The NHL has set the start of free agency set for Friday, October 9. There are at least two players from the top 10 list that could be off the board and limiting the fun. With the cap remaining flat at $81.5 million, I believe we will see a flurry of trades as well.
NHL rumors for Taylor Hall, the top UFA in 2020
Taylor Hall is a 28 year-old left winger coming off a deal with a $6 million AAV. The Arizona Coyotes recently made a last ditch pitch to keep him from getting to the market, and it doesn’t appear to have had an impact.
Three teams rumored interested as of late are the Canadiens, Avalanche, and Flames. After what I saw of Colorado, they need defense and goaltending, not more scoring. It will comedown to Montreal and Calgary.
Prediction: 7 year deal with the Montreal Canadiens ~$9M AAV
NHL rumors for Alex Pietrangelo, the real top prize of 2020
The Toronto Maple Leafs want to throw whatever cash they can to land 30 year-old defenseman, Alex Pietrangelo. He is number one on so many people’s lists but I moved him to two simply because he isn’t going to hit the market.
St. Louis already started clearing cap space with Jake Allen. The rumor mill says they aren’t done and could even move Jaden Schwartz to make it happen.
Prediction: 7 year deal with the St. Louis Blues ~$8.5M AAV
NHL rumors for Torey Krug
Torey Krug is going to hit the market. He already said so in a recent interview. The 28 year-old rearguard is done taking short-term deals too and is looking for the max 7 years he can get on the market.
There are not many rumors about where Krug will land, but there will be plenty of teams interested. When you look at rosters, you have to find a team in real need for a top left defenseman and there is one that comes to mind. That team may be clearing some cap space in the near future with the trade or buyout of a legend.
Prediction: 7 year deal with the New York Rangers ~$7M AAV
NHL rumors for Mike Hoffman
On many lists, Mike Hoffman may not even make the top 10, but for me his ability to score 30 goals makes him number 4 on mine. This 30 year-old winger is going to be sought after by many teams looking for quality goal scorers. The Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators could look his way but another team from NY will get him.
Prediction: 6 year deal with the New York Islanders ~6.5M AAV
NHL rumors for Robin Lehner
Robin Lehner recently denied that he had a deal in place with the Golden Knights. “It’s kind of annoying,” he said. “People are just saying things they don’t know…if it was finalized it would have been finalized.”
Bottom line, this is going to get done and that will make Marc-Andre Fleury one of the more interesting names on the trade market.
Prediction: 5 year deal with the Vegas Golden Knights ~$6M AAV
NHL rumors for the rest of the top 10
When it comes to scoring blue-liners, Tyson Barrie is going to be high on a lot of teams lists this offseason. This 29 year-old is coming off a deal making $5.5 million AAV. While his defense is suspect, he will still get a good deal. Look at some of the bottom feeder teams to go after him to lead their power-play. Watch out for Steve Yzerman on October 9th folks.
Prediction: 6 year deal with the Detroit Red Wings ~$7M AAV
Another goalie that will hit the market is Braden Holtby. He’s a 30 year-old Stanley Cup champion with plenty of gas in his tank. This one will come down to three teams in the Oilers, Hurricanes, and Avalanche.
Prediction: 5 year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes ~$7M AAV
Tyler Toffoli seems to be really happy playing for Vancouver. Now the Canucks just need to figure out how to make him fit. That may not be easy, but I have to think Jim Benning is going to try and find a way. If not, there will be plenty of teams that would pay him handsomely. I think he hits the market.
Prediction: 7 year deal with the Detroit Red Wings ~$7M AAV
Jacob Markstrom is going to be why Tyler Toffoli lands in Detroit. Benning has already stated he is a top priority and will be the 1A to Thatcher Demko’s 1B in goal. The 30 year-old net-minder will receive a fair deal.
Prediction: 5 year deal with the Vancouver Canucks ~$5M AAV
Evgenii Dadonov rounds out the top 10 list and really is the hardest one for me to peg. He is a 30 year-old winger who has 30 goal potential and plenty of teams likely have on their radar. One team has come up in trade rumors before so that’s where I think he will land.
Prediction: 5 year deal with the NJ Devils ~5.5M AAV