On Saturday at noon, NHL free agency will begin. Right now, many free agent players are being courted by various clubs for their respective services.
While most would consider the unrestricted free agency market weak, there are a few intriguing names at each position. Let’s take some of the best names from each position and predict where they will likely land in free agency.
Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau (SJS)
Thornton and Marleau have played in San Jose for many years. The dynamic forward pair have followed each other for a long time in their respective NHL careers. Both players are 37 years of age and both are seeking multi-year deals. It is rumored that both players may be seeking 3-year deals. Ideally, San Jose will want to sign them both to 1 or 2 year deals. There is significant interest for both players on the open market, as both players can still put up around 50 points.
Prediction: Both players stay in San Jose
Alexander Radulov (MTL)
Radulov is coming off a 1-year deal in Montreal and he is seeking a lengthy 6-year deal as a free agent. The 30-year old Russian recorded 18 goals and 54 points in 2016-17. Radulov is also a key powerplay contributor, as he recorded 16 powerplay points for the Habs last season.
Prediction: New York Islanders or Montreal Canadiens
Martin Hanzal (MIN)
Hanzal, 30, is a big centreman that is 6’6” tall. He is a rangy player that is good at deflecting pucks and getting loose rebounds in front of the net. He was traded to the Wild from the Coyotes at the last NHL Trade Deadline. While he has never crossed the 40-point plateau in his NHL career, teams will like his versatility and his size in the middle of the ice.
Prediction: Detroit Red Wings or Montreal Canadiens
Kevin Shattenkirk (WSH)
Shattenkirk will likely be the most coveted defenseman on the open market. The 28-year old, New Rochelle, NY native, put up 56 points between the Blues and Capitals last season. He is an excellent powerplay quarterback and can push the puck up the ice out of the defensive zone.
Prediction: New York Rangers or New Jersey Devils
Dan Girardi (NYR)
Girardi was bought out by the Rangers on June 14. He was signed by the Rangers as an undrafted free agent, and became one of the NHL’s best success stories. At 33-years of age, Girardi has slowed a bit, but is still being recruited by several clubs. Girardi is a proven leader and can still play a handful of minutes.
Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, or Buffalo Sabres
Karl Alzner (WSH)
The Capitals are losing another veteran blueliner with Karl Alzner. The 28-year old British Columbia native was taken 5th overall by the Capitals in 2007. Alzner is a steady penalty killer and a very responsible player in his defensive zone. He will not light up the score sheets on most nights, but he will log a lot of minutes and provide a club with a calming presence on the blueline.
Prediction: Montreal Canadiens or Vancouver Canucks
Brian Elliott (CGY)
Elliott played in Calgary briefly and put up respectable numbers during the regular season. He finished the season with 26 wins, 2.55 goals against average, and a .910 save percentage. With the Flames recently trading for Mike Smith, Elliott’s short time in Calgary is likely over. Elliott is a quality 1A or 1B goaltender and will likely be a bridge goaltender for a team that has a young goaltender already on their roster.
Prediction: Winnipeg Jets
Ryan Miller (VAN)
Miller has spent the last 3 seasons in Vancouver and has had the bulk of the workload in between the pipes. In 2016-17, Miller recorded 18 wins, 2.80 goals against average, and a .914 save percentage. While he is nearing the end of his career, Miller is likely going to head to a contending team to chase a Stanley Cup.
Prediction: Anaheim Ducks or Los Angeles Kings
Steve Mason (PHI)
Mason has spent the last 4 seasons in Philadelphia and has carried a bulk of the workload in between the pipes. In 2016-17, Mason recorded 26 wins, 2.66 goals against average, and a .908 save percentage. The 29-year old will likely have a handful of teams after his services, as he has shown he can handle a good size workload.
Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs or New Jersey Devils
By: George Foussekis