Slim pickings after busy start to NHL free agency

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Jaromir Jagr is still available. So is goalie Tim Thomas, who continues exploring whether to make a comeback after taking a season off.

Mikhail Grabovski, anyone?

Otherwise, many of the available impact players were swept up in the first few hours after the NHL’s free-agency opened Friday.

A total of 60 players were signed in deals involving 26 of the league’s 30 teams, according to a list posted on NHL.com. They included Columbus landing Nathan Horton to a $37.1 million, seven-year contract and Daniel Alfredsson leaving Ottawa for a one-year deal in Detroit. Toronto signed David Clarkson to a $36.75 million, seven-year deal, while Jarome Iginla signed a one-year deal with Boston, the team he jilted for Pittsburgh earlier this season.

And then another nine were traded, with the biggest move involving the Senators filling the void Alfredsson left by acquiring Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan in exchange for two forwards and a first-round draft pick.

At the rate players were being signed and swapped, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren was relieved to have addressed most of his team’s needs before the market officially opened.

“I didn’t think the defense market was as strong as centers. The better ones went right away,” Holmgren said, while formally announcing the team had signed captain Claude Giroux to an eight-year extension worth over $64 million. “I think we were fortunate to jump in on Mark when we did.”

Holmgren was referring to defenseman Mark Streit, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Islanders before Philadelphia locked him up to a four-year, $21 million contract last week. Holmgren also could have mentioned Philadelphia getting Vincent Lecavalier _ this summer’s most prized free agent _ to agree to a five-year deal on Tuesday.

That didn’t stop Holmgren from signing goalies Ray Emery and Yann Danis on Friday to shore up what remains an unsettled position.

Beyond that, it’s a wonder anyone’s still available.

Former Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s still on the market. So are two ex-Detroit teammates, Damien Brunner and Daniel Cleary. As for defense, there’s Toni Lydman.

And then there’s Teemu Selanne, who usually takes his time in free agency. Ducks general manager Bob Murray is scheduled to contact Selanne next week to see whether the Finn is close to making a decision on returning for one more year.

Many players came to much quicker decisions.

Alfredsson was driven to the Motor City by the opportunity to win a championship, and was joined, soon after, by center Stephen Weiss, who agreed to a five-year, $24.5 million contract.

“It’s all about trying to get the Stanley Cup,” Alfredsson said.

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