THE BANDWAGON PERSPECTIVE
The countdown to the regular season continues. But there are still a number of UFAs who are a little less excited for the start of the season. A couple days ago I looked at a few remaining UFA centers that have still yet to be signed, including veteran forward, Antoine Vermette. That poor old soul…
Let’s shift over to the wingers. Now, before we get into the meat and potatoes of this article, I have to ask… What’s with these wingers? I’d be signing most of these guys in a heartbeat! But I guess that’s why I’m sitting behind this computer writing about these veterans and not running an NHL franchise. Here are the top wingers that remain unsigned:
Although this is more of a case of Rick Nash simply unsure if he wants to play, I still think he should be mentioned in this article.
Nash has been unsure if he wants to return to the NHL for a 16th season and I’m sure his most recent concussion is something to do with it. The 34-year-old winger has had several head injuries throughout his 1000+ game career.
Nash has 437 goals and 805 points through 1,060 games. It was rumoured that both the Boston Bruins and the Columbus Blue Jackets were top contenders for Nash, along with several Western Conference powerhouses. Nash was never able to win the Stanley Cup, but came close in 2014 when the Rangers lost to the Kings.
Jason Chimera has been a solid shutdown forward for his entire career. Drafted in the 5th round in 1997 by the Edmonton Oilers, the 39-year-old has played with five NHL clubs, most recently the New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks in 2018.
Chimera was had a long career playing in over 1,100 games, notching 186 goals and 415 points, mostly as a bottom 6 forward. Perhaps a young team will sign Chimera in a veteran role.
Chris Stewart is a winger who still has some potential and might be worth taking a shot on for a team with enough depth. The 30-year-old has had some issues with penalty minutes in the past but that had drastically improved over the last season with Minnesota and Calgary.
Through 652 games, Stewart has been able to post 160 goals and 321 points with six NHL teams with his best season coming in 2010 with the Colorado Avalanche where he potted 28 goals and 64 points in 77 games. This was a year where Stewart’s PIMs where down compared to other years. If the 6’2”, 240lbs forward can stay out of the box and utilize his size digging in the corners, Stewart could be a solid 1st or 2nd line power-forward, as well as offer some protection for a young superstar (like McDavid, for example).
We’ve seen the Oilers try this with Milan Lucic, but do they have enough depth to take yet another risk on Stewart?
Scott Hartnell has earned the reputation as quite the agitator over the years, most memorably with Sidney Crosby in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, Hartnell has had his issues keeping up with today’s NHL superstars.
The 7-time 20-goal scorer and one-time 30 goal scorer could potentially have at least one more season left in him as a 4th line agitator for a Stanley Cup contending team. I’d give him a shot.