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Canadian Press
7/8/2006 9:04:12 AM

And on the seventh day, the NHL finally rested.

Close to 100 free agents have been signed since the market opened last Saturday, the six-day flurry giving way to some peace and quiet as NHL teams regroup.

But while there weren't any signings of magnitude Friday, some intriguing names remained available, including Danny Markov, one of the top defencemen still left after a massive run on blue-liners this week.

Markov most likely won't be returning to Nashville after putting up 11 assists, 62 penalty minutes and a plus-9 rating with the Predators last season while earning $2.35 million US.

"We've had a lot of interesting discussions, it's been all over the map in terms of talking to different teams," Markov's agent Jay Grossman said Friday. "We're sorting the situation out, we've talked to a lot teams but the fit has to be right for him."

While Grossman would not say which teams were involved, it's believed Edmonton, Vancouver, Detroit and Florida are among the teams that have inquired about Markov.

Meanwhile, there remains some interesting free-agent forwards on the market as well.

Veteran winger Brendan Shanahan, who had 40 goals last season with the Red Wings, has narrowed down his options to two teams, Detroit and another unnamed team, a source said Friday. Boston and St. Louis are no longer in the running. Shanahan, 37, will mull it over this weekend and likely make a decision early next week.

Winger Anson Carter is the second-most prolific scorer left among the unrestricted free agents. The 32-year-old Toronto native scored a career-high 33 goals for Vancouver last season while earning $1 million, a big-time bargain for the Canucks. There's been talk with Toronto, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Detroit.

He'd be a nice fit playing right wing with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh, as well as a much-needed boost to centre Mats Sundin in Toronto. He was perfect with the Sedin twins last season in Vancouver, but the Canucks can't give him more than $2 million because of salary cap issues. He's looking for something closer to $3 million.

Two-time Selke Trophy winner Michael Peca is garnering interest from several teams, chief among them the Maple Leafs. But like the Canucks, Toronto is hampered by cap issues. There might still be a fit because the 32-year-old Peca is intrigued by the idea of playing for his hometown team.

Winger Sergei Samsonov, who like Peca helped the Oilers in their Cup run, remains available. The 27-year-old 23 goals and 30 assists in 74 games with Boston and Edmonton last season. The Oilers would like to bring him back.

Forward Jan Bulis had a career-high 20 goals last season but the Montreal Canadiens won't bring back the 28-year-old Czech Olympian. His agent Jiri Crha said Friday that a deal was close at hand with another team.

"There are a few teams that want to sign him," said Crha. "I think something will happen very soon."

One name also not to forget is former Pittsburgh forward Aleksey Morozov, 29, who has spent the last two years lightning the lamp in Russia but might be willing to come back for the right price. He's also an unrestricted free agent.

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There's also Petr Sykora out there. I wouldn't mind of the Leafs signed him.

Sergei Samsonov is someone who I really think Toronto could do with. After letting Mogilny go, they were left without a speedy and skilled top-line winger to play with Mats. It'd benefit Sundin greatly if they were to sign him.

And not trying to say anything bad about Peca here, but the Leafs need a 2nd-line centerman, and I don't see Peca fitting that mold. He's an awesome 3rd liner who can chip in offencively when need be, but I dn't think he's can't bring the offence that Eric Lindros could bring (when healthy), and at $750K too. The Leafs missed the boat with Jason Arnott going by.

Anyway, those are the 3 guys I'd want on the team. Lindros, Samsonov, Sykora.
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