The National Hockey League has become a young fast-paced league. Draft picks and prospects are valued above all for most teams, and veterans are slowly getting phased out of the league at an earlier and earlier age.
Just ask Brian Gionta and James Wisniewski, two players who not so long ago, seemed like good and effective NHL players. Not perfect players, but good. They had a place in hockey's greatest league.
Yet, they found themselves on the outside looking in earlier than they probably anticipated.
One good thing came out of their inability to pierce a NHL formation this season - they get to participate in the Winter Olympics as members of USA's men's hockey team.
An honor that they wouldn't have had they been playing in the NHL this season.
With that being said, their dreams of playing at hockey's highest level in North America aren't gone.
A report from Stephen Whyno reveals that both American-born players are seeking to sign contracts following the conclusion of the Olympics in Pyeongchang.
“If somebody wanted me, I’m ready to go,” Wisniewski said. “Hopefully I can come out here and have a great Olympics. It’s not like I’m going to be expensive. You don’t have to give up future considerations. I’ve played in the highest level for over a decade and now playing in the Olympics, so it’s not like I haven’t been playing good, competitive hockey.”
Wisniewski admits that he'd be a cheap acquisition - he just wants to play, regardless of the dollar amount on his contract. As a right-handed power play specialist, he should be able to find a team willing to take a flyer on him.
Same goes for Gionta, a born leader, and winger with offensive upside. A team needing some depth on the wings as the playoffs roll around could get him without giving up any assets. A cheap contract is all that's necessary.
“Gio, he looks like hasn’t missed a beat,” teammate Brian O’Neill said. “He hasn’t played that much hockey this year, but he looks as sharp as ever. It’s a testament to their work ethic, and it’s not a coincidence they’ve had such great careers. They take their health, their fitness, extremely important and they’re ready to go and James Wisniewski’s in the same boat as Gionta. … I’m sure they’ll have a couple of offers once the Olympics are over.”
TSN's Darren Dreger reported recently that there is interest in Gionta, it's just a question of whether or not he can find the right fit. Wisniewski is only 33, there is still some hockey left in him.
He has 44 points in 33 games overseas this season.
Should your team sign one or both of these guys?