NHL Rumors: A look at the top +35 UFA available
Today’s NHL Rumors takes a closer look at the top +35 unrestricted free agents still available.
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NHL Rumors: Top +35 UFA
While there are still a few high-profile unrestricted free agents under 35 ala Patrick Kane, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, a handful of +35 players are available for low-cost deals.
A quick glance at the list shows slim pickings on defense, any team looking for depth options in goal or upfront have some interesting choices.
Of course, several of these players are contemplating retirement like Alex Edler and Zach Parise. Although, if any of them are up for continuing their careers, they are worth at least a tryout at training camp.
Jaroslav Halak, G
Halak, 38, had a very strong season as a backup for the New York Rangers. Despite a slow start to last year, where he won only once in 8 starts (1-6-1), he settled down and rattled off 7 straight wins from December to February. The veteran netminder posted a 10-9-5 record with a 2.72 GAA and a .903 save percentage.
Furthermore, Halak’s agent has openly stated that his client wants to play as he’s just 5 wins away from career win 300.
Paul Stastny, F
Stastny, 37, was a solid role player for the Carolina Hurricanes as a bottom-six forward. In 2022-23, he registered 22 points in 73 games. For his career, the Quebec native has totaled 822 points in 1,145 matches. Several teams were rumored to be interested including the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks.
Zach Parise, F
Parise, 38, was relied on by the New York Islanders to play decent minutes (16:09 per game) including specialty teams. In 82 games, he notched 21 goals and 13 assists for 34 points. The latest speculation has the Isles ready to bring him back if he decides not to retire.
Eric Staal, F
Staal, 38, was unemployed in 2021-22 but has played in two Stanley Cup Finals with the Montreal Canadiens (2020-21) and Florida Panthers (2022-23). Any team that signs him may want to factor in his lucky charm quality in their decision. Aside from that, Staal was solid after signing a PTO with the Cats scoring 14 goals and 29 points in 72 games.
For his illustrious career, Staal has amassed 1,063 points in 1,365 regular-season contests.
At the end of the day, it’s unlikely any of these players would be signed for more than one year due to their age. Contracts for players 35 and over that are at least two years are not subject to cap reduction if they retire, are bought out, etc.
For more on +35 contract read here.