Free agents of the NHL for 2021, classified – Marseille News
It’s been a few weeks since the Tampa Bay Lightning became two back-to-back Stanley Cup champions and less than a week since the Seattle Kraken assembled their first full team. Hockey fans now face the last major event on the calendar before the offseason begins: free agency.
The NHL’s free agency period in 2021 is set to be pretty explosive. Between the vast pool of free agencies available and GMs and players looking to turn things around after a shortened NHL season, we’re likely to see a lot of quality players change hands over the next few weeks.
Even before the free agency period, we’ve already seen a lot of movement this offseason. The Philadelphia Flyers shipped a bunch of roster stalwarts and brought in Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen and Cam Atkinson. Seth Jones is officially bound for Chicago from Columbus and Sam Reinhart is now a member of the Florida Panthers. The NHL offseason has only just begun and there are sure to be more trades in the weeks to come.
With the NHL free agency scheduled to start July 28 at 12 p.m. ET, we’ve ranked the top 20 UFA teams that will likely be in contention here for your convenience.
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Many teams will likely inquire about Dougie Hamilton’s services during this free agency period. The 28-year-old defenseman is in his prime and is likely to be a rich buy for the side paying the final asking price, but in return he will get an offensive top pair defenseman.
The longer the contract talks between the Avalanche and captain Gabriel Landeskog, the more it looks like the 28-year-old will be leaving Colorado. On offense, Landeskog may be a cut below Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon on the scoresheet, but the forward still has a lot to give as a 200-footer and would be an invaluable pickup nonetheless.
Between Krejci and a few others on this list, the Bruins could be quite different when the 2021-22 season unfolds. Krejci is a talented playmaker, but he’s also strong defensively, making him a great choice for a growing team or a contender looking for a top-six forward.
Tuukka Rask has been the backbone of the Bruins for about eight seasons. While there is no real reason to see Boston go from a goalie they’ve had for the past 14 seasons without a real replacement behind him, Rask’s status as a free agent before Wednesday is intriguing if they can’t agree on a new deal.
Arguably the best goalie on the market with a real shot at making it to a new team this offseason, Grubauer won the starting net after his stint at Colorado. Teams will likely have to pay Grubauer a significant increase from his previous $ 3.33 million AAV contract from last season, but in return a lucky team will get a bona fide goaltender who can go the distance.
Tyson Barrie has been a Connor McDavid effect benefactor in Edmonton this year, with 40 assists in 56 games played. Still, Barrie is a first offensive and then defensive defenseman who can contribute to the points department, but will need to be protected at the back to be effective.
Martinez is another blue liner who should be sheltered defensively, but also brings offensive and playing ability. The 33-year-old has had his best offensive production since the 2017-18 season last year and his serves will likely be very. requested this offseason.
Zach Hyman is almost guaranteed to join the Edmonton Oilers once free agency opens, but there is always a possibility he will hit the free market. Being a core part of the Maple Leafs for the past six seasons, Hyman brings a top-quality scoring with surprising playing ability to a team’s top six.
Although Brandon Saad has declined his offensive production over the years, the 28-year-old can still hold out in the middle of a lineup. Between his scoring touch and his presence as a veteran, Saad has a lot to add to an NHL team and it’s a little surprising that he hasn’t talked so much in recent days.
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s big breakup continues, as Blake Coleman tests free agent waters this offseason. After winning back-to-back Stanley Cups, Coleman brings the offense while also earning a good analytical rating, which makes him a great player on both ends of the ice.
It was surprising to see the Wild redeem Ryan Suter and Zach Parise earlier this offseason, given how entrenched they were in the Minnesota system. Of the two, Suter is the more intriguing free agent with what he has left to give. At 36, Suter is in danger of falling off a cliff analytically, but he can still play in the first four minutes while maintaining his hockey style.
After a defining year with the Canadiens, Phillip Danault will test the market. Danault has shown his stopping ability during the playoffs, taking on tough opponents and gaining the upper hand most of the time. While their offense leaves a lot to be desired, any team that takes a flyer on Danault will do so purely for their defensive abilities.
Considering how disastrous the Sabers have been, it’s a wonder Linus Ullmark maintained a .917 save percentage in 20 games last season. Ullmark seems to stand out more as a substitute than a true starter in the NHL, but he’s a great pickup for a team that needs depth in goal.
After being the big acquisition of the regular season trade deadline, Kyle Palmieri is back in the market. Known for adding depth in points, Palmieri had a bad season last year, but improved significantly in the playoffs with seven goals and nine points overall in 19 games. At the end of the day, Palmieri will bring a decent score and defensive assist in the middle of a team roster.
Jaden Schwartz may not be the annual 20-goal scorer he was in the past, but he still has the potential even after a lean year with just eight goals in 40 games. Outside of Landeskog, Schwartz may have the biggest offensive advantage, but it all depends on whether he returns to form.
Tomas Tatar should have more opportunities than he’s been presented with given his regular season numbers. With 30 points in 50 games for Montreal in the regular season, it was a surprise to see him scratched for the majority of the playoffs. Even still, Tatar plans to be a Top Six player and a great addition at the right price for an NHL team.
Another Bruin who could be on the move is defenseman Mike Reilly, who excels evenly defensively while adding a much-needed attack even in a matter of minutes.
Last defenseman on this list, David Savard is a great right-handed defenseman who just won a Stanley Cup with the Lightning. Primarily used as a blue liner with little to no offensive production, Savard will likely be on the radar of many NHL teams this offseason.
After being the Maple Leafs’ big acquisition at the trade deadline, Nick Foligno will be named a free agent this summer. Known mostly for his squeaky hockey style, Foligno might not add much offense to a team formation, but his forward chess skills always come in handy in a team’s bottom six.
Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek completes the roster, who just finished a .923 season after appearing in 12 games. Mrazek has had its ups and downs in his NHL career, but he would make a good replacement for any team that wants goalie depth.
It’s highly unlikely, if not impossible, that Alex Ovechkin will gain free agency this summer, given his star status in Washington. But since he’s a pending free agent, he gets an honorable mention on this list.
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