A way-too-early look at NHL’s 2023 free-agent landscape

The 2022 signing season is practically over. The unrestricted free-agent pool has almost completely dried up (whenever you’re ready, Nazem Kadri), and teams still have plenty of time to work out new deals with their RFAs.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at who could be on the market next summer. Many of these players are likely to sign extensions before testing the open waters, but until then, we’re free to speculate what may happen.

 

UFAs

Forwards

Nathan MacKinnon

Don’t get your hopes up. There’s next to zero chance Joe Sakic lets his best player get anywhere near free agency. In fact, there’s apparently a reasonable chance MacKinnon locks in this summer. The only question is where the superstar will rank among the league’s highest-paid players when he puts pen to paper.

 

David Pastrnak

Pastrnak’s discounted six-year deal is about to expire, and he has a chance to be next summer’s biggest fish. 40-goal scorers don’t come around often, and Boston needs to do everything in its power to retain the 26-year-old sniper to keep its competitive window open.

 

Dylan Larkin

Larkin would be an attractive free-agent addition for any team, but it feels like he’s a lifelong Red Wing. He’s a Michigan native, and Detroit has ample cap space to give him whatever deal he wants. Getting rid of your captain as your rebuild hits its upswing just doesn’t make sense.

 

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane

Trade rumors have already begun to swirl around the three-time Stanley Cup champions. As the Blackhawks stare down a scorched-earth rebuild, many project Toews and Kane to be trade bait for the 2023 deadline. If they aren’t moved by then, the pair will have their pick of the litter in free agency.

 

J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat

Miller still might get traded this summer, but regardless of who he suits up for next season, the versatile star will be one of the most coveted free agents next July. Horvat is due a decent raise from his current $5.5-million cap hit, but it’s difficult to envision a scenario where Vancouver lets its leader walk.

Author: Lucy Green