THE BANDWAGON PERSPECTIVE
Over the next few weeks, I will be reviewing the four positions and the free agents who remain unsigned coming into the 2019 season. Give me your feedback! If you disagree, call me out on it and try to change my mind! I’ll personally reply to you.
With only 19 days left until the beginning of the 2019 NHL season, there are still a number of free agents without a contract for this upcoming season. Let’s go through a few of these (notable) names and where I think they will end up, including how my speculation on the contracts they may receive.
Let’s start with the centers:
Vermette entered the NHL back in the 2003-’04 season with the Ottawa Senators and posted a less-than-spectacular rookie season, notching 7 goals and 14 points in 57 games with the club. The 36-year-old middleman and 4-time 20-goal scorer played his last two years with the Anaheim Ducks as a bottom six forward, where he failed to score double-digits goals in either season. The veteran center has never really been a shutdown option, which will hurt his valued in free agency as it seems he is no longer to keep up with today’s NHL, even in a bottom-six capacity.
IF Vermette is signed this season – and I really mean IF – look for it to be a young team where he may be able to help some younger players transition into their careers in the NHL.
The 26-year-old could never really get things together at the NHL level posting only 4 goals and 6 points in 75 career NHL games with four NHL clubs. Hamilton was, most recently, claimed off waivers by the Arizona Coyotes from Calgary where he went on to be held without a point in his 8 games with the Yotes.
There is still a lot of upside with the 26-year-old Canadian – perhaps enough for a team to take a shot at him this season. Hamilton seems to do fairly well at the AHL level. If Hamilton doesn’t find a club in North America, look for him to end up somewhere in Europe.
Much like Freddie Hamilton, Nick Shore is another young (25) center that could never really get things done at the NHL level. Shore went through some excellent seasons in the AHL with the LA Kings’ affiliate team, scoring 20 goals and 42 points in 38 games after being sent down to the AHL after only potting one goal and 6 points in 34 games with the Kings in 2015. Shore helped lead the Manchester Monarchs to a Calder Cup Championship, going 15-4 while scoring 4 goals and 18 points in 19 playoff games.
Nick Shore could be a decent fourth-line center for any team at this point. Shore has played for 3 different teams in the last year. Surely someone can decide on this 25-year-old dart throw. What’s there to lose?