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NHL’s Prime 10 UFAs remaining: Newest rumours, experiences

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A whopping 243 gamers have scribbled their autograph on contracts price a foolish $988,121,625 via the primary 5 days of the NHL’s open season on free brokers.

And but, greater than few notable athletes stay with out employment for the 2021-22 season.

Normal managers might want to cut price tougher, and jobless gamers could must decrease their asking costs, however there are nonetheless gems — or not less than worthy gambles and depth additions — to be unearthed from 2021’s UFA class after the July 28’s frenzy.

We spherical up the rumours and assess the worth of the free brokers who’re taking a extra affected person strategy this summer season (in some instances, that’s even by selection) and are nonetheless up for grabs in August.

1. Tuukka Rask

Age: 34

Place: Goaltender

2020-21 wage cap hit: $7 million

The query isn’t whether or not Rask — a Vezina-winning, Cup-winning, Jennings-winning stud — is deserving of a wealthy, new short-term contract. The query is whether or not his physique is up for one.

Rask overtly contemplated 2021 retirement this previous season and drew criticism in some (unkind) circles for departing the playoff bubble early to take care of a household matter.

He underwent surgical procedure on a torn hip labrum in late July and gained’t be able to play till January or February. If and/or when he straps on the pads once more, Rask solely sees it being in Boston.

“I am not going to play for anybody else than the Bruins. That is our residence,” Rask stated on June 11.

“At this level of my life and my profession, I do not see any cause to go wherever else, particularly with the well being I am now and a restoration time of 5 – 6 months. Hopefully it really works out that I get well nicely, and we will discuss contracts when the time is true for that.”

The Bruins’ crease is already in overhaul mode, with Jaroslav Halak (Vancouver) and Dan Vladar (Calgary) shifting on.

Anticipate Rask’s scenario to simmer on the again burner, because the B’s roll into 2021-22 with a younger, recent tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman.

“We would have liked to be ready and permit Tuukka on a regular basis he must get wholesome. He simply had surgical procedure, spoke to him this morning, doing very nicely,” GM Don Sweeney stated after signing Ullmark in free company.

“We’ve at all times left the door open for Tuukka to return. And I believe it simply permits Jeremy to proceed to progress at a pure price but additionally give him the chance to be on the NHL degree.

“If you’re making an attempt to be a aggressive crew, it’s a must to have depth. We felt that the final two playoffs, and we got here up brief. Now we’re making an attempt to make it possible for we’ve received essentially the most aggressive crew we will, and determine if now we have some wants going ahead that we could should have some adjustments as nicely.”

2. Kyle Palmieri

Age: 30

Place: Proper wing / Left wing

2020-21 wage cap hit: $4.65 million

Rental piece Palmieri’s two objectives in 17 regular-season video games for the Islanders underwhelmed, however he exploded for seven extra within the post-season.

All experiences level to Palmieri staying placed on the Island. The idea is {that a} long-term deal has already been agreed to… however GM Lou Lamoriello hasn’t introduced a factor. (Mike Hoffman, Blake Coleman, Jaden Schwartz and Boone Jenner might function comparables.)

Lamoriello should additionally compensate key RFAs Anthony Beauvillier and Adam Pelech this summer season, and he could also be exploring a Vladimir Tarasenko commerce as nicely. Maybe he doesn’t need brokers to understand how a lot cap area he has left.

With Jordan Eberle now a Kraken, New York wants some dependability on its wing.

3. Tomas Tatar

Age: 30
Place: Left wing / Proper wing
2018-19 wage cap hit: $5.3 million

Of all of the UFAs nonetheless on the board, none produced extra factors per sport in 2021 than Tatar (0.60), who was the Montreal Canadiens’ main scorer as just lately as 2019-20. A confirmed offensive weapon and power-play risk with optimistic underlying metrics (58.9 CF%), Tatar already has six 20-goal campaigns on his résumé. So why was he wholesome scratched by two groups in two Stanley Cup Finals?

After shedding Brandon Saad to the market, the Colorado Avalanche are one crew that ought to take into account including a scoring punch to its second line. Montreal by no means made Tatar an extension provide. The Seattle Kraken reportedly kicked tires right here.

Tatar is believed to be in search of time period. Worst case, he could must accept a one-year, bet-on-himself deal.

4. Ryan Murray

Age: 27
Place: Defence
2020-21 wage cap hit: $4.6 million

A spotty harm historical past seems to the be the one barrier between Murray and his signature on a job provide. The left-shot defenceman is a superb skater with robust play-driving metrics who might enhance the underside half of many a D corps — when wholesome.

The second-overall draft decide in 2012 was groomed in Columbus earlier than registering 14 assists in 48 video games for the Devils final season.

The Minnesota Wild and Edmonton Oilers are two groups that ought to have a look, however Murray could should accept a modest pay lower.

5. Casey Cizikas

Age: 30
Place: Centre
2020-21 wage cap hit: $3.35 million

The pivot of the New York Islanders’ crash-and-bang id line drew a wholesome quantity of curiosity from the competitors, with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Seattle Kraken, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks all reportedly exploring a signing.

A career-long Islander, Cizikas has apparently shook arms on a multi-year deal to stay on the Islander. Like Palmieri, we’re nonetheless awaiting an announcement.

There’s additionally hypothesis that Lamoriello will signal sudden UFA Zach Parise, whose worth must be extra modest.

6. Jason Demers

Age: 33
Place: Defence
2020-21 wage cap hit: $4.5 million

Proper-shot defencemen have been scooped up quick and livid on July 28, however this former Coyotes blueliner and regular, stay-at-home veteran continues to be accessible.

Demers solely registered 4 assists in 2021, however he’s nonetheless logging greater than 17 minutes an evening and driving play north regardless of beginning the vast majority of his shifts within the D-zone.

One other $4.5-million payday is unlikely, however some crew will scoop him up.

7. Marcus Johansson

Age: 30
Place: Centre / Wing
2020-21 wage cap hit: $4.5 million

A 20-goal, 50-point asset for Washington earlier than concussions and a slew of sweater adjustments derailed his profession, the versatile Swede is the kind of gamble that must be price a short-term gamble.

Followers in Boston, New Jersey and Pittsburgh are amongst these suggesting their GM take a flyer on this handy utility ahead.

Johansson scored simply six objectives and eight assists for the Wild in 2021, however he was primarily utilized in defensive conditions.

8. Nikita Gusev

Age: 29
Place: Proper wing / Left wing
2020-21 wage cap hit: $1 million

A proper shot able to enjoying both wing, Gusev made some noise in 2019-20 when he lastly left the KHL, scoring 13 objectives and 44 factors in 66 video games for a foul Devils squad.

The Russian’s ’21 marketing campaign was break up between New Jersey and Florida. His capturing share dropped, and he failed to search out his groove in both lineup.

Gusev is simply 29. He ought to have some sport left, and he is garnered some curiosity available on the market. Does he give the NHL one other shot, or return to the KHL?

9. Travis Zajac

Age: 36
Place: Centre
2020-21 wage cap hit: $5.75 million

Like so many different veteran Islanders who’re technically unrestricted free brokers, there’s a quiet assumption that bottom-six centreman Zajac could have a deal in precept to return to the Japanese Convention finalists.

At this stage in a profession, Zajac must be signing a one-year contract close to the league minimal.

Regardless of seeing his 1,000th sport drift within the rear-view mirror, the sturdy Zajac can nonetheless play.

He’ll kill penalties, chip in a little bit of offence (20 factors in 46 video games in 2021), and stays a wonderful faceoff asset, with a profession 53.8 per cent success price within the dot.

10. Sami Vatanen

Age: 30
Place: Defence
2020-21 wage cap hit: $2 million

My how Vatanen’s inventory has fallen since his days as an rising Anaheim Duck. The best-shot D-man nonetheless has some offensive upside and will thrive in third-pairing minutes.

Bouncing from Anaheim to New Jersey to Carolina to New Jersey to Dallas over the previous 4 seasons, there’s nonetheless perception that if Vatanen finds the right match, he might resurrect his profession and have a good time his five hundredth sport this upcoming season.

Righties are powerful to come back by.

Extra notable UFAs nonetheless available on the market: Eric Staal, Zach Parise, Alex Galchenyuk, Bobby Ryan, Tyler Bozak, Jordie Benn, Joe Thornton, Devan Dubnyk, Jake Virtanen, James Neal, Zdeno Chara, Erik Gudbranson, Erik Gustafsson, Valtteri Filppula, Christina Djoos, Derick Brassard, Dominik Kahun, Jimmy Vesey, Ryan Donato, Brian Boyle, Henrik Lundqvist, Alex Chiasson, Tyler Ennis, Tobias Rieder, Artem Anisimov, Mark Jankowski, Colton Sceviour, Lucas Wallmark, Marcus Hogberg, Curtis McElhinney, Riley Sheahan, Ben Hutton

All wage data through the wonderful CapFriendly.com.



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