The NHL could form a decent expansion team from its unsigned free agents and its veterans forced to attend training camp on a professional tryout.
Offensive defenseman Ryan Whitney would make that expansion team. Back in his heyday with the Penguins, he scored 99 points during a two-season span.
Injuries took a big toll on him in Edmonton. The Oilers tried to move him last season, to no avail, and now he is coming to the Blues camp on a tryout basis.
Unless Alex Pietrangelo holds out through training camp – or one of the key defensemen suffers a catastrophic injury – he is unlikely to make the Blues.
But at least Whitney will boost his visibility while hoping the Blues or another team develops an unexpected need.
The NHL’s one-year salary cap reduction has put many veterans in Whitney’s spot. Most teams are up against the cap and many, like the Blues, still have to sign key restricted free agents.
Some players, like Tomas Kaberle (Russia) and Peter Mueller (Switzerland) have already set their sights on Europe. Others will have to lower their salary expectations.
“There is always a (market) correction that goes on in the month of August or early September,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told USA Today. “Players start out wanting to play for three or four million, but end up playing for a lesser price for one year, thinking they can have a good year and drive their salary next year.”
Here are some other free agents capable of helping a NHL team.