NHL's Top 12 UFAs of 2021: Latest rumours, reports
Happy UFA Day!
Life-altering decisions and intense bidding wars are nigh.
Here is a look at the latest reports and rumours surrounding the top 12 impending unrestricted free agents of the Class of 2021.
Players can officially sign with new teams as early as 12 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Quick. Read it while it’s still relevant.
1. Dougie Hamilton
2020-21 salary cap hit: $5.75 million
The latest: Hamilton is in a class of his own when it comes to available D-men and is due for a significant raise.
Hamilton’s camp will use Alex Pietrangelo’s $8.8-million AAV with Vegas and Seth Jones’ $9.5-million AAV with Chicago as high-end comparables, while the Canes would rather Torey Krug’s $6.5-million AAV with St. Louis as a comparable.
All indications are that Carolina’s offer will come in too low and Hamilton is headed to the open market.
“Decisions aren’t made until somebody’s forced to make a decision,” Carolina GM Don Waddell said on July 24.
“I know Dougie’s very familiar with where we are. We still know what his thoughts are, and it’s up to his agent, J.P., and I to figure it out, how we make this work both of us. He’s a free agent; he can go any place. It’s got to be a two-way street. It’s got to fit for him, and it’s got to fit for us. But I feel pretty good that we’ll be able to get this done.”
The New Jersey Devils — flush with $31.5 million in cap space — are the front-runners here, according to multiple insiders.
Signing Hamilton would signal a sharp turn in the Devils’ rebuild… and open a hole in Carolina’s blueline that is reportedly going to be filled by the recently bought-out Tony Deangleo.
2. Zach Hyman
Position: Left wing
2020-21 salary cap hit: $2.25 million
The latest: The Maple Leafs love Hyman; Hyman loves the Maple Leafs.
“I would love to stay in Toronto. It’s where I grew up. I want to be a Leaf for a long time. That’s first and foremost,” Hyman said in April of 2020. “I would love to be a long-term Leaf and would love to re-sign here and would love to be here and ultimately win a Stanley Cup here.”
Sometimes, love isn't enough.
Hyman has an agreement to sign a seven-year contract with Edmonton Wednesday.
One of hockey’s best forecheckers is set to jump from Auston Matthews’ wing to Connor McDavid’s.
3. Philipp Grubauer
2020-21 salary cap hit: $3.33 million
The latest: Grubauer enjoyed a fabulous season for a Stanley Cup contender. The Colorado starter delivered a sparkling 30-9-1 record, 1.95 GAA, .922 save percentage, and a career-best seven(!) shutouts.
How you knock your contract year out of the park is by putting together a Vezina-finalist campaign.
Does Grubauer wish to re-sign?
"One hundred per cent," the goalie told the Denver Post, while participating in the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game at Coors Field on July 11. "I think we have an incredible team next year too. Joe and [assistant GM Chris MacFarland], they always do a great job putting a team together that's performing at a high level and playing in the playoffs. And I want to be a part of that.
“Denver has become home. I love the team, love the organization. So, it would be nice to work something out.”
With Cale Makar and captain Gabriel Landeskog locked up long-term, GM Joe Sakic’s primary focus Wednesday will be signing or acquiring a No. 1 goalie.
Grubauer is the best option but not the cheapest.
4. Tyson Barrie
2020-21 salary cap hit: $3.75 million
The latest: Stumbling in Toronto, Barrie bet on himself big-time in the 2020 off-season.
The power-play quarterback reportedly turned down a $6-million offer elsewhere so he could feed pucks to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, rebound his stock, and rediscover his confidence.
“For me, it was a no-brainer, with everything that’s going on and coming off the year that I had, to be able to have a chance to go into Edmonton and play with this team on a one-year deal,” Barrie said of the gambit. “It just wasn’t about money this year, just coming into re-establish myself and show the league that I’m still a pretty good player.”
Barrie’s playmaking complemented the Oilers stars. He thrived as quarterback of Edmonton’s power play and got his groove back. After racking up 48 points in 56 games, Barrie should ring the cash register this summer.
“If there is an opportunity for me to stay here long-term in Edmonton, it could be a great fit,” Barrie told colleague Mark Spector.
Barrie is believed to be seeking long term and maximum money after smartly betting on himself.
Early this summer, the Oilers were prioritizing an extension with the more defensively minded Adam Larsson, betting a healthy Oscar Klefbom can resume PP1 duties. But Klefbom’s health is still in doubt.
With Larsson signing to Seattle, Edmonton refocused efforts to lock up Barrie.
Rumoured to be a three-year pact at an AAV in the ballpark of $4.5 million.
Fellow right shot and fellow ex-Leaf Cody Ceci is a strong candidate to join Barrie on Edmonton’s right side.
5. David Krejci
2020-21 salary cap hit: $7.25 million
The latest: The highest-paid Bruin will need to take a pay cut, but Krejci’s 2021 performance — 44 points in 51 games, behind only Barrie on this list — reasserted the value a dependable two-way pivot can bring.
The legs are getting older, the contract needs to get shorter, but Krejci’s hockey sense reminds us of the value in having a second-line centre you can trust in important situations.
“It’s not about money,” Krejci said on June 11, still mulling his future. “I guess that’s all I can tell you: My next deal is not going to be based on money. Today, I can tell you, it’s not going to be about money. And at the same time, I just can’t see myself playing for a different team. We’ll see what happens, I guess. I don’t even know. I talked to my parents, and they asked me. I can’t even give them a straight answer.”
Krejci had previously hinted at wrapping his career in his native Czech Republic.
“You guys write a lot that I wanted to finish my career in Czech, which has not changed,” Krejci said. “But when I said that, I was younger. I’m a husband. I’m a dad, I have two kids. They’re getting older. So, yes, I still, at one point, would like to finish my career in Czech for different reasons now than when I first said it. I would like my kids to speak my language because my parents don’t speak any English. My kids don’t speak Czech. I would like them to learn the language.”
But word Tuesday suggests Krejci has weighed his options and is deciding to give it another go in Boston.
6. Phillip Danault
2020-21 salary cap hit: $3.08 million
The latest: Danault doesn’t exactly put up Xbox numbers — he’s never surpassed 13 goals and has reached 50 points just once — but he tilts the ice, nullifies the opposition’s top pivot regularly (see: Matthews, Auston) and is a plus-44 player over the past three seasons.
GM Marc Bergevin was quick to commit to Jeff Petry and Brendan Gallagher in 2020, and he reportedly offered a six-year, $30-million deal to Danault in the off-season that was rejected.
Yes, Danault wished he’d been taken care of earlier, the way Gallagher and Petry were, but he didn’t let that hinder some superb defensive play en route to the Stanley Cup final.
“I think we see across the league that if you want to win, then you need three quality centre players — that was the case for the New York Islanders and ourselves this year — and players who are good at both ends of the ice,” Danault said.
“I know who I am, and I know what I can bring to a team. And I know I can win.”
A Montreal return has been ruled out. Danault is going to market.
The Vegas Golden Knights, L.A. Kings and New York Rangers are all reportedly taking a look.
7. Kyle Palmieri
Position: Right wing / Left wing
2020-21 salary cap hit: $4.65 million
The latest: Rental piece Palmieri’s two goals in 17 regular-season games for the Islanders underwhelmed, but he exploded for seven more in the postseason.
GM Lou Lamoriello must also compensate RFAs Anthony Beauvillier and Adam Pelech this summer, but Palmieri has been a wonderful addition to his middle six and talks on an extension are taking place if not complete.
With Jordan Eberle now a Kraken, New York needs some dependability on its wing.
There is also speculation that Lamoriello will sign sudden UFA Zach Parise, whose price should be cheaper than Palmieri’s. Or take a run at a Vladimir Tarasenko trade.
8. Tuukka Rask
2020-21 salary cap hit: $7 million
The latest: The question isn’t whether Rask — a Vezina-winning, Cup-winning, Jennings-winning stud — is deserving of an extension. The question is whether his body is up for one.
Rask openly pondered 2021 retirement this past season and drew criticism in some (unkind) circles for departing the playoff bubble early to attend to a family matter.
He’ll undergo surgery on a torn hip labrum this off-season and won’t be ready to play until January or February. If and/or when he straps on the pads again, Rask only sees it being in Boston.
"I'm not going to play for anyone else than the Bruins. This is our home," Rask said on June 11.
“At this point of my life and my career, I don't see any reason to go anywhere else, especially with the health I'm looking at now and a recovery time of five or six months. Hopefully it works out that I recover well, and we can talk about contracts when the time is right for that.”
The Bruins’ crease is already in for an overhaul, with fellow UFA Jaroslav Halak moving on.
Expect Rask’s situation to simmer on the back burner.
9. Ryan Suter
2020-21 salary cap hit: $7.54 million
The latest: With plenty of game in the tank, the minutes-munching Suter was the most stunning buyout of the summer by a mile.
“Lots of teams are interested in Ryan. Lots,” Neil Sheehy, who represents Suter, told The Athletic’s Michael Russo.
“I was talking to somebody yesterday that said, ‘There’s not a single team in the league that could have gone through all of their offseason scenarios and exercises and ever thought that Ryan Suter would be available.’ Now, he is.”
The player has an estimated $104 million in career earnings, so we’d have to imagine a shot with a U.S.-based Cup contender will be a priority for the Wisconsin native.
The Bruins fit the bill of club with money to spend and an obvious hole on the left side of their top four, but bowed out of the bidding:
The Stars are Friedman's predicted landing spot, which would give the Stars one of the most formidable bluelines in the league.
10. Alec Martinez
2020-21 salary cap hit: $4 million
The latest: Martinez appears to be caught in that position where a man must choose comfort versus money.
The Golden Knights love the player. Who wouldn’t? A shot-blocking, made-for-playoffs beast, Martinez logs more than 22 minutes per night and managed to contribute 32 points in 53 games last season without betraying his defensive responsibilities.
His plus-26 rating is better than that of any other UFA heading to market.
The Knights reportedly made Martinez a multi-year offer he is considering, but more money should be sitting behind free agency’s door.
The Bruins have made it no secret they are looking for a top-four left shot.
Losing out on Suter and local boy Keith Yandle (signing a one-year contract with the Flyers), Martinez should be at the top of their list. (Derek Forbort looks to be the next option.)
Unfortunately for them, there’s word that Martinez simply stays put.
11. Brandon Saad
Position: Left wing
2020-21 salary cap hit: $6 million
The latest: With Landeskog sticking in Colorado, Hyman a forgone conclusion in Edmonton, and Jaden Schwartz supposedly bound for Seattle, the hunt for top-six left wingers is on.
The Avalanche won’t be able to retain Saad, who has multiple suitors Wednesday.
The L.A. Kings, St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders are among the interested teams in the Cup champ.
12. Mike Hoffman
Position: Left wing
2020-21 salary cap hit: $4 million
The latest: The sniper is right back where he was in the 2020 off-season: looking for a partner and a payday.
Hoffman is rumoured to be seeking a multi-year contract worth $5 million per season, and the Blues haven’t slammed the door just yet.
St. Louis is eager to clear Tarasenko’s cap hit off the books first, however, so GM Doug Armstrong is angling for a trade.
More notable 2021 UFAs: Frederik Andersen, Keith Yandle, Eric Staal, Ryan Getzlaf, Tomas Tatar, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Zach Parise, Tony DeAngelo, Bobby Ryan, Derek Stepan, Alexander Edler, Petr Mrazek, Travis Zajac, Jaden Schwartz, David Savard, Jake McCabe, Tyler Bozak, Ryan Murray, Nikita Gusev, Nick Foligno, Brandon Sutter, Nick Bonino, Blake Coleman, Sean Kuraly, Jordan Martinook, Jordie Benn, Joe Thornton, Alexander Wennberg, Mattias Janmark, Corey Perry, Devan Dubnyk, Jonathan Bernier, Jaroslav Halak, Linus Ullmark, James Reimer, Michael Bunting, Jake Virtanen, Derek Forbort
All contract info via the indispensable CapFriendly.com.
NHL free agency 2021: Complete list of all 31 teams' UFA, RFA players
Like everything else in 2021, the NHL's shopping season does not begin until later than the norm. This year, free agency begins on July 28.
The date circled is when unrestricted free agents begin signing with new teams, restricted free agents with arbitration rights begin having their next contracts dictated by a third party and general managers start playing the fun game of, "Should we or should we not do an offer sheet?"
This season's list of unrestricted free agents is intriguing, with the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Dougie Hamilton and Gabriel Landeskog among the top players on the market. Have we seen the last of Zdeno Chara, Joe Thornton and the NHL's leader in career games, Patrick Marleau? Will we see an offer sheet this year with Elias Pettersson and Brady Tkachuk among the notable RFAs?
It should be noted that this year is also a smidge different: The NHL's newest club, the Kraken, did have an opportunity to sign players in advance. They selected and signed guys like Adam Larsson, Chris Driedger and Jamie Oleksiak.
Below is a list of each team's major free agents.
NHL 2021 free agency
(UFA: unrestricted free agent; RFA: restricted free agent; NQO/UFA: no qualifying offer/unrestricted free agent; QO: given a qualifying offer; a player's name in italics indicates a non-roster, taxi squad or AHL player)
|David Backes||F||STL: one-day contract; retired|
|Maxime Comtois||F||Signed two-year, $4 million contract|
|Ryan Getzlaf||F||Signed one-year $4.5 million contract|
|Danton Heinen||F||PIT: one year, $1.1 million|
|Max Jones||F||Signed three-year, $3.9 million contract|
|Isac Lundestrom||F||Signed one-year, $874,125 contract|
|Sam Steel||F||Signed one-year, $874,125 contract|
|Alexander Volkov||F||Signed one-year $925,000 extension|
|Andy Welinski||D||CGY: one year, $750,000|
|Vinni Lettieri||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Sam Carrick||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Chase De Leo||F||NJD: one year, $750,000|
|Derick Brassard||F||PHI: one year, $825,000|
|Michael Bunting||F||TOR: two years, $1.9 million|
|Hudson Fasching||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|John Hayden||F||BUF: one year, $750,000|
|Dryden Hunt||F||NYR: two years, $1.525 million|
|Alex Goligoski||D||MIN: one year, $5 million|
|Jordan Oesterle||D||DET: two years, $2.7 million|
|Conor Timmins^||D||ARI: two years, $1.7 million|
|Antti Raanta||G||CAR: two years, $4 million|
|Michael Chaput||F||PIT: one year, $750,000|
|Frederik Gauthier||F||NJD: PTO|
|Bokondji Imama*||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
*Acquired from Kings on July 24. ^Acquired in trade with Avalanche.
|Anton Blidh||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Trent Frederic||F||Signed two-year, $2.1 million extension|
|Taylor Hall||F||Signed four-year, $24 million extension|
|Cameron Hughes||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Ondrej Kase||F||TOR: one year, $1.25 million|
|David Krejci||F||Czech: Signed with HC Olomouc|
|Sean Kuraly||F||CBJ: four years, $10 million|
|Greg McKegg||F||NYR: one year, $750,000|
|Nick Ritchie||F||TOR: two years, $5 million|
|Zach Senyshyn||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Bradon Carlo||D||Signed six-year, $24.6 million extension|
|Steven Kampfer||D||KHL: Signed with Ak Bars Kazan|
|Mike Reilly||D||Signed three-year, $9 million contract|
|Jarred Tinordi||D||NYR: two years, $1.8 million|
|Jaroslav Halak||G||VAN: one year, $1.5 million|
|Paul Carey||F||SHL: Signed deal with Djurgardens|
|Rasmus Asplund||F||Signed two-year, $1.65 million contract|
|Drake Caggiula||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Casey Mittelstadt||F||Signed three-year, $7.5 million contract|
|Tobias Rieder||F||ANA: PTO|
|Riley Sheahan||F||SEA: one-year, $850,000|
|Rasmus Dahlin||D||Signed three-year, $18 million contract|
|Matt Irwin||D||WSH: one year, $750,000|
|Henri Jokiharju||D||Signed three-year, $7.5 million contract|
|Carter Hutton||G||ARI: one year, $750,000|
|Linus Ullmark||G||BOS: four years, $20 million|
|Brandon Davidson||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Steven Fogarty||F||BOS: one year, $750,000|
|Dillon Dube||F||Signed three-year, $6.9 million contract|
|Glenn Gawdin||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Josh Leivo||F||CAR: one year, $750,000|
|Joakim Nordstrom||F||KHL: one-year deal with CSKA Moscow|
|Matthew Phillips||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Brett Ritchie||F||Signed one-year, $900,000 contract|
|Buddy Robinson||F||ANA: one year, $750,000|
|Derek Ryan||F||EDM: two years, $2.5 million|
|Dominik Simon||F||PIT: one year, $750,000|
|Oliver Kylington||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Connor Mackey||D||Signed two-year, $1.825 million contract|
|Nikita Nesterov||D||KHL: one-year deal with CSKA Moscow|
|Michael Stone||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Juuso Valimaki||D||Signed two-year, $3.1 million contract|
|Nikita Zadorov*||D||Signed one-year, $3.75 million contract|
|Louis Domingue||G||PIT: One year, $750,000|
|Luke Philp||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Zac Rinaldo||F||CBJ: one year, $750,000|
|Colton Poolman||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Alexander Yelesin||D||KHL: Signed deal with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl|
|Tyler Parsons||G||Signed one-year, $771,750 contract|
|Artyom Zagidulin||G||No QO/UFA|
*Acquired in a trade with Chicago.
|Morgan Geekie*||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Jordan Martinook||F||Signed three-year, $5.4 million contract|
|Brock McGinn||F||PIT: four years, $11 million|
|Cedric Paquette||F||MTL: one year, $950,000|
|Andrei Svechnikov||F||Signed eight-year, $62 million contract|
|Jani Hakanpaa||D||DAL: three years, $4.5 million|
|Dougie Hamilton||D||NJD: seven years, $63 million|
|Maxime Lajoie||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Roland McKeown||D||COL: one year, $750,000|
|Joakim Ryan||D||SHL: Signed deal with Malmo|
|Jonathan Bernier||G||NJD: two years, $8.25 million|
|Antoine Bibeau||G||SEA: one year, $750,000|
|Petr Mrazek||G||TOR: three years, $11.4 million|
|James Reimer||G||SJS: two years, $4.5 million|
|Yegor Korshkov||F||Signed two-year, $4 million contract|
|David Warsofsky||D||DEL: Signed deal with ERC Ingolstadt|
*Selected by Kraken in expansion draft.
|Adam Gaudette||F||Signed one-year, $997,500 extension|
|Brandon Hagel||F||Signed three-year, $4.5 million contract|
|Vinnie Hinostroza||F||BUF: one year, $1.05 million|
|David Kampf||F||TOR: two years, $3 million|
|Alex Nylander||F||Signed one-year, $874,125 contract|
|Pius Suter||F||DET: two years, $6.5 million|
|Josh Dickinson||F||ECHL: Signed one-year deal with Toledo|
|John Quenneville*||F||NL: Signed PTO with ZSC Lions|
|Anton Lindholm||D||KHL: Signed deal with HC Dinamo Minsk|
*Selected by Kraken in expansion draft.
|Pierre-Edouard Bellemare||F||TBL: two years, $2 million|
|Tyson Jost||F||Signed two-year, $4 million contract|
|Gabriel Landeskog||F||Signed eight-year, $56 million contract|
|Jayson Megna||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million extension|
|Liam O'Brien||F||ARI: one year, $750,000|
|Brandon Saad||F||STL: five years, $22.5 million|
|Miikka Salomäki||F||SHL: Signed with Orebro HK|
|Kiefer Sherwood||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|T.J. Tynan||F||LAK: one year, $750,000|
|Kyle Burroughs||D||VAN: two years, $1.5 million|
|Dennis Gilbert||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Cale Makar||D||Signed six-year, $54 million extension|
|Patrik Nemeth||D||NYR: three years, $7.5 million|
|Daniel Renouf||D||DET: one year, $850,000|
|Philipp Grubauer||G||SEA: six years, $35.4 million|
|Jonas Johansson||G||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Adam Werner||G||CGY: one year, $750,000|
|Sheldon Dries||F||VAN: one year, $750,000|
|Ty Lewis||F||No QO/UFA|
Columbus Blue Jackets
|Zac Dalpe||F||FLA: two years, $1.5 million|
|Mikhail Grigorenko||F||KHL: Signed deal with CSKA Moscow|
|Patrik Laine||F||Signed one-year, $7.5 million contract|
|Ryan MacInnis||F||BUF: one year, $750,000|
|Stefan Matteau||F||COL: one year, $750,000|
|Kole Sherwood||F||OTT: one year, $750,000|
|Kevin Stenlund||F||Signed one-year, $1.05 million contract|
|Alexandre Texier||F||Signed two-year, $3.05 million contract|
|Jake Bean*||D||CBJ: three years, $7 million|
|Michael Del Zotto||D||OTT: two years, $4 million|
|Mikko Lehtonen||D||Signed one-year, $900,000 contract|
|Andrew Peeke||D||Signed two-year, $1.575 million contract|
|Cliff Pu||F||ICEHL: Signed deal with Vienna|
|Adam Clendening||D||PHI: one year, $750,000|
|Cam Johnson||G||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
*Acquired from Hurricanes on July 23.
|Andrew Cogliano||F||SJS: One year, $1 million|
|Blake Comeau||F||Signed one-year, $1 million extension|
|Justin Dowling||F||VAN: two years, $1.5 million|
|Rhett Gardner||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million extension|
|Joel Kiviranta||F||Signed two-year, $2.1 million contract|
|Miro Heiskanen||D||Signed eight-year, $67.6 million extension|
|Jamie Oleksiak*||D||SEA: Signed five-year, $23 million extension|
|Mark Pysyk||D||BUF: one year, $900,000|
|Sami Vatanen||D||NL: Signed deal with Geneve-Servette|
|Nicolas Caamano||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Taylor Fedun||D||PIT: one year, $750,000|
|Julius Honka||D||SHL: Signed deal with Lulea|
|Landon Bow||G||Czech: Signed deal with Rytiri Kladno|
*Selected by Kraken in expansion draft.
Detroit Red Wings
|Tyler Bertuzzi||F||Signed two-year, $9.5 million contract|
|Mathias Brome||F||NL: Signed deal with HC Davos|
|Adam Erne||F||Signed two-year, $4.2 million contract|
|Valterri Filppula||F||Switzerland: Signed with Genève-Servette HC|
|Sam Gagner||F||Signed one-year, $850,000 contract|
|Luke Glendening||F||DAL: two years, $3 million|
|Darren Helm||F||COL: one year, $1 million|
|Michael Rasmussen||F||Signed three-year, $4.38 million extension|
|Bobby Ryan||F||Signed PTO with Red Wings|
|Evgeny Svechnikov||F||AHL: Signed one-year deal with Manitoba|
|Jakub Vrana||F||Signed three years, $15.75 million contract|
|Alex Biega||D||TOR: one year, $750,000|
|Dennis Cholowski^||D||SEA: one year, $900,000|
|Christian Djoos||D||NL: Signed deal with EV Zug|
|Filip Hronek||D||Signed three-year, $13.2 million contract|
|Gustav Lindstrom||D||Signed two-year, $1.7 million extension|
|Marc Staal||D||Signed one-year, $2 million extension|
|Alex Nedeljkovic*||G||DET: Signed two-year, $6 million extension|
|Taro Hirose||F||Signed one-year, $850,000 extension|
|Givani Smith||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million contract|
|Dominic Turgeon||F||MIN: one year, $750,000|
|Hayden Verbeek||F||AHL: Signed deal with Grand Rapids|
|Dylan McIlrath||D||WSH: two years, $1.5 million|
|Calvin Pickard||G||Signed one-year, $800,00 contract|
*Acquired from Hurricanes on July 22. ^Selected by Kraken in expansion draft.
|Alex Chiasson||F||VAN: PTO|
|Tyler Ennis||F||OTT: PTO|
|Warren Foegele**||F||EDM: three years, $8.25 million|
|Gaetan Haas||F||NL: Signed deal with EHC BIEL|
|Dominik Kahun||F||NL: Signed deal with SC Bern|
|Jujhar Khaira||F||CHI: two years, $1.95 million|
|James Neal||F||STL: PTO|
|Ryan Nugent-Hopkins||F||Signed eight-year, $5.125 million extension|
|Joakim Nygard||F||SHL: Signed deal with Farjestad BK|
|Patrick Russell||F||SHL: Signed deal with Linkoping|
|Kailer Yamamoto||F||Signed one-year, $1.175 million contract|
|Tyson Barrie||D||Signed three years, $13.5 million|
|Slater Koekkoek||D||Signed two years, $1.85 million|
|Dmitry Kulikov||D||MIN: two years, $4.5 million|
|Adam Larsson*||D||SEA: Signed four-year, $16 million extension|
|Mike Smith||G||Signed two-year, $4.4 million extension|
|Tyler Benson||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 two-way contract|
|Adam Cracknell||F||AHL: Signed deal with Bakersfield|
|Cooper Marody||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Alan Quine||F||AHL: Signed deal with Henderson|
*Selected by Kraken in expansion draft.
**Acquired from Hurricanes on July 28.
|Sam Bennett||F||Signed four-year, $17.7 million extension|
|Anthony Duclair||F||Signed three-year, $9 million extension|
|Nikita Gusev||F||TOR: PTO|
|Juho Lammikko||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Sam Reinhart**||F||Signed three-year, $19.5 million contract|
|Lucas Wallmark||F||KHL: Signed deal with CSKA Moscow|
|Alexander Wennberg||F||SEA: three years, $13.5 million|
|Scott Wilson||F||SEA: PTO|
|Lucas Carlsson||D||Signed one-year, $750 extension|
|Gustav Forsling||D||Signed three-year, $8 million extension|
|Noah Juulsen||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Brady Keeper||D||VAN: two years, $1.525 million|
|Brandon Montour||D||Signed three-year, $10.5 million contract|
|Chase Priskie||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Keith Yandle||D||PHI: one year, $900,000|
|Philippe Desrosiers||G||AHL: Signed deal with Manitoba|
|Chris Driedger*||G||SEA: Signed three-year, $10.5 million extension|
|Samuel Montembeault||G||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
*Selected by Kraken in expansion draft.
**Acquired from Sabres July 24.
Los Angeles Kings
|Andreas Athanasiou||F||Signed one year, $2.7 million contract|
|Blake Lizotte||F||Signed one-year $800,000 extension|
|Matt Luff||F||NSH: one year, $750,000|
|Trevor Moore||F||Signed two-year, $3.75 million extension|
|Christian Wolanin||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Lias Andersson||F||Signed one-year, $874,125 contract|
|Troy Grosenick||G||BOS: one year, $750,000|
|Nick Bjugstad||F||Signed one-year, $900,000 extension|
|Nick Bonino||F||SJS: two years, $4.1 million|
|Joseph Cramarossa||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million extension|
|Brandon Duhaime||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million contract|
|Joel Eriksson Ek||F||Signed eight-year, $42 million extension|
|Kevin Fiala||F||Signed one-year, $5.1 million contract|
|Marcus Johansson||F||SEA: one year $1.5 million|
|Luke Johnson||F||WPG: one year, $750,000|
|Kirill Kaprizov||F||Signed five-year, $45 million contract|
|Zach Parise||F||NYI: terms not disclosed|
|Kyle Rau||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Louis Belpedio||D||MTL: one year $750,000|
|Ian Cole||D||CAR: one year, $2.9 million|
|Brad Hunt||D||VAN: one year, $800,000|
|Dakota Mermis||D||Signed two-year, $1.5 million extension|
|Ryan Suter||D||DAL: four years, $14.6 million|
|Andrew Hammond||G||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Dmitry Sokolov||F||VHL: Signed deal with Omskie Krylia|
|Matt Bartkowski||D||PIT: PTO|
|Ian McCoshen||D||UFA G6|
|Joel Armia||F||Signed four-year, $13,6 million extension|
|Alex Belzile||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Laurent Dauphin||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Philip Danault||F||LAK: six years, $33 million|
|Michael Frolik||F||STL: PTO|
|Jesperi Kotkaniemi||F||CAR: Signed offer sheet for one year, $6.1 million|
|Artturi Lehkonen||F||Signed one-year, $2.3 million contract|
|Corey Perry||F||TBL: two years, $2 million|
|Tomas Tatar||F||NJD: two years, $9 million|
|Cale Fleury*||D||SEA: one year, $750,000|
|Erik Gustafsson||D||NYI: PTO|
|Otto Leskinen||D||KHL: Signed deal with Jokerit|
|Jon Merrill||D||MIN: one year, $850,000|
|Michael McNiven||G||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Charlie Lindgren||G||STL: one year, $750,000|
|Joseph Blandisi||F||No QO/UFA|
|Jacob Lucchini||F||AHL: Signed deal with Laval|
|Ryan Poehling||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million contract|
|Jordan Weal||F||KHL: two years with Ak Bars Kazan|
|Gustav Olofsson||D||SEA: one year, $750,000|
*Selected by Kraken in expansion draft.
|Mikael Granlund||F||Signed four-year, $20 million contract|
|Erik Haula||F||BOS: two years, $4.75 million|
|Tanner Jeannot||F||Signed two-year, $1.6 million contract|
|Michael McCarron||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million contract|
|Mathieu Olivier||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million contract|
|Brad Richardson||F||CGY: one year, $800,000|
|Eeli Tolvanen||F||Signed three-year, $4.35 million contract|
|Jeremy Davies||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Dante Fabbro||D||Signed two-year, $4.8 million contract|
|Erik Gudbranson||D||CGY: one year, $1.95 million|
|Ben Harpur||D||Signed one-year, $800,000 extension|
|Tyler Lewington||D||BOS: one year, $750,000|
|Kasimir Kaskisuo||G||SHL: Signed with Leksands IF|
|Juuse Saros||G||Signed four-year, $20 million contract|
|Michael Carcone||F||ARI: two years, $1.5 million|
|Lukas Craggs||F||AHL: Signed deal with Rochester|
New Jersey Devils
|Janne Kuokkanen||F||Signed two-year, $3.65 million extension|
|Michael Mcleod||F||Signed two-year, $1.95 million extension|
|Yegor Sharangovich||F||Signed two-year, $4 million contract|
|Connor Carrick||D||SEA: one year, $800,000|
|Christian Jaros*||D||NJD: Signed one-year, $800,000 extension|
|Ryan Murray||D||COL: one year, $2 million|
|Jonas Siegenthaler||D||Signed two-year, $2.25 million extension|
|Matt Tennyson||D||NSH: two years, $1.5 million|
|Aaron Dell||G||BUF: one year, $750,000|
|Scott Wedgewood||G||Signed one-year, $825,000 extension|
|Brett Seney||F||TOR: one year, $750,000|
|Ben Street||F||DEL: Signed deal with Munich|
|Marian Studenic||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|David Quenneville||D||SHL: Signed with IK Oskarshamn|
|Colton White||D||Signed one-year $750,000 extension|
|Gilles Senn||G||NL: Signed deal with Davos|
*Acquired from Sharks on July 26.
New York Islanders
|Cole Bardreau||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million contract|
|Anthony Beauvillier||F||Signed three-year, $12.45 million contract|
|Kieffer Bellows||F||Reportedly signed contract|
|Casey Cizikas||F||Signed six-year, $15 million contract|
|Michael Dal Colle||F||Reportedly signed contract|
|Otto Koivula||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Kyle Palmieri||F||Signed four-year, $20 million contract|
|Dmytro Timashov||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Travis Zajac||F||NJD: one-day contract; retired|
|Andy Greene||D||Signed one-year, $1 million extension|
|Adam Pelech||D||Signed eight-year, $46 million contract|
|Cory Schneider||G||Signed contract|
|Ilya Sorokin||G||Signed three-year, $12 million contract|
|Bobo Carpenter||F||AHL: Signed one-year deal with Milwaukee|
|Joshua Ho-Sang||F||TOR: PTO|
New York Rangers
|Filip Chytil||F||Signed two-year, $4.6 million contract|
|Phillip Di Giuseppe||F||VAN: one year, $750,000|
|Julien Gauthier||F||Signed one-year, $775,000 extension|
|Barclay Goodrow*||F||NYR: Signed six-year, $21.85 million extension|
|Libor Hajek||D||Signed one-year, $874,125 contract|
|Brett Howden||F||Signed one-year, $885,000 extension|
|Tony DeAngelo||D||CAR: one year, $1 million|
|Brendan Smith||D||CAR: one year, $800,000|
|Igor Shesterkin||G||Signed four-year, $22.7 million contract|
|Tim Gettinger||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Patrick Newell||F||Norway: Signed deal with Stjernen|
|Ty Ronning||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Nick DeSimone**||D||CGY: one year, $750,000|
|Jack Johnson||D||PTO: Avalanche|
|Darren Raddysh||D||TBL: one year, $750,000|
|Adam Huska||G||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
*Acquired from Lightning on July 17.
**Acquired in a three-way deal with Sharks and Golden Knights
|Michael Amadio||F||TOR: one year, $750,000|
|Artem Anisimov||F||COL: Signed PTO|
|Drake Batherson||F||Signed six-year, $29.85 million contract|
|Ryan Dzingel||F||ARI: one year, $1.1 million|
|Derek Stepan||F||CAR: one year, $1.35 million|
|Victor Mete||D||Signed one-year, $1.2 million contract|
|Marcus Hogberg||G||No QO/UFA|
|Vitaly Abramov||F||RFA; KHL: signed deal with Traktor Chelyabinsk|
|J.C. Beaudin||F||AHL: Signed deal with Laval|
|Logan Brown||F||Signed one-yera, $750,000 contract|
|Jonathan Davidsson||F||HockeyAllsvenskan: Signed deal with HV71|
|Matthew Peca||F||STL: one year, $750,000|
|Cody Goloubef||D||MTL: PTO|
|Filip Gustavsson||G||Signed two-year, $1.575 million contract|
|Carsen Twarynski*||F||SEA: one year, $750,000|
|Samuel Morin||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Travis Sanheim||D||Signed two-year, $9.35 million contract|
|Brian Elliott||G||TBL: one year, $900,000|
|Carter Hart||G||Signed three-year, $11.9 million contract|
|Alex Lyon||G||CAR: one year, $750,000|
|Connor Bunnaman||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million contract|
|David Kase||F||Czech: Signed deal with HC Sparta Praha|
|Derrick Pouliot||D||AHL: Signed deal with Henderson|
*Selected by Kraken in expansion draft.
|Zach Aston-Reese||F||Signed one-year, $1.725 million contract|
|Teddy Blueger||F||Signed two-year, $4.4 million extension|
|Frederick Gaudreau||F||MIN: two years, $2.4 million|
|Mark Jankowski||F||NJD: PTO|
|Evan Rodrigues||F||Signed one-year, $1 million contract|
|Colton Sceviour||F||EDM: PTO|
|Radim Zohorna||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million contract|
|Cody Ceci||D||EDM: four years, $13 million|
|Kasper Bjorkqvist||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Sam Miletic||F||CAR: one year, $750,000|
|Kevin Czuczman||D||MIN: one year, $750,000|
|Jesper Lindgren||D||No QO/UFA|
|Maxime Lagace||G||TBL: one year, $750,000|
San Jose Sharks
|Rudolfs Balcers||F||Signed two-year, $3.1 million extension|
|Joachim Blichfeld||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Ryan Donato||F||SEA: one-year, $750,000|
|Kurtis Gabriel||F||TOR: one year, $750,000|
|Dylan Gambrell||F||Signed one-year, $1.1 million contract|
|Noah Gregor||F||Signed one-year. $750,000 contract|
|Nick Merkley**||F||SJS: Signed one year, $750,000 contract|
|Matt Nieto||F||Signed two-year, $1.7 million extension|
|Lane Pederson**||F||SJS: two years, $1.5 million|
|Marcus Sorensen||F||SHL: Signed four-year deal with Djugardens IF|
|Adin Hill*||G||SJS: two years, $4.35 million|
|Martin Jones||G||PHI: one year, $2 million|
*Acquired from Coyotes on July 17.
**Acquired from Devils on July 27.
St. Louis Blues
|Ivan Barbashev||F||Signed two-year, $4.5 million contract|
|Tyler Bozak||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Pavel Buchnevich**||F||STL: four years, $23.2 million extension|
|Mike Hoffman||F||MTL: three years, $13.5 million|
|Jordan Kyrou||F||Signed two-years, $5.6 million contract|
|Zachary Sanford||F||Signed one-year, $2 million contract|
|Jaden Schwartz||F||SEA: five years, $27.5 million|
|Robert Thomas||F||Signed two-year, $5.6 million contract|
|Vince Dunn*||D||SEA: two years, $8 million|
|Jacob De La Rose||F||SHL: Signed deal with Farjestad BK|
|Nathan Walker||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million extension|
|Mitch Reinke||D||AHL: Signed deal with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton|
*Selected by Kraken in expansion draft. **Acquired from Rangers on July 23.
Tampa Bay Lightning
|Alex Barre-Boulet||F||Signed three-year, $2.275 million contract|
|Blake Coleman||F||CGY: six years, $29.4 million|
|Ross Colton||F||Signed two-year, $2.25 million contract|
|Boris Katchouk||F||Signed three-year, $2.275 million contract|
|Taylor Raddysh||F||Signed three-year, $2.275 million contract|
|Gemel Smith||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million extension|
|Andreas Borgman||D||DAL: one year, $750,000|
|Fredrik Claesson||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Cal Foote||D||Signed two-year, $1.7 million contract|
|Luke Schenn||D||VAN: two years, $1.7 million|
|David Savard||D||MTL: four years, $14 million|
|Ben Thomas||D||SHL: Signed deal with Leksands IF|
|Christopher Gibson||G||FLA: one year, $750,000|
|Otto Somppi||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Sean Day||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Brian Lashoff||D||DET: one year, $750,000|
Toronto Maple Leafs
|Nick Foligno||F||BOS: two years, $7.6 million|
|Alex Galchenyuk||F||ARI: PTO|
|Zach Hyman||F||EDM: seven years, $38.5 million|
|Riley Nash||F||WPG: one year, $750,000|
|Wayne Simmonds||F||Signed two-year, $1.8 million extension|
|Jason Spezza||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Joe Thornton||F||FLA: one year, $750,000|
|Zach Bogosian||D||TBL: three years, $2.55 million|
|Travis Dermott||D||Signed two-year, $3 million contract|
|Frederik Andersen||G||CAR: two years, $9 million|
|David Rittich||G||NSH: one year, $1.25 million|
|Kenny Agostino||F||KHL: Signed deal with Novgorod|
|Denis Malgin||F||NL: Signed deal with ZSC Lions|
|Stefan Noesen||F||CAR: one year, $750,000|
|Nicolas Petan||F||VAN: one year, $750,000|
|Scott Sabourin||F||OTT: one year, $750,000|
|Calle Rosen||D||STL: one year, $750,000|
|Veini Vehvilainen||G||SHL: Signed deal with Brynas IF|
|Joseph Woll||G||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Justin Bailey||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Travis Boyd||F||ARI: one year, $750,000|
|Jason Dickinson^||F||Signed three-year, $7.95 million contract|
|Conor Garland**||F||VAN: Signed five-year, $24.750 million extension|
|Tyler Graovac||F||KHL: one-year contract with Dinamo Minsk|
|Jayce Hawryluk||F||No QO/UFA|
|Marc Michaelis||F||AHL: one-year contract with Marlies|
|Elias Pettersson||F||Signed three-year, $7.35 million contract|
|Brandon Sutter||F||Signed one-year, $1.125 million contract|
|Jake Virtanen||F||KHL: one-year deal with Spartak Moscow|
|Jimmy Vesey||F||NJD: PTO|
|Jalen Chatfield||D||CAR: one year, $750,000|
|Alex Edler||D||LAK: one year, $3.5 million|
|Travis Hamonic||D||Signed two-year, $6 million contract|
|Quinn Hughes||D||Signed six-year, $7.85 million contract|
|Olli Juolevi||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Braden Holtby||G||DAL: one year, $2 million|
|Sven Baertschi||F||VGK: one year, $750,000|
|Kole Lind*||F||SEA: one year, $874,125|
|Guillaume Brisebois||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Brogan Rafferty||D||ANA: one year, $750,000|
|Ashton Sautner||D||AHL: Signed deal with Abbotsford|
|Josh Teves||D||AHL: Signed deal with Rochester|
*Selected by Kraken in expansion draft. **Acquired from Coyotes July 23. ^Acquired from Stars.
Vegas Golden Knights
|Patrick Brown||F||Signed two-years, $1.5 million contract|
|Mattias Janmark||F||Signed one-year, $2 million contract|
|Tomas Nosek||F||BOS: two years, $3.5 million|
|Nolan Patrick*||F||Signed two-year, $2.4 million contract|
|Dylan Coghlan||D||Signed two-year, $1.525 million contract|
|Alec Martinez||D||Signed three-year, $15.75 million contract|
|Dylan Sikura||F||COL: one year, $800,000|
|Carl Dahlstrom||D||TOR: one year, $750,000|
|Oscar Dansk||G||KHL: two-year contract with Spartak Moscow|
*Acquired in a three-way deal from Flyers on July 17
|Alex Ovechkin||F||Signed five-year, $47.5 million extension|
|Zdeno Chara||D||NYI: terms not disclosed|
|Paul LaDue||D||NYI: one year, $750,000|
|Craig Anderson||G||BUF: one year, $750,000|
|Daniel Carr||F||NL: Signed deal with HC Lugano|
|Beck Malenstyn||F||Signed one-year, $750,000 extension|
|Michael Raffl||F||DAL: one year, $1.1 million|
|Lucas Johansen||D||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
|Ilya Samsonov||G||Signed one-year, $2 million contract|
|Andrew Copp||F||Signed one-year, $3.64 million contract|
|Trevor Lewis||F||CGY: one year, $800,000|
|Matthieu Perreault||F||MTL: one year, $950,000|
|Paul Stastny||F||Signed one-year, $3.75 million extension|
|Nate Thompson||F||PHI: one year, $800,000|
|Jordie Benn||D||MIN: one year, $900,000|
|Derek Forbort||D||BOS: three years, $9 million|
|Neal Pionk||D||Signed 4 years, $23.5 million|
|Tucker Poolman||D||VAN: four years, $10 million|
|Logan Stanley||D||Signed two-year, $1.8 million contract|
|Laurent Brossoit||G||VGK: two years, $4.65 million|
|Marko Dano||F||Czech: Signed deal with Trinec|
|Dominic Toninato||F||Signed two-year, $1.5 million extension|
|Eric Comrie||G||Signed one-year, $750,000 contract|
The above information is courtesy of CapFriendly.
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10 Interesting UFA Goalies to Watch in 2021
This July 1 may not be the start of the NHL’s free-agency frenzy, as is normally the case, but that doesn’t mean we can’t kick it off with one final look at the 2021 UFA goalie cohort.
In case you don’t know, this is the fifth and final in a series of blogs examining this off-season’s UFA options between the pipes. For more context, and to read the first blog in this series, click here.
Today’s blog details most consequential UFA goalies who haven’t yet been covered. Many are nearing the end of their NHL journeys, but deserve at least a send off, if nothing else.
Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins
If Rask had even a shred of interest in exploring the open market, he’d be the 2021 UFA goalie class’s white whale. The 34-year-old Finn is the NHL’s active leader in goals-against average (2.27) and save percentage (.921). In fact, only three goalies in league history – Dominik Hasek, Johnny Bower and Ken Dryden – stopped shots at a better rate. Rask’s best campaign came in 2013-14; he won the Vezina Trophy and earned a first-team all-star nod while leading the Bruins to the Presidents’ Trophy. And he's not far removed from similar radiance. Rask shone in 2019-20, with a .929 SP, five shutouts and a league-leading 2.12 GAA. He was Vezina runner-up and the NHL's second-team all-star goalie.
Rask has never won a Stanley Cup as a starter, but that’s really the only plaudit he lacks. His individual numbers even marginally improve in the post-season. But Rask – who will miss the start of 2021-22 following off-season hip surgery – has said it’s Boston or bust for him. That’s a shame for goalie-needy GMs but a boon for the B’s. He should return down the stretch and can take over if young Jeremy Swayman falters.
Jaroslav Halak – Boston Bruins
Rask’s battery mate in Boston the past three years. The Slovak stopper has played in 15 NHL seasons, calling five different cities home – never staying in one spot longer than four seasons.
Halak likely finds new stamping grounds this summer, though Rask’s injury opens the possibility of a Beantown return. But Halak would have to take a haircut on the $3.5 million he made this season. Halak has been dependable throughout his career – especially as part of a tandem; he has twice been a part of a Jennings Trophy-winning duo. Halak, 36, is nearer the end than he is the beginning, but still has some good hockey left in him. In his three seasons in Boston, Halak had 49 wins and a .918 SP in 83 starts.
Pekka Rinne – Nashville Predators
The big Finn is one of the elite goalies of his generation and a quintessential Predator, but his residency in the Music City may well be finished. Juuse Saros emphatically cemented himself in the starter’s crease, and Rinne could choose to move elsewhere or even hang up the pads after 15 years in The Show.
Rinne missed 51 games after underdoing hip surgery in October 2013, but the 38-year-old has been otherwise sturdy, even into his twilight NHL years. Rinne has missed just 14 games due to injury since returning in March 2014 from his trip under the knife.
Like countryman Rask, Rinne has a Vezina and two all-star nods on his resume. His 60 career shouts rank third among active NHLers. If his time in Nashville has finished, it ended fittingly; Rinne posted a 30-save shutout in his 2020-21 curtain call.
He could always help an offense-needy club.
Henrik Lundqvist – Washington Capitals
You could’ve forgiven ‘Hank’ for being a little moody after the year he had, but he’s dealt with the adversity laudably while seemingly maintaining good spirits. Maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise coming from one of the NHL’s best-known good guys.
Lundqvist signed a one-year, $1.5-million pact with Washington ahead of 2020-21 but missed the entire campaign after undergoing heart surgery. We won’t speculate too much on what that means going forward but instead will take a moment to appreciate his spectacular career.
If his playing days are over, Lundqvist will be remembered as an all-time great goaltender. The 39-year-old is a five-time Vezina finalist – winning the award once – a two-time NHL all-star, and was Sweden’s starting goalie for their run to Olympic gold in 2006. Beyond the Turin triumph, he’s also a World Championship gold medallist. Among active NHLers, he’s second in both wins (459) and shutouts (64).
Lundqvist hasn’t officially closed the book yet, and if he can continue playing, he’ll look to sign with a contender. A date with Lord Stanley is seemingly the only outing the suave Swede hasn’t managed to wangle.
James Reimer – Carolina Hurricanes
Reimer is one of three netminders who called Carolina’s crease home in 2020-21. He’s also one of three Carolina netminders whose contract now expires. Alex Nedeljkovic – the only RFA – will be retained; that much we know. Whether Reimer (or Petr Mrazek) returns to the Tar Heel State, however, is anyone’s guess.
Reimer is 33 years old and has played in 11 NHL campaigns. After five-and-a-half seasons in Toronto, the Leafs traded him to San Jose at the 2016 deadline. Since then, Reimer is 88-55-20 with a .912 SP and 2.72 GAA. He played in 22 games this season for the Canes.
Manitoba-born Reimer just finished a five-year, $17-million contract he originally signed with the Florida Panthers in the summer of 2016. He won’t be making nearly the $3.4 million AAV he did on his previous pact but should catch on somewhere as a backup.
Brian Elliott – Philadelphia Flyers
One-half of the disaster in Philadelphia’s net this season. The 36-year-old from Newmarket, Ont., has spent the past four seasons with the Flyers on three separate short-term deals. They probably bring in a different veteran to pair with a Carter Hart they’ll hope rebounds from a dreadful 2020-21.
Elliott led the NHL in SP in 2011-12 and 2015-16, but it’s not those years anymore. Could bounce back removed from Philly’s goalie graveyard, though.
Craig Anderson – Washington Capitals
Colorado traded Anderson to Ottawa in exchange for Elliott in February 2011. Could one – or both – ride off into the sunset this summer?
Anderson just turned 40 and – thrilling two-game stint as playoff No. 1 aside – played in just four regular-season games this year. His final three years in Ottawa were a struggle after six-and-a-half great seasons in Canada’s capital. The 2017 Masterton Trophy winner is the Sens’ all-time leader in games played (435), wins (202) and nearly doubles runner-up Patrick Lalime in saves as a Sen.
Anderson is coming off a league-minimum deal with the Caps.
Cory Schneider – New York Islanders
New Jersey bought out the 12-year NHL vet on Oct. 8, 2020. He then signed a one-year deal with the Islanders for the league minimum ($700,000) one day after the 2020-21 season started. Schneider didn’t get into any NHL action this year and only skated two games in the AHL. Maybe he signs a PTO?
Laurent Brossoit – Winnipeg Jets
He was drafted by Calgary, made his NHL debut with Edmonton and has spent the past three seasons with Winnipeg. Could he journey to Vancouver to complete the Western Conference Canadian tour? Brossoit has oscillated between good and bad seasons since becoming a semi-regular in 2017-18. He only started 11 games in 2020-21 but posted a .918 SP and had a shutout.
Carter Hutton – Buffalo Sabres
Hutton had one win in 12 starts with Buffalo this season. It seems like a long time since he led the league in SP and GAA in 2017-18 with the Blues. It'll be interesting to see what his NHL future holds.
Nick Emanuelli is a part-time editor and blogger at The Hockey News. He is a graduate of Western University’s Master of Media in Journalism and Communication program.
The Top 30 Unrestricted Free Agents of 2021
July 26 UPDATE: Time to spruce up the list of remaining UFAs one more time. It’s strange to use the term “remaining” when free agency hasn’t even opened yet, but numerous names have flown off the list thanks to a whirlwind week that included (a) the expansion draft, in which the Seattle Kraken inked UFAs Adam Larsson, Jamie Oleskiak and Chris Driedger; (b) a monstrous sign-and-trade contract from the New York Rangers for Barclay Goodrow; (c) a handful of re-signings, such as Taylor Hall’s with the Boston Bruins; and (d) some all-but-confirmed signings announced in the days following the expansion draft.
So who's still available? Here’s a look at the best 30. I’ve taken the liberty of scratching unconfirmed signee left wingers Zach Hyman and Jaden Schwartz from the list, FYI, as their contracts with Edmonton and Seattle, respectively, pretty much wink-wink complete, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. Same goes for Alec Martinez, expected to re-sign in Vegas for three seasons, and for Alex Ovechkin. His re-signing was always a mere formality, and the Caps have indicated they expect a deal to be completed before free agency even opens.
Ages listed as of July 28, 2021, the start date for unrestricted free agency.
1. DOUGIE HAMILTON, D, 28
2020-21 cap hit: $5,750,000
In the past four seasons, no defenseman has scored more goals than Hamilton – despite him missing significant time with a broken leg last season. The old guard may not like his body language or off-ice interests – LOL, says the new guard – but he’s a top-tier puck mover and play driver who has great size and a right-handed shot. The Canes are making a final push to retain him but the New Jersey Devils, swimming in cap space, are reportedly emerging as a major contender for his services.
2. GABRIEL LANDESKOG, LW, 28
2020-21 cap hit: $5,571,429
Landeskog is the anti-Hamilton in that old-school hockey thinkers love Landeskog. Some league executives still talk about how impressed they were with his scouting interviews leading up to the 2011 draft. He’s a revered, heart-and-soul captain who blends top-line scoring touch with bruising physical play. He recently expressed his “disappointment” that he’s so close to making it to market but, with the expansion draft and entry draft in the rearview mirror and RFA blueiner Cale Makar re-signed, Avs GM Joe Sakic will focus his energy on Landeskog in the next couple days.
3. PHILIPP GRUBAUER, G, 29
2020-21 cap hit: $3,333,333
Talent was never in question for Grubauer. He delivered a tremendous “put it all together” season for the Avalanche and has the fifth-highest save percentage in NHL history among goalies with at least 100 games played. The key was to prove he could stay healthy and, while he did land on the COVID-19 list, he avoided injury in 2020-21. With re-signing Landeskog still Colorado’s priority, can the team afford Grubauer, too? He has expressed interest in returning, at least.
4. PHILLIP DANAULT, C, 28
2020-21 cap hit: $3,083,333
Danault is one of the top two-way forwards in the business. His ability to smother opposing teams’ best scorers was crucial in Montreal’s run to the 2021 Stanley Cup final. Multiple reports on his contract status, however, indicate he is likely play elsewhere on his new deal.
5. TYSON BARRIE, D, 30
2020-21 cap hit: $3,750,000
Seventh in points among NHL defensemen since his breakout 2013-14 campaign. Barrie, a power-play specialist, was set up nicely to post massive contract-year numbers in Edmonton, and that’s exactly what’s happened. But do the Oilers need to bring him back? They were already a powerhouse power-play team before he signed, and he’s a bit of a drag on their defensive play. They’ve also just committed an additional $5.5 million in cap space to Duncan Keith. Then again, they’ve lost Larsson from the right side of their blueline.
6. BLAKE COLEMAN, LW, 29
2020-21 cap hit: $1,800,000
Coleman can play center or the wing, he kills penalties, he forechecks aggressively and, don’t forget, on a team that needs him to play bigger minutes, he can score 20 goals. The only problem is that, after playing an important role on consecutive Stanley Cup champions in Tampa, his value has exploded to the point it may require an overpay to land him. Goodrow’s six-year deal with the Rangers at a $3.64-million AAV must leave Coleman tickled, as he does all the same things as his ex-linemate but scores a lot more.
7. DAVID KREJCI, C, 35
2020-21 cap hit: $7,250,000
Brings so much experience in the regular season and playoffs as the Bruins' longtime No. 2 center, and he showed how impactful he can still be once they gave him proper second-line wingers to play with this past season. The Bruins are waiting to see if Krejci decides to return to the Czech Republic for 2021-22. If he plays in the NHL next season, it’s likely for Boston.
8. KYLE PALMIERI, RW, 30
2020-21 cap hit: $4,650,000
Averaged 30 goals per 82 games in his first five seasons as a Devil. That appears to be Palmieri’s ceiling, but it’s a highly useful ceiling. He endured a bad year, but it was likely the product of (a) playing with less help in New Jersey before his trade to the New York Islanders and (b) an unlucky shooting percentage of 6.5. Perhaps that’ll make him a bargain signing this off-season. His goal-scoring place in the 2021 playoffs pro-rated to his usual 30 goals per 82 games, FYI.
9. RYAN SUTER, D, 36
2020-21 cap hit: $7,538,462
Upon learning of his shocking buyout, Suter hung up on Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin, but Suter should be back on the phone soon fielding offers from contenders. He’s not the all-around dominator he was in his prime, especially on the defensive side of the puck, but he could still provide useful middle-pair help on a contender and might only cost half his Minnesota AAV.
10. BRANDON SAAD, LW, 28
2020-21 cap hit: $6,000,000
Saad is attractive for teams wanting him to fill the same role he did in Colorado this past season: a win-now piece, responsible at both ends of the ice, fast, able to play in the middle six and contribute decent goal totals. He got 16 this season in 43 games while playing just 14 minutes or so per night, but that’s a trap: his shooting percentage was unsustainable at a league-leading 22.1, almost double his career mark of 11.9.
11. TUUKKA RASK, G, 34
2020-21 cap hit: $7,000,000
The rise of prospect Jeremy Swayman pushes one of Rask and Jaroslav Halak out. Odds are it’s Halak. Rask only wants to play in Boston and won’t return to game action until winter 2022 after undergoing hip surgery. He’ll thus never come cheaper. Disclaimer: he’d rank in the top five on this list if healthy.
12. NICK FOLIGNO, LW, 33
2020-21 cap hit: $5,500,000
He was entrenched in the Columbus community thanks to his charity work and role as Blue Jackets captain. Does that mean he’ll return there after his stint as a trade-deadline rental with the Leafs? It depends on how badly Foligno craves a Stanley Cup run, as Columbus appears to be trending toward a rebuild.
13. MIKAEL GRANLUND, LW, 29
2020-21 cap hit: $3,750,000
Granlund may never reach the ceiling he was projected to have when he ripped up the Finnish Liiga a decade ago, but that’s OK. He’s still a skilled top-six forward who makes an underrated defensive impact. His most useful trait is his versatility. He can play any forward position if needed.
14. TOMAS TATAR, LW, 30
2020-21 cap hit: $5,300,000
The idea of Habs GM Marc Bergevin “having to choose” between Danault and Tatar is a distant memory. Tatar endured the worst season of his career and only dressed for five playoff games. With Montreal extending coach Dominique Ducharme’s contract, that’s it for Tatar as a Hab. Each game he sat in the playoffs felt like it eroded a few more bucks off his value. It was terrible timing from his perspective, but it could make him a nice bargain. He was an elite play driver for multiple seasons alongside Danault and Brendan Gallagher. Tatar is hardly finished.
15. DAVID SAVARD, D, 30
2020-21 cap hit: $4,250,000
He’s big, rugged, shoots right-handed and was generally underrated as a shutdown defenseman, having spent his career in a relatively small market before Columbus dealt him to Tampa Bay at the deadline. He got better as the playoffs progressed and proved to literally be a “guy you win with.” He's far less under the radar with the championship glow on him now and has been linked to his hometown team: the Habs.
16. ALEX GOLIGOSKI, D, 35
2020-21 cap hit: $5,475,000
He’s durable, he plays 22 minutes a night, he moves the puck pretty well…he’s just a safe veteran pickup at this stage of his career, even if it’s on a short-term deal.
17. MIKE REILLY, D, 28
2020-21 cap hit: $1,500,000
Reilly was a bright spot on a rebuilding Ottawa Senators team this past season, forming a net-positive pair with rookie Artem Zub, and Reilly was an extremely useful trade-deadline acquisition for the Bruins as a left-shot puck-mover. He felt more like a fringe NHLer a few years ago but has established himself as a legitimate UFA target.
18. PAUL STASTNY, C, 35
2020-21 cap hit: $6,500,000
Getting long in the tooth, but he still has a skill set plenty of teams need: intelligent, good on faceoffs, can center a scoring line and, as he’s shown this year, can transition successfully to the left wing as well.
19. RYAN MURRAY, D, 27
2020-21 cap hit: $4,700,000
Tough year for all Devils players, but Murray is still relatively young for a UFA, has a recent history as a respectable defensive defenseman and can skate. On a better team, he could be a handy middle-pair option.
20. KEITH YANDLE, D, 34
2020-21 cap hit: $6,350,000
He’s not what he was in his prime, but if he’s used for sheltered third-pair duty and power-play work, he could still be a relative bargain. Think 2019-20 Kevin Shattenkirk.
21. MIKE HOFFMAN, LW, 31
2020-21 cap hit: $4,000,000
Hoffman’s defensive shortcomings in 5-on-5 play are beginning to overshadow his goal-scoring skills, and he was healthy-scratched at times in St. Louis, but he still scored at a 27-goal pace if pro-rated to 82 games. He can bulge the twine as a power-play specialist, but he’s a risky team-chemistry fit.
22. PETR MRAZEK, G, 29
2020-21 cap hit: $3,125,000
‘Peter Erratic’ no more? In a small, injury-shortened sample this past season, he saved more goals above average per 60 minutes than all but two goalies – Juuse Saros and Alex Nedeljkovic – among the 65 stoppers who played 300 or more minutes at 5-on-5. ‘Ned’ happened to be Mrazek’s teammate and appeared to cement himself as Carolina’s No. 1…but wound up traded to Detroit. OK, then. Maybe Carolina circles back to Mrazek.
23. NICK BONINO, C, 33
2020-21 cap hit: $4,100,000
He’s not a sexy pickup at this stage of his career, but he brings reliability in a middle-six assignment, ideally as a third-liner. If he doesn’t catch on with a contender, perhaps a bottom feeder signs him short-term with the hope of flipping him at a future trade deadline.
24. JONATHAN BERNIER, G, 32
2020-21 cap hit: $3,000,000
Bernier just completed a remarkable season, performing as one of the better netminders in the league despite facing, statistically, the most challenging workload in the NHL at 5-on-5. Will the Canes sign him after acquiring him in the Nedeljkovic deal? The trade sure will look ugly if they don’t.
25. ZACH PARISE, LW, 37
2020-21 cap hit: $7,538,462
Parise’s value changes drastically now that we don’t have to view him through the lens of his massive contract. If he’s willing to sign an “old guy” deal around the league-minimum with performance bonuses, he’ll generate plenty of interest. He can still score a bit if he’s playing down in the lineup as a luxury bottom-sixer a-la Jason Spezza and Corey Perry.
26. MICHAEL BUNTING, LW, 25
2020-21 cap hit: $737,500
Anyone has to tread carefully when a 25-year-old scores 10 goals in 21 games, converting an unsustainable 26.1 percent of his shots, but the unpredictability will probably be baked into Bunting’s price. He won’t cost enough to qualify as an actual gamble. That’s the good news about his sample size being so small.
27. BRANDON MONTOUR, D, 27
2020-21 cap hit: $3,850,000
He’s relatively young, he can move the puck, he naturally looked much better after his trade from Buffalo to Florida, and his overall price should be reasonable since his time as a Sabre suppressed his overall numbers. There’s potential value here.
28. CASEY CIZIKAS, C, 30
2020-21 cap hit: $3,350,000
The challenge with players like Cizikas: at his age and with his established track record as an excellent No. 4 center who kills penalties and faces tough competition, he’s now a “big name” checker. Do you pay him several million a year or replace him with a younger grinder for a fraction of the price?
29. JAKE MCCABE, D, 27
2020-21 cap hit: $2,850,000
He’s overlooked because he played just 13 games this season, but full marks to my pal Dom Luszczyszyn at The Athletic for shedding light on just how effective McCabe has been defensively on a terrible team playing with a weak partner. McCabe might be available at a third-pair price but could deliver middle-pair effectiveness.
30. MATTIAS JANMARK, LW, 28
2020-21 cap hit: $2,250,000
Like Granlund, Janmark brings a Swiss Army Knife skill set. The Golden Knights have used him at all three forward positions and on both special teams. So he’s a complementary option if a contender needs depth. Or he could play higher in the lineup on a weaker team.
Other prominent 2021 UFAs to watch:
2021 ufa goalies
Top NHL free agent goalies: Andersen on market
Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs
The 31-year-old played 24 games, the fewest in his eight NHL seasons, because of a lower-body injury and was 13-8-3 with a career-worst 2.96 goals-against average and .895 save percentage. Andersen had won at least 20 games and had a save percentage of at least .909 in each of his previous seven NHL seasons. In 393 regular-season games (381 starts) for the Anaheim Ducks and Maple Leafs, Andersen is 226-100-48 with a 2.65 GAA, .915 save percentage and 19 shutouts, and 27-23 with a 2.55 GAA, .916 save percentage and three shutouts in 53 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Jonathan Bernier, Carolina Hurricanes
The 32-year-old was acquired from the Detroit Red Wings for goalie Alex Nedeljkovic on July 22, and was one of the bright spots for Detroit this season, going 9-11-1 with a 2.99 GAA and .914 save percentage in 24 games (23 starts). He has made at least 30 starts in each of his previous seven full NHL seasons and is capable of being a starter or backup. Bernier is 161-159-39 with a 2.77 GAA, .913 save percentage and 18 shutouts in 394 regular-season games (355 starts) for the Los Angeles Kings, Maple Leafs, Ducks, Colorado Avalanche and Red Wings. He is 2-5 with a 3.35 GAA and .885 save percentage in nine playoff games (five starts), winning the Stanley Cup with the Kings as the backup to Jonathan Quick in 2012.
Video: A look at this offseasons UFA Goalies
Devan Dubnyk, Colorado Avalanche
Although Dubnyk has struggled in each of the past two seasons, during which he is 18-26-4 with a 3.29 GAA, .892 save percentage and two shutouts in 52 games (46 starts), there will likely still be teams interested in signing the 35-year-old, who is out to prove he can still perform at a high level. For five straight seasons from 2014-19, Dubnyk won at least 31 games and never had a GAA higher than 2.54 or a save percentage lower than .913. He is 253-206-54 with a 2.61 GAA, .914 save percentage and 33 shutouts in 542 regular-season games (514 starts) for the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators, Arizona Coyotes, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks and Avalanche.
Brian Elliott, Philadelphia Flyers
If Elliott doesn't re-sign with the Flyers, he could be one of the most coveted backup goalies available. The 36-year-old was 15-9-2 with a 3.06 GAA, .889 save percentage and two shutouts in 30 games (26 starts) this season. Elliott has played at least 30 games in 11 of his 13 NHL seasons, going 256-155-49 with a 2.53 GAA, .910 save percentage and 42 shutouts in 502 regular-season games (457 starts) for the Senators, Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames and Flyers. He is 17-26 with a 2.72 GAA, .904 save percentage and one shutout in 48 postseason games (45 starts).
Philipp Grubauer, Colorado Avalanche
The 29-year-old was 30-9-1 in 40 games (39 starts) this season. Grubauer led the NHL in GAA (1.95; minimum 30 starts), was tied with Semyon Varlamov of the New York Islanders for the lead in shutouts (seven), second in wins behind Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning (31), and sixth in save percentage (.922). He is 109-61-21 with a 2.34 GAA, .920 save percentage and 18 shutouts in 214 regular-season games (187 starts) for the Washington Capitals and Avalanche. Grubauer is 19-10-1 with a 2.50 GAA, .913 save percentage and two shutouts in 33 postseason games (32 starts), winning the Stanley Cup with Washington as the backup to Braden Holtby in 2018.
Video: [email protected], Gm2: Grubauer denies Tuch with glove save
Jaroslav Halak, Boston Bruins
The 36-year-old had been the primary backup to Tuukka Rask since signing with the Bruins as a free agent July 1, 2018, but he was overtaken by rookie Jeremy Swayman at the end of this season after being placed on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list April 5. Halak finished 9-6-4 with a 2.53 GAA, .905 save percentage and two shutouts in 19 games (17 starts). In 539 regular-season games (517 starts) for the Montreal Canadiens, Blues, Capitals, Islanders and Bruins, Halak is 281-173-62 with a 2.48 GAA, .916 save percentage and 52 shutouts. He is 17-20 with a 2.48 GAA and .919 save percentage in 39 playoff games (37 starts).
Braden Holtby, Vancouver Canucks
The 31-year-old will have the final season of his two-year, $8.6 million contract bought out by the Canucks. Holtby was 7-11-3 with a 3.67 GAA and .889 save percentage in 21 games; it was the highest GAA and lowest save percentage of his 11-season NHL career. He is 289-133-49 with a 2.58 GAA, .915 save percentage and 35 shutouts in 489 regular-season games (479 starts) and 50-47 with a 2.13 GAA, .926 save percentage and seven shutouts in 97 playoff games (96 starts). Holtby helped Washington win the Cup in 2018.
Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks
Jones will have the final three seasons of his six-year contract bought out by the Sharks. The 31-year-old was 15-13-4 with a 3.28 GAA, .896 save percentage and one shutout in 34 games, when he shared playing time with Dubnyk, Josef Korenar and Alexei Melnichuk. Jones is 186-132-29 with a 2.60 GAA, .908 save percentage and 25 shutouts in 361 regular-season games (355 starts) with the Sharks and Kings and 32-27 with a 2.37 GAA, .917 save percentage and six shutouts in 62 playoff games (60 starts). He won the Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2014 as the backup to Quick.
Petr Mrazek, Carolina Hurricanes
The 29-year-old was limited to 12 games this season because of injuries, going 6-2-3 with a 2.06 GAA, .923 save percentage and three shutouts. Mrazek won at least 21 games in each of his previous two seasons with the Hurricanes and is 128-96-31 with a 2.59 GAA, .911 save percentage and 24 shutouts in 275 regular-season games (250 starts) for the Red Wings, Flyers and Hurricanes. He is 12-15 with a 2.43 GAA, .911 save percentage and five shutouts in 29 playoff games (28 starts).
James Reimer, Carolina Hurricanes
Along with Mrazek and Nedeljkovic, Reimer was one of three goalies the Hurricanes regularly used this season. The 33-year-old was 15-5-2 with a 2.66 GAA and .906 save percentage in 22 games (21 starts). Reimer is 173-131-43 with a 2.79 GAA, .913 save percentage and 24 shutouts in 385 regular-season games (351 starts) for the Maple Leafs, Sharks, Florida Panthers and Hurricanes. He is 5-5- with a 2.70 GAA and .925 save percentage in 11 playoff games (10 starts).
Linus Ullmark, Buffalo Sabres
The 27-year-old played 20 games this season because of a lower-body injury, going 9-6-3 with a 2.63 GAA and .917 save percentage. His presence was greatly missed, though, by the Sabres, who were 6-28-4 without him in net. Ullmark is 50-47-13 with a 2.78 GAA, .912 save percentage and three shutouts in 117 regular-season games (112 starts) with Buffalo.
2021 NHL Free Agents
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This year’s goalie market was unprecedented, but next year has even greater potential. Here are the top 10 unrestricted 2021 NHL free agent goalies.
10. Pekka Rinne
When Pekka Rinne is the number 10 of 2021 NHL free agent goalies on this list, then that says something about this free agent class. But he could have been much higher up, if not for his recent decline. Rinne had the worst season of his NHL career in 2019-2020, recording a 3.17 GAA and a .895 save percentage in 36 games. Head Coach John Hynes may elect to give Jusse Saros more starts this year, especially if the season is condensed. He’ll be 39 at this point next year, though his experience alone could prove valuable for a defensive-minded team looking for a 1B.
9. Jaroslav Halak
Halak has benefitted playing behind the Boston Bruins’ defense over the last two seasons. On one of the most defensively responsible teams, he recorded a 2.39 GAA and .919 SV% last season. He also played in nine playoff games after Rask left the Toronto bubble to attend to family matters. Expect Halak and Rask to split starts fairly evenly, which will surely raise Halak’s stock. Like Rinne, he’s a 1B on a good team.
8. David Rittich
David Rittich is an opposite situation to Jaroslav Halak. He posted a 27-9-5 record in 2018-2019, but followed it up with a 24-17-6 season and only played one game in the Edmonton bubble. His peripheral stats also declined since his 27-win campaign. To make matters worse, the Flames signed Jacob Markstrom as their starting goalie this offseason. Rittich will have to prove the Flames why giving Markstrom a 6-year contract at $6 million per year was a bad idea if he wants to get paid starting money next offseason. But, he’s a solid 1B that can propel a team into the playoffs.
7. James Reimer
Reimer had a solid bounce-back year in Carolina after the Hurricanes acquired him from Florida. He backed up Petr Mrazek well, and even played in three playoff games this year. But how much he gets in the open market will depend on how well he plays this season. He’ll have a stout defense in front of him and will likely split starts with Mrazek so the opportunity will certainly be there. Carolina probably just hopes he doesn’t regress to his last two seasons in Florida, where he put up a 2.99 GAA in ’17-’18 and 3.09 in ’18-’19.
6. Philipp Grubauer
He’s ranked 6th among 2021 NHL free agent goalies now, but don’t be surprised if Grubauer exceeds expectations in a contract year. He’s playing in front of a Stanley Cup contending team and a defense that just added Devon Toews in the offseason. But his numbers have been relatively average for a 1A in two seasons in Colorado. He had a 2.63 GAA and a .916 SV% in 36 games played. He had better numbers in 7 playoff games, but got hurt in the middle of the second round before the Avalanche lost in seven games to Dallas. If he can stay healthy and prove to the league that he could be the starting goalie the Avs expected him to be, he’ll find a good home next offseason.
5. Petr Mrazek
This is a prove-it year for the Czech goalie. In 2018-2019, Mrazek had a 2.39 GAA and .914 SV% in 40 games played. This past season, those numbers dipped to 2.69 and .905 respectively, also in 40 games. He had a strong postseason, so that should be encouraging for the Canes. The fact that he’s in a contract year could also work in the team’s favor. Additionally, the aforementioned Reimer will also challenge Mrazek for starts, perhaps forcing him to further elevate his play. At 28-years-old, he’s got the fuel in the tank to have another solid season. If he does, he’ll command big money next summer.
4. Antti Raanta
Darcy Keumper stole the show in the 2020 playoffs, but no team can overlook Raanta’s 2019-2020 season. In 33 games, he had a .921 SV% and 2.63 GAA on a team that would have missed the playoffs, if not for COVID-19. And excluding an injury riddled 2018-2019 season, he was terrific in three prior seasons with save percentages of .930, .922, and .919 with the Coyotes and Rangers. He will likely split time with Keumper again this season. He might even take over the starting job if Keumper gets hurt. Like Grubauer, he’s got a lot to prove.
3. Jordan Binnington
The rookie phenom who led the St. Louis Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup regressed slightly in 2019-2020, but played in far more games. That workload won’t slow down, as the Blues traded backup Jake Allen to the Canadiens early in the offseason. Don’t forget Allen stole starts from Binnington during the first round of the 2020 Playoffs. Binnington played in 50 games in 2019-2020, and he’ll probably start a similar proportion of the team’s games in the likely shortened 2021 season. If he can improve on the 2.56 GAA and .912 SV% he had last year, expect a lot of teams to inquire about the young goalie’s services.
2. Frederik Andersen
Even with the offensive talent oozing from the Maple Leafs’ roster, they go nowhere without Freddy. He started 77% of the team’s games in his four years in Toronto, winning 136 (55.7% of games started). He’s among the top five in games played and wins in the past four seasons. But the Leafs might struggle to pay Andersen the dollars he deserves, so he could be looking for a new home. Whoever takes him is getting a workhorse who, with a good defense and a solid 1B, can probably lead a team deep into the playoffs. If backup Jack Campbell can give Andersen some much needed rest during the regular season, that could be what gets Toronto over their dreaded playoff shortcomings.
1. Tuuka Rask
Rask’s departure from the 2020 NHL Playoffs made Bruins fans upset, but that won’t change the fact that he’ll play his 12th season in Boston in 2021. Rask led the league with a 2.12 GAA in 2019-2020 and was the runner up for the Vezina Trophy. Even with the departure of Torey Krug, expect Rask to have a similar season, especially if Halak can provide Rask some much needed rest from time to time. If he hits the open market, he’ll command big money and can make a huge impact on whatever team is lucky enough to sign him.
Born and raised on Long Island. Isles fan since 2009. Studying journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park.