers (Arnott in Dallas, Campoli in Toronto, Dvorak in Florida, etc.) near their off-season homes and are on the radar around the league.

Others, like Fehr, have taken to their European teams and may be content to stay playing a bigger role with a European team.

Some further down the list, meanwhile, could well be left without a spot as NHL teams opt for young, cheap players on their third and fourth lines and bottom defence pairing.

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Where there aren't a lot of options is in goal. Someone like Dan Ellis, who has played well while splitting duties in the AHL, might be an option, but beyond that, the choices are slim. Most teams are going to be turning to their affiliate for help in net when they need it.

Not listed here are the restricted free agents out there that still need deals, and there are a few high profile ones. PK Subban, Jamie Benn, Michael Del Zotto, Ryan O'Reilly and Dmitry Kulikov are all unsigned and due significant raises, without which they'll get into a holdout situation in only a few days' time.

Those five – as well as Leafs defenceman Cody Franson, who is still playing over in Sweden – are names to watch for as training camps open on the weekend.

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