Free agent waltz is back in the NHL.
After three years marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the free agent market will officially open on July 1st.
And while there aren’t as many stars available as in previous editions, GMs looking to upgrade or flesh out their roster should be able to find a match in the free agent market — there will obviously be aging stars, but also experienced support players and goalkeepers.
One month away from the opening of the market, at noon on Canada Day, La Presse Canadienne provides an overview of players of interest who may be available.
The 32-year-old center joined the Toronto Maple Leafs after being acquired from the St. Louis Blues in mid-February in a mega-deal that was completed closer to the NHL trade deadline. O’Reilly, who won the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019, helped the Maple Leafs win their first playoff series since 2004, and remains an important pivot for Toronto. His season was cut short by injuries, but the 2019 Conn-Smythe Trophy winner had 16 goals and 30 assists in 53 games in 2022-23. He added three goals and six assists in 11 playoff games.
The 34-year-old forward joined the New York Rangers after ending his long stint with the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline. Kane, who won three career Stanley Cups with the Hawks, had 21 goals and 36 assists in 73 games last season. He also scored one goal and added five assists to his playoff record with the Rangers, who were ousted in the first round of the Eastern Conference. The American is no longer the player he was when he picked up the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013 and the Hart Trophy as NHL Most Valuable Player three years later, but he can still do great service for an offense in the NHL.
The Russian forward, who also joined the Rangers at the trade deadline, had 18 hits and 32 assists in 69 games with the Blues and Rangers in 2022-23. Tarasenko, who won the Stanley Cup with O’Reilly with the Blues, added a goal and three assists to his postseason record with the New York club. The 31-year-old veteran has played over 75 games just once in the last five campaigns due to injuries.
The 28-year-old has eight goals and 22 assists in 50 games with the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins in 2022-23. Bertuzzi, who had a 30-goal season in 2021-22, added 10 points to his postseason record with the Bruins, who lost in the first round in the East to the Florida Panthers. He’s also been hit hard by injuries, being limited to just one full season in five career NHL opportunities.
The Bruins acquired him from the Washington Capitals at the trade deadline, and the 31-year-old veteran is likely to be the most coveted defenseman this summer on the free agent market. He has seven goals and 29 assists in 66 games with the Capitals and Bruins in 2022-23. The left-handed defenseman had 17 points in 23 regular-season games with the Bruins, while adding eight assists in seven playoff games this spring.
The 28-year-old defenseman looks set to leave the Minnesota Wild after being selected by that organization seventh overall in the 2012 NHL Draft. The right-hander was limited to four goals and 10 assists in 79 games in 2022-23.
Severson, another right-handed defenseman, could leave the New Jersey Devils after nine seasons with them. Severson, 28, has seven goals and 26 assists in 81 games in 2022-23.
The pugnacious 27-year-old forward finally established himself in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs after posting a second consecutive 23-goal season. Bunting, who was selected in the fourth round by the Arizona Coyotes in 2014, plays on the edge of the legality, and sometimes transgresses it, as evidenced by his three games suspension during the last playoffs.
The 28-year-old goaltender’s stay with the Pittsburgh Penguins may be over. Jarry, a second-round Penguins pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, set a career-high in save percentage (91.4%) and had a 2.65 goals-against-average.
The 33-year-old veteran had two strong seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes. He also posted a 92.7% save percentage and a 1.83 goals-against average during the last playoffs. Other goaltenders who could test the free agent market this summer include Adin Hill of the Vegas Golden Knights, Semyon Varlamov of the New York Islanders, Joonas Korpisalo of the Los Angeles Kings, and Cam Talbot of the Los Angeles Senators. ‘Ottawa.