The NHL free agency frenzy has calmed in recent days, as general managers retreat to their cottages and teams calculate their remaining salary-cap space.
There are still significant names available on the unrestricted free agent market, including some who could be game-changers for the right team. Will they find the contracts they’re seeking with the teams they want to join? Or are they going to have to take what they can get?
Here’s glance at some of the more compelling players still on the market.
Nazem Kadri, C, Colorado Avalanche
Age: 31 | 2021-22 cap hit: $4.5 million
Kadri is the biggest name available, coming off a career-best 87-point season and a Stanley Cup championship. He would be an ideal second-line center for a number of teams, but the contract he sought and his age — he turns 32 in October — were both hindrances for some teams to commit to him.
The popular theory in the NHL is that he already has a handshake deal with some team that’s just waiting to clear the necessary cap space — perhaps a club such as the New York Islanders, who have yet to make an offseason splash.
Paul Stastny, C, Winnipeg Jets
Age: 36 | 2021-22 cap hit: $3.75 million
The veteran forward had an outstanding season for the Jets. He scored 45 points in 71 games, Stastny’s highest total in four seasons. But the most impressive thing about his 2021-22 campaign was the way he excelled no matter the role, playing up and down the lineup, in the middle and on the wing. He’s still chasing the Stanley Cup, and at this stage of his career one imagines that opportunity is paramount for him.
While a team like the Calgary Flames could make sense, wouldn’t a reunion with the Avalanche be lovely?
P.K. Subban, D, New Jersey Devils
Age: 33 | 2021-22 cap hit: $9,000,000
Subban might have been on the move at last season’s trade deadline were it not for his sizable cap hit. With that off the books, he should garner interest from teams looking to add an effective veteran who is great in the room.
Evolving Hockey projects him at a $3.8 million average annual value on a three-year term.