The NHL still has a lot of top level talent still unsigned. I have to admit that the fact Mike Hoffman remains unsigned is mind-boggling. Is it simply that he refuses to accept the offers available to him? Same with these other names still on the market.
Here’s the latest list of top NHL unrestricted free agents and rumors surrounding them, including possible destinations.
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: Of all the teams mentioned for Hoffman services, the Bruins still appear to be the leading candidate.
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. That’s obviously due to players lost like Vincent Trocheck and Evgeni Dadonov. Oddly enough, Erik Haula who they received in the Trocheck deal appears heading elsewhere.
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.
NHL Free Agents: Anthony Duclair
#4 Anthony Duclair: 25 y/o, LW
Anyone want a 25 year-old goal scorer? Apparently Duclair wanted too much money so Ottawa let him walk. He scored 23 goals and 40 points in 66 games.
Duclair is representing himself and should find a home as soon as RFA’s are resolved. Look at Detroit, Florida or NJ on the Duke.
UPDATE: Josh Wegman is now noting that the L.A. Kings would be a top destination spot for Duclair. They have the cap space and need more offense.
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: It sounds like a homecoming to the Winnipeg Jets on a one-year show me deal is possible.
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 around the NHL is that he will sign a one year deal with the Boston Bruins. Still, wouldn’t it be something to see him suit up on the Avalanche?
UPDATE: Chara’s agent has said they will wait until the plans for next season unfold before making any decision.
NHL Free Agents: Ilya Kovalchuk
#7 Ilya Kovalchuk: 37 y/o, LW
He 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. Panthers do need goal scorers.
UPDATE: A return to Montreal is on the table.
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.
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.