Every hockey fan loves the NHL free agency period (well, almost every fan). Outside of the NHL Entry Draft, there may not be a busier time in all of the NHL for general managers, players and teams. This year’s free agency period got even more hectic as a pause on the 2019-20 NHL’s regular season caused a delay in the postseason and everything that came after was crammed into one condensed time frame.
As a result, there are a few changes to this year’s NHL free agency worth noting. With only a few hours before it’s set to open on Friday, we figured it might be best to do a quick run-through of what to expect.
General Outlook on 2020 NHL Free Agency
This year’s free agency should be a doozy. There are so many players being added to the list in the final days before the traditional chaos gets underway, this year’s festivities should be even more chaotic.
What adds so much intrigue to the action is that teams are dealing with less flexibility than ever before. A flat salary cap comes with franchises desperate to clear room. Some are willing to give away players, others trying to add them on the best bargain some players may ever offer. This could create a ton of extra movement or really freeze the market.
And, there should be more deals than there’s ever been before. Players understand money is tight and some will be concerned that if they don’t take a deal quick, they may not get an offer.
When NHL’s 2020 Free Agency Period Begin?
July 1 is traditionally the day this period kicks off but with that date well into the rearview mirror, the NHL decided to hold the draft on October 6 and 7, then get free agency going a couple of days later.
Date: Friday, Oct. 9
Time: 12 p.m. ET | 9 a.m. PT
With the condensed schedule, the free agency interview window was eliminated so teams cannot talk to players prior to the opening of the market Friday afternoon. That could mean a mad scramble to get in touch with players or it could mean the first signings aren’t announced within seconds of the bell.
What Salary Cap are Teams Dealing With?
Early projections were the 2020-21 season would jump to somewhere between $84-88 million. COVID-19 destroyed those projections. Now, the upper limit set at $81.5 million and a lower limit at $60.2 Million (midpoint is $70.9 Million).
As you can imagine, there will be a lot of deals where money is the motivating factor.
Who Are the Top Players Available?
This year’s group is quite impressive. While there aren’t a huge list of players at the top in any position, there’s some top-notch forwards, a couple big-name defensemen and a variety of goaltenders ready to mix the market. Here’s the top names teams will be calling about:
- Alex Pietrangelo – Seeking somewhere between $8.5 and $9.5 million
- Torey Krug – likely somewhere between $6 and $7.5 million
- Tyson Barrie – could go long or short-term – $4 -$6 million cap hit
- T.J Brodie – seeking long-term deal around $5 – $6 million per
- Kevin Shattenkirk – looking for a bump from his $1.75 million in Tampa
- Travis Hamonic – made $3.857 million last season. Should be around that.
- Justin Schultz– had a couple great years in Pittsburgh, looking to get game back.
- Taylor Hall– could go short or long-term and fall in around the $7.5-$9 million range depending on term
- Mike Hoffman – could go short or long-term, likely seeking $5 – $6 million
- Evgenii Dadonov – could be seeking a few years on a term. Likely looking for $5 million plus
- Tyler Toffoli – probably seeking long-term deal around $5.5-$6.5 million per season
- Mikael Granlund – looking at long-term deal coming off a $5.75 million deal
- Kyle Turris – bought out by Predators, could be a deal around $2 million
- Ilya Kovalchuk – inexpensive but experienced forward looking for right fit.
- Erik Haula – shouldn’t cost a lot, coming off $2.75 mill contract
- Wayne Simmonds – gritty forward should get some interest at lower cost and in depth role
- Bobby Ryan – coming off a buyout, looking for good fit, could do well in right situation.
- Mikko Koivu – could be the perfect third-line center for a team needing leadership
- Alexander Wennberg – also a nice third-line center option looking to rebound
- Jacob Markstrom – likely seeking long-term deal around $6 million plus
- Braden Holtby – likely a short-term deal, shouldn’t be too costly
- Anton Khudobin – could stay with Dallas, looking for raise on $2.5 million
- Corey Crawford – leaving Chicago and looking for just a slight drop in pay from $6 million
- Henrik Lundqvist – likely to sign a one-year, low cost deal with a contender
Next: A Closer Look at 17 Goalies Available in 2020 NHL Marketplace
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