Tag: NHL Free Agents

Top-15 UFA Players This 2019 NHL Off-Season

This has to be one of the better UFA off-season’s upcoming. There are a ton of solid players along with a handful of superstar UFA’s this off-season. Just for clarification a UFA means unrestricted free-agent. Meaning that any team can offer them a contract where as a RFA is restricted and their current team gets first bid then if they decline their is a period where the player is available to any team.

1. Erik Karlsson: San Jose Sharks have a very difficult choice, let their captain Joe Pavelski go or re-sign Erik Karlsson… Karlsson is 28-years-old coming off a 6.5 million dollar cap hit, probably looking for 9.5-10.5 million.

2. Artemi Panarin: A BIG conversation surrounding this play-making star. Panarin is looking for around 9 million I’d assume and if the Blue Jackets do shed Sergei Bobrovsky, Panarin may return to Columbus.

3. Jeff Skinner: At only 5.75 million a year Skinner is producing like a 8.5+ million type player right now. Skinner has 29 goals and 42 points in 43 games this season. It will be a BIG topic for Buffalo on what to do with Skinner come the deadline/free agency.

4. Matt Duchene: The 27-year-old forward has been unbelievable this season. Due to his speed, goal-scoring, play-making ability, Duchene will be a highly sought after forward. He has 42 points in 37 games this season (18G, 24A).

5. Mark Stone: Another Senator, Stone is probably going to be making the same he is now just a long term deal. It seems likely he will stay with Ottawa though, depending on Duchene.

6. Joe Pavelski: The 33-year-old veteran forward seems like he is not aging with currently 25 goals and 38 points in 46 games. Pavelski will probably cost 7-7.5 million a year.

7. Sergei Bobrovsky: This is based on Panarin really but I think we see Bob walk from Columbus after this season or possibly soon. Either way whoever gets Bob will need to sign him to a 4-5 year deal for 7 million a year.

8. Jordan Eberle: Eberle did produce 59 points (25G, 34A) in 81 games last season and currently has 19 points (9G, 10A) in 38 games this season. Eberle will cost around 6 million per year, also looking for a long term deal.

9. Jacob Trouba: At 24-years-old, a righty defenseman, a proven top-four defenseman the Jets will have to re-address this situation one more time now. Trouba is on a 5.5 million dollar deal and will look for as much as he can get honestly.

10. William Karlsson: At 5.25 million the Vegas tested Karlsson to see if he could do what he did last year one more time and see if he was worth a big contract. Well, Karlsson has 15 goals and 15 assists in 47 games. He will probably end with around 28 goals this season which may reduce his contract amount but he will see a long term deal.

11. Semyon Varlamov: At 30-years-old this seems to be the age that makes or breaks goaltenders. A lot of teams could use a number one and the Avalanche have to sign a lot of players off their entry level contracts and Mikko Rantanen, what will happen with Varlamov is unknown.

12. Tyler Myers: A big right handed, top-four defenseman is very valuable in this league. The Jets have to choose between Myers or Trouba really.

13. Kevin Hayes: Likely a trade target for many teams this deadline and it is said the Rangers are looking to move him before the deadline but Hayes is making his case for 6 million a year at 5-6 years with 33 points in 39 games this season.

14. Gustav Nyquist: The Red Wings will most likely trade or let Nyquist walk this off-season but to a contending team Nyquist is a valuable experienced, play-making forward. He has 37 points in 45 games this season.

15. Brock Nelson & Anders Lee: Most likely both are going to stay with the Islanders but Nelson is a pure-goal scorer, plays a lot like the other person on this list, Anders Lee. Both of them have a knack for the front of the net. Nelson has 29 points in 42 games this season and Lee has 33 points in 42 games. Combined these two will cost the Islanders around 12.5 million a year.

 

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Artemi Panarin to sit down with agent and talk future with Blue Jackets come All-Star break

It is no surprise here that the Blue Jackets and Panarin are coming to an end in their contract. Panarin is on a 6 million dollar deal and becomes a UFA (unrestricted free agent) at the end of the 2018-2019 season. Panarin is leading the Blue Jackets with 6 goals and 20 assists on the year and seems to be enjoying his time right now in Columbus as they are 2nd in the Metropolitan division, one point behind Washington for the lead with a 14-8-2 record. 

Dan Milstein, Panarin’s agent said come the All-Star break January 20th- January 24th he will sit down with Panarin and discuss Panarin’s future with Columbus. 

Milstein also reported to the Columbus Dispatch that Panarin “is genuinely happy with the way things are going this season,” Milstein said. “We will talk business during his break (in January).”

Panarin is a 27-year-old super star right now, he has been in the league for 3.5 years, playing in 266 games recording 259 points (94G, 165A). It would be an absolute tragedy in Columbus if the Blue Jackets allow this kid to walk for nothing and do not end up trading him by the time his contract expires or re-sign him. There were reports that Panarin would be open to hearing offers from the Blackhawks but other than that tiny rumor, there has been no movement in terms of contract talks between Panarin and Columbus. 

Ottawa Senators: What is the plan for Stone, Karlsson and Duchene heading into the 2018-19 season

By now we all know Ottawa is a dumpster fire. After the whole Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson tirade, the Mark Stone signing and signing of Cody Ceci to 4.3 mil a year for one-year, just shows everything is out of sorts over there.

The bigger question though, it seems Karlsson is not going anywhere as of yet? It’s been nearly two months since we heard Karlsson rumors so it is fair to say with training camp approaching soon Karlsson will be on the Senators to start the season. Second, what is this Mark Stone deal? Stone is now the 35th highest paid player in the NHL with his contract comparing to players whose numbers reach in the upwards of 80 points year in and year out. Duchene, they have for 6 mil until next year.

Ok, we have not even mentioned the fact Ottawa has Bobby Ryan locked up until 2021-22 for 7.25 mil a year, Marian Gabriok for another three years at 4.875 mil a year, and Clarke MacArthur for 4.6 mil for two years. These are just some of the awful contracts in Ottawa. There is a zero percent chance they can afford Duchene, Stone, Karlsson at the end of 2019.

Here is my take on this and what I think will happen…

What I think Ottawa will do is trade Stone mid way through the year to a desperate playoff contending team, have them swallow some if not all of his contract, receive a mid-level prospect and high draft pick. Probably do the same with Duchene come trade deadline time and receive a first and some third or later round picks and some NHL ready players for Duchene. As well as Karlsson who will be dealt for a first, high level prospect and more. Therefore Ottawa will just walk into the 2019 NHL draft with a ton of first-round picks, a boat load of cap space and a totally different outlet on their team. Pushing youth development and trusting the process. Why? Well Stone, Duchene and Karlsson are all UFA(unrestricted free agents) therefore if Ottawa were to just let these guys walk for nothing that would potentially be the worst decision in Ottawa history since signing Bobby Ryan for 7.25 mil a year.

 

Unrestricted free agents yet to be signed…

Calvin De Haan: The Islanders have yet to resign De Haan and right now he is rumored to be talking with the Rangers and Devils. De Haan a 27-year-old defenseman who has spent the last 8 years with the Islanders. De Haan’s best season came in 2016-17 when he collected 20 assists and 25 points in 82 games. The Islanders only signed him to a 1-year deal after that season and due to injuries De Haan only played in 33 games making him a free agent now.

Patrick Maroon: Maroon was sent over to the Devils during the trade deadline, tallying 13 points in 19 games with New Jersey Maroon has not been rumored to be getting much interest from the Devils. Maroon, 30-year-old power forward saw his most successful years alongside Connor McDavid in Edmonton, collecting 26 goals and 43 points. Last year Maroon tallied 43 points in 73 games. Maroon could be a top six forward for many teams or an even better depth forward for all teams.

Brooks Orpik: Orpik has probably been going through a wild string of emotions as of late. Winning a Stanley Cup to being traded to being bought out and now a free agent at 37-years-old is probably not easy to handle. Orpik is a two time Stanley Cup champion and has been a proven durable and reliable number 5, 6 defenseman. As he gets older clearly his value decreased a bit but still Orpik can be a great depth defenseman on any NHL team. Has been rumored to be in talks with Washington.

 

Rick Nash: Nash after not being resigned by Boston and talks seem to be falling south with Columbus has been said to be considering retirement. Nash at 34-years-old in a game that is transitioning to a younger, quicker and more skill based league has not found himself a home yet, nor a successful last couple of years. After not living up to the exact expectations many had for him in New York, Nash was dealt to Boston at the trade deadline, collecting 3 points in 11 games. The once 40 goal scoring winger may be finding his way out of the league…

Toby Enstrom: After failing to be a reliable option on the Winnipeg blueline it seems Enstrom is not going back to Winnipeg. After spending the last 11 years with Atlanta/Winnipeg the 33 year old defenseman is still trying to find that home on an NHL team’s blue line. Enstrom is not a flashy defenseman who will score 50 plus points a year, but when healthy and on a top four role he could be a reliable penalty killer, eat up minutes and play against other teams top lines. While he may be aging he still can play at a high level if healthy. Enstrom has not been rumored to moving anywhere as of now, but we’ll see.

Andrej Sustr: The 27-year-old Czech Republic defenseman who towers over many NHL players seems to be an option for many NHL teams. Sustr emerged in the league during the Lightning’s first Stanley Cup run in 2014-15 season. Standing at a solid 6’7 220 lb stature a lot of NHL teams would be missing out a very reliable and strong number five, six defenseman. Sustr 63 points in his 318 career NHL games his best year coming in 2015-16 when he collected 21 points 77 games. at 27 years old Sustr may be looking for a long term deal, worth around 2-3.5 mil AAV based on the market right now.

Other notable free agents…

Mark Letestu: Based on the market and Letesu’s age and best year coming in 2016-17 tallying 35 points, he could be a solid fourth liner, or borderline 3rd liner. Worth about 1.5-2 mil AAV, short term deal.

Anthony Duclair: With Duclair having yet to establish himself he is looking at a 1-2 year prove it to me contract type thing. He has spent now 3 years in the NHL on 3 different teams. Best year coming in 2015-16 when he tallied 44 points. A ton of upside but consistency has been the issue with Duclair.

Dan Hamhuis: Right now you are looking at about 2.5-3 mil AAV for Hamhuis based on the market and other defenseman signing around that deal Hamhuis is a solid dumber five borderline four defnesmean. Adds depthand the ability to play against other top lines. He can bring about 20-25 points to the blueline.

Robin Lehner: He is a 1-2 year, prove it to me type goalie as well. As other goalies around his value have been signed, right now Lehner may be jobless until a starting role or back up role pops up. You are looking at around 1.5-3 mil for Lehner.

Scott Hartnell: Hartnell is nearing the end of his career, he’s probably worth 1 year 1 mil, would not be surprised to see him return to Philadelphia to end his career.

 

 

Cam Ward, Jonathan Bernier, Carter Hutton signing news as July 1st approaches

Cam Ward is said to be signing with Chicago soon. The Blackhawks have reportedly been in constant contact with Ward. After Corey Crawford dealt with some major injuries and the Blackhawks missed the playoffs due to goaltending issues and some poor defensive depth. At least the Blackhawks have at least addressed one area of concern. Crawford is set to also be a UFA (unrestricted free agent) in 2019-20. Ward is now 34-years-old probably looking for a 2-3 year deal. The terms and conditions have not come out yet but it is Ward is set to be a Blackhawk soon.

Jonathan Brenier is set to be a Detroit Red Wing upon free agency. Brenier is 29-years-old emerging in the NHL on the Los Angeles Kings, and then bouncing around between Toronto, Anaheim and now Colorado. Brenier is probably coming in to compete with Jimmy Howard for the starting job. Brenier is coming off a playoff appearing season and one of his best years with a 19-13-3 with a 2.85 GAA and .913 SV percentage. Bernier’s best year came in 2013-14 starting in 49 games with 26-19-7 record a 2.69 GAA and .923 SV percentage. Again terms and conditions have not come out yet but it is said he will be a Detroit Red Wing soon.

Carter Hutton is said to be rumored to Buffalo soon. Buffalo is going after Hutton for their starting goalie role. Hutton at 32-years-old now gets his first staring job. Hutton played for St. Louis as the back up for 2 years, before that he was a back up in Nashville for 3 years. Hutton is coming off his best season starting in 26 games posting a 17-7-3 a 2.09 GAA and .931 SV percentage. Hutton will now be another Buffalo test, Robin Lehner failed, so let’s see if Hutton can be the savior in Buffalo…

Recent free agent signings…NOT NAMED TAVARES

JT Miller: Got PAID. Miller was sent to Tampa Bay at the deadline with the McDonagh package and since going there enjoyed a quite successful run with the Lightning super stars. Miller tallied 18 points in 19 games and 8 points in 16 playoff games. Miller was drafted in the 1st round, 15th overall in 2011, emerging in the league around the 2015-16 season. Miller did play some time on the Rangers roster during 2012-14 but did not play full time. From 2015 to the present Miller has collected 157 points in 246 games, being around the 50 point mark per season. Miller signed a 5-year $5.25 AAV deal (26.25 cap hit).

John Carlson: We all thought Carlson was going to be the John Tavares 2.0 this offseason but luckily Washington fans can relax unlike Islanders fans. Carlson lead all defenseman in points and tallied 68 points in 82 games (53 assists) this year marking his best year since coming into the league. Carlson drafted in 2008, 27th overall by the Capitals has spent the last 9 years in Washington. Playing under the shadow of Mike Green and then Kevin Shattenkirk, Carlson was finally able to take over the ranks on the power play and number one d-man role and earned himself a 8-year $8 mil per year deal. Carlson has tallied 327 points in 586 games since 2010.

Michael Kempny: Recently signed with Washington for a 4-year 2.5 mil AAV contract($10 million cap hit). Kempny was sent over to Washington at the trade deadline. He spent 81 games with the Blackhawks between 2016-2018, coming out as an undrafted free agent from the Czech Republic, Kempny for sure earns a solid paycheck. Being that he was in the KHL three years ago, with no thoughts of the NHL probably.

Jean-Sebastien Dea: Another undrafted free agent, the notorious Penguins and their undrafted free agent signings. For all we know Dea will probably produce 80 points this season now. But anyways Dea only signed a one year $650,000 deal. Dea has spent the last six seasons with the Penguins AHL team (Wilks-Barre Scranton), tallying 141 points in 262 games.

Phillip Di Giuseppe: Carolina recently resigned him to a 1 year $750,000. Di Giuseppe was drafted in 2012 in the second round by Carolina, and has spent the last 3 years going up and down from the AHL to the NHL. Di Giuseppe has played in 216 games and has yet to play a full season with Carolina (82 games).

Other notable signings

Bryan Rust- Penguins, 4 years $3.5 mil per year (AAV)

Joe Morrow- Winnipeg, 1 year $1 mil AAV

Martin Frk (1 year $1.05 mil) Tyler Bertuzzi (2 years. 2.8 mil AAV) both resigned by Detroit. 

Stephen Johns- Dallas, 2 years $3.25 mil AAV

Phillip Grubauer- Colorado, 3 years, $3.33 mil AAV

Chris Weidman- Ottawa, 1 year $1 mil AAV

John Tavares set to let Islanders know decision Friday. Tavares could possibly hit free agency in TWO days…

John Tavares is the most highly sought out free agent in the salary cap era, and probably ever for that matter. Tavares has spent the last nine years of his career in New York, being drafted first overall by the Islanders in 2009, emerging in the league at 19, and making an immediate impact on the Islanders team and organization. Winning the Calder his rookie year and since becoming the Islanders beloved player for the last 8 years now. The Islanders could very well be watching their captain walk away this afternoon.John TavaresTavares is a 5-time All-Star and has been in the running for the Hart four times and just about any NHL award out there at one point Tavares has been in the talks of winning. Tavares has collected 621 points in 669 games making him a .92 point per game player. With 272 goals and 349 assists throughout his career. Tavares best year came in 2014-15 when he scored 86 points in 82 games, recently Tavares scored 84 points in 82 games with 37 goals and 47 assists. Tavares has collected now seven 65 plus point seasons in his 9 years, not to mention in 2012-13 the season that was cut short due to a lock out (47 points in 48 games). Tavares, has been the lord and savior for the Islanders and I think we get my point that he is one of the best players in the NHL and the best player to come into the Islanders organization for the last 20 years or so.

Well, with that said Tavares is set to the tell the Islanders if he will be signing back with the them later this afternoon! Check Twitter constantly and be on the look out. Tavares has since coming out about his free agency search has met with Dallas, Toronto, Boston, New York, San Jose, Montreal and Vegas. As the process went along he quickly ruled out Montreal and Vegas. And has since met with each team. After the last meeting in L.A. the Tavares camp and himself shipped out to Toronto back to his home.

The concern that is coming from Islander fans is that Tavares has been oddly quiet. After leaving and not even meeting with Lou Lamoirello was the first sign of concern I saw. Obviously the fact that Tavares even began this process is number one but still. It is fair to say that Tavares has earned the right to go about this process and see what other teams are interested in him. He clearly wants to win, the guy is the perfect example of a competitor and one of the best in the league that is. Therefore winning is number one on his list, but he has earned the right to go and cash out on a 9 plus million dollar per year deal.

Tavares has given his all to this Islanders organization and they have not necessarily given him much back, they have not done the best job to really build a winning franchise around him and for the last 9 years of his career, he was stuck with the management of Garth Snow, Jack Capuano, Doug Weight and the end of Scott Gordon’s career. While the addition of Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoirello is great it may have been too late to convince Tavares to stay. Since Tavares has been on the team the Islanders have made the playoffs 3 times, winning one series and finishing 5th or worse in the division 7 times of the 9 years Tavares has been here. It is fair to say that if Tavares does in fact decide to leave New York it is no one’s but Garth Snow and Islanders past management who did this and he has deserved the right to move on and peruse other options of his career.