Even if the key free agents, unrestricted that is, have found their teams since the opening of the free agent market opened on October 9th, several roster player movements could still occur in the NHL Several teams have to make some hard decisions based on their current payroll situation versus the cap staying at 81.5 million dollars for the next three years. Add to this complexity, the arrival of the Seattle Kracken at the end next season and you have a perfect storm.
On the UFA list, there is still alot of good players such as Mike Hoffman, who would have received several calls from teams, but also free agents with restrictions who are still without a contract. As we all know, offer sheets are not common in the NHL because of the consequences afterward such as letting go first round selections 3 to 4 years in a row, but they happen. Take last year as a great example, when the Montreal Canadiens made an offer to Sebastian Aho from the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina was able to match but it put them in a temporary bind financially.
Mathew Barzal is obviously the customer who should get the most money. The 23-year-old center has taken the New York Islanders by storm. New York currently has just under $9 million in space under the salary cap and Lou Lamoriello has to keep money to sign Ryan Pulock, also a free agent with restrictions. They’ve already been forced to trade Devon Toews for space. Could another staff move be completed before the start of the next season? We shouldn’t rule out that possibility.
Notable RFA on this list are obviously Pierre-Luc Dubois (Blue Jackets), Anthony Mantha (Red Wings) and Mikhail Sergachev (Lightning) along with Griffin Reinhart (Sabres) Except for the Lightning those teams have a lot of space under the salary cap and do not have many big long-term commitments. As for Sergachev, Tampa Bay general manager Julien Brisebois has already stated his defenceman is part of the future and will get resigned.
So here is the list of those players who could interest other teams and worth the gamble.
1. Mathew Barzal – C – 23 years old (Islanders)
2. Pierre-Luc Dubois – C – 22 years old (Blue Jackets)
3. Mikhail Sergachev – LD – 22 years old (Lightning)
4. Anthony Cirelli – C – 23 years old (Lightning)
5. Anthony Mantha – LW/RW – 26 years old (Red Wings)
6. Dylan Strome – C – 23 years old (Blackhawks)
7. Vince Dunn – LD – 23 years old (Blues)
8. Roope Hintz – LW – 23 years old (Stars)
9. Mackenzie Blackwood – G – 23 years old (Devils)
10. Jake DeBrusk – LW – 23 years old (Bruins)
Dmitry Kulikov – 1 year at 1.15 million by the New Jersey Devils
#NEWS: We have signed defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to a one-year contract.
Welcome to Jerz! #WeAreOne | @InvestorsBank https://t.co/WlqIdlVHIE
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) October 22, 2020
Denis Gurianov – 2 years at 2.55 million anually by the Dallas Stars
We have signed Denis Gurianov to a two-year contract worth $5.1 million
📝 https://t.co/7IOLa64bni pic.twitter.com/VgAHwu8bpZ
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 22, 2020
Jake Virtanen – 2 yeats at 2.55 million anually by the Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver #Canucks update:
$1.5M above the upper limit after signing Virtanen for 2 years at $2.55M
Roster: 23 (15F-6D-2G)
Roster changes will be necessary to become compliant before season start, whether through a trade or an LTIR placementhttps://t.co/8ihMfbF7H7 pic.twitter.com/gfiOTPSOhv
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) October 22, 2020
Connor Brown – 3 years with a 3.6 million AAV by the Ottawa Senators
Senators have signed Connor Brown to a three year deal, avoiding arbitration today. $3.6 M aav per season
Structure : $2.8 M, $4M, $4 M
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 22, 2020
Antoine Bibeau – 1 year – 2 way contract (NHL 700K / MINOR 75K)
The #Canes have signed Antoine Bibeau to a one-year, two-way contract
Details » https://t.co/uGX53gk3OH pic.twitter.com/dQrea8ebkk
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) October 22, 2020
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