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.
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):
|24||James van Riemsdyk||LW||34||52||10||16||26||PHI||$7M|
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