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Insider Ranks 2023 UFAs in Weakest Free Agent Class in a Decade

Frank Seravalli is not a fan of this summer’s upcoming unrestricted free-agent class, listing Michael Bunting as the best available.

Frank Seravalli is not a fan of this summer’s upcoming unrestricted free-agent class. Calling Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Michael Bunting the cream of the crop, he argues the fact that Bunting holds the No. 1 spot shows just how weak this season’s group actually is.

For teams looking to add to their rosters by signing players and not having to give up assets to do so, this isn’t exactly the best news.

Seravalli noted that there was a chance this could have been a strong summer for free agents, but the injury questions surrounding Jonathan Toews, or the fact that Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci won’t go anywhere but Boston put a damper on things. He adds that much of what Patrick Kane gets will be determined by how he performs in the playoffs, and Seravalli doesn’t think names like Tyler Bertuzzi (Boston), Damon Severson (New Jersey), and Ryan O’Reilly (Toronto) bring this year’s list where it needs to be to rank it among the better markets of years past.

Michael Bunting Maple Leafs 1

He notes that Alex Killorn and Vladimir Tarasenko have been productive “but there will be hesitancy trying to chart their course on the age curve.” He adds that the previous injury histories of Jason Zucker, Nick Foligno, Jonathan Drouin, and Sean Monahan will all affect how much interest there is in these players.

As for goaltenders, he’s only got two netminders in his Top 20. He’s got just three centers in his Top 10, none of which are arguably difference-makers.

What Does This Mean for Teams Needing Players?

Two things could come out of a crop that looks like this. Either players who aren’t deserving are going to receive huge paydays. Or, there won’t be a lot of action in the free agent market and trades could be a more popular building mechanism for GMs, many of which are already hamstrung by salary cap issues.

For teams that have most of their roster built, this year’s crop being weaker means they’re in a good spot. For teams that have very few players signed to contracts and need to add to their rosters, they won’t have a huge surplus of players from which to shop and that’s assuming the ones who are available aren’t choosy given the demands outweighs the supply.

Servalli’s list is below (his full article is here):

1Michael BuntingLW2773212546TOR$950K
2Damon SeversonRD287362329NJD$4.17M
3Patrick KaneRW3466203353NYR$10.5M
4Ryan O’ReillyC324815924TOR$7.5M
5Dmitry OrlovLD315962632BOS$5.1M
6Alex KillornRW3375233356TBL$4.45M
7J.T. CompherC2873163248COL$3.5M
8Jordan StaalC3472171431CAR$6M
9Vladimir TarasenkoRW3161162844NYR$7.5M
10Tristan JarryG28402.98.908PIT$3.5M
11Max PaciorettyLW345303CAR$7M
12Tyler BertuzziLW284251520BOS$4.75M
13Semyon VarlamovG35222.71.913NYI$5M
14Vladislav GavrikovLD276441115LAK$2.8M
15Ryan GravesLD287161622NJD$3.17M
16Carson SoucyLD287021113SEA$2.75M
17Scott MayfieldRD307551621NYI$1.45M
18Ivan BarbashevLW2774142640VGK$2.25M
19Joonas KorpisaloG29342.92.914LAK$1.3M
20Matt DumbaRD28724913MIN$6M
21Frederik AndersenG33292.45.904CAR$4.5M
22Max DomiC2872193554DAL$3M
23John KlingbergRD305991928MIN$7M
24James van RiemsdykLW3452101626PHI$7M
25Connor CliftonRD277151621BOS$1M
26Alex KerfootLW287392130TOR$3.5M
27Shayne GostisbehereLD3066122638CAR$4.5M
28Evan RodriguesC2960142034COL$2M
29David KampfC287371825TOR$1.5M
30Frederick GaudreauC3074141933MIN$1.2M
31Jason ZuckerLW3170252045PIT$5.5M
32Gustav NyquistLW3348101222MIN$5.5M
33Pierre EngvallRW2769161127NYI$2.25M
34Tomas TatarLW3274172441NJD$4.5M
35Justin HollRD317121517TOR$2M
36Luke SchennRD336231821TOR$850K
37Ian ColeLD347131316TBL$3M
38Garnet HathawayRW317612921BOS$1.5M
39Nick FolignoLW3560101626BOS$3.8M
40Evgenii DadonovRW346572229DAL$5M
41Jesper FastRW317181725CAR$2M
42Nick BjugstadC3070161228EDM$900K
43Radko GudasRD336421113FLA$2.5M
44Erik GustafssonLD316973239TOR$800K
45Erik HaulaC327492534NJD$2.38M
46Sean MonahanC282561117MTL$6.38M
47Lars EllerC347591019COL$3.5M
48Jonathan DrouinC285022628MTL$5.5M
49Teddy BluegerC285441115PIT$2.2M
50Connor BrownRW294000WSH$3.6M


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