HomeNHLThe Top 30 Unrestricted Free Agents of 2021
The Top 30 Unrestricted Free Agents of 2021
April 23, 2021
With the 2021 NHL commerce deadline within the rearview mirror, it’s time to replace this listing of the highest unrestricted free brokers in 2021. This yr’s UFA class should put together for a topsy-turvy low season for a second straight yr. The league wage cap is anticipated to stay flat at $81.5 million. We additionally may even see fewer UFAs than regular signal their contracts earlier than going to market, as even the gamers planning to re-sign with their groups could maintain off as a part of handshake agreements so their groups don’t have to guard them within the Seattle Kraken growth draft the week earlier than the free-agency interval begins.
A shortened 2020-21 season means a small pattern measurement, however we have now seen some noteworthy perceived will increase or decreases in sure UFAs’ values since I final up to date this listing.
And now, the rankings. Ages listed as of July 28, 2021, the present slated began date for unrestricted free company.
1. ALEX OVECHKIN, LW, 35 2020-21 cap hit: $9,538,462
Arduous to consider he’s concluding his 13-year, $124-million pact. It’s lastly time. Ovechkin has already expressed his need to complete his NHL profession as a Capital after which play his ultimate pro-hockey season along with his hometown membership: Dynamo Moscow of the KHL. We all know he’ll be again with the Caps subsequent yr. It’s only a matter of whether or not he indicators a short- or long-term deal.
2. DOUGIE HAMILTON, D, 28 2020-21 cap hit: $5,750,000
Up to now 4 seasons, no defenseman has scored extra targets than Hamilton – regardless of him lacking vital time with a damaged leg final season. The outdated guard could not like his physique language or off-ice pursuits – LOL, says the brand new guard – however he’s a top-tier puck mover and play driver who has nice measurement and a right-handed shot. Count on him to command Pietrangelo cash and time period. Hamilton has overtly expressed his need to stay a Carolina Hurricane, nevertheless it feels like contract talks are kind of shelved till the season ends, per The Athletic’s Sara Civian. The sensible cash is on him staying however, then once more, that’s what most of us mentioned about Pietrangelo in St. Louis a yr in the past.
3. 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 nonetheless speak about how impressed they have been along with his scouting interviews main as much as the 2011 draft. He’s a revered, heart-and-soul captain who blends top-line scoring contact with bruising bodily play. Landeskog’s camp not too long ago mentioned he desires to be an Av for all times, and GM Joe Sakic has the cap house to make that occur.
4. RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS, LW, 28 2020-21 cap hit: $6,000,000
Will Nugent-Hopkins check the market? He and the Oilers have been kicking the tires on an extension however haven’t settled on something but. ‘The Nuge’ is a tricky participant to appraise, as he racks up so a lot of his factors on the facility play alongside two superstars. He ranks 14th within the NHL in power-play factors since 2018-19, with 42.1 p.c of his factors approaching the facility play. He’s an essential cog in Edmonton, nevertheless, as he performs quite a lot of minutes on the penalty kill, too.
5. TUUKKA RASK, G, 34 2020-21 cap hit: $7,000,000
The Bruins’ resolution to cut back Rask’s regular-season workload in recent times has paid off in his play. Has it additionally lowered his price ticket? The rise of third-string prospect Jeremy Swayman may push certainly one of Rask and Jaroslav Halak out. Odds are it’s Halak, as Rask solely desires to play in Boston and thus may think about taking a hometown low cost to take action. The Bruins have good leverage.
6. TAYLOR HALL, LW, 29 2020-21 cap hit: $8,000,000
Corridor’s one-and-done Sabres season performed out as a real worst-case situation. In a approach, even a season-ending damage would’ve preserved his UFA worth in amber like a Jurassic Park mosquito, however gutting out two thirds of the season in Buffalo destroyed his numbers and his confidence. The house stretch and playoffs in a Bruins uniform shall be important to restoring his worth. He’s already regarded more practical in Boston. Given Corridor’s upside and that he stays on the correct facet of 30, he’ll have suitors and a multi-year contract if he desires one this time round. 7. PHILIPP GRUBAUER, G, 29 2020-21 cap hit: $3,333,333
Expertise was by no means in query for Grubauer. He’s delivered an amazing “put all of it collectively” season for the Avalanche and has the sixth-highest save proportion in NHL historical past amongst goalies with at the very least 100 video games performed. The important thing was to show he can keep wholesome and, knock on wooden, he’s principally carried out that, as touchdown on the COVID-19 listing isn’t the identical as sustaining one other soft-tissue damage. Is Grubauer enjoying so effectively that he’s susceptible to pricing himself out of Colorado, although? Captain Landeskog’s contract is a precedence, as is an extension for star RFA blueliner Cale Makar.
8. TYSON BARRIE, D, 30 2020-21 cap hit: $3,750,000
Seventh in factors amongst NHL defensemen since his breakout 2013-14 marketing campaign. Barrie, a power-play specialist, was arrange properly to submit huge contract-year numbers in Edmonton, and that’s precisely what’s occurred. However do the Oilers have to deliver him again? They have been already a powerhouse power-play crew earlier than he signed, and he’s a little bit of a drag on their defensive play. May their cash be higher spent on a extra impactful two-way participant?
9. ZACH HYMAN, LW, 29 2020-21 cap hit: $2,250,000
Hyman is having fun with a serious breakout simply in time for his subsequent contract, with comparables like Brendan Gallagher’s six-year, deal at a $6.5-million AAV anticipated to issue prominently in negotiations, per The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. Hyman is an even-strength scoring dynamo who contributes in so many alternative conditions. His numbers get overrated enjoying with nice scorers, positive, however he fills an essential function on these strains along with his puck-retrieval expertise.
10. PHILLIP DANAULT, C, 28 2020-21 cap hit: $3,083,333
Danault is among the high two-way forwards within the enterprise, able to shutting down elite forwards whereas nonetheless driving the play on a scoring line. He reportedly turned a six-year, $30-million provide from the Habs earlier than the season however, along with his offense disappearing this season, he could wish to ask if that deal remains to be on the desk.
11. TOMAS TATAR, LW, 30 2020-21 cap hit: $5,300,000
Danault’s linemate Tatar additionally drives the play extraordinarily effectively however brings a superior scoring contact. Averages 24 targets and 64 factors per 82 video games since changing into a Hab. May GM Marc Bergevin have to decide on between Tatar and Danault this summer season? 12. KYLE PALMIERI, RW, 30 2020-21 cap hit: $4,650,000
Averaged 30 targets per 82 video games in his first 5 seasons as a Satan. That seems to be Palmieri’s ceiling, nevertheless it’s a extremely helpful ceiling. He’s had a nasty yr, nevertheless it’s probably the product of enjoying with much less assist in New Jersey earlier than his commerce to the New York Islanders and an unfortunate capturing proportion of 6.3, which is nearly precisely half his profession mark. Maybe that’ll make him a discount signing this low season. 13. JADEN SCHWARTZ, LW, 29 2020-21 cap hit: $5,350,000
Schwartz is able to money in as a rock-solid top-six ahead who doesn’t excel in anybody space however does quite a lot of issues effectively and is tenacious for his measurement. It’s simply by no means a on condition that Schwartz performs a full schedule, nevertheless. He’s missed double-digit video games in 4 of his previous six seasons.
14. BRANDON SAAD, LW, 28 2020-21 cap hit: $6,000,000
Shall be enticing for groups wanting him to fill the identical function he does in Colorado now: a win-now piece, accountable at each ends of the ice, quick, capable of play within the center six and contribute respectable objective totals. He already has 15 this season in 43 video games whereas enjoying simply 14 minutes or so per night time, however that’s a entice: his capturing proportion is unsustainable at a ridiculous 23.1. 15. DAVID KREJCI, C, 35 2020-21 cap hit: $7,250,000
A lot expertise within the common season and playoffs as Boston’s longtime No. 2 heart. Could be neat to see him go to a crew that lets him play with its high wingers. He usually will get the leftovers with the Bruins, although Corridor is a enjoyable short-term improve.
16. NICK FOLIGNO, LW, 33 2020-21 cap hit: $5,500,000
He was entrenched within the Columbus group because of his charity work and function as Blue Jackets captain. Does that imply he’ll return there after his stint as a trade-deadline rental with the Leafs? It’s powerful to say, because the Jackets should deal with re-signing RFA Patrik Laine and understanding an extension for Seth Jones.
17. BLAKE COLEMAN, LW, 29 2020-21 cap hit: $1,800,000
He actually was the lacking piece for Tampa’s 2020 Stanley Cup run. Coleman can play heart or the wing, he kills penalties, he forechecks aggressively and, don’t neglect, on a crew that wants him to play larger minutes, he can rating 20 targets.
18. MIKAEL GRANLUND, LW, 29 2020-21 cap hit: $3,750,000
Granlund could by no means attain the ceiling he was projected to have when he ripped up the Finnish Liiga a decade in the past, however that’s OK. He’s nonetheless a talented top-six ahead who makes an underrated defensive influence. His most helpful trait is his versatility. He can play any ahead place if wanted.
19. ADAM LARSSON, D, 28 2020-21 cap hit: $4,166,666
Regularly, Larsson has realized his promise as a defensive defenseman, and he’s having the very best season of his profession, enjoying an ornery recreation, sacrificing his physique. The Oilers is likely to be greatest off conserving him. He’s turn out to be an essential participant for them.
20. DAVID SAVARD, D, 30 2020-21 cap hit: $4,250,000
He’s massive, rugged, shoots right-handed and is usually underrated as a shutdown defenseman, having spent his profession in a comparatively small market earlier than Columbus dealt him to Tampa Bay on the deadline. Just about each crew wants a man like Savard.
21. ALEC MARTINEZ, D, 34 2020-21 cap hit: $4,000,000
Wow. What a yr. Martinez, who has profiled as extra of a two-way defenseman for many of his profession, is producing by far the very best offensive numbers of his profession simply in time for a brand new contract. A private-best season at 34 makes him a dangerous signing if any suitor is banking on repeat numbers. 22. ALEX GOLIGOSKI, D, 35 2020-21 cap hit: $5,475,000
He’s sturdy, he performs 22 minutes an evening, he strikes the puck fairly effectively…he’s only a protected veteran pickup at this stage of his profession, even when it’s on a short-term deal.
23. MIKE REILLY, D, 28 2020-21 cap hit: $1,500,000
Reilly was a vivid spot on a rebuilding Ottawa Senators crew this season, forming a net-positive pair with rookie Artem Zub, and Reilly has already confirmed extraordinarily helpful shifting the puck on Boston’s left facet. He felt extra like a fringe NHLer a number of years in the past however has established himself as a legit UFA goal. 24. MIKE HOFFMAN, LW, 31 2020-21 cap hit: $4,000,000
Throughout the first version of those rankings, I claimed Hoffman “was not a $4-million participant.” The implication was that he was price extra, however now it’s truthful to ask if he’ll earn much less on the open market. His defensive shortcomings are starting to overshadow his goal-scoring expertise, and he’s been healthy-scratched at occasions in St. Louis. On the identical time: he’s nonetheless scoring at a 27-goal tempo if pro-rated to 82 video games this season. He can bulge the twine, however he’s a dangerous team-chemistry match.
25. PAUL STASTNY, C, 35 2020-21 cap hit: $6,500,000
Getting lengthy within the tooth, however he nonetheless has a ability set loads of groups would wish: clever, good on faceoffs, can heart a scoring line and, as he’s proven this yr, can transition efficiently to the left wing as effectively.
26. RYAN GETZLAF, C, 36 2020-21 cap hit: $8,250,000
Would the Geese stroll away from their captain and franchise chief in video games and assists? After they purchased out former cornerstone Corey Perry in 2019, it despatched a message that GM Bob Murray was prepared for a brand new period. The Geese and Getzlaf explored the concept of renting him out to a contender at this yr’s deadline, too. The guess right here: he stays, however he begins his Joe Thornton Years, re-upping on short-term offers at a reduced worth.
27. JAMIE OLEKSIAK, D, 28 2020-21 cap hit: $2,137,500
Generally massive defensemen take longer to seek out themselves within the NHL, and Oleksiak, who carries first-round draft pedigree, suits the invoice. He’s a lot improved in his second stint with Dallas, utilizing his power successfully whereas additionally showcasing good mobility for a person his measurement.
28. BRANDON MONTOUR, D, 27 2020-21 cap hit: $3,850,000
The Buffalo issue damage his numbers in latest seasons, however he was hyped as puck-moving prospect in his Anaheim days, and his season-ending stint in Florida offers him an opportunity to spice up his worth earlier than going to market. Loads of groups might use a slick puck-mover on the correct facet, and he’ll come far cheaper than somebody like Barrie.
29. RYAN MURRAY, D, 27 2020-21 cap hit: $4,700,000
Robust yr for all Devils gamers, however Murray remains to be comparatively younger for a UFA, has a latest historical past as a decent defensive defenseman and may skate. On a greater crew, he may very well be a helpful middle-pair choice.
30. MATTIAS JANMARK, LW, 28 2020-21 cap hit: $2,250,000
Like Granlund, Janmark brings a Swiss Military Knife ability set. The Vegas Golden Knights have already used him in any respect three ahead positions and on each particular groups. So he’s a pleasant complementary choice if a contender wants depth. Or he might play increased within the lineup on a weaker crew.
Different distinguished 2021 UFAs to look at: Derek Forbort, Joel Armia, Mike Smith, Jani Hakanpaa, Petr Mrazek, Alexander Edler, Frederik Andersen, Jaroslav Halak, Pekka Rinne, Erik Haula, Zdeno Chara, Nikita Gusev, Casey Cizikas, Tyler Bozak, Bobby Ryan, Travis Hamonic, Nick Bjugstad, Joe Thornton, Erik Gustafsson, Sami Vatanen, Carl Soderberg. James Reimer, Barclay Goodrow, Eric Staal, Devan Dubnyk, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jason Demers, Alex Galchenyuk, Ian Cole, Marcus Johansson, Jordan Martinook, Travis Zajac, Alexander Wennberg, Alex Chiasson, Jonathan Bernier, Luke Glendening, Linus Ullmark, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Jordan Oesterle, Antti Raanta,, Mathieu Perreault, Jimmy Vesey, Ryan Dzingel, Brandon Sutter, Mikhail Grigorenko, Derek Stepan, Josh Leivo, Derek Ryan , Corey Perry, Artem Anisimov, Michael Frolik, David Rittich, Laurent Brossoit, Zach Bogosian, Dmitry Kulikov, Jon Merrill, Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza, Riley Nash, Travis Boyd, Tucker Poolman, Jordie Benn, Ryan Miller, Derick Brassard, Michael Bunting, Patrik Nemeth, Kurtis Gabriel, Marcus Sorensen, Matt Nieto, Carl Gunnarsson, Tomas Nosek, Brock McGinn, Cedric Paquette, Vinnie Hinostroza, Michael Del Zotto, Andrew Cogliano, Blake Comeau, Erik Gudbranson, Sean Kuraly, Cody Ceci