Friesen now stands at 893gp, 218-298-516, Smyth is 788gp, 270-294-564 but Friesen hung in there plenty.
Friesen is out of work. He’s a free agent who hasn’t signed with an NHL team yet, and a brief glance at his career stats tells you a thing or two about why no one has picked him up.
He still has great speed, but injuries have set him back and he appears to be an “old 30″ because his bat has let him down. Friesen also played for the button-down Flames last year and so his offensive numbers were terrible (72gp, 6-6-12). At EV he scored .821/60, which would have ranked behind 3 rookies on the offensively challenged Oilers last season (Winchester 1.19, Pouliot 1.17, Thoresen 1.15) and he hasn’t really been an offensive player since before the lockout.
Behind the Net has him playing the 5th most difficult minutes among forwards on the Godless Flames, and he played most with Yelle this past season.
I don’t think Edmonton would take a look at Friesen, but it’s possible he has something left to give at the NHL level. Likely? Probably not. Worth a tryout?
Which brings me to Homestead, Florida. A man named David Grabiner posted a bunch of info about the 1994 baseball strike which I read from time to time in a kind of “the day the music died” trip through the graveyard.
It’s also helpful because it accurately describes what happened in and around baseball during that time when MLB robbed the Montreal Expos of a pennant and walked away from the fans in a giant corporate FU that left the game dead to many.
Anyway, they had a bunch of free agents who had picked the wrong damn time to be available (I believe this was around the time Jody Reed pushed away from the table when LA offered him triple his worth, only to sign with the Brewers for pennies. Stupid poetic justice) and since they didn’t have a club to play with, well allow me to quote Mr Grabiner:
Because the season ended with many players still unsigned, special arrangements were made to allow these players to play. The union set up a training camp for unsigned free agents in Homestead, Florida.
So, a whole bunch of Jeff Friesen’s who had been cast away by the sport they made into a terrific career had a shot at getting back in. The NHL is in a similar situation now, as the new CBA continues to see the financial shift move from the 30s to the 20s and from the good ufa’s to the great players no matter their contract or age (Mirtle is lapping the field on this subject btw).
The problem is that no one really knows who has been working out like a bugger and who is drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo. It’s a crapshoot. The other day Kevin Lowe addressed this subject and suggested there were some players who might be interested in attending Oilers camp. Who knows which ones, but guys like Mike Johnson will get contracts I’m sure before TC opens.
So, Jim Dowd, or did he sign with someone when I wasn’t looking? Does he have anything left? Any other names out there?