Top 10 remaining unrestricted free agents: Latest reports

Daren Millard, Nick Kypreos, Doug MacLean and Mike Johnson recap the first day of free agency in the NHL.

Training camps are underway, and the NHL free agents remaining on the board might be looking to lower their asking price, expand their list of desirable teams or, as we’ve seen with James Wisniewski and Kris Versteeg, sign on for a professional tryout.

Here is a list of the best unemployed NHL talent, plus an update on the latest reports surrounding their future.

Happy bargain hunting, GMs.

1. Kris Russell
Age: 29
Position: Defence
2015-16 salary cap hit: $2.6 million

The world’s greatest shot-blocker logged heavy minutes once being traded from Calgary to Dallas, chipping in 19 points on the season while staying out of the box. Russell’s 10 penalty minutes were the fewest among the Stars’ defence core. Overrated according to the analytics community, Russell could still improve many teams’ top four.

The Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and Vancouver Canucks all reportedly expressed interest at some point this summer.

On July 16, the Toronto Sun reported that the Maple Leafs never made an offer and “have no interest at all in the free agent.” Russell’s agent, Allain Roy, has denied a report that he turned down an offer from Toronto.

Eight teams are reportedly still in conversations with Roy about his client. The Ottawa Senators and Russell’s former club, the Calgary Flames, have recently been linked.

2. James Wisniewski
Age: 32
Position: Defence
2015-16 salary cap hit: $5.5 million

Poor Wisniewski played just one period in 2015-16 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. That he was bought out of the final year of his contract by the Carolina Hurricanes means he must have passed a physical.

He’s a right-shot defenceman who can run a power play and is worth a gamble if the price is reasonable.

The Tampa Bay Lightning signed Wisniewski to a PTO on Aug. 10, giving him a chance to join a legit contender.

3. Kyle Quincey
Age: 30
Position: Defence
2015-16 salary cap hit: $4.25 million

Quincey is a dependable, stay-at-home D-man with more than 500 games of NHL experience (including playoffs). The new husband contributed 11 points in 47 games in 2015-16, averaging 19:45 in ice time per game for the Detroit Red Wings. GM Ken Holland has no intention to bring him back. The Devils are one speculated option here as Quincey trains in Colorado.

4. Patrik Elias
Age: 40
Position: Left wing
2015-16 salary cap hit: $5.5 million

The New Jersey Devils’ franchise leader in goals (408), assists (617) and points (1,025) is recovering from knee surgery in attempt to prolong his distinguished career. Taking the same approach as Teemu Sleanne did late in his career, the forward believes it’s a one-year pact with New Jersey or retirement. He wants to be healthy and ready enough to be a contributor this season.

“He desperately wants to play one more year,” Elias’s agent, Allan Walsh, told Sportsnet. “We’re not talking to other teams. If Patrik is able to play at the level he expects himself to play, if he can contribute to a team, I think New Jersey would very much love to have him back.”

Devils GM Ray Shero has said he’s taking a wait-and-see approach based on the player’s health.

“We want to make sure we’re on the same page on things, which is, he’ll continue to skate on his own and we’ll kind of see where he is,” Shero told Tuesday.

“There’s no decision on our end or his end. There’s certainly none to make at this point because he, at this point, doesn’t know when he [can] start to push. When he does that, how’s it going to react? And we’ll see exactly where we are as a team at that point anyway. So we’re going to keep an open mind both ways, but it’s great having Patrik around and I’m happy he’s back.”

5. Dennis Seidenberg
Age: 35
Position: Defence
2015-16 salary cap hit: $4 million

The Boston Bruins bought out the veteran D-man’s contract in June to clear space for their re-signing of Torey Krug. Seidenberg, a six-foot German, won’t wow anyone but he’s a dependable stay-at-home defenceman. He had 12 points in 61 games last year.

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that the Senators kicked tires here.

“I’ve kind of turned the page,” Seidenberg, who is playing significant minutes for Team Europe in the World Cup, told the Boston Globe. “But then again, my family’s still in Boston. They started school in Boston. So you always think about something you’re still with but you’re not. So it was something that was obviously disappointing. But it doesn’t really matter right now. I have to go into this tournament, play my game, and hopefully something comes up.”

6. Alex Tanguay
Age: 36
Position: Left wing
2015-16 cap hit: $3.5 million

Fun fact: Tanguay quietly put up 13 points in 18 games for the Arizona Coyotes after being traded from Colorado for the younger, stronger Mikkel Boedker, who only had 12 points for the Avs.

Tanguay’s agent told La Presse‘s Marc-Antoine Godin that two or three teams are interested in signing his client, who’s willing to accept a one-year deal.

An NHL veteran of 1,088 games and 863 points, Tanguay is waiting for a guaranteed contract and isn’t so keen on on taking the PTO route.

7. Tuomo Ruutu
Age: 33
Position: Right wing
2015-16 cap hit: $4.75 million

Is this the end for Ruutu, the ninth overall pick in the 2001 NHL Draft? Injuries slowed him last season, but when he returned he struggled to put any kind of a footprint on the score sheet, posting just one assist in 33 games with the Devils. Injuries have followed Ruutu through most of his career and he hasn’t seen a post-season game since 2009.

Ruutu will battle for a spot on the Vancouver Canucks in training camp, having landed a PTO on Sept. 13.

8. Tomas Fleischmann
Age: 32
Position: Left wing
2015-16 cap hit: $750,000

Fleischmann was a central figure in the Florida Panthers’ charge to the playoffs five years ago, leading the team with 27 goals and 61 points. He’s been in decline since, even though he’s just 32 — last season he managed just 14 goals and 25 points with Montreal and Chicago. Fleischmann will come cheap again and could be a good option for a team looking for a veteran presence and decent speed on the third line.

Eight teams were reportedly willing to go as far as a PTO with the veteran winger, including the Minnesota Wild.

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher invited the forward but told the Star Tribune that Fleischmann didn’t pass his physical and won’t be attending camp. The reason is unknown.

Fletcher said out of respect for Fleischmann, he would provide no more details.

“I just said goodbye to him,” Boudreau told the newspaper after Day 2 of camp was complete. “He’s such a good person, it’s unfortunate. So I hope he catches on somewhere else. It’s just a disappointment. I like him enough that I want to see him succeed somewhere.”

9. Kris Versteeg
Age: 30
Position: Left wing
2015-16 cap hit: $4.4 million

“We had a lot of teams interested in PTOs and talked about them all. Me and my agent kind of sat back and talked about where a good fit for me would be if I could make the lineup and earn a contract,” Versteeg told Oilers Nation.

“The big thing was if I come and play and get to play with guys around me and seeing the calibre of players here was very exciting. Another thing was it being near home, and trying to play in front of my friends and family.”

10. Christian Ehrhoff
Age: 34
Position: Defence
2015-16 cap hit: $1.5 million

A 50-point man during the Canucks’ 2011 run to the Stanley Cup Final, Ehrhoff has fallen far. He shuffled between three teams last season, and one of them was the Ontario Reign. That said, a weaker team could still use his presence and power-play abilities on its bottom four. Ehrhoff hopes his solid play for Team Europe in the World Cup can raise his tumbling stock, and he has a number of PTO offers to choose from.

Other notables: Karri Ramo, David Legwand, Nick Spaling, Barret Jackman, R.J. Umberger, Mike Richards, Joni Ortio, Ilya Bryzgalov, Matt Bartkowski, Marek Zidlicky, Jiri Tlusty, Brad Boyes, Stephen Gionta, Adam Pardy, Devin Setoguchi, Paul Bissonnette, James Sheppard, Raffi Torres, Brandon Prust

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