This year’s group of NHL’s unrestricted free agents won’t inspire much excitement, but sprinkle in a few past-their-prime stars and the inevitable annual overpayment of defensemen and there will still be intrigue. Plenty of players have will something to contribute if the fit is right.
Below is a glimpse at what this crop has to offer, including a list of top available free agents and a tracker which updates live as deals pour in.
When does NHL free agency begin?
The official window for teams and pending unrestricted free agents to finalize contracts opens at noon Saturday, July 1, but plenty of chatter goes on behind the scenes during the NHL’s weeklong interview period, which began Sunday. Teams submitted qualifying offers to retain the rights to restricted free agents Monday. Those players have until July 5 to elect to go to salary arbitration with their teams. July 6 is the deadline for teams to elect to do the same.
NHL free agents 2017: Top 10 unrestricted players
1. Kevin Shattenkirk, D (Signed with Rangers) — Shattenkirk, the consensus top player on the free agent market, reportedly made his own pitch to the Rangers, taking less in term and dollars (four years, $26.6 million) to play near his hometown of New Rochelle, N.Y., spurning the Devils’ more lucrative offer in the process.
In relative terms, the contract is a bargain and allows GM Jeff Gorton the cap space flexibility to re-sign his key RFAs, keeping the Rangers competitive as the Henrik Lundqvist championship window grows ever smaller.
2. Alexander Radulov, RW, Canadiens
3. Joe Thornton, C, Sharks
4. Martin Hanzal, C (Signed with Stars) — The big, 6-6 centerman is hardly a sexy addition, but he was traded for a first-round pick at last season’s deadline. Hanzal, 30, is affordable at $4.75 million over the next three years and provides additional depth down the middle for the Stars. Can never have too much of that.
5. Patrick Marleau, LW, Sharks
6. Jaromir Jagr, LW, Panthers
7. Justin Williams, RW (Signed with Hurricanes) — Mr. Game 7 goes back to the place where he earned his reputation as one of the NHL’s best playoff performers, inking a two-year, $9 million ($4.5 AAV) deal with the Canes. He spent five years in Carolina, winning the Cup in 2006. Now 35, he’s a captain candidate for a young squad on the rise.
8. Andrei Markov, D, Canadiens
9. Karl Alzner, D (Signed with Canadiens) — Alzner, one of the more sought-after defensemen on the market, heads to Montreal on a contract that was more team-friendly than expected: five years at $4.625 million per annum. The 28-year-old fills a need for the Habs, who have a ton of blue line minutes to give.
10. Brian Elliott, G (Signed with Flyers) — Elliott was having a brutal first season in Calgary but became one of the NHL’s hottest goalies down the stretch, salvaging his contract year. A poor playoff showing cost him some dollars (2 years, $5.5 million), so Philly gets a bargain to platoon with Michal Neuvirth while hoping Elliott, 32, might recapture the consistency that made him a stalwart with the Blues.
NHL free agent signings tracker, by position
|1. Leon Draisaitl, Oilers, RFA —|
|2. Ryan Johansen, Predators, RFA —|
|3. Joe Thornton, Sharks, UFA —|
|4. Mikael Granlund, Wild, RFA —|
|5. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Capitals, RFA —|
|6. Tyler Johnson, Lightning, RFA —|
|7. Alex Galchenyuk, Canadiens, RFA —|
|8. Martin Hanzal, Wild, UFA — Stars (3 years, $14.25M)|
|9. Sam Gagner, Blue Jackets, UFA — Canucks (3 years, $9.45M)|
|10. Alexander Wennberg, Blue Jackets, RFA —|
|11. Bo Horvat, Canucks, RFA —|
|12. Mika Zibanejad, Rangers, RFA —|
|13. Nick Bonino, Penguins, UFA — Predators (4 years, $16.4M)|
|14. Mike Fisher, Predators, UFA —|
|15. Brian Boyle, Maple Leafs, UFA — Devils (2 years, $5.1M)|
|1. David Pastrnak, Bruins, RFA —|
|2. Viktor Arvidsson, Predators, RFA —|
|3. Alexander Radulov, Canadiens, UFA —|
|4. Patrick Marleau, Sharks, UFA —|
|5. Justin Williams, Capitals, UFA — Hurricanes (2 years, $9M)|
|6. Nino Niederreiter, Wild, RFA —|
|7. Jaromir Jagr, Panthers, UFA —|
|8. Thomas Vanek, Panthers, UFA —|
|9. Conor Sheary, Penguins, RFA —|
|10. Ondrej Palat, Lightning, RFA —|
|11. Radim Vrbata, Coyotes, UFA — Panthers (1 year, $2.5M)|
|12. Andre Burakovsky, Capitals, RFA —|
|13. Tomas Tatar, Red Wings, RFA —|
|14. Jarome Iginla, Kings, UFA —|
|15. Shane Doan, Coyotes, UFA —|
|1. Kevin Shattenkirk, Capitals, UFA — Rangers (4 years, $26.6M)|
|2. Justin Schultz, Penguins, RFA —|
|3. Andrei Markov, Canadiens, UFA —|
|4. Karl Alzner, Capitals, UFA — Canadiens (5 years, $23.125M)|
|5. Colton Parayko, Blues, RFA —|
|6. Dmitry Orlov, Capitals, RFA — Capitals (6 years, $30.6M)|
|7. Trevor Daley, Penguins, UFA — Red Wings (3 years, $9M)|
|8. Michael Stone, Flames, UFA — Flames (3 years, $10.5M)|
|9. Dmitry Kulikov, Sabres, UFA — Jets (3 years, $12.99M)|
|10. Dan Girardi, Rangers, UFA — Lightning (2 years, $6M)|
|1. Brian Elliott, Flames, UFA — Flyers (2 years, $5.5M)|
|2. Robin Lehner, Sabres, RFA —|
|3. Michael Condon, Senators, UFA — Senators (3 years, $7.2M)|
|4. Phillip Grubauer, Capitals, RFA —|
|5. Jonathan Bernier, Ducks, UFA — Avalanche (1 year, $2.75M)|
|6. Ryan Miller, Canucks, UFA — Ducks (2 years, $4M)|
|7. Connor Hellebuyck, Jets, RFA —|
|8. Chad Johnson, Coyotes, UFA — Sabres (1 year, $2.5M)|
|9. Steve Mason, Flyers, UFA — Jets (2 years, $8.2M)|
|10. Antti Niemi, Stars, UFA — Penguins (1 year, $800K)|