NHL Rumors ranking Tier 1 NHL Free Agents and their likely destinations

Teams have been assessing their teams for months and looking at ways to fix their lineups. The easiest way for teams to do so is the free agent market. Over the next few days, I will take a look at some of the top free agent options this coming fall by tiers. In addition to ranking them, I will also list some destinations.

NHL Free Agents Tier 1

  1. Taylor Hall, LW, 28 years-old, last contract: $6M AAV

Taylor Hall is my top UFA that teams will be opening up the bank vault for. This former Hart Trophy winner from 2018 has struggled since that season due to a lot of uncertainty in both NJ and Arizona. We are in the COVID era with a flat cap so I’m not sure where anyone’s deals will land. I expect Hall to sign for at least $8-9M.

Potential Destinations: Oilers, Flames, Kings, Avalanche

2. Alex Pietrangelo, D, 30 years-old, last contract: $6.5M AAV

nhl rumors
Will Alex Pietrangelo leaves the Blues in Free Agency? (NHLI/Getty Images)

Alex Pietrangelo is the top UFA per many experts, the reason I ranked him 2nd is because I am not sure he will hit the market. Just this week, the Blues and Pietrangelo started talking contract. Of course, St. Louis barely has $3M in cap space and will need to trade players like Jake Allen and Thomas Steen. While Pietrangelo is likely going get $9M on his next deal the big issue for many teams will be the term. As good as Alex is now, will he be worth that deal at 36 and 37 years-old? The desperate Leafs might think so.

Potential Destinations: Blues, Leafs, Kings, Panthers, Stars

3. Torey Krug, D, 29 years-old, last contract: $5.25M AAV

For all those that miss out on Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug will be the top option. Aside from the fact he will cost less, between $7-8M AAV, he might be just as good offensively. The key difference between them? Alex is that elusive top right handed defenseman teams seek, and Krug plays the left side. If one team is willing to overpay, it could be Krug’s hometown Red Wings.

Potential Destinations: Red Wings, Canucks, Devils, Panthers, Avalanche, Rangers

4. Mike Hoffman, Fwd, 30 years-old, last contract: $5.1M AAV

nhl free agents
The Islanders kept a close eye on Mile Hoffman (NHLI/Getty Images)

Mike Hoffman comes with a little baggage from his days with Ottawa but that won’t stop goal starved teams from adding this potential 30 goal scorer annually to their lineup. I have it on good authority that the NY Islanders are very interested in adding him.

Potential Destinations: Islanders, Devils, Sabres, Wild, Canucks, Kings

5. Braden Holtby, G, 31 years-old, last contract: $6.1M AAV

For me, Holtby is the cream of the crop for free agent goaltenders. Some experts will say it is Vancouvers’ Jacob Markstrom. However, the word from out there is that they will re-sign him. Holtby is a proven winner that took a step back but is eager to show he still has it. What also makes him attractive is that I believe Holtby will take a little less to play for a team with legit Stanley Cup chances.

Potential Destinations: Hurricanes, Avalanche, Oilers, Flames

Come back tomorrow for Tier 2!

See which free agents will make the cut and where they may land.