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Darren Dreger
8/14/2006 5:28:38 PM

Change is good.

However, in NHL terms free agent players in search of change are having a more difficult time then they expected.

Better than 70 players are still on the hunt for a new team and that includes a few men who suprisingly remain homeless as we approach mid-August.

At the top of the list is unrestricted free agent forward, Anson Carter. Carter led the Vanocuver Canucks last season in goals with a career high 33, led the team in game winning goals with 7, and was named the Canucks most exciting player by Canucks fans.

Carter and his representatives Creative Artists Agency believe, based on his resume, he's a $3 million man and were angling for a three or four year term. There were a few nibbles when the market opened, but in a league that's home to general manager's who prioritize risk management...the market has dried.

Now, that's not to say Anson Carter won't have a chair once the music stops. Sources tell TSN at least 3 teams still have interest...Detroit and Toronto if a body or two can be moved, or the asking price drops...and the Pittsburgh Penguins if the budget allows for such a hire under new ownership.

Carter is determined to be patient, but if one of these teams tables a 2 year package averaging a hair above 2.5...he'll sign and prove last years run with the Canucks was no fluke.

Perhaps, Carter's stiffest competition in the free agent pool is J.P Dumont who has experienced an emotionally taxing past few weeks. In addition to welcoming his second child into the world, sadly Dumont's grandfather passed away. On top of all that, he's dealing with the uncertainty of his future and he'll have to make a decision on where he'll play next season. I'm told he's currently contemplating a few offers and hopes to make that decision by mid-week.

Highly decorated defenseman Brian Leetch will need more time to nail down his next move. The only thing certain at this point is that the 38-year-old, two-time Norris trophy winner will play. Leetch has a preference to play out his days along the Eastern seaboard, but that's not to say he wont't consider any and all options.

Leetch is very methodical, and for the moment he's sitting back watching how teams are buidling their rosters and is confident when the time is right, he'll be able to find the team that fits his needs. In other words, the team with roughly $2 million to spend, has a spot for a veteran, puck moving defenseman and is clearly a Stanley Cup Candidate.

Edmonton is nowhere near the Eastern seaboard, and although Leetch rejected the Oilers gestures a year ago, a source close to the future hall of famer says he might be more inclined to consider that option now. I'm sure Edmonton will make the obligatory call.

For, I'm Darren Dreger.
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