NHL free agency: Seven notable players still left unsigned as training camp nears


The real star of the expansion draft wasn’t Marc-Andre Fleury or James Neal, it was George McPhee. The general manager’s draft has set Vegas up to be contenders sooner rather than later.

NHL player agent Steve Bartlett said he has known sleepless nights this summer because his out-of-work clients Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford “are two good hockey players who should be signed by now.”

Vanek, 33, and Stafford, 31, are members of a surprisingly large group of accomplished free agents who remain unsigned primarily because of a league-wide salary cap crunch.

Bartlett said he is close to landing a deal for Stafford, who had eight goals and 21 points in 58 games with the Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins. It’s likely he will take a pay cut from his last contract, which paid him an average of $4.35 million per season.


“I’m waiting to hear from another team to see if they are going to jump in,” Bartlett said.

In recent days, Bartlett said he has talked to three or four teams about Vanek. The winger posted 17 goals and 48 points in…

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