The 2020 NHL free-agent madness has started to ease. With the blanket wage cap, the teams tried to find the right fit under less than ideal financial conditions, and some free agents waited to see if there were any lucrative opportunities.
Here are the top 10 free agents still in the market as of Thursday morning. Remember, we've left out some notable veterans like Zdeno Chara, whose markets seem limited to one or two teams. Contract projections were kindly provided by Evolving Hockey.
Age: 30 | Cap-Hit 2019-20: $ 5,187,500
Previous team: Florida panthers
Hoffman is the top goalscorer in the UFA market with 65 goals in his last 151 games. If your team needs to score on the wing, Hoffman will provide it. especially in power play, where he has scored 28 goals in the last two seasons. But in his last three seasons Hoffman has a combined loss of 9.2 defensive goals, which was prevented above average. It's a 5-on-5 liability, and it has been for years. But given his scoring chances, there is a market for him. The Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, and Carolina Hurricanes are reportedly all in the mix.
Age: 28 | Cap-Hit 2019-20: $ 5.75 million
Previous team: Nashville Predators
Granlund scored only 19 goals and 17 assists in his 79 games with Nashville. A fresh start is needed and the team that signs Granlund have a solid defender just two years away from a season at 0.87 points per game (and an above average 14.3 goals). He's still in his prime so not looking for a big discount. Evolving Hockey has an AAV of $ 6.525 million for anyone who lands it. Columbus and Philadelphia were named as potential landing sites.
Age: 35 | Cap-Hit 2019-20: $ 1.5 million
Previous team: Dallas Stars
Corey Perry always had two sides. There is the man with 377 career goals and the team with 1,180 career penalty minutes. On top of that, at the age of 35, he's the guy with five goals in 57 games of the 2019-20 regular season who has hit that total in 26 playoff games this postseason. However, his offensive performance remains sharply declining, with the shooting percentage being well below the league average.
His veteran competitor value was bolstered by the Dallas playoffs, and someone will want to add that at the right price. Perry can now afford to wait for his seat.
Age: 29 | Cap-Hit 2019-20: $ 2.750 million
Previous team: Florida panthers
Haula had a remarkable season in 2017-18 with 29 goals and 26 assists. He hasn't come close to that production in either of the two seasons, mainly due to injuries. When he's healthy he can be an offensive asset but a defensive fit – he's had minus 3.2 above average defensive goals for the past two seasons.
He has piqued the interest of his old friends, the Vegas Golden Knights, but it will be difficult to get this money working. Given the market for forwards, could we see Haula lying in between the $ 2.25 million AAV from Cody Eakin (Buffalo) and the $ 3.1 million AAV from Craig Smith (Boston)?
Age: 29 | Cap-Hit 2019-20: $ 4.875 million
Previous team: Carolina Hurricanes
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It is strange that Vatanen has not yet been signed. Heck, over 30 of his UFA colleagues have received new contracts. Vatanen is a player who should be more offensively producing for the roles he was placed in (50.1% offensive zone starts for the Devils in 2019-20) and better defensive for the amount of admiration he receives ( he was negatively owned for six consecutive seasons).
He has also missed a significant time due to an injury in the last two seasons. Of course, the devils were so terrible that there probably wasn't much that made him fall back. But after being taken over by the canes at close of trade, he couldn't make it to regular season games, despite appearing in seven competitions that postseason. There will be opportunities for him to earn the $ 4.581 million AAV that Evolving Hockey is projecting for him. You just can't be with competing teams.
Age: 35 | Cap-Hit 2019-20: $ 4.75 million
Previous team: Arizona Coyotes
Soderberg recently celebrated his birthday and turned 35 while waiting for his next NHL goal to be met. He's had a fairly productive campaign in the desert (35 points in 70 games). He's a long-lived player who has seen a slight downturn in one season, especially on offense. However, on a short term deal, it could be an effective bottom six center – emphasis on a "short term deal".
Age: 37 | Cap-Hit 2019-20: $ 700,000
Previous team: Washington Capitals
His 22 games with Montreal were indeed excellent (13 points plus 6). His only assistant in eight playoff games with Washington, not so much. Is there a full season market for a 37 year old Kovalchuk that does not serve as a close of trade asset? For a team that specifically aims to give its power play its offensive touch while accepting its defensive liability.
Evolving Hockey predicts a one-year contract of $ 2.328 million for anyone who signs him … assuming they still want to stay with the NHL. One note: the Canadians just gave Josh Anderson the number 17 for those looking for that reunion.
Age: 30 | Cap-Hit 2019-20: $ 3,857,143
Previous team: Calgary Flames
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The Philadelphia Flyers were among the teams that kicked Hamonic's tires, but they say he'd rather stay in Western Canada. There is a lot of respect for his defensive play and work on penalties, but three of the last four seasons have been injured. His strong 2018-19, when he hit 55.5% expected targets, looks more and more like an anomaly given his underlying numbers over the past five seasons. But the market was robust for seasoned defenders.
Age: 26 | Cap-Hit 2019-20: $ 4.9 million
Previous team: Minnesota Wild
His next goal will be his fourth team in three seasons, after making stops in Arizona, Pittsburgh and Minnesota. Last season should be a resurgence; Instead, he was a spare in Pittsburgh before hitting seven points in 14 games with Minnesota, a career low of 0.41 points per game. It feels like he's hitting a one-year contract for a team, and Evolving Hockey is forecasting a cap hit of $ 1.498 million. Galchenyuk has a 30-goal season in his ledger, but that was in 2015-16. Even so, someone takes the opportunity to see if he can show an iota of this shape again.
Age: 24 | Cap-Hit 2019-20: $ 1.65 million
Previous team: Ottawa Senators
The Duke was a restricted free agent, but the Senators walked away from him. He's had a breakout season with 23 goals in 66 games, but the problem is only two of those came in his last 29 games of the season. As a talented winger only 24 years old, he should find another home and a raise, but maybe not the raise he thought he got last December.