The NHL teams have completed the two-day draft to secure their long-term future, and now they turn their attention to the immediate future as the free agency signing period opens in 25 days from today. Notably, two big names are already off the market. The Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights used their cap space from a trade to sign Ivan Barbashev and Adin Hill. Let’s take a look at the top 25 players to watch as they enter free agency and where they might end up.
1. Dmitry Orlov, Boston Bruins
Dmitry Orlov is a reliable defenseman known for his top-four play. After joining the Bruins, he displayed offensive prowess and contributed significantly in the playoffs. He recently signed a two-year, $15.5 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.
2. Tyler Bertuzzi, Boston Bruins
Tyler Bertuzzi is a gritty forward with three 20-goal seasons to his name. He impressed during his playoff debut with the Bruins after being traded from Detroit. He secured a one-year, $5.5 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
3. Alex Killorn, Tampa Bay Lightning
Alex Killorn, leading all free agents with 64 points, brings invaluable championship experience with two Stanley Cup rings and two other Final appearances. He chose to join the Anaheim Ducks with a four-year, $27 million contract.
4. Ryan O’Reilly, Toronto Maple Leafs
Ryan O’Reilly, a former Stanley Cup winner and Conn Smythe Trophy recipient, has signed a four-year, $18 million deal with the Nashville Predators.
5. Vladimir Tarasenko, New York Rangers
Despite injuries, Vladimir Tarasenko showed immense potential with 34 goals in the 2021-22 season. He decided to join the Ottawa Senators on a one-year, $5 million contract.
6. Patrick Kane, Rangers
Patrick Kane, a three-time champion, is recovering from hip-resurfacing surgery, but his return to the ice makes him an appealing prospect for any team seeking offensive firepower.
7. Jason Zucker, Pittsburgh Penguins
Jason Zucker bounced back from two down seasons to score 27 goals. His consistent performance earned him a one-year, $5.3 million deal with the Arizona Coyotes.
8. J.T. Compher, Colorado Avalanche
J.T. Compher showcased his skills as the No. 2 center in the absence of Nazem Kadri, earning him a five-year, $25.5 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings.
9. Michael Bunting, Maple Leafs
Michael Bunting, a top-six forward with an impressive scoring record, secured a two-year, $13.5 million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes.
10. Frederik Andersen, Carolina Hurricanes
Frederik Andersen, a goalie with multiple 30-win seasons, chose to stay with the Hurricanes on a two-year, $6.8 million contract.
11. Max Pacioretty, Hurricanes
Max Pacioretty, a 30-goal scorer, signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Washington Capitals, accompanied by $2 million in performance bonuses.
12. Max Domi, Dallas Stars
Max Domi showcased his abilities with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Stars, earning him a one-year, $3 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
13. Shayne Gostisbehere, Hurricanes
Shayne Gostisbehere, a defenseman with an impressive 13 goals, secured a one-year, $4.125 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings.
14. Matt Duchene, Nashville Predators
Matt Duchene had his contract bought out despite previous strong performances. He decided to join the Stars on a one-year, $3 million deal.
15. Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets
Blake Wheeler, another player bought out, signed a one-year, $800,000 deal with the New York Rangers.
16. Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins
Tristan Jarry, a two-time All-Star, stayed with the Penguins on a five-year, $26.875 million contract.
17. Evan Rodrigues, Avalanche
Evan Rodrigues, known for his secondary scoring, signed a four-year, $12 million deal with the Florida Panthers.
18. Garnet Hathaway, Bruins
Garnet Hathaway, prized for his feistiness and physical play, chose to join the Philadelphia Flyers on a two-year, $4.75 million contract.
19. Luke Schenn, Maple Leafs
Luke Schenn, the league leader in hits, signed a three-year, $8.25 million deal with the Nashville Predators.
20. Radko Gudas, Florida Panthers
Radko Gudas, a solid defenseman, secured a three-year, $12 million contract with the Anaheim Ducks.
21. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, valued for his leadership and three championships, faces health challenges. His return to the ice depends on his health status.
22. Tomas Tatar, New Jersey Devils
Tomas Tatar, a 20-goal scorer, will look to find a new home after an underwhelming playoff performance.
23. John Klingberg, Minnesota Wild
John Klingberg, with offensive contributions, signed a one-year, $4.15 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
24. Matt Dumba, Wild
Matt Dumba, a right-shot defenseman, remains in demand despite reduced offensive numbers.
25. Joonas Korpisalo, Los Angeles Kings
Joonas Korpisalo, a solid goalie, stayed with the Senators on a five-year, $20 million contract.
The NHL free agency signing period promises significant player movement, and these top 25 players are sure to attract attention from various teams. As 25 days from today approaches, fans eagerly await the start of the new season with fresh faces on their favorite rosters. Stay tuned for further updates on player signings and trades.