Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Hamonic lead the list of NHL free agent bargains

Ilya Kovalchuk (Getty Images/NHLI)

We know some of the bigger names left on the free agent market. You have Mike Hoffman, Mikael Granlund, Sami Vatanen, and Zdeno Chara to name a few. However, in this new post-COVID NHL economy there are a lot of bargain bin finds to be had.

NHL free agent bargains at every position

Have you ever walked into a Walmart or Target and looked through their bargain bin movies? Sometimes you sift through and find some classics or recent academy award winners for $5! You know that it wasn’t too long ago you’d pay full price for that when it was new.

Looking at the UFA list there seems to be a bargain at every position. Let’s identify a few that NHL teams may purchase after all the salary arbitration eligible RFAs are signed.

Derick Brassard, C (33 years-old)

Derick Brassard
Derick Brassard Islanders (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Big game Brass will become Big Bargain Brass for the team willing to give him a 1 year deal at $1 million. He scored 32 points in 66 games last season but really showed something for the surprising Islanders in return to play.

In 18 games this summer, Brassard notched two goals and eights points. He helped the Islanders get to the Eastern Conference Final. If you are looking from some bottom six clutch, Brassard is your guy.

Ilya Kovalchuk, LW (37 years-old)

Ilya Kovalchuk played last season for $700,000 and may do so again for a contender. Yes, his best days are behind him but Kovalchuk could be a lynchpin for a contender’s third line and second PP unit.

In 46 games last season, he notched 10 goals and 26 points. He returned from the KHL with the LA Kings in the 2018-19 season and scored 16 goals with 34 points in 64 games. He’s certainly someone you can take a low risk flyer on.

Corey Perry, RW (35 years-old)

Perry showed he still had something left in the tank and helped the Dallas Stars get to the Stanley Cup Final. He did so on a one year deal for just $1.5 million and he likely will sign for something similar again.

The big power-forward scored 21 points in 57 games last season. He also added 9 points in 27 RTP games this summer. He would be a nice third line add for many teams.

Travis Hamonic, RD (30 years-old)

Travis Hamonic
Travis Hamonic (NHLI)

Travis opted out of return-to-play due to family concerns. The Calgary Flames have opted to let him walk for unrestricted free agency. He is a defensive-minded rearguard that can help as a second or third pair righty.

His last deal was for $3.857 and this one could be considerably less. In this market, Hamonic may have to settle for a one-year deal at around $1 to $1.5 million.

Dmitry Kulikov, LD (29 years-old)

The big and rugged Kulikov is a left handed defender who would be a reclamation project for some team. He has struggled with the Jets so it is no surprise that he was allowed to walk.

Kulikov is coming off a three year deal that came with a $4.333 cap hit. He’s never seeing that again, at least for awhile. It would make sense for Kulikov to take a one year show me deal at around a million to get his value up.

Craig Anderson, G (39 years-old)

Craig Anderson
Craig Anderson (AP)

Anderson has been the backbone for a very bad Ottawa Senators franchise for a long time. On most nights, the Senators would’ve been blow out of the water if not for this 17 year veteran.

If teams are looking for a solid net minder who can still stop the rubber, Anderson is your man. Another 1 year at $1 million deal is all it would take.

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