The NHL has reached a tentative agreement which has already been approved by the NHLPA. Today, the NHL’s Board of Governors are expected to vote and approve at Noon.
Since the news of the agreement has come out, along with all the particulars both teams and free agents were looking for, expect a flurry of activity.
Anthony Duclair just signed with Florida, but plenty remain. Here’s the latest rumblings on the top remaining NHL unrestricted free agents.
NHL Free Agents: Mike Hoffman
#1 Mike Hoffman: 30 y/o, RW
He is the top remaining UFA on the market. The former Senator and Panther has 30 goal ability and knows he’s worth a decent salary, even if it is for one year.
According to Frank Seravalli of TSN, “the teams that are most interested at this point are the Boston Bruins, the Columbus Blue Jackets and also the Nashville Predators.” He also named the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks if they can make some moves for cap space.
UPDATE: The latest on Hoffman have the Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators in the mix. Boston has been mentioned but the cap fit after signing Jake DeBrusk may be too tight. That could be resolved with putting players like David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand on LTIR. Also watch out for the St. Louis Blues.
NHL Free Agents: Mikael Granlund
#2 Mikael Granlund: 28 y/o, C
He’s a two-way forward that has had some scoring woes as of late. Granlund’s game is someone teammates appreciate because he’s hard on the puck and very determined on the forecheck.
Two teams that are looking for a player like Granlund could be the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
UPDATE: According to Josh Wegman, he believes the Florida Panthers are the likely destination. Friedman recently said that Granlund may be very close to signing with a team and is trying to get his family situated.
NHL Free Agents: Erik Haula
#3 Erik Haula: 28 y/o, C
“We’re sorting through conversations that we’ve had with numerous teams,’’ Haula’s veteran agentJay Grossman told Pierre Lebrun. “Really we’ve probably talked to 10-12 teams that have had legitimate interest. We’re just sorting through those options.’’
Sorting through those options could also mean wait to hear back from us once we settle our last arbitration case. Well, that time has come and gone and these free agents are still lingering.
UPDATE: Teams potentially in the running for his services are the San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers, and Columbus Blue Jackets. At this time the Sharks could be the likely destination since they’ve spoken.
NHL Free Agents: Travis Hamonic
#5 Travis Hamonic: 30 y/o, RD
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. How about a trip to the other side of Alberta with Edmonton.
UPDATE: In the last week or so, both the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames were mentioned. The Canucks are the most interested but need to find cap space.
NHL Free Agents: Zdeno Chara
#6 Zdeno Chara: 43 y/o, D
What will the future of the giant Zdeno Chara be next season? The belief was that he would sign a one year deal with the Boston Bruins. That has not come to fruition. Now that the outlook for next season is clear a decision should come soon.
UPDATE: Chara’s agent has said they will wait until the plans for next season unfold before making any decision. There has been rumors out of Boston that they may be ready to move on from their captain. Additionally, I heard the Chara could very well opt-out this season which may lead to retirement.
NHL Free Agents: Sami Vatanen
#8 Sami Vatanen: 29 y/o, D
It baffles me that Vatanen has not been signed to a new deal yet. He is coming off an injury, but still managed to put up 23 points in 47 games. Points aside, Vatanen is known for his strong positioning and play in the defensive zone.
There has to be a team in need of defense that could luck out by getting Vatanen on a one year bargain deal. What about Boston if they decide not to bring back Chara? Or Anaheim?
UPDATE: Sami met with the Carolina Hurricanes and will circle back with them soon.
NHL Free Agents: Andreas Athanasiou
#9 Andreas Athanasiou: 26 y/o, C
Here’s a bargain 26 year-old center the Oilers did not qualify. Athanasiou is a two-way player who scored 26 points in 55 games. A great third line center. Hard to tell where he could land at this time, so he could be waiting around for awhile. The Senators seem happy to be signing guys, so who knows.
UPDATE: According to theScore keep your eyes on the Nashville Predators. Friedman also reported that Athanasiou’s name is coming up a lot in the chatter.
NHL Free Agents: Craig Anderson
#10 Craig Anderson: 39 y/o, G
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. He may have to wait for the season to start before signing with a new team.
Update: Both he and veteran goaltender Jimmy Howard are connected to the Washington Capitals. Either would be replacing Henrik Lundqvist who announced he will not play this season due to a heart condition.