The Next Tier of Free Agents

In Penguins territory after the draft the talk has been all about Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, with a small percentage of time going to Keith Yandle.  With the salary cap room that the Penguins organization now has they figure to be players on July 1 when free agency opens up.  The next few days will have many rumors that virtually assure a player will sign or that talks haven't even began.  So it is worth looking beyond Suter and Parise to see what else there may be to fill voids. These are role players that will not make the impact of Suter, Parise, or Alexander Semin.  Would you like to see any of these players join your team? 1. Bryan Allen, D

Allen was in Carolina last year and he was part of trade rumors this past season, but ended up staying with the Hurricanes.  He gained notoriety around the trade deadline and finished the season with 14 points.  He was durable playing all 82 games despite being a physical presence in almost every game.  With Suter and Yandle being above the rest of the defensemen available, Allen and others listed here would be second or third options.  If Matt Niskanen resigns with the Penguins the team would seemingly avoid early negotiations with other blue liners.

2. Jason Garrison, D
Garrison is 27 and may test the market but it feels like he will remain in Florida.  He scored 16 goals last year and was bad of the resurgence with the Panthers getting some power play time as well.  He was called upon as part as the penalty kill unit for over two minutes a game as well.  His versatility and age may give him an overall edge over Allen, but it will depend on the type of player general manager Ray Shero fills the team needs.  

3. P.A. Parenteau, RW
Pierre-Alexandre was third on a bad Islanders team in scoring and finished the season with 49 assists.  He is not getting much attention as he seems to be dismissed because he played on a line with John Tavares.  Can he produce without a superstar alongside? Parise and Ray Whitney are the only two free agents to have outscored Parenteau last year.  He will be looking for more than his $1.25 million that he earned last year but could be a solid deal for someone.

4. Brad Boyes, RW
Boyes is a system player and just needs to find his fit.  He has not made any impact in Buffalo under Lindy Ruff, but showed plenty of talent in St. Louis.  He may be a wild card and it would not be a surprise to see him go unsigned for a few days or weeks as teams sort out their roster.  He finished the year with 23 points on an inconsisten Sabres team.  

5. Daniel Winnik, LW
Winnik is a defensive minded forward that led Colorado in shorthanded time on ice before joining the Sharks.  He can be counted on for 20 points a year and delivering a hit or blocking a shot.  The Shark do not have much flexibility but figure to at least talk with Winnik as he may have an elevated role were he to stay in San Jose.  The 27 year old had a cap hit of just under a million last year.  


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