It's nearly mid-August. There's only so much one can read about Erik Cole.
Pierre Gauthier needs to come back from vacation and sign more than a goaltender for training camp drills, because the 400 blogs and 77 media personnel who cover this hockey team are gagging for some news.
Of course, there are other reasons to move: money to players that could help the team instead of Molsons, replace the bottom tier forwards that were lost, bolster Hamilton, insurance policy.
One mustn't only look at Gauthier, it's been a very slow summer from the vast majority of teams. One gets the feeling that Eklund is waiting for this domino or that domino to fall before paying for his site will be "worthwhile" again.
There are players available, though. In fact, several of the decent free agents from July 1 are still available for signing today. For those who are starting to think that people are putting too much weight of expectation on Cole, here are a few forwards that could help the team a little (and help the poor reporters a lot):
Chris Clark (RW):
He's not going to set the world on fire (or score 30 goals again), but he could probably quite capably replace Jeff Halpern and push guys like Moen to compete more for ice time.
Mike Grier (RW):
Always thought he was a good example of someone who is not only big, but can play big. As he's aged, he's also learned to be very good defensively.
JP Dumont (RW):
Let's get realistic. One of the top 6 is going to have a tough year, probably two. The GM can't take the attitude that signing a guy like Dumont will close the door. Having three good lines too much for Habs fans? It was too much for Rejean Houle...
And here are a couple of D that could make the team and make the mix back there more interesting:
Scott Hannan (D):
Wouldn't do it for his previous salary, but surely a summer of waiting has him thinking of discounting his services. Like the forwards, having an extra capable guy around couldn't/wouldn't hurt too much.
Jack Hillen (D):
25, unsigned. Maybe that's a red flag. Maybe his contract demands are sky high. But at the right price, why not Jack Hillen? It might taint the dream lineups that have been on the bulletin boards, but who cares?
All of these guys could be temporary upgrades on whoever is slotted into the spots now and (again not kidding ourselves)injuries will ensure young players still get their chances.
At the very least if we could stop hearing about Erik Cole, any signing would be a good thing.